Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011 with Custom Workflow plugins

Since the release on Microsoft CRM 2011 and the release of the Microsoft Online platform we have had many prospects and customers come and ask the same question and that is Oh can I do that in Workflow? To date the answer has been you can if your deployment is on-premise but not if you’re online, which usually starts of a conversation with the words “Are You Sure” and the “Sales Person told us it was exactly the same software”So to clear that initial question or statement “Yes it is the same code build or same software” but and there is always a but, till now or until R8 is released you have not been able to run what are “Sandboxed” custom workflow plugins within CRM online. Enter R8, R8 has many changes and support for different things but one little snippet we really liked was:- "CUSTOM WORKFLOW ACTIVITIES IN CRM ONLINE With the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q2 service update, developers can build custom .NET Workflow activity assemblies for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. These custom assemblies can be developed and deployed as part of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution package. Once a custom workflow activity has been deployed, it can then be utilized within the workflow engine for business process management. These new capabilities ensure parity in the developer experience between Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and on-premises. It also empowers organizations to bring external data, custom actions and integrations into their standard CRM business processes." This means you will be able to run custom workflow plugins as part of a solution.  This really does bring in line the capability and functionality of CRM 2011 regardless of deployment type.So why the blog post, well as expected we are now seeing customers come to us with requests for custom workflow plugins and to be honest we could build this on a one by one basis or a bespoke basis, but we have opted to release our full library of workflow extensions for CRM 2011. eWorkfloweWorkflow like all our other products and services starts with a download licenced install of a CRM2011 solution, once deployed you can start building extended workflows with the following additional functionality MarketingMarketing List Subscribe (/unsubscribe)Marketing List Remove (all)Get Last Campaign For MemberGet Last Campaign Response For Member SalesGet Total Value Of OpportunitiesGet Total Value Of QuotesGet Total Value Of InvoicesGet Total Value Of Orders General FunctionsEquation SolverBasic MathConvert ValueMaximumMinimumAdd Business Days To DateAdd To DateParse Date From StringSubtract Business Days From DateSubtract From DateRegex String FormatRegex MatchRegex ReplaceRegex Return MatchCapitalize StringPad StringReplaceString SubstringRemove WhitespaceURL DecodeURL Encode See all the new Workflow Helpers   So as you can see from the list above we have introduced a number of additional functions that can be used in CRM2011 but more importantly these are tested and supported to use straight from install. We anticipate that on release there may be other functions that get added, but this includes the first release. The eWorkflow Helper Library will ship with a number of tested workflow functions for #CRM2011 for both on-premise or hosted either online or partner hosted and can add a new level of automation to the implementation of CRM. You can register for a free download account with MyCRM at http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ Or email sales@mycrmgroup.com Regards Alistair  

Turning CRM into a Prospecting and Location tool with Bing Maps and Bing Search - SEE DEMO

As promised we have now created a full video demo which can be watched below of the new eMAP Bing Map and Bing Search integration with Microsoft CRM 2011. The video is about 16 minutes long but does cover all the integration points for data directly in CRM.       As this is pre-release and if you have any suggestions of what great additions could be added please let me know as a number of people from the dynamics community have already contributed with great affect. We are also working with a number of partner data providers to enhance the experience and deliver more data and prospect information directly into your CRM, from the mapping tool. You can email us on sales@mycrmgroup.com Quoting eMAP.

MyCRM Product Release for Q2 – 2012 Update (eMAP)

We are working towards the release of a number of New products for early Q2 (April) for Microsoft CRM 2011.  The first of which is the eagerly awaited subscription product that enables the collaboration of Microsoft CRM 2011 with Bing Search and Bing Maps.eMap The integrated GIS solution for Microsoft CRM 2011 will be named eMap  and be MyCRM’s first monthly per user subscription product.  The eMap solution will bring together  key Microsoft technologies and deliver a range of new functionality directly within Microsoft CRM, included in the first release will be Workplace View: - Generate Geocode information from Accounts, Leads, Contacts addresses- Display Accounts, Leads Contacts on map- Quick filter displayed Accounts, Leads Contacts by name- Advanced find (single entity type) and display on map- Draw a box around entities on map and add to marketing list (for a single entity type)- Calculate a route and display entities along that route, with a set diversion distance- Business search at current map location (Bing search) Display map on Account, Lead, Contact forms: - Set location manually by placing pin in the map (updates latitude and longitude on the entity)- Get driving locations to entity address (from a searched start point ie. postcode)- Find nearby businesses (Bing search)- Display other entities near this entity In the future/for release! - Any entity support- Configure which address fields eMap uses per entity- New interface for both map displays, and for the configuration page- Export box-selected entities to Excel- Create a detailed multi-customer driving route complete with appointment scheduling based on travel times and meeting lengths- Real-time map updating - Metric/imperial settings If at this time you require more information about  the pending release of eMap for Microsoft CRM 2011 please email sales@mycrmgroup.com or register with the download centre for future updates http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/

