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Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Released

Microsoft has released a new connector to allow companies to share data between Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the transfer of contacts, companies, and sales-ready scored leads from Dynamics Marketing to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, giving salespeople in CRM better insight into their lead channel.

Downloading the connector will also give you the opportunity to download the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Language Packs and Analytic Workbooks. The language packs include user interface (UI) language files that allow administrators to provision additional UI languages for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The Analytic Workbooks connect to the OData feeds from Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and provide samples that users can use to learn how to use Excel with the Power Query add-in to create analytics workbooks. The sample workbooks are installed on your local computer.

In order to install the connector, you will have to have System Administrator privileges. You will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 for workstations
  • Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2012R2 for on-premises
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 UR12 or higher, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing subscription

Get the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Development for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Arrives

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release has arrived for both CRM 2013 and CRM Online customers. The Spring ’14 Release brings a number of enhancements to Dynamics CRM, providing dramatically improved marketing automation, social, and customer service capabilities, as well as platform enhancements. Some of these enhancements are included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional license, while others require the purchase of the new Enterprise license or additional services.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing

One of the most prominent changes bought by this release is the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Among the features of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing are a drag-and-drop visual Campaign Designer, lead lifecycle management, vastly improved email marketing, Power BI for marketing, and an improved Sales & Marketing Connector.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is available as part of a new license level called Enterprise, which is priced at $200 per user, per month, and as a stand-alone product for $125 per user, per month. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

Microsoft Social Listening

Social media have dramatically changed the way that consumers and companies interact with each other. Until now, Dynamics CRM has a lacked built-in social media listening and analytics. The Spring ’14 Release finally brings social media analytics to Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Social Listening allows users to track their brands and products across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and forums. It also provides campaign management that provides insight into the effectiveness of marketing, sales, and service campaigns. Microsoft Social Listening also helps you identify influential voices, identify issues as they are developing, post alerts for key words, and get trend alerts.

Microsoft Social Listening is included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional license for organizations that have at least 10 Professional licenses. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal. Social Listening is available as a stand-alone product for $100 per user, per month. It is also available as an add-on for on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Professional CAL customers with active Software Assurance for $20 per user, per month.

Unified Service Desk

Microsoft has made a huge commitment to improving users’ ability to provide excellent customer service. Foremost amongst this effort is the introduction of the Unified Service Desk. The Unified Service Desk allows service personnel to handle customer service requests across channels, including chat, voice, and email. It allows users to handle multiple customer sessions simultaneously and supports multiple applications per session, while also providing on-screen call scripting.

The Unified Service Desk is included as part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise license, which costs $200 per user, per month.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Enhancements

The Spring ’14 Release has also substantially improved case management, adding automated case-creation and routing rules, as well as failure and warning actions that execute if Service Level Agreements are not met on time. Users can also define and manage service entitlements and SLAs and create dynamic routing and queuing rules.

The Case form has also been updated. The revised Case form allows users to merge cases, view merged cases, view or add child cases, review entitlements, and add a timer that shows a running display of the time available in the SLA.

The Service enhancements are included at no additional cost for CRM Online Enterprise and Professional users.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Enhancements

Sales has long been the strongest area of Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft continues to add even more value for sales users. In the Spring ’14 Release, the company has introduced Insights, which provides access to hordes of data, including company profiles, financials, industry profiles, social buzz, links to social media profiles, breaking news, and more, all from within CRM.

Insights is available (possibly for a limited time) for no additional charge to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional customers in the U.S. currently with a broader rollout coming later in 2014.

Parature

The Spring ’14 Release also integrates the multi-channel care customer, self-service features of Parature into Dynamics CRM. Parature provides mobile self-service, Facebook portal, real-time chat, and knowledgebase management features.

For a limited time, Microsoft Parature is available for $0 per user, per month for organizations that have purchased 10 or more Dynamics CRM Enterprise Online licenses. Overage charges may still apply for additional page views, storage, and other add-ons.

Platform Enhancements

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is more than just a CRM product, it is also a platform for building applications that meet unique business requirements. The Spring ’14 release includes a number of enhancements that reaffirm Microsoft’s commitment to Dynamics CRM as a powerful platform. These enhancements include Server-side synchronization, SharePoint Integration Enhancements, sandbox environments, and a new CRM Online Admin Center that helps administrators

How to Install the New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers can access the new Case Management features by opting-in to the features within CRM Online.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Listening subscriptions can be added via the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

On-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 customers should download and install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1.

Note that it is not possible to roll back the update once it is installed.

To add Parature customer care features, visit http://www.parature.com/customer-service-software/pricing/.

Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Preview Guide.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 17 Released

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 17 (UR17) is now available for download. UR17 provides several dozens of hotfixes that should be welcome for companies that continue to use Dynamics CRM 2011. The most obvious change is that Internet Explorer 11 support for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 has been added. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook support has also been added for Office 2013 in Windows 8.1.

