Friday, June 27, 2008

Virtual Scenarios become more interesting

Yesterday Microsoft announced the release of "Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V", the new virtualization technology of Microsoft.

The main reasons for choosing for virtualization are scalability, cost and performance benefits. Guess, we all had to deal with VMware environment, which are not supported. The future of virtualization will change with this released software and I think we will quickly see Microsoft Dynamics CRM production environments based on Hyper-V technology.

More information about Hyper-V at: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/virtualization-consolidation.aspx

You can read press release at: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2008/jun08/06-26hyperv.mspx


Start trying!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Business Auditing with Workflow

In some of the branches auditing is always one of the top requirements. This topic is always subject to lot of discussion. Do you really need it? Does it influence performance are the regular questions.

In 3.0 we usually offered add-on by C360 as the solution for auditing. A few days ago I read the post on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team about business auditing. And this makes the world a lot easier :-)

So check out this post at their side if you like to have your own "free" auditing.

CRM 4.0 on Virtual Server Supported

In the previous version (3.0) installing ms crm wasn't supported on any virtual software. I often had to install it anyway, on usually a VMware environment, in my opinion still the most reliable virtualization software.

In the new operation system windows 2008 virtualization is added as functionality, this would be the first step to virtual supported scenarios in a production environment. Today a colleague bumped into this knowledge base article (946600), where crm 4.0 is officially supported on computer running virtual server 2005 in yes... a production environment.

Unfortunately only support is given to Microsoft virtualization software (e.g. virtual server 2005). Nevertheless, it is good development and in this would change the architecture in the future. It also becomes an even more interesting product in higher segment of the market. In this market you will find often big mainframe computers with lots of gigs internal memory and multiple processors, which host a virtual office network.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Looking for crm addon?

Every technical focused consultant would like to invent the wheel, but in our project that would be too expensive. Yes, unfortunately we are bound by the budget.

Of course, the use of add-ons saves us lot of time, stress, pizzas and cans of coca cola... (don't like Pepsi). The difficulty is more to find the right add-on for the functionality your customer needs.

The common add-ons from known vendors like c360, Celenia, CWR Mobility are easy to find, but to find add-ons with more specific functionality becomes harder.

The sites I did find and use give an overview of available crm add-ons, usually divided by category:

Please leave more interesting sites in the comments.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Interesting Workshop for Partners: "demo2win"

Last week I attended the workshop given by Microsoft for partners called "demo2win". The workshop was focusing on the "soft skills" and demonstrated how to make a good demo for potential customers.

For technical consultant as me it had some very nice eye-openers. The saying "less is more", often heard, proved to be truth. Technical consultants tend to be demonstrating all kind of technical stuff and also expect that offered functionality is as easy for everyone as for them, but in fact for the newbie it seems often to be too difficult or too confusion.

One of the most common pitfalls is not to use "tell-show-tell". First tell the story, demonstrate it with example (keep it simple!) and afterwards tell what you have done. The story you tell should be recognizable to your audience, so they can identify them self as (new) user of the application.

More tips about improving your demo skill, I surely could advice to follow the workshop (contact your Partner Account Manager for details). The workshop is also available in elearning section of partnersource.

Start to practice :-)

The mysterious External Connector License

In the previous version of crm (3.0) the external connector license was already a very mysterious topic. There was always discussion why and when to use it or how to use it.

Guess nothing has changed :-) The license is still surrounded with a lot of discussion and confusion. The books about crm 4.0 only spend a small section about this license.

In general it's just a "key" nothing more or nothing less. There are two versions the full license and the read-only license and only available for Professional or Enterprise Edition of Microsoft CRM 4.0. You have to use it when you want to work directly with the data contained in de ms crm database.

The external license for 3.0 was pretty expensive, so there were some workarounds. At this moment the prices are reduced a lot compared to 3.0 versions and in most cases it's not worth the extra effort to create or build a workaround.

Nevertheless if you have issue with the use of this connector, just post it in the comments.

*** UPDATE ***

The basic rule is if the user hasn't a AD account you would need the external connector licences.

Also check Menno's post about this topic.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My new musing at msdynamicsworld.com

It's funny because "musing" was a new word for me, but I looked it up and yes I know now what it means ;-)

Nevertheless if you like to read my new musing check it out at: "Why Integrating Microsoft Dynamics CRM with NAV and Other ERP Systems Is Becoming Ever-More Realistic, and Desirable". Oh don't forget you need to register, but that's free :-)

Enjoy!

PS
"...mus·ing (myzng)
adj.
Deep in thought; contemplative.
n.
1. Contemplation; meditation.
2. A product of contemplation; a thought. "an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" James Atlas
..."