Critical update planned for Dynamics CRM in April for any Chrome based users

If you use Chrome to access Dynamics CRM then please read:

Users of Dynamics CRM that use Chrome as a browser to access Dynamics CRM due to a Chrome update (version 37 or higher) support for some features in Dynamics CRM has been deprecated. The deprecated feature of Dynamics CRM is the support for Modal Dialogues i.e. if you open up the form customisation and try and save and publish in Chrome on the latest version you may notice it does not save or publish.  This is because Dynamics CRM is using a modal dialogue, likewise you may see this behaviour on editing dashboards or updating status reasons. The current fix for this is a registry update which can be found here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3000002, or using an alternative browser.

Microsoft has just announced that in April they will be releasing updates that will fix the feature deprecation. In order for customers, who are using Chrome browser, to continue to function, they will need to upgrade to the upcoming CRM versions listed below:

CRM 2011 – A COD will be delivered on CRM 2011 UR18(On prem Only)

CRM 2013 – A COD will be delivered in CRM 2013 UR3(On prem Only)

CRM 2013 SP1 – Fix will be included in CRM 2013 SP1 UR3(Online & On Prem)

CRM 2015 – Fix will be included in CRM 2015 UR1(Online & On Prem)

*Note: COD = Critical On Demand Fix

Please be aware that these updates are coming and will need to be applied to your environments to ensure Chrome based users can fully function on the latest versions. If you need support from Intergen to help with these updates then pleas get in contact with your Customer Services Manager or Account Manager or get in contact with me.

How do I manage subscriptions with ClickDimensions? How do I keep my lists clean?

Every marketing department wants some form of subscription management as a blanket un-subscribe is not ideal. Using ClickDimensions you have access to subscription lists. Subscription lists enable you to create areas of interest for your customers to subscribe to. Subscription lists can be added to one or more subscription pages using the standard web content record type. Once you have a subscription list you can then add it to an email you send out. All sounds good so far.

The problem though is how do you maintain a nice clean list of contacts or leads who have subscribed to stuff? If you use ClickDimensions you probably know what I am talking about if not see here for the details http://help.clickdimensions.com/managing-subscription-list-opt-ins/  (no point me going into it here as well, as fully articulated in this great article by ClickDimensions). The basic point is that you either have dirty lists or need to add fields to the contact or lead form.

But wait there is a better way of doing it now with the latest release of ClickDimensions that keeps your lists clean and does not require any new fields to represent new subscriptions.

How you ask? Use the workflow custom step provided by ClickDimensions to add and remove users from a static marketing list.

So how does this work, you ask?

  1. The concept first
    1. Subscription Lists are used to manage the interests that you want a user to sign up to
    2. Static Marketing Lists are used to represent your internal representation of the subscription list
      1. An internal marketing list might relate to one or more external subscription list as internally mean same thing but externally you might want to break things out
    3. The value of Static marketing lists is that they can be used in advanced finds to identify individuals that exist in the list or not, you can combine lists into a dynamic marketing list, you can easily view on a Contact or Lead record the lists that a person is in just like having a field on the list, you can manually add people to the static list
  2. Setting it up
    1. Create the subscription lists and Subscription Page as per articles here http://help.clickdimensions.com/category/subscriptionmanagement/
    2. Create your static marketing lists to represent the internal subscriptions
      1. staticlist
    3. Create a workflow to add or remove people from the static marketing list based on whether they subscribe in or out via the subscription page
      1. Create a new workflow from Settings->Processes
      2. Select the Subscription Preferences entity
      3. Run on create of record and tick the delete workflow after execution to save space
      4. In the designer you will now have to add a condition per subscription list, and sub condition to see if the person opted in or out. The action step will use the new ClickDimensions workflow custom step that can add or remove contacts and leads from lists.
      5. The workflow should look something like this where I have 2 subscriptions lists one for Newsletters and the other for Events
      6. Marketinglistworkflow
      7. The first condition checks the subscription preference subscription list record
      8. The second sub condition checks the value of the Subscription Preference Preference attribute. In resembles ticking the box, out resembles leaving it blank or unpicking the box.
      9. The parameters to be used in the new custom step are:
      10. Customstep
      11. You can add this to the workflow via the Add Step button and selecting Marketing Lists -> Update Marketing List Members
      12. Repeat the conditions for each subscription list and then Activate and you are now done.

