Hosk Year 2014 in numbers

Whilst reflecting on another year, which has passed, I thought I would review my years in numbers, I appreciate numbers don’t tell you about quality but are merely a metric

Quality is difficult to define so they’re not any metrics on the quality of my CRM, content I have been creating, so I thought I would look at the facts, numbers, views and badges

Looking at the numbers below it seems I have had quite a busy year and I have learnt a lot about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and I have read and written lots of interesting blog posts.

Thanks for everyone who visited the blog, read my tweets or watched a youtube video.  a big thanks to anyone who left a comment, I love comments.#

Hosk Dynamic CRM Blog

I created 213 blog posts this year, which is roughly 4 per week.  In 2011 I published 455 blog posts!

I did a blog on the most view blog post

Hosk Blog Most Popular CRM Posts of the Year

Here is the list of top blog posts with the views on the right

1.  MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification – 7610 views
2.  CRM 2013 – Setting up Visual Studio with the Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – 7478 views
3.  CRM 2013 – Step by Step Update Plugin Tutorial using the CRM 2013 Development Toolkit – 7021  views
4.  CRM 2013 – Understanding Solutions and how they work – 4751 views
5.  CRM 2013 – MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Study information – 4362 views
6.  CRM 2013 – quick way to get the guid on a form – 4123 views
7.  CRM 2013 – MB2-703 – Customization and Configuration Certification Solution Test Questions – 3857 views
8.  CRM 2013 – Plugins – Simple update plugin – Redeploying, improving and updating – 3656 views
9.  CRM 2013 – Javascript to get id of current record – 2613 views
10.  CRM 2011/2013 – Javascript to get the object type code of an entity – 2532 views
11.  CRM 2013 – How to set up Field Level Security – 2555 views
12.  CRM 2013 – Workflow to set the current date and time – 2532 views

 

Total Blog Views

It was my best year yet and I almost made it to the half a million views.  It’s to be expected my views should have gone up because each year I will have published more blog posts (total 892 at the moment).

In 2013 I took a year off and only published 34

2014 numbers

 

2014 numbers 1

 

 

The top referring sites in 2014 were:

  1. twitter.com
  2. linkedin.com
  3. community.dynamics.com
  4. social.microsoft.com
  5. stackoverflow.com

 

Microsoft Certificates

I only passed on Microsoft CRM certification this year

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration

The main reason I only passed one because I spent ages creating material to help people study for the certification, which you can find clicking the link below

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification

Microsoft Community Badges

At some point Microsoft created lots of different badges and then created levels.  I found I was level 7 and the gamer in me wanted to reach level 8, so I did.  Answering questions is a tricky process and anyone who has answered lots of them has my respect.

I made it onto some Leaderboards and yes, before you say it, I know they don’t really mean anything but I view it like being on an arcade machines top 10 list (before someone unplugs it and they reset all the points)

Suggested answers all time Leader Board

https://community.dynamics.com/leaderboards/5.aspx

Verified Answers All Time Leader Board

https://community.dynamics.com/leaderboards/8.aspx

I got my level 8 badge (you need 16000 points), the only real way to get this badge is to answer lots of CRM Forum questions

I answered a bunch of CRM Forum questions which was a great way to learn CRM 2013 and find the most common problems people were experiencing.

985 suggested answers

392 verified answers

This may be enough to get an MCC badge for Jul – Dec to go with the MCC badge I got from Jan 2014 to June 2014 but I’m not sure yet because I haven’t received an email and Microsoft haven’t updated anything.

19452 points (no one really knows how the points work but you get a bunch for having a verified answer)

Hosk Twitter

The number of followers has gone up but I’m not sure what it was last year the only stats I have were taken in March 2014

In March my twitter stats were

  • 3,863 TWEETS
  • 1,283 FOLLOWERS

Today

  • 5569 Tweets
  • 1644 followers

So I have tweeted probably about 2000 tweets and gained 400 followers in 2014

Hosk LinkedIn Blog

This was my first year with a LinkedIn Blog

I published 31 LinkedIn blog posts

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/24927776

1453 followers

My top 3 viewed blog posts

What is the Microsoft CEO actually saying? 10486 views 95 likes

Annoying practices of bad recruitment consultants – 4640 views – 68 likes

Are people starting to like Microsoft again? 1922 views – 157 likes

Hosk YouTube Channel

I started a youtube channel I think in March.  It has some videos to help you get started with Plugin development and some videos to help pass the CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration exam

Hosk CRM Dev 

49 YouTube videos

40406 video views

271604 estimate minutes watched

188 likes

6 dislikes

20 shares

771 subscribers

 

Top
CRM 2013 – Create a simple plugin in CRM 2013 using the CRM Development Toolkit 7,622 (19%) 74,812 (28%)
CRM 2013 – Setting up Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4,981 (12%) 26,168 (9.6%)
CRM 2013 – Understanding Solutions and how they work in CRM 2013 3,323 (8.2%) 39,571 (15%)
CRM 2013 — MB2 703 — Customization and Configuration Certification Solution Test Questions 2,566 (6.3%) 13,081 (4.8%)
CRM 2013 – MB2 703 – Business Units and Security Roles 1,734 (4.3%) 19,700 (7.3%)
MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Study information 1,358 (3.4%) 4,923 (1.8%)
CRM 2013 – JavaScript tutorial using CRM 2013 Developer Toolkit 1,317 (3.3%) 9,539 (3.5%)
CRM 2011/2013 Dialog’s and Custom Workflow example 1,250 (3.1%) 5,646 (2.1%)
Get Certified in MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration 1,247 (3.1%) 3,570 (1.3%)
CRM 2013 Plugin – Step by Step guide for a Post Account Create Plugin using the Developer Toolkit 1,143 (2.8%) 6,937 (2.6%)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good CRM design should not make users think

A well designed CRM system is where users use the system instinctively without needing to stop and think – Hosk

I have been reading Don’t Make Me Think!: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, the book is great, easy to read and it gets straight to the point, which it needs to because the book is only 216 pages long and was written so it could be read by an executive on a 2 hour flight!

I wish films, books and TV programs would get to the point and stop extending things out, quality not quantity.  The book offers great insight into usability in websites, Steve Krug the author is a usability expert and some they key points I have taken from his excellent book.

1.  Don’t make them think

A website should be so easy and obvious to use the users shouldn’t have to think.  The users should not need to think where to click because it should be obvious.

2.  Users are like sharks

Users scan pages and will click on the first thing which seems might be the right thing to do.  Users keep moving or die, e.g. They will point and click.

3.  Users Love Back buttons

Users love back buttons because they use websites, with a point and click attitude.  Users haven’t got time to think about what to do, they would rather click what seems right.  This usage means they will make mistakes and need to go back often.  It’s a trial and error method of web site usage because the cost of a mistake is rectified by pressing the back button.

4.  Creatures of habit

Once users find a method which works they stick to it and do it again and again and again

5.  Searching Rocks

Users know how searches work and use it a lot as a short cut to get to where they want to go.

6.  Everyone loves to go home

The home button is vital to a website because it means no matter what rabbit hole the user goes down or how lost they get on a website, they can always get back to the start with one click without any thinking

7.  Get rid of happy talk

Happy talk is like small talk on websites.  Lots of words with not much being said, usually happy talk is information about the site, creating the site and other information the user isn’t interested in but the creators found interesting.  You can read more about happy talk here, Common happy talk is

  • welcoming messages
  • details of the process of creating the website such as how long it took
  • information about the design of the website such as rationale
  • superfluous instructional advice

 

Web Usability and CRM 2013/2015

When CRM 2013 (which doesn’t seem long ago) was released the user interface was completely rewritten and it looked fantastic but then users started to use the application and they found the navigation was more difficult in CRM 2013 than in CRM 2011, oops.

