Personalizing CRM Online 2011: The Home Page

What’s the first thing you do after signing in to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011? Do you navigate away from the default dashboard to another area such as Sales?

Personalization is greatly enhanced in CRM Online 2011 and one of the easiest yet most satisfying ways to personalize CRM Online 2011 is to set your home page. This determines what CRM Online 2011 first displays after you sign in. It’ll save you lots of navigating minutes over the coming months. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do this before!

Note: Any CRM Online user can perform this task. No special security role or permission is required.

Below is a (reduced) screen shot of the default home page that most people see when they first sign in: the Workplace pane and the Dashboards tab. In “breadcrumb navigation” notation, that’s written Workplace > My Work > Dashboards.

 Personalizing CRM Online 2011 The Home Page

Let’s change the home page to something a salesperson might like to start with instead. For example, Sales > Opportunities.

Open the File menu and click Options. (See below.)

 Personalizing CRM Online 2011 The Home Page

A new window opens, titled Set Personal Options (see below). In the General tab, under Select your home page and settings for Get Started Panes, open the Default Pane drop down list and choose the Sales pane as your default pane.

 Personalizing CRM Online 2011 The Home Page

Notice the Default Tab drop down list changes to offer the tabs or areas within Sales. (See below.) Choose the Opportunities tab as your default tab and click OK.

 Personalizing CRM Online 2011 The Home Page

Now when you sign in, CRM Online 2011 displays Sales > Opportunities. (See reduced below.)

 Personalizing CRM Online 2011 The Home Page

Taking a minute to set these two simple options can save you a lot of time on the long run, but you might not have known you could do that. That’s what xRM.com is for. xRM.com is a Microsoft Partner that specializes in Microsoft Business Solutions. We also offer Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online training designed for anyone from end users to executives to IT personnel. Are you interested in becoming a Dynamics customer, but hesitant to take the plunge? Feel free to read through some xRM Case Studies and view the Microsoft recognition xRM.com has received during its exploration of the innovative CRM xRM industry space for more than a decade.

Read More

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 7

Update Rollup 7 is available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. It can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center as of March 22, 2012 or updated through Windows Update as of April 10, 2012. This update is available for all languages supported by Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and includes several improvements and critical fixes.

This update introduces Read Optimized Forms, a new feature.

The following components are affected by this update.

Components:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 E-mail Router
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Language Pack
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Reporting Extensions
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Report Authoring Extension
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for Microsoft Office Outlook

Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Prerequisites: You must have Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 6 installed (build 5.0.9690.1992) to apply this update rollup. This update requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.

Important Note: You can uninstall Update Rollup 7. However, you should back up your databases before you install this update.

Links:
Microsoft Support: Update Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available
Microsoft Download Center: Update Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Read More

Understanding the importance of CRM Anywhere

If you’ve been following the blogosphere, you’ve probably heard the recent buzz about “CRM Anywhere” for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011. In fact, we too posted recently about some of the features coming in CRM Anywhere, but we didn’t go into depth on why they are so important for CRM Online 2011.

Mobility

One of the most talked about improvements in CRM Anywhere is the introduction of a new mobility component dubbed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile.

Here’s the background: CRM Online already has existing mobile support with Mobile Express, a trimmed-down version of the interface designed for efficient viewing through a web browser on a small screen, such as that of a smart phone. However, Mobile Express requires an active internet connection and has some functional limitations.

In contrast, the new mobility component, CRM Mobile, is a true mobile client that runs on your cell phone or other mobile device and synchronizes with CRM Online silently in the background. CRM Mobile stores important CRM Online records in a secure offline database on your mobile device. This lets you access those records and create new records even when you’re in areas with no internet connection, making CRM Online 2011 literally available anywhere, as in “CRM Anywhere”. It is extensively configurable and has lots of functionality. CRM Online users who are aficionados of a particular mobile device will be pleased by the look and feel of Mobile CRM because it presents the CRM Online experience in the particular graphic style of each platform it runs on.

This level of mobility was hotly requested even back in the days of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, and the volume of news articles referring to CRM Anywhere and CRM Mobile shows us that people are truly excited about it. Microsoft has never offered such rich access to any of their Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications in the past, marking this as a very important step in the growth of the application.

