Thursday, February 11, 2016

Loading data into your CRM Application in the year 2016

Lucky for people working involved in data migrations not much has changed. It is still underestimated, often not part of project plan and still a lot of challenges.

We still have standard CRM Import tool and now also the new Data Loader Service, which I did not had the time to test it (of course for Online).

The other tools mostly in short list are Scribe either Online or Insight and SSIS in combination with kingswaysoft to connect to CRM.

'DLS, possible alternative for CRM Online' 
 
Still the biggest challenge is how to handle a lot of data, so don't think in thousands, but more in millions of records.  This is still difficult, it might be that the earlier mentioned DLS could help you out for CRM Onlime, but I am not sure yet.

 'Unsupported MS SQL Approach' 
 
The still fasted method at least for on premise or partner hosted would be migration with MS SQL. There is a catch, this is 'unsupported' which means if you break it you have to fixed it yourself. Nevertheless for consultants which very good understanding of database and impact on GUI of CRM it is solid alternative. It will involve more testing to see CRM is still working, but  you could increase the time for go live migration with days or weeks.

'Unsupported'

Of course 'unsupported' means that in case you use this kind of migration approach and you need to get Microsoft Support involved it would be a challenge. So be aware that you check your data integrity while using the MS SQL. In my personal experience its lot faster and could save a lot of time also very handy for migrating annotations.



To be supported or not to be supported, that's your choice!




Old School (cloudfree) File Integration

It's already 2016, time flies when you been too busy for blogging :-)

Nevertheless, it is still amazing that integration between to systems is still based on old school text files like (in)famous CSV file.

Of course it still works and once configured  right you have solid integration, but I would still prefer xml file exchange or even better use one of the available adapter for your fav integration tool.

In case you have some need for this ol' skool integration you can do this of course with Scribe Software it's possible with either online or onpremise.

Although the Cloud is hot and we have still have freedom of choice ... yes, you can choose between  cloud and on-premise.. cloud, but if you want it all you have to go cloud and you know cloud is the best. Hmmm, still many customer for MS CRM still have on premise or partner hosted environment....

So, in this short example we still go for on-premise e.g. Scribe Insight / CRM on premise :)

A common scenario that you will need to monitor fileshare and when new CSV file arrive, we have to process it toward Dynamics CRM and either delete or archive the processed file.

First step would be to create ol' skool ODBC 32bit and
Create ODBC 32bit!!




Next step is to define data source name, database directory (windows location) etc, the next step would be to hit "advanced" tab and click define to specify every row. This is important for assigning the data type.

ODBC - Define Table

This will be your data source, of course next step is too create your scribe dts file, but I am sure you would be able to select source (odbc), target (CRM) and create your own mapping.

More interesting are the settings for the integration process and I always forget this, so I have to open and dust off the archive...

To be in style also some screenshots from older Insight version ;-)

STEP 1
In the first step of configuring you
the basics like processe name, collaboration, DTS file and also DTS Parameters where most important is '/SD=%FileName'.



STEP 2
In the second step you can define your pre- and post operation.For the first step you could move incoming file to dedicated directory or might even code to retrieve file from ftp location.

In post command you usually place code to archive you file.Depending on which functionality you use either custom bat file or standard scribe archive solution you can add parameter like '%FileName'


STEP 3
In the third step you location where you file will be placed e.g. location where you put your file for processing. You can use wild card like '*.csv' or in screenshot '*.xml'


Further you can define poll time, run it once of everytime new file arrives and locking file, delete after processing. This would depends on your design.


Last two steps
The last two step are basic, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Bat File
One of the other challenge is to get the right file name in your bat file. The trick is to config the parameter in step one. In your bat file you can refer to it with '%1'. A codesnippit including creation of log file should be something like this:

"move /-y "%1"  "D:\Example\dir1"   >> "D:\Example\dir1\Cmdlog.txt" 2>&1"

Furthermore your scribe service account should have the correct privileges to read & write.


Happy Ol' School integrating!












Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Getting on the release train... or not....

It has been busy not only with work but also with all releases of CRM. We just got used to CRM 2013's updates and latest update to CRM2015 and the next one is already waiting the Spring 2015 release. I will spare you all names like Carina, Spica, Hydra etc

As consultant we are already have our handsfull in tracking all release as our customers still will be on CRM4, CRM2011 or just been to CRM2013.

In the CRM Online world you have '3' months delay, but you have no option to stop the train which keeps going and going.

I have to agree that new features and update certainly have benefits and looking forward to upgrades in navigation and additional features.

Nevertheless my end customers are not that 'nerdy' or 'crm knowledgeable' as myself or other crm consultants. The end users learning curve is slower and it takes time to get used to new way of working or change in their daily routine.

So, you will be confronted by a dilemma: do we stick to CRM on-premise, so we at least have control on the release train or do we choose for the 'cloud wonder' and jump on the release train.

Microsoft is basically pushing everyone to the cloud and updates of new features are earlier released to CRM Online then to on premise. And at least I would like to have some Carina features now and not and of the year for on premise.

We left with the choice  jumping on or just follow the train...

Happy choosing!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Working with CRM2013....

Yes, the Summer holiday is over, but hey.. the holiday season are getting closer, although this September we have some very sunny weeks.

The business is booming again and many companies choosing for the latest version of CRM 2013, but with Fall and Spring 2015 release it is again preparing for the next service / functionality that can be implemented.

After a view implementation/ upgrades to CRM 2013 I finally get used to this version and still difficult to be confronted with previous versions....


Nevertheless, some annoyances from my opinion...as old school laptop user, my mouse wheel keeps spinning through navigation bar... and you keep scrolling to find your entity...oh go back oh too far go back.. go forth.... aarrgghhh

Also cross-browser functionality is trip to memory lane.... some customization work can be done in all,some only in IE..... can't we go back to just one? :)


Further working on next post for msdynamicsworld.com and of course lot of data migration/integration with Scribe. Of course, stick to Scribe and leave Dynamics connector :) The last works fine if you succeed in one time, but trying to restore it especially online can be very challenging.


Are there more posts coming.. yes, they will and working on post how to setup your basic integration with Scribe.

See you at next post, hopefully bit sooner then last one :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dutch pay respect to victims of flight MH17

Today was a Dutch National Day of Mourning. 

Out of respect I wrote this post for the victims of flight MH17.

Rest in Peace


Translation: "' In memory of the victims of flight MH17"




Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New book about CRM2013

Ok, it is not breaking news, but as I actually still do like books. You know those thing that do not need to be charged everyday, like my tablet :-(

I did not see it in Dutch (online) bookstore yet, so luckily Amazon got it and yes I did order it actually today.

Of course, I have the CRM2011 version also, but finally some book about CRM2013, which as expected describes new features like the new user interface, business process flows and upcoming features of Netbreeze and MarketingPilot.

So, soon some more posts . It has been awhile and yes! I was actually busy with some interesting projects like integrating CRM2011 with NAV2013 on partner hosted environment.

So, in case you want to order the real thing or some digital copy (so 2013) check the Amazon site or your local bookstore (if they still exist). Yes, you should be able to type it yourself... www.amazon.com :-)

Happy reading!