Other notable updates are included as well:

  • The naming format of attachments has been changed. A new field called attachmentcontentid has been added to the activitymimeattachment entity. The email attachment’s “contentid” is now stored in this new field instead of adding it to the attachment’s file name.
  • The sometimes long Outlook.exe startup time that came about as a result of UR12 has been shortened.
  • The bug that prevented Recurring Series Expansion jobs if the Recurring Appointment owner was a team rather than an individual has been fixed.
  • Many-to-many (N:N) relationship records can now be replicated offline.
  • SharePoint 2010 Integration will now work if Windows6.1-KB2894844-x64 is installed.

Visit http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2915687/en-us to learn more about UR17 or see a full list of the included five dozen hotfixes.

UR17 Installation Information

In order to install UR17, you must have UR6 (build 5.0.9690.1992) or a later version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 installed already. Make sure that you back up your CRM organization before you install. We also recommend that you install UR17 in a development environment first to identify any issues that might arise for your organization.

You can use Windows Update to install UR17 automatically if you have automatic updating turned on. UR17 will become available in Windows Update during Q2 of 2014. You can download also download it from http://www.microsoft.com/en-ph/download/details.aspx?id=42672 and install manually.

The SMB Advantage Subsidy Program Ends May 31, 2014

Microsoft SMB AdvantageThere is less than one month remaining to take advantage of the Microsoft SMB Advantage program. Any SMB (small to mid-size business) customer who buys eligible licenses (also called seats) of selected products, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Office 365, and SQL Server Premium will receive a subsidy check that they can use to purchase licenses or services from a Microsoft Partner such as xRM. Both new and existing Microsoft customers qualify.

The subsidy check, which gets sent to the Microsoft Partner that you have designated, represents a great opportunity to obtain services from an expert consultant for free, or at a reduced rate. xRM customers have utilized their SMB dvantage payouts to help cover the cost of CRM consulting services, such customizations to their CRM organizations and training.

Payout

The SMB Advantage rebate check is based on the annual subscription rate for the purchased service times the monthly payout rate. For example, a company purchasing 10 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional licenses would qualify for a subsidy check of $1560 (10 Professional licenses * $65 per license * 12 months * 20% = $1560).

Product Rebate
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 20%
Office 365 10%
Office 365 E3, E4, and Power BI An additional 10%
SQL Server Premium 12%
Dynamics CRM On-premises 12%

Deadline

The SMB Advantage ends at 5:00 PM PDT on May 31, 2014.

You must register your SMB Advantage claim within 15 days of your purchase (also before 5:00 PM PDT).

Restrictions

To be eligible, your company must be a small or mid-size business (SMB) as designated by Microsoft, purchasing between 5 and 200 seats. Academic institutions are not eligible.

Licenses have to be purchased through the Open License Program or Microsoft Online Services Program.

Only companies and their affiliates doing business in the US qualify for the SMB Advantage offer.

Go to the SMB Advantage page to read more about the offer, download a list of eligible products, calculate your subsidy, and redeem your purchase.

Microsoft CRM Options for Small Businesses

There are three options available for small business that want a customer relationship management (CRM) solution from Microsoft: Business Contact Manager for Outlook, Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Business Contact Manager for Outlook

Business Contact Manager (BCM) is a free add-on for Outlook that enables users to manage leads, contacts, and accounts, and track activities from within Outlook. While it doesn’t offer the power of a dedicated CRM solution like Microsoft
Dynamics, BCM offers three primary benefits: it’s free; it’s easy-to-use; and, it works within Outlook where many small businesses owners spend much of their business day anyway.

BCM has a few limitations, however. It is not a good choice for business with multiple employees that need access to the database, although a SQL Server Express database can be setup up to enable multiple user access. It is also not well suited to companies with traveling sales people because it does not allow remote access to the database, although Contacts can be accessed through Outlook Web Access. Finally, it is not a particularly good choice for businesses that will outgrow the capabilities of BCM. If you think that you will be upgrading from BCM to CRM in the near future, you may wish to consider skipping BCM altogether as it can be difficult to import all of your data from the BCM database to the Dynamics CRM database. The data export function of BCM allows you to export data in .bcm files or in .csv files, but you can only export data associated with one record type at a time using .csv files, which do not include your communication history files. Meanwhile, the .bcm file type, which includes all your data, is not compatible with the Data Importation Wizard of Dynamics CRM.

Business Contact Manager is compatible with Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM vs. Business Contact Manager

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a cloud-based CRM solution from xRM, a Microsoft partner that specializes in CRM and private cloud solutions. Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers the full power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 in an easily-consumable monthly subscription.