As always, Microsoft seems to be directly competing with a rival Salesforce.com product. Moreover, as is usually the case, Microsoft seems to have them beat. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile will run you $30 per user per month, while mobile access to Salesforce.com weighs in at $65 per user per month. CRM Mobile will be available on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace when CRM Anywhere is released.

Since realizing that CRM Mobile is about to be unleashed on the world, we at xRM.com have been hard at work preparing a slew of new training videos that are now available on our CRM Success Portal for users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011. These videos guide you through everything from installing the CRM Mobile client on your mobile device for the first time, to helping other users go mobile, to performing advanced mobile configurations.

Cross-Browser Support

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile isn’t the only reason Microsoft is calling the coming update CRM Anywhere. Users of CRM Online 2011 will now be able to access the application using the following browser versions (see below).

 Understanding the importance of CRM Anywhere

To understand why this is so important for CRM Online 2011, let’s turn to a few third-party statistics on browser usage around the world. The following table compiles several different studies for easy comparison.

 Understanding the importance of CRM Anywhere

You should notice that while Internet Explorer is definitely in the lead, other browsers remain popular. Since users of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari cannot use CRM Online 2011 now, CRM Anywhere will literally double the potential user base of CRM Online 2011.

Social Media

The third thing that’s important about CRM Anywhere is the continued improvement of social-media in CRM Online 2011. Unless you’re a marketing guru, you’re probably asking, “What’s social-media?” To put it simply, social-media is any tool that empowers you to communicate with other people. Large social-media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit mostly function on revenue generated through the sale of advertising targeted at their users or through the sale of information collected about their users. This just simply wasn’t available ten years ago, but now that it is, people are taking notice, Microsoft included.

CRM Anywhere includes enhancements to Activity Feeds that function very similarly to Facebook “wall posts” or “status updates”, except they appear within the CRM Online interface (also available in CRM Mobile) and are related to records in CRM Online 2011. Activity Feeds allow CRM Online users to follow records and comment to each other about those records.

We’ve heard rumors about even more social-media improvements that will come to CRM Online 2011 sometime after the release of CRM Anywhere. We’re going to wait until there’s an official statement before we share those with everyone! You can trust that when Microsoft releases more information on the coming updates to social media, we’ll have it available right here at the xRM.com Microsoft Dynamics CRM blog.

CRM Anywhere

Are you beginning to understand why Microsoft named its latest update CRM Anywhere? CRM Online 2011, already a versatile application, is being fully extended to mobile devices and all major browsers! When you include the social-media enhancements, you start to see why we think CRM Anywhere is so important.

When CRM Anywhere is released, you will be able to download it either through Windows Update, or at the Microsoft Download Center. Stay tuned here and we’ll provide you with all of the information you need to update when the time comes.

As always, we’re also ready to provide Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online training to anyone who wants to head down the fast track to utilizing the new features available in CRM Anywhere.

Read More

Reopening Closed Opportunities: If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

Did you know that you could reopen closed opportunities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011? Say your business were to close an opportunity as lost, and you later find out that the customer would like to reopen discussions about the potential sale. You do not need to create a new opportunity record in this scenario. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can reopen the closed opportunity, making all of the activity history and notes attached to the opportunity accessible.

This task can be performed by users with any of the default security roles in Microsoft CRM Online.

1. Navigate to Opportunities in the Sales module (see below). In the view selector, select Closed Opportunities. Open the closed opportunity you wish to reopen by double-clicking on it.

Reopening Closed Opportunities

2. Once the record opens (see below), notice that the fields are unavailable; you are not able to edit any of the values.  In the ribbon, click the Reopen Opportunity button.

Reopening Closed Opportunities  

3. CRM Online then prompts you with a dialog to confirm that you want to reopen the opportunity (see below). Click OK.

Reopening Closed Opportunities

Once you click OK, the opportunity is reopened so you can edit its data fields and continue working with the record. Additionally, CRM Online automatically reinserts the opportunity’s estimated revenue data back into your organization’s sales pipeline and other relevant charts.

The Reopen Opportunity function saves you the time of creating another a new opportunity when it is unnecessary, and helps maintain consistency in your records. For more tips, xRM.com invites you to watch our CRM tutorial videos on the CRM Success Portal.

Read More

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

Late last year we blogged about the possible connection between two different applications, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. Due to recent changes made by Microsoft, you can now connect the cloud application, CRM Online 2011 with the cloud application, Microsoft SharePoint Online.