The question is, Why was navigation harder in CRM 2013?

After reading the points made in Steve Krug’s book, these points explain why the navigation was difficult

Too much thinking needed

There were times when using CRM 2013 when I wasn’t sure how to navigate to the record/area I wanted to go.  I had to stop instinctively navigating and start to think about how I might navigate there.  I would have these thoughts

  • How do I get too a certain record?
  • Which navigation tool (menu, hyperlink, back button) should I use?
  • Where is the advanced find button?
  • How do I get back?

Some of the reason was due to my CRM 2011 navigation habits, but other problems were because it wasn’t obvious how to navigate in CRM 2013 and I had to keep stopping to think.  Thinking isn’t how people are trained to use websites and slowed down the navigation process considerably, which contributed to the feeling it was harder than CRM 2011.

No Home button/Left hand menu

The removal of the left hand navigation pane was like Windows 8 removing the Start button.  People like knowing there is an easy, quick way to get back to the start.  The best solution to this problem I have seen was the free codeplex solution One Click Navigation which I have reviewed here.  This puts a menu on the top, all the time, ahhh safety.

Creatures of habit – CRM 2013/2015 is too different

Users are used to working with CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 seemed very different and less initiative.  CRM 2013/2015 is different from most web sites and applications which means users can’t use their natural instincts to point and click and muddle their way through.

There is likely to be a degree of uneasiness whenever any users use a new product

Dude, where is my advanced find?

This was one of the most puzzling changes Microsoft made in CRM 2013, suddenly I could rarely find the advanced find button, why would anyone hide this awesome button?  Advanced find in CRM is a great tool because you can skip the navigation and find the records you are interested in quickly and you can save your advanced find as a search for easy reuse.

The advanced find button has been restored in CRM 2015 and can be found on the global command bar and always accessible no matter where you are.

Global Advanced Find is Here in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015!

It’s good to see Microsoft to listening to the feedback of the Microsoft Dynamics Community.  I wrote an article on this subject Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?,

Slow to Navigate

One of the points I took from the book is users are in a hurry, swimming and swooping like sharks, clicking and not thinking, muddling through, clicking what seems right and pressing the back button if wrong.

CRM 2013/2015 make it hard to navigate quickly, you have to wait for menu’s to animate and then they keep hiding again.

Users of CRM will use CRM everyday and will want to reach power user level, quickly navigating the site without thinking.

Designing Better CRM forms and Improving User Experience

Don’t make the user think

Make the flow of your CRM system obvious, don’t make the user think.  Using the new business process flows can help users along the journey without them getting lost or stopping the process to puzzle out where they should go next.
One of the key terms to think about is how to simply the process because a simple process/forms needs less thinking by the users.
Ways to reduce user thinking and simplify
  • Business Process flows guiding the user
  • Remove unused fields on views, forms
  • Reduce options
  • Change Sitemap and
  • Hide sections/fields until needed
  • Business rules/JavaScript to auto fill values
  • Use Dashboards to show aggregated data
  • Views filtered and sorted to reduce noise
  • group data on a form in logical areas
  • Different forms for different security roles/teams

Test your CRM Solution

A good way to test your form layout and business process logic is to get someone with no experience of using your CRM solution and see how they get on.   You cannot test the processes or forms yourself because you already know how to use it and can’t unlearn the process.  It’s possible to get existing users to test design improvements.
Coding horror blog had a really good blog post on Low-Fi usability testing, whilst reading this I realised CRM forms/solutions rarely ever consider the usability of their forms/system.

Reduce fields and clicks needed on a form

I remember working on a project and the feedback from the intial forms was
It takes 4 clicks more to complete this form than it did with the old system
That form was an epic failure but the message has always stuck with me.  All the forms should take the least amount of clicks and inputs possible to make it as easy as possible for the user.
Simplify your forms and remove anything the user doesn’t really need.  The top of the form should contain the important fields that must be filled in, these will be the first fields the user see’s and has to fill in.

Business Required fields at the top

Users want the Business required fields at the top of the form, this is the first area they look at on each form.  Make it easy for the user and put the fields they must fill in at the top, near each other.  Thought has to be given to logically arranging fields in groups versus putting business required fields at the top.

Correct Field types

Instead of field validation on the values entered in a field, going through the processs
1.  User enters value
2.  Field OnChange event, validates value and displays warning (back to point 1 until passes validation)
You can avoid this by using the correct field type and option Sets with a limited number of choices.  It’s easier for a user to choose from an option set with 3 options than typing a value in manually (again and again).  It’s frustrating for a user to not be able to save a record due to wrong data, finding the field and correcting is a slow process, so getting this right first time is great user experience.

Automate field entry

Workflows and plugins can automatically (where possible) fill in the values of fields in related entities
JavaScript and Business rules can automate field values based on values entered in related fields.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has plenty of tools to help automate processes, calculate fields, automatically fill in related fields and create related records.
Using OnChange events on fields with Business Rules and JavaScript will not affect form loading times

Hide Section and Fields

It’s possible to simplify a form by hiding fields which are not used.  Field OnChange events allow you to show/hide fields based on interaction with the user and creating a tailored user experience.

Different Forms for Different Security Roles

Different users with different roles are often not interested in all of the fields on a form so there is no need to display them all.  You can create different forms for different users (security roles), hide/show certain fields and arrange fields in a different order (putting the fields they don’t need to fill in at the bottom).  This can greatly simplify a form for different users e.g. less options is less confusing.

Business Process Flows

Business process flows offer a guided/quick navigation through business process which can involve multiple entities. Business process flows work in conjunction with security roles, allowing you to create a different business process for different sets of users.

Extra stuff

An interesting article from CRM MVP Scott Durow on how the Command Bar really works, did you know it’s a ribbon in disguise!

4 things you need to know about the Command Bar

CRM MVP Jukka wrote a good blog

How Would You Change the Dynamics CRM Navigation?

I would recommend not only reading the blog post, but the comments have a great discussion about CRM Navigation

Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?

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I read this great blog post recently

 Listen to Your Community, But Don’t Let Them Tell You What to Do

The article makes a number of good points but these two grabbed my attention

1.  90% of all community feedback is crap.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately. Sturgeon’s Law can’t be denied by any man, woman, child … or community, for that matter. Meta community, I love you to death, so let’s be honest with each other: most of the feedback and feature requests you give us are just not, uh, er … actionable, for a zillion different reasons.

But take heart: this means 10% of the community feedback you’ll get is awesome! I guarantee you’ll find ten posts that are pure gold, that have the potential to make the site clearly better for everyone … provided you have the intestinal fortitude to look at a hundred posts to get there. Be prepared to spend a lot of time, and I mean a whole freaking lot of time, mining through community feedback to extract those rare gems. I believe every community has users savvy enough to produce them in some quantity, and they’re often startlingly wonderful.

  1. Be honest about what you won’t do.

It always depressed me to see bug trackers and feedback forums with thousands of items languishing there in no man’s land with no status at all. That’s a sign of a neglected community, and worse, a dishonest relationship with the community. It is sadly all too typical. Don’t do this!

I’m not saying you should tell your community that their feedback sucks, even when it frequently does. That’d be mean. But don’t be shy about politely declining requests when you feel they don’t make sense, or if you can’t see any way they could be reasonably implemented. (You should always reserve the right to change your mind in the future, of course.) Sure, it hurts to be rejected – but it hurts far more to be ignored. I believe very, very strongly that if you’re honest with your community, they will ultimately respect you more for that.