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an excellent choice for small businesses for several reasons. First, the minimum user requirement is one Professional license, offering an extremely affordable entry point for small businesses with fewer than five users. Subsequent users can be added at the Basic ($30 per month) or Professional ($65 per month) license levels. Second, there is no long-term commitment, and therefore, no early cancellation fees. Third, Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM subscribers get access to all the sales, service, and marketing automation features that Dynamics CRM 2013 offers. Your business will never outgrow Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and if you decide later to move to CRM Online (or another CRM platform entirely), your data is easily exportable.

The minimum cost of Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM is $65 (1 user * $65) per month, plus a one-time setup fee of $50 per user. Learn more about Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM pricing.

Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM subscribers also get free access to the Success Portal, an online video training library dedicated to Dynamics CRM.

Sign up for a Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM subscription.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is the best option for most companies that need five or more Professional users. It also delivers the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 through a convenient cloud model, providing many of the same benefits of Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The primary difference between CRM Online and Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that CRM Online is provided by Microsoft from its global network of datacenters, while Hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM is provided by xRM from its datacenters.

The minimum cost of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is $330 (5 users * $65) per month. Microsoft requires subscribers to sign a one-year contract (early cancellation fees apply) and there is no set up fee.

CRM Online subscribers who name xRM as their partner-of-record (POR) can also request free access to the Success Portal.

Start your free trial of Dynamics CRM Online and discover how Microsoft is revolutionizing CRM.

The Heartbleed Bug

We have received a number of inquiries regarding the vulnerability of our services to the Heartbleed bug. Fortunately, xRM services are not affected by Heartbleed. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365 services are also not affected.

What is Heartbleed?

Heartbleed refers to a security vulnerability in OpenSSL 1.01 and 1.02 beta. OpenSSL is used by various web, mail, and VPN systems, including some of the most popular websites and email services in the world.

The technical description of the Heartbleed vulnerability states the following:

“The (1) TLS and (2) DTLS implementations in OpenSSL 1.0.1 before 1.0.1g do not properly handle Heartbeat Extension packets, which allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information from process memory via crafted packets that trigger a buffer over-read, as demonstrated by reading private keys, related to d1_both.c and t1_lib.c, aka the Heartbleed bug.”

In plain English, the Heartbleed bug allows hackers and other malicious types to bypass the encryption used by many servers and obtain sensitive information such as passwords, emails, usernames, and account information from vulnerable servers that make use of the popular OpenSSL library and Transport Layer Security protocol (TSL).

Why are xRM services not affected?

xRM servers do not make use of the affected OpenSSL Library and TSL. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Office 365 do not make use of OpenSSL either. All SSL connections to our environment make use of an F5 external load balancer running BIG-IP LTM version 10.2.2. F5 has declared that this version of its load balancer is known not to be vulnerable. Our own investigation has also confirmed that our services are not vulnerable. We will continue to monitor the situation for any additional developments that may place our customers at increased risk of attack.

What about Microsoft Services?

Here is what Microsoft has said about the vulnerability of its own services:

“After a thorough investigation, Microsoft determined that Microsoft Account, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Yammer and Skype, along with most Microsoft Services, are not impacted by the OpenSSL “Heartbleed” vulnerability. Windows’ implementation of SSL/TLS is also not impacted. A few Services continue to be reviewed and updated with further protections.”

What should I do now?

Since xRM and Microsoft services are currently unaffected, you do not need to do anything beyond taking standard security steps, such as creating strong passwords and keeping them secure.

However, since the Heartbleed bug affects approximately 2/3s of websites, we recommend that you take the following precautions:

  1. Check with the provider of all of your web-based services and accounts. Find out if they are or were vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug.
  2. If your service providers indicate that they were vulnerable but have since fixed the vulnerability, immediately change your passwords.
  3. Consider implementing two-factor authentication as an additional security measure.
  4. Continue to watch your accounts for suspicious activity.

Further Reading

Here is a list of the 100 most popular sites in the US that updates their status courtesy of CNET.

http://www.cnet.com/how-to/which-sites-have-patched-the-heartbleed-bug/

Here is an extensive review of the Heartbleed bug, courtesy of CODENOMICON.

http://heartbleed.com/

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Update Rollup 2 Now Available

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Update Rollup 2 (UR2) is now available from the Microsoft Download Center. UR2 includes four major compatibility updates as well as a myriad of hotfixes.

Important updates include:

  • Support for Windows 8.1 for the web application and CRM for Tablets
  • Support for Internet Explorer 11 for the web application and CRM for Tablets
  • Support for Safari using the web application and CRM for Tablets using the tablet app for iPad Air
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Server

UR2 also includes hotfixes for several dozen issues that have cropped up since CRM 2013 was introduced.