Once you have activated you are up and running, your lists will stay clean, it will be easy for users to view what subscriptions a customer is subscribed up to and managed on going. Screenshot below is of the Contact associated marketing lists.

Contactmarketinglist

Any questions let me know. Hope it is useful.

Adding an image to a custom entity

So you have seen by default you can add an image to an account or lead, but how do you add an image to a custom entity?

It’s simple, just follow these steps:

  1. Open up solution that contains custom entity
  2. Select Custom entity and create a new field
  3. Enter a display name and then select the type as Image
  4. Click on the Custom entity definition (click the name of the entity)
  5. You will now see that the Primary image field is populated with your new image field
  6. Last step – Navigate to the forms of the custom entity
  7. Open up the form
  8. Click on Form Properties
  9. Click on Display tab and tick the “Show image in the form”
  10. Save and Publish
  11. You can now add an image to a custom entity

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide in the public domain!

Its exciting times again as we are again looking forward to the next instalment of Dynamics CRM named Dynamics CRM 2015 due to be released in the Fall 2014, for non US customers this is the 4th quarter of the calendar year. As with previous releases I would expect this to be the later part of the quarter.

So first of all here is the link to the preview guide: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Release Preview Guide and the link to the press release http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/press/2014/sep14/09-16crmpr.aspx

So what can we expect in the next release, lots in short, but in summary:

  • Dynamics Marketing
    • Multi-channel marketing
    • Email editor – with drag and drop features
    • Campaign Management Console enabling A/B testing, cross channel operations and others
    • Integrated Social Listening with embedded social insights for CRM
    • Sales Collaboration via a marketing calendar
    • B2B Marketing with enhanced rules and webinar integration
    • Marketing Resource Management with new calendars
    • Internal Process Automation via approval workflows
    • Geographical Expansion
  • Sales
    • Improvements to the sales processes enabling branching of the process based on business rules applied in real time
    • Product Families enabling bundling of products, product lifecycles, product attributes that can be inherited and identifying cross sell and up sell products and territory price plans
    • Sales Hierarchies for accounts, products and users that enable traversing a tree hierarchy. The hierarchy can include roll up fields
  • CRM for Tablets
    • Role tailored dashbaords
    • Hierarchy views
    • Offline draft mode
  • Customer Service
    • Further Case Management enhancements including pause and resume SLAs,  and tracking time of case on hold or waiting on customer,
  • Microsoft Social Listening
    • Further Source analysis
    • Location filters
    • More availability options
  • Platform enhancements
    • Global search similar to the existing mobile client search
    • Search added to navigation bar
    • Advanced find button added to the navigation bar
    • Synchronise additional types of information with Outlook
    • Enhanced Business rules
      • They now execute everywhere including server side
      • Richer business logic with If and Else If statements
      • Pre filling information when a record is created
    • Business process flows can now be accessed via the client API
    • Calculated fields (yeah) are now supported
    • Roll-up fields are now supported
    • Field Level Security is now supported for out of the box fields
  • A new updated compatibility list can be found here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2669061

 

 

SP1 Spring release process enhancements

You might not of noticed but there has been a change to the standard workflow type in the latest spring release for CRM 2013.

In previous versions when you created conditions you could only specify AND conditions, which meant for an OR you had to try and use conditional branching to get your statements to work, increasing the length of the workflow.

In SP1, you can now specify AND / OR statements within your Wait and conditional logic statements. So you may want to look at some of your older workflows to see if the logic can be improved.

Screenshot below of the new options:

Workflow AND OR

CRM in the social age

 

How does customer relationship management work in a world of a connected and transparent market of conversations?

Social media, tablets, and the plethora of smart mobile phones have changed the way people are connected to one another and has opened the door to peer to peer conversations. Today people are more informed and connected and often the important decisions are influenced by social conversations. In this connected world, how do you as an organisation ensure that you stay connected, listen to what people think about your product and services and inevitably become part of the conversation through marketing, sales and customer service?

In the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring Release Microsoft launched Microsoft Social Listening, an enabler for you as an organisation to listen to conversations and reply in line, to stay connected with what your customers are talking about.