All relationships are predicated on honesty. If you’re not willing to be honest with your community, how can you possibly expect them to respect you … or continue the relationship?

It got me thinking how does Microsoft deal with Dynamics CRM community feedback?

The Dynamics CRM Community is awesome

I am constantly amazed at all the great tools/blogs/books/videos/articles created by the dynamics CRM community.  I really enjoy being part of and interacting with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community and some of the positives that spring to mind

It’s a friendly place

people in the CRM community are always willing to help each, add useful comments

Innovative

I learn loads from tools and blog posts people create.  The content I really enjoy is where people find unexpected workarounds and solutions to problems

Enjoyable

I enjoy being part of the Dynamics CRM community, the more you put in, the more you get out of it.

Positive

The majority of the Dynamics CRM community is a positive group.  Most of the Community energy is diverted to positive endeavors rather than complaining.  I am a great believer in being positive because being positive you create ideas/solutions, but being negative you create nothing but hot air.

Proactive

When the Dynamics CRM community comes up against a problem, it usually find a solution to it pretty fast.  I have found most people who stick around in the Dynamics CRM community are proactive, self motivated people, which you need to be to keep up with the new functionality Microsoft are creating and the speed they are creating it.

Below are some of the activities the CRM community and Microsoft contribute to make up the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

Tools and Solutions

Fantastic Codeplex tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

You can read my reviews on my CRM 2013 Tool List

There are great tools not featured on Codeplex, like the great Ribbon workbench (a must have) from CRM MVP Scott Durow

Blogs

Top 25 Dynamics CRM Sites – featured on Dynamics 101

Blogs featured on Microsoft dynamics blog list

Community

CRMUG (I have written a blog post What is CRMUG? Should you join? if you want to learn more about CRMUG)

Dynamics CRM Community 

CRM Forums

Facebook

Twitter – @MSFTDynamics

Conferences

The many Dynamics CRM conferences (convergence etc)

Microsoft

Microsoft have CRM SDK, Technet, MSDN articles, whitepapers (link to all CRM 2013 whitepapers here)

The interaction between the CRM Community and Microsoft I think is pretty good, Microsoft creating lots of great material and the platforms for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community to collobrate, interact and create great content.

CRM MVP’s

There are 62 CRM MVP’s and they are involved in all areas of the Microsoft Dynamics Community mentioned above.  The CRM MVP’s are a bridge between the CRM community and Microsoft but they are also part of the CRM community.

The concept of CRM MVP’s is a great one.  Fantastic CRM content creators are then able to get sneak peaks and previews of up and coming features in CRM, which they can then feedback to the CRM community.

 

How do you give feedback to Microsoft

I want to focus on how the Dynamics community gives feedback to Microsoft on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product itself.  This is a vital area for the direction and growth of the CRM product.  The dynamic community is giving feedback generated from their own needs and the needs of their customers.

Why am I writing about Connect Site

Recently I wrote the blog post – CRM 2013 – Why are access teams marooned? where access team functionality was added to CRM 2013 but there is no way to add access team templates to a solution, which makes it difficult to use because you have to create each access team template on each CRM environment.

There was also this post from CRM MVP Leon Tribe – Fixing Lead Conversion in CRM 2013

I remember CRM 2013 and not being able to find the advanced find, so much that somebody made a tool, with just the advanced find button in

https://crmadvancedfind2013.codeplex.com/

Combined with the coding horror post and these I thought I would look into the process of creating product/functionality enhancements for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

To give this feedback to Microsoft you use the Connect site

https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamicssuggestions

When answering questions on the forum, sometimes people find bugs and sometimes people want functionality which doesn’t exist.  So you have to ether

  • Raise bugs with Microsoft support
  • raise feature enhancements on Microsoft Connect

Raise a Bug

To raise a bug you have to go to Microsoft support and raise a ticket,which I think you do via the CRM Customer Center where you might find the solution before raising a support call.

New Product Suggestion

If you have an enhancement rather than a bug, then you need to use the Connect site to create a new product suggestion but before you do that you should search the list of current Product suggestions because someone might have already created it.

product suggestion

You can either vote on a current new product suggestion or you can create a new product suggestion.  Once a product suggestion has been created people can vote it up.

What do votes means ….? Prices

In theory the more votes you get, the more likely it is to be added to a future release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In the FAQ this is what happens to Product suggestions

Q. What happens to my product suggestions?

A. Your suggestion is delivered directly to the appropriate product development team based on the product line you specify. This process ensures that customers and partners can help shape how future versions of our software will work. During the planning phase, each product development team considers suggestions as possible new features for the next release.

Q. Why hasn’t anyone from Microsoft responded to my suggestion?

A. Microsoft Dynamics product development teams strive to respond to your suggestion within approximately one month of submission*. If you have not received a response on your suggestion within one month of submissions, please email mbsdynps@microsoft.com. *Note: Service level agreement only applicable to suggestions entered into Microsoft Connect

How does the product suggestion process work?

My honest answer would be, ok but could be a lot better.  The process of raising an enhancment works fine but the next stage of the product suggestions going into the product takes a very long time.

What I don’t like about the connect site and new product process

Before we go anywhere I will say this is my personal opinion and it’s based on my experiences and my discussions with fellow CRM developers on connect site.  I appreciate this is a very small, possibly biased selection of people and the experience for the majority could be very different.

The connect site

The connect site feels and looks at least 5 years old, the site is not intuitive or easy to use.  Searching and finding proposed new product suggestions can be clunky, slow and confusing.

This process should be as easy as possible to encourage more people to use the site.

You scroll down to the end of the page and then the washing machine wait icon appears, I can only view 8 items on a page.

Most Voted

There are some links for you to use, you go to most voted and then see a list of resolved items, which were most voted and included.

Vote on resolved items

You can still vote on resolved items, why?

Slow

I often mention to people on CRM forums to raise their enhancements on the connect site but I’m not sure I believe their suggestions have much chance of being added to the product, so why bother.  The reason for this is, it often seems people put enhancements on and then nothing….. very little feedback from Microsoft, not much voting.  Maybe the user gets feedback directly but what about people using the connect site, it just looks like the suggestions are sitting there with nothing really happening.

What’s happening

I wrote a blog post recently CRM 2013 – Why are access teams marooned?, this explains there is no way to add access team templates to solutions.  A product suggestion was added on 27/11/2014

Access Team Template in CRM Solution

It has had 13 votes and Microsoft have a month to respond but after the response it’s difficult to understand what is happening with each suggestion.

Is it resolved?

I see this issue CRM 2013: Adding the “Advanced Find” to the global menu this has been marked as resolved and with the status resolved as tracking.  Which when click on tracking says the product team are tracking this.  How is that resolved?  It’s resolved in CRM 2015.

This item

Ability to set default entity for lookup fields – by Donna Edwards create 01/03/2012

https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamicssuggestions/Feedback/Details/727766

this is set to resolved as tracking, but what does this mean, how is it resolved, surely it’s only resolved once it’s in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product.

Time of response

It can take a very long time for things to go through the site and onto the Microsoft Dynamics Product.  Adding Field Level security to out of the box fields was added 09/03/2011 and has only just made it into the product for CRM 2015.  Why has this taken so long

 

What I like

There are positives about the Connect site

There is a method to raise product suggestions

It’s good Microsoft have a public process for people to add product suggestions and the voting mechanism is a great for the CRM Community to show support for particular suggestions

It does work

If you look at the list of the most popular suggestions they have mostly been implemented into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

One of the greatest suggestions was by CRM MVP Neil Benson is

All Dynamics CRM training course materials should be free for everyone to download

It might not be a product suggestion, but this is such a good idea, which has helped lots of people study for the CRM certifications.  It makes sense to encourage and make it easier to study for the CRM certifications so there are more people knowledgeable about the CRM product.  This shows when the connect site works it can be awesome.