Making User management easy in Microsoft CRM 2011

A number of our larger hosted and on-premise customers all seem to report the same problem in that they are not able to manage CRM user information effectively.   In many cases the CRM administrator from the organisation has had to remote into end users laptops or desktop to change personal settings and this increases the work load of many System administrators. We took the suggestions made and created a wish list with the intention of creating a better user administration experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Our goal was to enable System administrator to have extended user settings for CRM and expose additional features that have been excluded from the standard Microsoft CRM admin area.   Introducing eUser – Extended User Settings eUser from MyCRM Extended is an extended solution for User Management and administration of end system users which becomes a valuable add-on post a hand full of CRM users. There are two main features sets with the new functionality and these are extended end-user settings and bulk end user settings First we take a look at some of the end user extended record settings.   As you can see from the screen shot below we have exposed a number of the options that end users can select for themselves so that an administrator can set these when adding a user account The General tab shows how to set among other things dates and currency for the end user      If we now take a look at the extended activities tab you can see that extra setting have been created to allow an administrator to day and times      On the final extended user tab you can see a number of exposed features under formats, Email and Privacy       These final settings will enable administrators to set language, tracking and error responses. We now go on to look at the new bulk setting features of the new user setting solution. Introducing eUser – Extended Bulk Settings In this part of the solution we show the new features for bulk setting user permission in CRM 2011  Here an administrator can bulk set how many records a user sees by default, the advanced find mode, the default tab and default pane for selected users.   On the email tab as before the administrator can see options around email setting for the selected users.   The advanced find has also been configured to easily add selected users across the enterprise, so that an administrator can change setting on bulk          The new eUser module will be released via the download centre in March 2012 and will have a full 14 day trial. To find out more about MyCRM Products and services please visit http://www.mycrmgroup.com To register for a free download account please visit http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com   With kind regards   Alistair  

New Hosted CRM 2011 services launched – Enterprise CRM

Here at MyCRM we have now launched the latest version of our managed services for Microsoft CRM 2011, as before we have opted to add value over price per month and are pleased to offer 3 great solution packages from entry level to enterprise. Enterprise CRM Included in the Per User price:• Full CRM License for access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011• Unlimited telephone and email support• 5GB storage per CRM user• Data Backups – Nightly• Data Backup retention for 7 Days• Monthly Backup Download on request• 95.95% Network Uptime Guarantee Extra above standard CRM • 32 hours service time free for setup and configuration • Fully Integrated Email Marketing with unlimited emails http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eCampaign.aspx • Integrated Document Creation with ePDF http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ePDF.aspx • Integrated Number and form auto population with eNumber http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eNumber.aspx • Integrated Tax calculation for key entities including product line override http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eTax.aspx • Integrated 360 degree of the customer with eView http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eView.aspx • Integrated Document Management with SharePoint 2010 Optional Extras: • All CRM Extensions from the MyCRM Download Centre Supported• Additional Data Storage £9 per GB per month• Additional Consulting service packages from £2850 Our hosted environment is fully managed by MyCRM and is hosted from UK Data Centers. Our enterprise offering including support retails at £95 per user per month and includes service time built in for deployment and configuration, along with full telephone and email support. To request a Demo of a trial of MyCRM 2011 click here http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/pricing.aspx Or you can visit our main site here http://www.mycrmgroup.com

New Hosted CRM 2011 services launched – Professional CRM



• Full CRM License for access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
• Unlimited telephone and email support
• 5GB storage per CRM user
• Data Backups – Nightly
• Data Backup retention for 7 Days
• Monthly Backup Download on request
• 95.95% Network Uptime Guarantee
• 16 hours service time free for setup and configuration
• Fully Integrated Email Marketing with unlimited emails
• Integrated Document Creation with ePDF
• Integrated Number and form auto population with eNumber
• Integrated Tax calculation for key entities including product line override
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Right I have created my Quote in CRM now as a Sales person where is the button to email it to the Customer

