Monthly Archives: February 2014


Customer Excellence Awards – Convergence 2014

Customer Effective Congratulates CSX Transportation on one of their Customer Excellence Awards

Customer Effective Congratulates CSX Transportation on one of their Customer Excellence Awards

Microsoft’s 2014 Customer Excellence Awards for CRM Dynamics were recently made public and Customer Effective racked up numerous awards in their efforts to help various organizations on their CRM journey.  I have been lucky to be a member on a majority of these projects with Customer Effective in one way or another.  A lot of great people have contributed to these projects and it’s exciting to see the recognition growing to more and more Customer Effective projects.

For those unfamiliar with Microsoft’s Customer Excellence Awards, here’s a quick overview:

The Customer Excellence Awards recognize, honor, and celebrate customer organizations that are achieving outstanding success with their Microsoft solutions. In each award category, award winners are chosen on their ability to provide amazing experiences for their customers through the use of their Microsoft Dynamics solution.

Some of these awards cover projects that have spanned years.   The teams behind each of these projects are composed of knowledgeable, creative individuals.  Moving well beyond fields on a form, these projects leverage Microsoft CRM’s ability to adapt completely around the business and user’s needs.  Each of these projects are a journey and I’m grateful to be working with awesome people, users, and organizations.


CRM 2013 – Copying a Process

Within CRM 2013, processes are incredible.  Since they are great time savers for users, I typically get a lot of positive feedback regarding them.

One feature missing from CRM 2013 is the ability to copy an existing process; however, there is a nice work-around we’ll explore today.  If you are like me and create some fairly in-depth processes, then copying a process should hopefully save you some time.  Let’s walk through how to copy a process:

Copying a Process Step-by-Step

  • First, open the Process you want to duplicate:
    Copying a Process: Opening the Process to Duplicate

    Notice the “Activate As” field

    Read More »


CRM DevTools Extension by Sonoma Partners

Blake Scarlavai over at Sonoma Partners built a very cool Chrome add-in called CRM DevTools.  This applies to CRM 2011 UR12+ and CRM 2013 and allows you to quickly find the record’s GUID without having to remember or typing any of this into the console directly.  The tool also allows you to execute fetch and see the results.  This is a great time saver and something everyone should have in their toolbox.

Here’s an excerpt:

CRM DevTools

CRM DevTools is an extension to Google Chrome which can be found here in the Chrome web store.  This extension provides a variety of tools to help optimize customizing and troubleshooting within Dynamics CRM.

Form Information

CRM DevTools - Form Information

  • Displays the current form’s back-end information
    • Entity Name
    • Entity Id
    • Entity Type Code
    • Form Type
    • Is Dirty
  • Ability to show the current form’s attribute’s schema names
  • Ability to refresh the current form

Current User Information

CRM DevTools - User Information

  • Domain Name
  • User Id
  • Business Unit Id

There is a lot more to what this add-in can provide.  Here’s the original post.  I think this is a great idea and I’m excited to see if more and more functionality is added to this down the road.


CRM 2013 – Start Users on a Dashboard vs Personal Wall

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers by default a “What’s New” landing page known as the Personal Wall.  The “what’s new” page is a great place to start and is part of the social add-ins Microsoft introduced with CRM 2011.

Personal Wall

Checking out the social aspects of the Personal Wall


Although the Personal Wall is great, I often like to start users on a custom dashboard:

Here's an example of dashboard that launches to various entities and summarizes data specific to the user.  A different approach to the Personal Wall.

Here’s an example of dashboard that launches to various entities and summarizes data specific to the user

A dashboard customized around the users day-to-day needs allows for users to quickly see and get to pertinent information.  In my case, my team mainly focuses on the companies, projects and tasks assigned to us individually.

Read More »


Processes within CRM 2013

One question I always try to ask users is, “does anything feel redundant?”  If you ask a few people this question, you’ll sometimes find sticking points you never even thought of.  What’s great about this question is that CRM 2013 seems to always have a solution to the user’s frustration.  One solution I go back to again and again is the “Process” dialog.

Let’s look at a real-life example…

The Dreaded Weekly Work Plan

A client I’m working with has to build out a plan each week of the projects they are going to work on.  Each user typically has one or more projects taking place each week and each project typically last several months.  Additionally, at the start of each month users are typically expected to have five weeks of work planned out.

To management, this was important to understand who was freeing up as well as anticipated cash-flow of billable projects.  To the users, this was one of two TPS reports they had to deal with.  Both were frustrated since users were slow to get these entered and management always felt the numbers were unreliable.

In this case, the users were asked only minimal information:

A basic CRM form with minimal input fields.

A basic CRM form with minimal input fields.


Read More »


Chasing a Dream

 A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
Bruce Lee

This week I heard for yet another time that I did not make my goal of being a Microsoft MVP for CRM Dynamics.  Some around me encouraged me to keep going, keep digging, and keep embracing the Microsoft community.  A few said forget about them, that I share more with people directly than blog posts could ever capture.  Others, told me to drop the pursuit entirely since it wasn’t something I’d ever realize.

User Adoption of CRM can sometimes be like this award I’m chasing.  First of all, you can’t strong-arm people into using CRM; instead, you have to match their needs well enough for them to want to use the system.  Secondly, you have to research what matters to them.  For user adoption, it’s often the case that I sit down with users one-on-one and experience a day in the life of what they do.  I take notes of redundancy or monotonous activities but avoid commenting on it, unless they complain about something being mundane.  With the award, I’m turning over every stone I can to find out how others have achieved it.  With user adoption, you have to find what’s missing and if they’re not using CRM for something, then what is filling their need.

If you’re discouraged with your CRM User Adoption, realize that CRM works and it works really well.  If users are resisting the system, go back to them and make sure they are involved throughout the configuration process.  Talk to them about what they like and build on the wins.  In the end, it will take time, patience, and encouragement.

Failure is interesting, but it doesn’t mean the story ends there.  I realize that everyone around me is trying to make me better, make me feel better, or just allowing me to not dwell.  Luckily, I’m not upset or discouraged.  Instead, I’m motivated.

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