Microsoft do comment

I have seen lots of product suggestions with comments from the Microsoft team.  So they are giving some feedback.

Why is this important

I think CRM is an awesome product and I enjoy creating solutions using it.  I appreciate it has some quirks, a few bugs here and there but all products do.

At the moment I think Microsoft is missing getting some great feedback.  I know they have CRM MVP’s who they have a close relationship with but there are thousands  of CRM users/Developers and Microsoft could be using this group a lot better by being more interactive with CRM community regarding enhancements.

The coding horror blog post makes a great point, 90 percent of the enhancements will be rubbish, ridiculous, not workable, not worthwhile but 10 percent could be glorious.

I send people off to the Connect site regularly, this is the correct thing to do but I don’t feel at the moment it’s a very effective thing to do.

In my opinion usage of the connect site would be improved if these points were improved

  • It takes ages for enhancements to make it into CRM
  • Not enough people use the connect site due to lack of feedback or action from Microsoft
  • Make the connect site easier to use

What about the future

What struck me most about CRM 2015 was the fact some of the long standing connect enhancement requests were added to the CRM product and Microsoft in general seem a lot more reactive to opinion under Satya (e.g. Start button coming back in Windows, Microsoft Office for Android etc)

In CRM 2015 some of the new functionality

  1. Field level security on Out of the box fields
  2. Rollup fields
  3. improved business rules
  4. improved searching conditions
  5. Custom help

At the moment I feel Microsoft are listening, but the Dynamics CRM community has too shout really loudly to be heard.

The way the connect site works is a bit of mystery and the lack of feedback from Microsoft adds to the feeling that nothing is happening with the suggestions.  This I believe is reducing the number of people using the connect site, which ultimately will lead to few product suggestions.

 

Summary

I’m probably missing out important aspects from this discussion and hopefully people will comment and correct me, but I feel Microsoft could do better in this area and if they did focus on this Microsoft Dynamics CRM can only get better and it would encourage the CRM community to be more active.

There is scope for Microsoft to utilize the Microsoft Dynamics Community more effectively to help shape the future of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with feedback and suggestions from users.

My experience with the Connect site is it’s not easy to use, the statuses seem confusing and it takes too long for good suggestions to make it into the product.

The conversations I have had with people about the Connect site is people do not really use it because the suggestions take too long and the lack of feedback means it’s not something they can use to pacify customers (e.g. Microsoft is looking into it).

I appreciate Microsoft are a big tanker and it takes time to turn the ship and they are busy adding new functionality, but this type of feedback from the Microsoft dynamics CRM community is extremely valuable, those 10 percent of fantastic ideas are based on people who use the CRM product every day and based on hours/days of project experience.

There seems to be an improvement in CRM 2015 with Microsoft is more responsive to user feedback, if this could continue to the connect site I believe it would lead to greater participation from the CRM community.

CRM Entity ownership – How do you decide?

When you can’t go backwards, make sure you heading in the right direction before you start walking – The Hosk

Studying for the MB2-703 I always learn things I hadn’t realised before or maybe I notice different things as I become more comfortable with fundamentals.

Like rereading a book, you notice things you hadn’t noticed the first time round.

I was reading about Entities which is main part of the CRM 2013 Customization and configuration exam (resources here if you are studying for this).  Most CRM developers/customizers will have created a whole bunch of entities.

Entity Ownership is the same in CRM 2011, CRM 2013 and CRM 2015 so it’s good to learn about it.

When ever you create a new entity, you have to make a choice about Entity Ownership

What is Entity ownership?

When you create a new entity, you have to set the ownership options, How many ownership options are there?

entity ownership

I’m guessing most of you reading are going to say two.

  • Organization Owned
  • User Or Team

but did you know there are other types? Hidden types that only Microsoft can use/made up

I shall let Microsoft and the MSDN article explain

Entity ownership

There are several types of entity ownership. Most entities, including custom entities, are owned by the organization, by a user, or a team. There are some business entities that do not have an owner, such as discount type (discount list), where the ownership is defined by its parent entity discount. The type of ownership defines some of the operations that can be performed on a record. Ownership for an entity is defined in the metadata property OwnershipType. The following table lists the ownership properties.

Ownership Type Description
Organization Owned Contains data involving something that belongs to or that can be viewed by the whole organization. Organization-owned entities cannot be assigned or shared. For example, products are owned by the organization. These entities have an attribute named organizationid.
Business Owned Entities that belong to a business unit. These entities have an attribute named owningbusinessunit.
User or Team Owned Assigned to a user or to a team. These entities contain data that relates to customers, such as accounts or contacts. Security can be defined according to the business unit for the user or team. These entities have attributes named owningteam and owninguser.
None These entities are not owned by another entity.

Business Owned and None!

I will admit I had never thought about the ownership options on the system entities and to think some business entities (new term) which do not have an owner.

I find it intriguing when you see how Microsoft bend the rules when creating system entities and data, so they can create the default functionality in CRM but it’s only when you understand how the entities and ownership works that you can understand how Microsoft have bent these rules and why.

Entity ownership Choice

I find making the choice of entity ownership is always a painful one, it always causes me to spend a few minutes deciding whether it should be organizational or user/team.  I’m always keen to choose organization where possible because it’s neater (when used appropriotly) and doesn’t create those extra fields.

Why is the choice important?

I know most CRM developers choose the default choice of User or team entity ownership and don’t even think about it, in fact I’m sure a lot of CRM developers don’t even know there is an choice about entity ownership (based on the fact I rarely see any choose organization entity ownership)

One reason making the choice takes a bit of time is once you make that choice and save it, there is no turning back.  It’s one of those decisions that cannot be reversed.  If you change your mind you have to delete the entity and start all over again.

Like some of the entity checkboxes – send email, queues, Connections, business process flows.  Once you tick these, they have the cross of doom and can never be unticked!!

Choosing ownership is probably more like selecting if an Entity is an activity, you make the decision and the only way back is deleting and recreating the entity.

So I have made it clear it’s a decision you don’t really want to get wrong and it’s not really that important because if in doubt you can choose user/team ownership and not use owning fields and functionality.

What’s the difference, Why does it matter

To understand why the decision is important you need to think about what happens when you choose one of the options and the security ramification of the decision

When you choose Ownership of User/Team

After you have chosen Entity ownership type of user/team, CRM will create some additional fields to enable the records to be owned by users/teams.

entity ownership 1

It creates fields for OwningUser, OwningTeam, owningbusinessunit and ownerid.

The reason it creates all the fields is for the security roles and the five access levels

  • Global
  • Deep
  • Local
  • Basic
  • None

You have to record the business unit of the user/team so the security role can work out what other users can view the record.

If you selected organization level of Entity Ownership then it has two access levels None and Global.

Organisation ownership means the entity will not have an owner field or any of the other user/team/business unit lookups.  Global or none visibility means the entity will ignore the business units of the users

Practical Considerations of Entity Ownership

So if organization entity ownership only has access levels of none or global when would you use it?

If no one needs to own the records, entities like

  • Config Settings
  • Printers
  • Resources
  • Templates
  • Countries

If in doubt, select User/Team

I have put this rule in because if you find you do need to hide visibility of an entity or think you might then you should select this option

But if the entity doesn’t need to be owned by anyone or there is no need to hide the records from groups of users then make the entity ownership type to organisation and save yourself the bother of having all those needless ownership fields and views and security settings

Changing an entity from organisation ownership to user/team

Scott and Jukka made some good points on twitter and I felt I should update this post with the information.