So even with the launch and subsequent rollup’s from Microsoft there is no easy way to send a quote or order confirmation out from Microsoft CRM 2011 with the click of a button.  I thought I’d take the time to document the process and then suggest some of the benefits of the ePDF solution from the end user. The functionality to do this is in CRM but if you want to go from creating the Quote record to getting an email to send with the quote or order attached this would be the process Create E-mail and Attach Quote PDF or Order PDF The CRM 2011 Way 1. Click Run Report Dropdown 2. Select the report to run 3. Click „Export‟ button 4. Select Acrobat (PDF) file 5. Select where to save report 6. Close Report Screen 7. Click on the „Add‟ tab 8. Click on E-mail 9. Click on Save 10. Click on Attach File 11. Click Browse 12. Find where you saved PDF and click Open 13. Click Attach  As you can see from the 13 steps not exactly time efficient or best use of a Sales Persons time.  I then looked for another approach, and this would be to use the CRM mail merge functionality which when I did, I ended up with about 18 different steps to get a word doc attached to my email and to be honest found this quite confusing.   In projects gone by and that sounds really bad but I have seen a range of solutions offered most involving the purchase of more licences for another 3rd party tools that would integrate in CRM, which from an end user point view is not ideal as you then working in several different interfaces.So after much investigation and not being able to find a solution I set about working with the team here at MyCRM to see if something could be done, not only for our customers but for me, as I use CRM 2011 all day long. The Solution Building on what we had learnt with CRM 4.0 we successfully, after a few updates released a solution called ePDF        The ePDF solution is an addition or extension to the way CRM works and extends the following record types in Microsoft CRM 2011.The ePDF solution allows the creation of a PDF attached files on an email to be created through a very simple process and extends the following record types. 1. Quote 2. Order 3. Invoice 4. Account 5. Contact 6. Service Activity 7. Contract 8. Lead Working with the team I wanted to help make the process as easy and as straight forward as possible and to be honest anything that reduced the 13 steps above had to improve my working environment, so this is what we got the process down to The ePDF way 1. Click Create PDF Report button on the entity tool bar2. Select the report to run from the pop up screen3. Click Create E-mail and Attach PDF from the pop up screen4. Email window opens with PDF attachment of related quote or report generated. So in a nutshell that was the reason behind ePDF and you can find more from the link below and download a trial for 14 days if you, like me, need to send quotes quickly. http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ePDF.aspx Alistair (mycrm)    

Keep all your Contact Addresses in Sync with the Account

A customer that I was working recently commented on the way addresses are handled in Microsoft CRM 2011, and to be honest I’d never really thought of it as a problem. The Issue in More Detail.  Our customer noted that only one address could be created by default and obviously you could add address 2 and maybe even address 3 fields to the form but suddenly everything gets quite cluttered, they then where disillusioned to say the least that the address on the contacts did not stay in sync with the address entered at Account level.  Most consultants reading this will probably think as I did that is easy you just write some JavaScript and configure the form, but when the client has not budgeted for any configuration in areas like this it becomes a real issue for the project. The Requirement The requirement was really straight forward and after understanding what I was being told this made a lot of sense and made me think that this is the way CRM should actually work.  First off the customer needed the business address from the account to synchronise to all related contacts as a read-only business address on the contact form.Secondly be able to create multiple addresses that only displayed one address block on the form that could be filtered via a business type drop down or pick list field, and had an address for Business, Home and Other.Thirdly have the option to select a primary address on the contact i.e. one of the three addresses entered that would sync with the standard Address 1 fields in CRM so that when using mail merge on contacts you always got the primary address in the CRM Address 1 fields. The Solution I went away and discussed with the MyCRM team and a solution to meet the above requirement was created, the team created a number of plugins and JavaScript around the Contact and Account entity, to meet the requirement On the contact form we added the new 3 x Address Blocks    By changing the address selector the relevant information is displayed. You can also set the address to be the primary and this will copy the data to the We also took all the components that where developed and have created a solution called eAddress which can be found on the download centre http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eAddress.aspx If you would like any further information re Addresses in Microsoft CRM 2011 then contact our sales team sales@mycrmgroup.com