Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The (new) integrations with CRM 4.0

Guess the buzz is Sharepoint everybody is talking about it, but seems the integration is not like we expecting. We all known the dashboard and some basic document libraries, but not the smooth integration we would like, one front-end that delivers all Sharepoint features in says custom aspx or IFrame.

We can define several types of integrations. One is the integration that focuses on extending or even adds functionality to the lack of it in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. These included enhancements of the security model (e.g. C360 - Field Level Security), better email sending/tracking, visualize relationships (e.g. C360 - Relationship Explorer & SalesCentric) and add mobile functionality (e.g. CWRMobility).

Another type of integration is focusing on the connection to back-end systems. This usually are integration/migration tools like Biztalk Server or Scribe Insight. These tools often have adapters available for CRM itself and other application. Recently Scribe Insight released new sokution for MS Dynamics Nav, for more details see: Scribe Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics™ NAV, so this makes it possible to connect to CRM with Nav vice versa.

Of course, we also have the integration that is focusing on front-end like portals, these can be build using C# & webservices, Sharepoint or third party solutions. They can be used for registration by internet, service desk functionality (like in the demo of 3.0 and 4.0), online ordering etc.

Nevertheless its interesting to see how many options there are, I will try to post some articles about MS Dynamics Nav integration and CRM 4.0 newsletters at the end of this month.

My first "featured article" at msdynamicsworld

Today I got the confirmation of the publication of my first column/article at msdynamicsworld.com and of course a little proud :-)

You can read it at: Upside-Down Positioning: Just Who Should Be Using CRM Online and Hosted Solutions? and yes the style is different then my postings here :-)

Enjoy!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another book about MS CRM 4.0

I was working on one of my project and didn't have time for my usual research, reading blogs etc and seems that everything changes... at least that's my feeling.

So is CRM Live now called CRM Online. As technical guy it sounds but confusing to me: The system is up and running(is online), Are you on msn (online)? Are you connected to internet (am online) and guess you know more examples.

Also new book is available about MS CRM 4.0, now from Sams called "Microsoft® Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed"

"...Microsoft® Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed presents start-to-finish guidance for planning, customizing, deploying, integrating, and managing Dynamics CRM in your unique business and technical environment. Authored by two leading Microsoft Dynamics implementers, this book systematically explains how the system works, why it works that way, and how you can leverage it to its fullest advantage..."

source: InformIT - Microsoft® Dynamics CRM 4.0 Unleashed

I did order it today, it was here in the Netherlands already available since March 18th. Very curious to compare it to the book of MS Press "Working with Microsoft Dynamics", so I will blog about it later :-)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

MS SQL 2k5 Named Instances are supported by CRM 4.0

A few weeks ago I followed the official training of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. Always nice to see if there are things you don't know yet.

There were some discussions about named instances of MS SQL Server 2005 and MS Dynamics CRM 4.0. In the original Microsoft training material it was mentioned that this wasn't supported?! Guess what it is supported and it works fine.

After some research I also found a posting on Menno's blog about this topic.

Some basic information about Named Instances of MS SQL Server 2005

...Client applications connect to an instance of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 to work with a SQL Server database. Each SQL Server instance is made up of a distinct set of services that can have unique settings. The directory structure, registry structure, and service name all reflect the specific instance name you identify during setup.

An instance is either the default, unnamed instance, or it is a named instance. When SQL Server 2005 is in installed in the default instance, it does not require a client to specify the name of the instance to make a connection. The client only has to know the server name...

source: msdn2.microsoft.com

Why use it?

For example in hosted environment or on shared MS SQL Server (cluster). You can install more instances and each instance is connected to one application like Sharepoint, MS CRM 4.0 etc. It's also possible with multi-tenancy that each organization's database is located on it's own instance. The main reasons for using are security, maintenance and performance.

New: Sponsored Links at this blog

Yes, after Google's Adsense, Ads by google now also the first sponsored banner (msdynamicsworld.com). I got many questions about sponsored textlinks, banners etc etc. For now I only allow maximum of three banners (200px by 90px) at the right side.

Can everybody request for banner at my blog? Of course that's possible. Still it doesn't matter if you have a banner or no banner. I still blog about my own ideas, my personal opinion and still be critical about everything :-)

If interested just drop me a line.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Looking back to MSCRM 3.0

We are all still busy finding out the truth about 4.0, but still many companies’ use the previous version. It sometimes amazing to see that even basic knowledge of 3.0 is still unknown.

One of the misunderstandings was the support of roaming profiles in 3.0. This isn’t supported also not in v3c version. There is working around (see Menno’s posting) but this is officially not supported. By the way in 4.0 roaming profiles are only supported when using terminal services environments.

Also the basics for debugging are still not widely known; at least the following steps would be logical in my opinion. First I always checks installation logs of MS CRM and for errors after installation the main source is the event viewer some errors I saw frequently:
• CRMADDIN.DLL see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/945061
• Event Source: Microsoft Office 11 Event Category: None Event ID: 1000 see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/931270

Problems at the client:
• The address book provider may take 12 hours to synchronize – see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/925780
• The address list could not be displayed. The action could not be completed - see: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930793

If the event viewer doesn’t give you any hints, then you can run the server or client in debug mode, the how’s are described in: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/907490. This also works for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0!

Nevertheless most bugs or problems should be or can be solved by applying Rollup 2. The details can be found in kb article “Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0”.

UPDATE:

Robert (see comments) askes if Rollup 3 is better? Of course always better to install latests rollups, nevertheless one of the prerequisites is: Update Rollup 3 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 requires Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. Thanks for reminding me, good point :-)

Enjoy!