I mentioned above you can’t go back on your decision but what can happen is the project can happily move forward and then at some point in the future the customer will decide this entity now has some security requirements on the entity.

Changing an entity from entity ownership type Organisation to User/Team is not possible.  What you would have to do is create a new entity with the ownership type user/team.  Export all the data from your old entity and import it into your new entity.  Configure security roles and then delete the old entity.

In other words loads of work, so you have to be very sure

Here are their comments

@BenHosk I always select ‘User or Team’ just in case security requirements comes along later!

@BenHosk @ScottDurow I’ve never regretted setting entity ownership as User, whereas I have seen significant rework caused by Org owned ones.

More reading

Here is another good article on the subject

Practical Dynamics CRM- User-Owned or Organization-Owned Entities?

Hosk’s Top CRM articles of the week 3rd October 2014

Thumbs up for friday everyone

Articles of the Week

I will add this as one of my top articles, it’s not really an article but it’s very useful because the blogs on the list are excellent

The top 25 CRM blogs

 

This article from Guido is great, it takes a question from the forum, an answer from CRM MVP Scott Durow, followed by some hard work by Guido to create the full solution, great work.

Check if a User has a specific Privilege

 

I will add another because I can, it’s from the snooze Berry, Dave Berry.  It was written when Dave use to blog (pre snooze), although I have been informed from the great Berry himself he is busying doing great things with TypeScript and CRM

Entity.GetAttributeValue<T> Explained

 

Best of the Rest

 

Interesting article showing  you how to compare 2 lines in your fiddler trace

Comparing Sessions in Fiddler

 

A quick definition on business rules
CRM 2013 – Quick Guide to Business Rules

 

Add CRM DLL’s via the internet not you local drive

Don’t load CRM dll’s from the local folder, go to the internet

 

How to convert HTML to plain text for an email with a plugin

CRM 2013 – Convert Email HTML to Plain Text

 

The error and the solution

Assembly generation failed — referenced assembly does not have a strong name

 

Great article from Guido with a reference to Dave Berry

http://www.crmanswers.net/2014/09/getattributevalue-activityparty.html

 

An error caused by Odata query with null guid value

CRM 2011 – UnRecognized ‘Edm.Guid’ literal ‘guid’null

 

Are people starting to like Microsoft again?

Common things to check if your CRM is down

Microsoft Dynamics CRM not working? check these common causes

 

Hosk learnt a few things whilst reviewing javascript

CRM 2011 – Things learnt when reviewing Javascript code on form loads

A quick start to getting started with fiddler

Getting Started with Fiddler and CRM

 

A tool you can add (at a cost) to performance test CRM 2013 using fiddler

Performance testing with stress Stimulus in CRM 2013

Timers in CRM 2013 and ways to use them

The Best Little Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Feature You Might Not Know What To Do With: Timers

How to debug those pesky ribbons
CRM Ribbon Problems

 

A new CRM 2015 feature

Nested Quick Create in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

 

Using goals to schedule a daily job, very clever

Scheduling Recurring Workflows for a Nightly Processing Service

 

CRM 2013 interview question and things to consider

CRM 2013 Interview Question – What things should you consider when choosing between CRM online or on Premise

 

Great description of leads

Leads are like Zombies

 

CRM Exams are reduced in price until December

15 percent of CRM exams until DEC with these codes

 

How will Microsoft Social Listening sell?

 

Quick Guide – What are Rollups in CRM 2013

great idea allowing people to write their own help, good listening Microsoft

Write custom help in CRM 2015

Question on the Hosk CRM Career blog

I have passed MB2-703 should I take the equivalent CRM 2011 certification

 

OTHER HOSK STUFF

Watch out for career climate change

Don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions

Are people starting to like Microsoft again?

How will Microsoft Social Listening sell?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM not working? check these common causes

I started up the DEV server too start my CRM dev this morning only to be confronted with a big fat error

CRM ERROR

 

 

The same error happened on every page, so it’s a fundamental error.

Yesterday IT sent an email warning me they would be gently powering down the servers for some maintenance (I bet they really just turned them off).

These common errors are another bonus of companies moving to the cloud because these problems won’t occur or will be fixed by Microsoft.

 

Check the time on the server

Checking the time on the server seems an odd thing to do, but if the time on the server is greater than 5 minutes out from your PC then CRM will fail to authenticate the user.  This is a common problem which pops up and to resolve this you need to get the IT team (or you if you don’t have one) to make sure you setting the time on the server properly (e.g. the same as the PC’s) so it stops the servers time drifting.

 

Check the CRM Asynchronous services

This should be your first thing to check because if the ASYNC services have stopped then CRM will stop working.  If you want to learn more about CRM Asyncs, you can go here

Asynchronous service in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

To see if the Async services are running, Microsoft have a document for starting and stopping 

  1. Navigate to Start, select Administrative Tools, then click Services.

You should find there are four CRM Async services and you can see if they are started

CRM async

The Async processing service is usually the cause of CRM not working.

 

The problem displayed on this page was caused

 

If you have restarted the Asyncs and CRM is still not working

Check IIS is up and running

go to the Start menu

type IIS

It will bring up Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager

IIS is the webserver which hosts the Microsoft Dynamics CRM website.  Some times you can find this may be stopped (very very rarely but its something to check, so we can rule it out)

There are a couple of things to check

 

CRM Application pools are running

CRM web app will have an application pool to run the web app, you need to double check its started and running.  The app pool will usually be set to a service account, the main reason you use a service account is because you don’t need to reset the password every 60 days.  Sometimes this setting won’t have been set and the app pool password will change and until someone goes in and puts/resets the password the CRM App pool will stop working.  When the CRM app pool stops working, CRM stops working.

Its worth noting if any of the other app pools are not started because they may be stopped on purpose or maybe have been stopped accidently.

you cann see the CRMAppPool below

app pools

 

 

Is the CRM Website up

if you click on the CRM website called Microsoft Dynamics CRM then the details of the web app will appear on the right, you need to check the start is greyed out (which means it is selected)

IIS CRM up

 

World Wide Web Publishing Service

There is also a service which controls if IIS is up and running and this is called the World Wide Web Publishing Service (named in the 1990’s I should imagine, not many times you see the words of WWW).  This can be turned off to stop IIS springing back to life after the server has been rebooted.

 

SQL Server

I often think of CRM as a web application to show the contents of the CRM SQL database.  If the SQL CRM instance is down, SQL server is off or can’t be contacted then CRM will stop working.

If CRM isn’t working you need to check the SQL server (usually on a different server) is up and running and the CRM instances are running.

 

 

Windows Event Viewer

They are some common things to check if CRM isn’t working but you will also need to check for some pointers for other errors.  The place I usually start is by checking the Event Viewer log on the CRM server.

Go to the CRM Server

Start Menu – type in Event Viewer

or

Control Panel –> Administrative Tools –> Event Viewer

 

Windows Logs –> Application

Look at the errors and warnings to see if there is anything which might point you in the direction of the potential error.  It’s unlikely you will actually get an error, usually I find it’s a warning and the warning will point you in the direction of the cause of CRM not working.

 

here is the logs from the server for the error shown at the top of the blog

event viewer logs

 

You can see there are a view warnings, a .NET, a sandbox.  Be warned there is often a lot of noise in the event logs (e.g. warning and errors which are not important).