Issues addressed include:

  • When using the Upgrade Wizard, an error message appears with a red flag in the System Checks window: “The product key is not compatible with the installed version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.”
  • The CRM for Outlook client is unresponsive during startup.
  • The telephone field is not populated correctly when a telephone call activity is created from an existing lead or contact.
  • Some records are duplicated if the user clicks the Save or Mark Complete buttons more than once.
  • The field alignment settings are not respected on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 forms.

You can read more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 UR2 here.

Download Update Rollup 2 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

 

End of Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 is April 8, 2014

After years of faithful service in offices across the world, the end is finally near for Microsoft Office 2003 and Windows XP. End of Support (EOS) means that Microsoft will no longer provide support nor release updates, including security fixes, for Office 2003 or Windows XP.

Microsoft will also cease to provide Microsoft Security Essential for Windows XP, meaning that any PC still running Windows XP will become vulnerable to viruses, bots, and other malware.

If you have been putting off upgrading to more recent versions of Windows and Office, now is the time to make the move. Microsoft is even offering an incentive known as Get2Modern to help small-to-midsize businesses make the switch to Office 2013 and Windows 8.1.

For those with older computers, you can use the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check to see if your computer will run modern versions of Windows.

If you are still running Office 2003, now is an excellent opportunity to see if the time is right to switch to Office 365.

Click here to read more about end of support for Windows XP.

Click here to read more about end of support for Office 2003.

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets

Whether you are waiting for a cup of coffee in a café or sitting on a plane 10,000 feet above the ground, the new mobile functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 keeps you connected to your business on the go.  This exciting application enables you to stay on top of your game with a customizable Sales Dashboard where your priorities are clearly displayed and every topic is easily navigable.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets

CRM for tablets is extremely touch friendly; you can organize daily activities and manage sales contacts with a few touches and swipes.  Whether it’s a 9.7’’ IPad or a 10.8’’ Surface, everything is resized nicely to fit on your screen.

Capabilities

On your customized Sales Dashboard, the ultimate platform to manage your business activities, you can create new tasks, update contacts, view accounts, access leads, visualize opportunities, and make calls via Skype
by simply clicking on the contacts phone number. The CRM app allows you to pin your go-to items onto the Sales Dashboard, tailoring the homepage to your everyday business needs.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets

It’s also impressively easy to create new records.  From the Sales Dashboard you can pull up the Command Bar with a simple upward swipe on your Windows tablet (or a right click on an iPad), and quickly fill out the forms for accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, or competitors.  Creating new records can be done easily while you’re on the go.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets

Limitations

As with most products that get transferred into app form, Dynamics CRM for tablets is not as robust as its PC counterpart.  Mapping workflows and many app customizations cannot be completed on a tablet. Although these limitations do exist, the app was designed to give you access to what you will need when you’re on the go, such as account and contact info.

You can find the app in the Windows Store for Windows products, iTunes for Apple products, and the Google Play Store for Android products.  The app is called Microsoft Dynamics CRM and is free to download.  CRM is accessible both on Windows Surface RT and Pro, Android, as well as 3rd and 4th Gen iPads.  To get set up on your tablet now check out CRM for Tablets: Set up and use. For more information regarding CRM 2013 for tablets, head over to CRM for tablets: Information for end users.

Office 365 Customers Can Save Up to 40% on CRM Online

If you have already taken your first tentative step into the cloud by subscribing to Office 365, now might be the perfect time to expand your embrace to include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Until March 31, 2014, Microsoft Office 365 Midsize Business customers can save big when adding Dynamics CRM Online Professional licenses. Midsize Business subscribers who add between 5 and 49 Professional CRM Online licenses
can save 30%. The 30% discount brings the price of new CRM Online Professional licenses down to $45.50 per user, per month, a savings of $19.50 per seat.

Office 365 Enterprise E3 and Enterprise E4 customers who add 50 or more new Professional CRM Online licenses can save 40% on those new seats. The 40% discount brings the price of new Professional licenses to $39.00, a $26.00 savings.

As always, some terms and conditions apply.

  • First, you have to be an Office 365 Midsize Business, Enterprise E3, or Enterprise E4 subscriber.
  • Second, you have to make a minimum purchase of 5 new Professional CRM Online licenses to qualify for the 30% discount and 50 new licenses for the 40% discount.
  • Third, the discount only applies to Professional licenses. Basic and Essential licenses are exempt.
  • Fourth, the number of CRM Online licenses can’t exceed the number of Office 365 licenses that you subscribe to.
  • Fifth, the discount can’t be combined with any other offers.

To read more, view the full terms and conditions, or to take advantage of the discount, visit http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/offers/CRMM.aspx.

Once you have obtained your discounted CRM Online seats, head over to xRM and attend a free “Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM” demonstration. Then sign up for a free account at the Success Portal, the CRM Online video training library from xRM.

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