Microsoft Social Listening can help you track what people are talking about to better enable you to:

  1. Prepare for sales meetings
  2. Identify new leads and opportunities
  3. Track campaigns on the social web, understand the sentiment of your brand
  4. Identify and connect with influencers and detractors
  5. Act on potential issues that your customers or prospects report via social media
  6. Listen to what your competitors are talking about and help you join the relevant conversations

So what does it look like, how easy is it to use?

Well for starters if you utilise Office 365 and CRM online and have more than 10 Online Professional licences then you are entitled to it for free! Otherwise you can purchase the subscription via the Office 365 admin centre just like any other product.

It has been designed to look and feel like Dynamics CRM and has been designed to be simple and intuitive so everyone who needs access can access with minimal user training. The screenshot to the side is of the homepage for Social listening and as you can see looks like Dynamics CRM 2013.

To set-up search terms to be monitored it is as simple as 1-2-3.

1. You give your search a name and assign to one of the predefined categories i.e. Competitors, Campaigns, Accounts, Products etc

2. You define the search terms in terms of core keywords, inclusions that must be in the post to be included and exclusions to be excluded from the search results.

3. Finally you test the search criteria to get a sense for the average monthly posts to be consumed and activate the search and you are all done.

Through the Microsoft Social Listening user interface you can drill into the results of the search, as standard MSL monitors YouTube, Twitter, Facebook Pages and non-private posts and over 70 million blogs. You can interact with the data and review trends, buzz, sentiment, authors and the reach of the authors. You can define alerts if certain keywords are mentioned or if the trend spikes. It becomes your early warning system and enables you to react quickly and efficiently to social interactions.

If you are using Dynamics CRM Online then you can also embed Social Listening into Dashboards and records.

This is particularly useful for tracking campaigns, competitors and providing your sales and service teams a view of what people are taking about.

So how could you get engaged, what scenarios should you focus on?

It has been recently said that to get people to believe in your message then they need to see it 3 to 5 times through different medians be conversation, website, blogs, social channels, press or newsletters for example. Business reputation is built on brand, loyalty, personal conversations and excellent products or services, every sales and marketing professional knows this and social provides a way to scale these conversations to a wider audience. I have listed below my top 3 scenarios for using Social Listening and empowering the business to engage:

1. Empower Marketing – listen to the buzz that is being generated as a result of a campaign and use this insight to generate and cultivate new leads for the sales team. Listening is a low touch activity, but when you listen to the key messages then you can drive high touch conversations with peers in the buying stage of the ‘buyer’s journey’.

2. Empower the Sales team with insights – Enable via dashboards and pre-defined searches keyword searches that identify potential customers actively looking for product recommendations to solve a business problem.

3. Monitor your competition – Listen to what customers are saying about your brand can open the door to offering relevant solutions, but listening to what people are saying about your competitors can showcase weak spots in their offering. Think of it as an opportunity to help, and have the appropriate salesperson send the customer something useful.

Next steps

Social listening like anything is easy to get going with but you need to have a strategy, a reason for doing it and once you have this defined then you can quickly enable via Microsoft Social Listening. Some key questions that you ask yourself to help you build a strategy are:

1. What is the reason for measuring social conversations?

2. What are you trying to achieve and how it is aligned with your customer experience and other initiatives?

3. How will social add value beyond just the bottom line?

4. What metrics will you use to confirm if what you are doing is working?

If you can answer these questions then you are on a good path to success. Intergen can help you with this journey and has tools and techniques to help you map out your social strategy and how this will affect your customer experience and journeys with your brand.

How do I make the SLA timers change colour?

Problem: I have read all the material online and in blogs but I am not sure how I make the timers change to orange when they are nearing failure.

Solution: The timer only changes to red by default when the time runs out. To make the timer change to orange when reached the warning state then you actually need to update the First response by status to “Nearing noncompliance” within the SLA settings. To do this:

  1. Open Service Management
  2. Image
  3. Open the SLA that you have created and open up the SLA rule
  4. Under the warning actions add a new step to update the following field to “First Response by Status” to “Nearing noncompliance”
  5. Image
  6. Save and Activate the SLA
  7. Now within the Form Designer for the Case you need to update the details of the Timer control as follows:
  8. Image
  9. Now publish your form
  10. You are all done

When you now create a case that is nearing non compliant i.e. its hit the warning time your timer will turn orange.