I lookeda the .NET error

 

Process information:
Process ID: 5348
Process name: w3wp.exe
Account name: DEV\CRMAPPPOOL

Exception information:
Exception type: CrmException
Exception message: The plug-in execution failed because no Sandbox Hosts are currently available. Please check that you have a Sandbox server configured and that it is running.
System.ServiceModel.EndpointNotFoundException: Microsoft Dynamics CRM has experienced an error. Reference number for administrators or support: #72E41A64
at Microsoft.Crm.Application.Platform.ServiceCommands.PlatformCommand.XrmExecuteInternal()
at Microsoft.Crm.Application.Platform.ServiceCommands.RetrieveMultipleCommand.Execute()
at Microsoft.Crm.Caching.DefaultSavedQueryIdCacheLoader.LoadCacheData(SavedQueryIdCacheKey key, IOrganizationContext context)
at Microsoft.Crm.Caching.CrmSharedMultiOrgCache`2.LookupEntry(TKey key, IOrganizationContext context)
at Microsoft.Crm.Caching.DefaultSavedQueryIdsCache.TryLookupEntry(Int32 objectType, Int32 savedQueryType)
at Microsoft.Crm.Application.Components.Sdk.FormControls.Web.LookupControl.ConfigureControl()
at Microsoft.Crm.Application.Components.UI.CrmUIControlBase.ConfigureControlInternal()

 

It pointed to the Sandbox service and when I checked the CRM services, I saw the sandbox service was stopped.  I started the sandbox service and CRM popped back into life.

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Matt Wittemann

Today’s CRM MVP is the Reverend Matt Wittemann, he is a deeply religious man and his religion is Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Matt is based in the USA, I like to keep people informed of the location of the CRM MVP’s, just in case there is a CRM emergency and you need to contact your nearest CRM MVP.

The reason for my waffling on about religion is because Matt is the author of the book Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible and here is a good review from fellow CRM MVP Leon Tribe

Matt has been using Microsoft CRM since version 1.2!

 

Matt Wittemann is a 9 times CRM MVP, here is his MVP Biography

Mr. Wittemann is an nine-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for Dynamics CRM and the author of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible (Wiley, 2011). As a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), Mr. Wittemann began his career as a web technologist with a focus on digital marketing and corporate communications. He has been working with Microsoft CRM since 2003 as a solution architect, developer, consultant and practice leader. In 2005 Microsoft recognized one of his first CRM projects with a national award for solution excellence, and in 2006 he received his first MVP award, primarily for his widely-read blog and contributions to the nascent Microsoft CRM community. Since that time his writings on CRM have been published in numerous periodicals and websites, and he has spoken internationally about using Dynamics CRM to support effective marketing processes. As the Chief Customer Officer at ClickDimensions, Mr. Wittemann oversees the customer and operations teams with responsibility for ensuring customer success from onboarding through training, certification, product planning, community development, and technical support.

Also looking at his CRM MVP page you can see he has some talks coming up this year

Recent activities

 

Thanks for Matt for answering my questions

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A

 

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Name, current job title and social media links please

Matt Wittemann, Chief Customer Officer, ClickDimensions

@mattnc

Blog: http://blog.clickdimensions.com

http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Matt%20Wittemann-33756

 

What does an average day at work look like

At ClickDimensions, I get to do all the things I have always loved about working with Microsoft CRM. I oversee customer onboarding, training, technical support, our certification program and a number of other projects and responsibilities. So a typical day is spent talking to customers and partners helping them understand how to use CRM and ClickDimensions to achieve their marketing automation goals, troubleshooting technical issues, helping to design and test new features, writing blog articles and product documentation, answering community posts on our forums, delivering administrator training, and more. It really varies from day to day, but is always challenging and interested. The best part of my job is that I learn new things every day, even after working with Microsoft CRM for 11 years.

 

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

I have been a CRM and web technologies consultant, a Solution Architect, then a Director of a CRM Practice, a short stint as a Chief Operating Officer, and now the best title yet: Chief Customer Officer. My roles have included everything from CRM implementation, solution architecture, pre-sales engineering, technical support, developer, trainer, business analyst, project manager and team leader, integration specialist, author, speaker… Sheesh, there’ve been a lot!

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I started off as a web developer and designer. When Microsoft introduced CRM back in 2003, it was their first web-based, fully .NET business application. My existing customers had a need for something like that, and since it was a web-based technology, it was a natural progression to working with CRM full-time.

 

What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM

My first paid implementation of CRM was with version 1.2, eleven years ago.

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I read constantly and always play around with different scenarios in test environments and usually have 4 or 5 trials of CRM Online going at any one time. I like to learn hands on, and when I hear someone in the CRM community has a specific challenge, it’s always fun to see if I can figure out a way to solve it. I also follow a lot of great people on Twitter, which is a great way to get links to the most relevant new articles and stay on top of developments in the CRM world.

 

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

That’s always a challenge, but in the years since I’ve started working with CRM, the community has grown up and there are lots of channels where I can participate. I really enjoy when I have a chance to participate in a CRMUG or eXtremeCRM conference and present or take part in a panel discussion. It’s just become part of my daily routine to write, tweet, blog, and more. Of course, there are some times when there are too many plates spinning, so it’s hard to stay involved at the same high level with the community, but when my schedule allows, I always jump at the opportunity.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

My advice is to be committed to continuing to learn. The technology we work with is endless, and the ways that businesses use it is similarly infinite. Find the things that excite your interest and start there. The best CRM professionals are the ones who are passionate about what they do and always learning how to do it better, whether that is a technical role like a developer, or a business-focused role like an analyst or consultant.

 

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

My first impression was that the single-page app design was very attractive but also a big change. I like the emphasis on process in the UI, but honestly I still prefer 2011’s navigation. I may be an exception in that my work is not restricted to one area of CRM or even a small group of processes, so I tend to be all over the application and like to have several windows open with different parts of CRM quickly available to me, so the single-page app design is not a great fit for how I work.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Sticky navigation. If I navigate to an area deep in the Settings for example, it would be great to have a breadcrumb type navigation to show me where I am, and make it easier to get to adjacent parts of the application without having to go back to a higher-level of navigation. (There are some nice solutions on codeplex for this, by the way!)

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The back button in the browser, or the “save and close” doesn’t always take you back predictably to the last thing you were working on. But I’m sure the CRM team will continue to iron out the wrinkles – 2013 was a huge change, so it will get better over time.

 

You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog – Of course this was going to be my first choice!

It’s hard to pick a favorite. Jukka Niraanen’s “Surviving CRM” of course has emerged over the last couple of years as a great source, but there is also the Tip of the Day, and the Microsoft Premier Field Engineering (PFE) team has a great blog called “CRM In the Field” with tons of informative technical content.

 

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

One year after Salesforce finally gets acquired by Oracle.

 

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

We are seeing a greater percentage of our customers opting for CRM Online. Online has definitely continued to grow in proportion to on-premise. However, I think it will be ten years before the technology addresses all the needs that on-premise can address. They are not just technical needs – mostly they are business, regulatory and integration needs that keep customers in on-premise scenarios. But eventually the cloud will answer those concerns as well.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

I’m guessing I’m not supposed to tout ClickDimensions here, right? Of course I love our solution, and use it every day. My favorite part is our GoToWebinar integration which makes my life easier in tracking and following up with people who have gone through our training academy.

 

As far as another solution that is my favorite, I’d have to say that I really like what the guys at North52 are doing. I wish their solution had been available on CRM projects I was doing 5 or 6 or 10 years ago – would have made my life a lot easier!

 

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications

I have had many of the CRM certifications at one time or another: Applications, Installation & Configuration, Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations, Customizations, etc. I try to keep at least one or two of them current – but I’m a little behind right now!

 

How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

I think it is critical to have good BA skills. A good BA tries to understand what value a business hopes to achieve from implementing a technological solution. Whether you are an architect, developer, support engineer, or consultant, if you can’t connect what you are doing to the business’s idea of value, then it doesn’t matter how brilliant your work is. At the end of the day, it is all about driving value to the business.