Once they are connected, you can store documents on SharePoint that relate to records in CRM Online, and access those documents seamlessly through CRM Online. Today, we walk you through enabling this connection using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.

If you do not already have access to these applications, Microsoft offers a free 30-day trial for CRM Online and a free 30-day trial for Office 365, which includes SharePoint Online. If you decide to open a CRM Online trial, we recommend a visit to the CRM Success Portal for users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011. It’s loaded with video tutorials for beginners and intermediates alike, and it helps you take full advantage of a limited-duration trial.

The steps in the following walkthrough require administrator-level privileges in both CRM Online 2011 and SharePoint Online.

Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, and then run it.

The Setup for SharePointList window opens (see below). Check the box titled Click here to accept Microsoft Software License Terms, and click Continue.

You’re prompted to save several files to a folder (see below). Choose a location (we prefer the desktop), and click OK, which closes the prompt.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Setup for SharePointList window finishes extracting the files and closes.

Navigate to https://portal.microsoftonline.com/ in your browser (see below), sign in if you need to, and click Team Site.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Team Site page opens. Open the Site Actions menu and click Site Settings.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

Click Solutions underneath the Galleries header (see below).

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Solutions tab opens with a list of Solutions (see below). Click Upload Solution in the ribbon.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Upload Document window opens (see below). Click the Browse… button.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

Locate the files you extracted earlier, select the “crmlistcomponent.wsp” file, and then click the Open button.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

Click OK and the Upload Document window closes.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Solution Gallery – Activate Solution page opens (see below). Click Activate in the ribbon.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Solution Gallery – Activate Solution page closes, and the original Solutions tab refreshes, this time listing “crmlistcomponent” as an Activated solution (circled below).

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

That’s it for configuration on the SharePoint side of things, but there’s still one setting left to be configured in CRM Online 2011. Before we move on, feel free to delete the files you extracted to your desktop, as this walkthrough no longer requires them.

Open CRM Online 2011, navigate to Settings > System > Document Management, and click Document Management Settings (see below).

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The Document Management Settings dialog opens (see below). Select which entities you want enabled for document management by checking their corresponding checkboxes, and then enter your SharePoint Online domain address in the URL: field. When you have verified that the settings are correct, click the Next button.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

CRM Online 2011 verifies that the URL you entered is a valid URL (see below), and the webpage dialog prompts you to design a folder structure. If you leave these settings blank, a default folder structure will be created. We prefer the default structure, although you should use whatever makes you most comfortable. Click the Next button when you have made a decision on folder structure.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The webpage dialog creates a document library sequentially for each entity you enabled for Document Management (see below). When you have verified that all entities have completed successfully, click the Finish button and the webpage dialog closes.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

There’s only one step left now. Navigate to Workplace > Accounts (see below), and open an existing Account record, such as “A Store (sample)”.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

The “A Store (sample)” record opens. Click Documents under the Common header.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

A message from the webpage appears notifying you that a SharePoint folder is about to be created to parallel the current Account record in CRM Online so that you can store documents about this Account on SharePoint and access them through CRM Online 2011. Click OK to create the folder and close the window.

Document Management in CRM Online 2011 with SharePoint Online

You’re now ready to start working with documents directly in CRM Online 2011. Keep following along with us at our xRM.com blog for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and we’ll show you how to upload documents to SharePoint via CRM Online 2011 using the Document Management feature you just enabled.

Read More

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 21

Update Rollup 21 is available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. It can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Center or Windows Update as of February 9, 2012. This update is available for all languages supported by Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 and includes several improvements and critical fixes. The following components are affected

Components:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Server
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 E-mail Router
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Language Pack
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Reporting Extensions
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Report Authoring Extension
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Microsoft Office Outlook

Supported Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, Windows XP

Prerequisites: You must have Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 installed to apply this update rollup. Additionally, Update Rollup 7 for Microsoft Dynamic CRM 4.0 is required to install update Rollup 21. This update requires Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.

Important Note: Update Rollup 21 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 cannot be removed. Specific database updates are applied in Update Rollup 21 that will not let you uninstall Update Rollup 21. You should back up your databases before you install this update.

Links:
Microsoft Support: Update Rollup 21 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is available
Microsoft Download Center: Update Rollup 21 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

Read More