 

How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Developers are essential, and the more familiar they are with the CRM SDK and the application, the better. But for me, I’ve always been just a hacker when it comes to programming. It has been more important in my career to understand coding and how it works and plugs into the overall solution, than to actually be able to write all the code myself. Of course, it’s always fun when I have the chance to do that!

 

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

I’ve worked with all of these technologies over my career. That’s one of the best things about CRM, and one of the most challenging. We need to understand and be able to work with a very deep stack of technology, from Windows Server, to IIS, the .NET framework, SQL Server, Active Directory, firewalls, even Excel and Outlook. I was fortunate to spend several years early in my career working for a company that did managed network services and I learned my way around all of those technologies pretty well. That proved to be invaluable in my CRM work, where I did early SharePoint integrations, used Scribe for integration and migration work, and am always in SQL Management Studio.

 

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

I used to travel a lot more when I was a consultant and implementer. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home now in Charlotte, North Carolina, and visit our Atlanta headquarters a couple of times per month. Now I can enjoy traveling to Convergence, CRMUG Summit, eXtremeCRM, or the MVP Summit more since I’m not on the road for work all the time.

 

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

It’s hard to imagine, but I recognize that the technology world does not stand still. The applications that businesses used in the ‘90s have largely vanished, and perhaps that will happen someday with CRM. But maybe I will be retired before then!

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

The best part is the camaraderie with the other MVPs. When I first became an MVP there were only a handful for CRM, and now there are dozens from all over the world whom I have the privilege of calling my friends. Since we all do similar work, we face the same challenges and experience similar triumphs, so there is an immediate rapport amongst the group that I haven’t experienced elsewhere.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I think I have heard this word “hobby” before. Is that something like golf or knitting? Maybe I will have to do some research J

 

What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched

Reamde by Neal Stephenson. (Yes, that’s the right spelling. Neal Stephenson is incredible! You have to check out Cryptonomicon and Anathem, two of his best books).

 

I watch a lot of movies, but I’ve really been enjoying watching the History channel show “Vikings”. I think I have a lot in common with Ragnar.

 

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

That’s a great question! Yes, I would definitely say that the long hours and travel have at times been, er, problematic. But I’m fortunate to have a very patient wife and kids.

 

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM?
Well, the friends that have stuck with me over the last eleven years are probably used to it by now, or they have learned to tune me out.

 

What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
They think CRM is boring, but it has put food on the table for a decade, so I think they are grateful that I do this “boring” work! J

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

My university degree is in Art History. This has obviously been very useful to me as a CRM professional!

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

John O’Donnell (who’s now a technology evangelist at Microsoft) and Matt Parks were the two CRM MVPs I read and interacted with online before becoming an MVP myself. They’re kind of the grandfathers of the CRM MVP community, or maybe the uncles J

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Share what you learn and help people solve problems while being passionate about your work. That’s not only a great prescription for becoming an MVP, it’s a great way to have a happy and rewarding career.

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Gotta be Gates

Javascript or .NET

JScript

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Yes please

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

Tweeting. I’m not even sure what that other one is.

books or ebooks

Books

save or autosave

Save

OnLine or On Premise

Onpremise

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Win8

work from home or work from office

Home

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Absolutely neither

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Subscribe

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Overflowing

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Hot

Half Full/Half Empty

Half Empty

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Demian Adolfo Raschkovan

Today we say Hola because this weeks CRM MVP is currently residing in Spain (although he is from Argentinian stock).

He supports an average football team Getafe (although they are better than Ipswich as most teams are) who are hovering above the relegation zone, so it will be a nervous weekend for Demian coming up.

Not only has Demian won to MCC awards (you get this for answering lots of forum questions), an MVP, he is also a MAP  (Microsoft Active Professional) 2014.   This is a local distinction in Spain, which rewards partners communities in Spain and other countries.

He also deserves respect because he used CRM version 1.2, which I believe was a notebook with a calculator sellotaped on to it.  CRM 1.2 is also known as evil CRM, which instead of helping you with CRM did everything it could to stop you 🙂

 

Here is Demian’s CRM MVP Biography

Microsoft Community Contributor (MCC) awarded in october 2012 and january 2013

Technical consultant with extensive experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft technologies. 
I am currently working at Development and Technical Solutions Architect for Infoavan Soluciones, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Certified partner in Madrid, Spain.
I worked in more than 60 CRM implementations in different positions (as developer, project leader, etc) and different areas (banking, construction, telecommunications, engineers, services, etc.). I also worked in some international projects.
I am passionate about CRM and all the possibilities that Microsoft Dynamics delivers, and I have a CRM blog (in Spanish). I also collaborate in other blogs and forums in Spanish:http://www.elblogdedynamicscrm.com/ and http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/es-ES/crmspanish/threads (Microsoft Spanish CRM Forum).

Here are some Rockstar highlights

demian rockstar 1

 

demian rockstar 2

 

demian rockstar 3

Thanks for Demian for answering my questions, greatly appreciated

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A

 

QUESTIONS

Name, current job title and social media links please
Demian Adolfo Raschkovan
Dynamics CRM Technical Specialist, Infoavan Soluciones
Blog: www.demianrasko.com
Twitter: @demian_rasko
Email: mvp@demianrasko.com

What does an average day at work look like
Prepare my children to school
Walking to work (4 minutes)
Working with CRM all day
Breakfast at 10:00 (at work)
Lunch at home
Every day I find a new cool stuff around Dynamics CRM and Microsoft stack and I think to implement in my next project, the problem is that I don’t start a new project every day, so I have to wait to finish the actual ones, to use this new cool stuff. If I cannot use it, I blog it to test and learn it.
When I finish, I get back to home, sleep my children and start blogging, tweeting and online training.

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Developer, Developer, Developer
Project manager
Trainer
Solution Architect
Presales

What job did you did before you starting using CRM
Developer in 3d Games, and with ASP.NET/SQL Server web sites and Windows forms solutions.

What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I started with the 1.2 version (more than 8 years ago).

How do you stay up to date with the CRM
Tweeting, Bloging and participating in online communities like MSDN and Dynamics forums / ComunidadCRM.com Spanish community.
I also try to learn the lasts developing technologies.

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
I just have time when my children are sleeping, so I need to take them to bed, and then I start my “Community” life.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Learn and share your knowledge. When you share knowledge, you also learn and grow as a professional. Always say the truth to all the customers, be open and try to explain everything to customers helps you to finish your projects successfully.

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
I started with the 1.2 version, and if see the solution today, It’s just awesome! I think Microsoft made not only have the best CRM solution in the market, it’s also the one who makes the best changes in the solution. If I see to the future, I think Dynamics CRM will take advantage of other competitors. The big changes in CRM 2013 are in the User Interface, and I think it’s more clean, fast and nice.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Inline editing in all the subgrids, like in Qoutes.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Why I cannot add security roles to field level security profiles?

You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

            1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
            2. http://mscrmtools.blogspot.com.es/ (Tanguy CRM Blog) – Best Tools for CRM
3. http://www.stunnware.com/ (this is an old one, not active right now)

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
I’m not following the numbers but my background is Technical and I think Microsoft is winning in this part.

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future
Right now, my customers select more OnPremise, but there is a movement to change this wave, and more and more customers want to go to the cloud. I think that the online option will increase, but the Onpremise implementations will stay there for a long time for some kind of customers.

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
XrmToolbox and RibbonWorkbench, kingswaysoft, and XrmServiceToolkit

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
CRM 3.0, CRM 4.0, Dynamics CRM 2011 and 2013. I also passed Sure Step exams and presales assessment. I want to take this year the application and installation ones (in 2013 I have only the customization exam)

How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
It’s important to have profiles in the projects that have technical skills, but more important is to have someone that understand the customer needs, so you can focus your technical solution to that requirements. Sometimes the best technical solutions, doesn’t fits with customer needs, so the project fails.

How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
It’s important but it is not required at all. It is very useful because in almost all the CRM projects you need some kind of development, but you can be an excellent CRM professional with no programming knowledge at all.

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
Each project is different, but almost all the project needs some integration. Depending on the volume, the time gap and the systems to integrate, I used a lot of different solutions. From custom development (mostly used) to kingswaysoft, online integration with web services, Dynamics Connector, etc.

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
More or less twice a month.

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
No way!

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
MVP Summit!

What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Running, Tennis, watch Football and travel

 What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Toy Story and Toy Story, my daughter….

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Every night…when I turns on my PC at home…

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
Yes, sometimes, but I really love it and if I find anybody with interest to talk about technology, I cannot stop. My 3 years old daughter already “played” with moca in her Surface 2 tablet.

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I lived in Madrid, Spain for the last 12 years. I really love football and I go every Sunday to the Stadium to watch my favorite team (Getafe).

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
Marco Amoedo (now in Microsoft UK)

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
Just start sharing knowledge, and collaborate with others. One important thing is to do it for a long time, with no stop, at the end Microsoft recognize people who really want to help others.

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
BILL GATES

Javascript or .NET
Javascript

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari
Chrome

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink
Beer

Certifications or Use CRM
Use CRM

twerking or tweeting
Tweeting

books or ebooks
Ebooks

save or autosave
Save (I’m from the old school)

OnLine or On Premise
OnPrem
Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
Windows 8.1
work from home or work from office
From office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
….

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe
Youtube?

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox
Overflowing inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl
Early Bird

Do Today/Do Tomorrow
Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant
CRM Developer

Hot Weather/Cold Weather
Hot Weather

Half Full/Half Empty
Half Full

Hosk’s Top CRM 2013 articles of the week 9th May 2014

I had two interactions with readers of my blog this week

one person was criticizing a blog post written in December 2011, saying the title wasn’t very good and I should include some pictures.  This was fair enough and I’m all for constructive criticism and the blog post did look a bit boring but it did also resolve his problem.  The blog post is how to add code in WordPress blogs

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/how-to-highlight-code-in-hosted-wordpress-blogs/

Then the person went to far and said I should change the title of the blog because Hosk’s Dynamic CRM Blog was boring.  Woah there tiger, step back and leave the Hosk name alone there big boy.

The second interaction was more positive, he said he liked the weekly round up because he didn’t have enough time to keep up with all the blogs being written.  This highlights the reason I Hosk’s weekly picks.

I want to list the really good/useful articles I read in the week.   I only want to list the good ones, so some weeks it’s a big list and other weeks there is a small list.

 

If you come across any good blog post please email me or or tweet the link and mention and add my twitter account @BenHosk, thanks to Bartłomiej Steidel for recommending a couple of good CRM blogs this week.

I wasn’t really sure people liked the my weekly round up but it seems people do enjoy me scurrying around collecting great CRM articles for them to read on a Friday.
Lets bring some postivity into this weekly round up, thumbs up people

Article of the week

This is a great blog post about Auto Save, it shows you how it works and ways to interact, turn it off and a few gotcha’s.  This article seems to collate many articles I have read on auto saving into one handy blog post.

All you want to know about Auto Save

 

It’s a bumper crop this week

The Best of the Rest

Service pack 1 is choc full of fixes

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) will be available in the second quarter (Q2) of 2014

 

Microsoft Support give us a sneaky trick to make fields appear in the bulk edit window, very useful

Dynamics CRM Parent Account lookup field is greyish in bulk edit

 

working out what sql querys are generated from your CRM FetchXML queries

Use SQL Tracing to find the SQL query generated for Dynamics CRM Platform Operations for CRM On-Premise

 

Microsoft have finally made CRM 2011 compatible with Windows 8 and IE11

CRM 2011 – Rollup 17 – IE11 is now compatible with CRM 2011

 

This is a question that pops up regularly on the CRM forum, so it’s good to have an answer to it.  It’s also not something I do very often, so it’s good to have a step by step guide.

How to Import Marketing List Members in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

 

if you have ever raised a support call, you will have had to run the support diagnostic tool, this article explains why

Support Diagnostics Tools

 

A good article from Robert Peledie, he has been on good form on the last few weeks, so keep up the good work Mr P.  This article shows you how you can override the created on date, this can be very useful thing to know

Override The Created On Date on Import

 

The marvelous Dave Berry is in the firing line and rises to the challenge like an Eagle on Red Bull

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Dave Berry

 

Every time I create a new entity, I stop for a few minutes to debate the question, should this entity be user owned or organisational.  Knowing that once you press the button you can’t go back and change it, ramps up the pressure.  So let this article guide you on that subject.

User-Owned or Organization-Owned Entities?

A blog post by the Hosk, going through creating a plugin which is triggered after a new account is created, we created a follow up task.  It’s simple, it will only take you twenty minutes.

CRM 2013 Plugin – Step by Step guide for a Post Account Create Plugin using the Developer Toolkit

 

I wasn’t sure about Access Teams, I understood you create them to give quick and ad hoc access to a record but never really understood why I would do that and for what scenario but as I read more articles on the subject I am slowly seeing the benefits e.g. access teams don’t use the POV table!  Good article, I will also be going through this soon for my MB2-703 – CRM 2013 customization and configuration studying.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Owner Teams vs Access Teams

Did you know that if you own a workflow and disable your user the workflow will refuse to work, well you do now.

Workflow ownership and disabled users

Hosk goes through the process of creating a dialog and don’t be fooled by the title, dialog’s are not easy they are odd, like an upside down workflow

CRM 2013 – Simple Dialog with a CRM Query

cheeky little trick on how to set a bookmark in IE which pops up an alert of the record you are on.

Retrieving a Record’s GUID in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

Article from CRM MVP Scott Durow the creator of the mighty Ribbon Workbench.  This article shows you how to create a command bar button if you create a new entity and you tick the activity checkbox.  This article is useful just to show you how to use the Ribbon Workbench which can take a little bit of time to get used to (because there are so many options)

Create a command bar button for your custom activities

A dev tip, also add Id to lookup fields in CRM.  Everyone else is doing it and so should you.

Hosk CRM Dev Tip – add ID suffix to lookup fields

You may have heard me waffle on about Badges before but you could be collecting lots of badges to boast to your CRM buddies about.  Microsoft could tweeting about your new level upgrade.  There are also some good screens hidden away to show your ranking on answering forum questions

What are Microsoft Dynamics Community Badges and how to get started collecting them

Creating a no code approval process in CRM 2013 using lots of new CRM 2013 functionality

http://benitezhere.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/a-simple-approval-process-in-crm-2013.html

Tools

A useful tool for showing pins on bing maps
Dynamics CRM Bing Map custom Chart

 

This is a very cool tool by kingswaysoft,  it will convert SQL statements into FetchXML. WOW

http://www.sql2fetchxml.com/

 

videos

a video for those studying for the MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and configuration exam
CRM 2013 – MB2 703 – Manage user access, Teams and sharing

 

learn some more about access teams

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Application New Features – Access Teams

 

If you want more great articles, why not go back and read last weeks top CRM articles again, did you read them?

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/hosks-top-crm-2013-articles-of-the-week-2nd-may-2014/

 

if you find reading to difficult today, why not go and watch some CRM videos on my youtube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev