Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference

Mobile is a hot topic these days. According to a recent Aberdeen study, Best in Class organizations that provide their sales teams with Mobile CRM, a whopping 65% meet or exceed?their sales quotas. In a similar study, Forrester found as high as 60% improvement in customer service. No wonder it?s a hot topic. To learn how you can increase user adoption, improve customer service and become a Best in Class organization, join me at the Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference.

Take Your Dynamics CRM to the Next Level with the Resco.Next Mobile CRM Conference.

September 14-15, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts

Insightful Sessions from CRM Experts. Hands-On Trainings. Knowledge Sharing

Plan on attending Resco.Next ? the educational conference designed for all mobile CRM enthusiasts. Over the 2 days with 3 parallel tracks consisting of technical & business sessions to choose from, you will gain in-depth product knowledge, new insights about the CRM market and learn how to mobilize your CRM solution to move your business forward.

I will be presenting a session titled ?How to Win Deals, Create Raving Fans and Explode CRM Adoption?

In this session we will review a couple of case studies on how Resco was used to successfully differentiate from the competition and provide significant wins.?We?ll look at case studies of how organizations get the greatest value out of CRM by creating compelling solutions with Resco Mobile CRM.

What You Will Learn:

  • The steps we took to create a compelling vision
  • How Resco was configured to excite users
  • Open forum to ask questions and share ideas

Interested in attending? It?s not too late. Sign up here for a $230 discount. Special price of USD350 via this link.

Dynamics CRM Spring Wave 14 Rolling Out

The Dynamics CRM Spring Wave 14 is rolling out.

The notifications started hitting administrator’s email in-boxes early this week. So, the release is actually a little early! Fine by me as I like nice surprises like this.

You can find more details and getting ready steps here:

As a Friday Tip the following is what you can expect as part of the upgrade notice. This update isn’t exactly following the previously communicated process of CDU’s (Customer Driven Update). Microsoft was going to provide 90, 30, 15, and 7 day notices of upgrades once they were scheduled. In this case, the notifications just started showing up in email inboxes. Technically Microsoft applied a UR (update rollup) and you have the option of completing the steps for the actual CDU.

As a refresher, going forward a UR will be bug fixes and performance improvements, and will be automatically applied. A CDU will have functionality improvements and notifications and potentially additional steps are required from the customer/user.

In any case here is what the email will look like. if you haven’t received yours already.

Spring Wave Email NotificationOnce you receive your notification, login to your CRM application and go to Settings, Administration.

Spring Wave AdministrationStart with selecting the “Install Product Updates” link. This will take you to a nicely done additional details screen. Check out the materials here as Microsoft did a nice job.

Spring Wave DetailsHere is what you find if you click the More links on this page.

Spring Wave Fine Print and Resources

Now it’s time to click the Update button; you will get a chance to back out of your don’t want to start the process just yet.

Spring Wave Last ChanceOnce you click OK on this page though, it’s too late. The upgade begins but you get to watch a nice little video while you wait. The update time varies, most are taking between 10-20 minutes.

Spring Wave InstallingThat’s it! You are done.

Spring Wave Ready Rock and RollAfter the upgrade is complete you will see the following changes to your system.

Spring Wave Customer Service 1

And here are the admin settings for configuring all the new Customer Service capabilities.

Spring Wave Customer Service Admin

You are now ready to enjoy the Dynamics CRM Spring Wave 14 Updates.

Next tip I’ll cover the Social Listening and Marketing updates that are also included in this wave. There are a few more steps required to add those capabilities.

Microsoft MarketingPilot Update from WPC 2013

MarketingPilot: what it means for the new marketer and your business

Another quick from the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference – WPC 2013 sessions. This is an overview and a few screenshots of a MarketingPilot session presented by:

  • Jamie Fiorda, Director, Worldwide Product Marketing
  • Jeff Marcoux. Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Dynamics CRM

The entire video link is below, if you want to watch. It’s about an hour so I am giving you the Cliff’s notes version.

As a recap, if you are not aware, Microsoft purchased a marketing automation and marketing resource management application called MarketingPilot in October 2012. MarketingPilot delivers powerful, integrated marketing management solutions that can help you better understand your customers, get exceptional insight and control over budgets and resources, and create automated, measurable multi-channel campaigns that deliver real results to the top line.

Microsoft has been busy revamping the user interface and user experience. It will match the user experience we will see in the new Dynamics CRM 2013 release (formerly called Orion). Screenshot below.

In addition, they are focused on adding deeper functionality both within MarketingPilot as well as the integration with Dynamics CRM.

The positioning of MarketingPilot will focus on two areas. The needs of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the needs of the functional marketing team.

The CMO?s top concerns – reducing costs, decreasing time to market, managing budgets better, and measuring performance of their marketing investments.

The functional marketing team?s needs are more tactical and focus on assigning and completing tasks related to campaigns, materials, resources, events and digital campaigns. Tracking and reporting on these activities are also very important.

The stated advantage for Microsoft and MarketingPilot is the connected database and history of contacts, accounts, opportunities and customer care. It?s delivering on the promise of a single repository for marketing, sales and customer service.

MarketingPilot - Integrated Marketing Management

?MarketingPilot with Dynamics CRM


Prior to the demo the B2B marketing, maturity model was presented. I liked this slide and can easily where we are at, as well as many of our clients and prospects. It?s a pretty good summary of where organization fits in their marketing maturity (or strategic use of marketing). Where do you see your organization?

?Marketing Maturity Model

So, on to the demo and what we were shown. Consistent with Dynamics CRM, the starting point for most users is a dashboard view. Like CRM, it is configurable by role and by user.

?MarketingPilot Dashboard

Navigating will also be the same between CRM and MarketingPilot In addition the concept of a List View and Detail View are also used, similar between the two, but not exactly the same UI. Here is a Campaign List View.

?MarketingPilot Campaign List

And selecting one of the records, we see the Campaign Detail View.

MarketingPilot Campaign Detail

Approvals and routing are usually a big deal when it comes to marketing. Often there are lots of people that have input for the look and feel, the positioning, the types of material; etc. Notice the Route for Approval button highlighted below.

MarketingPilot Routing and Approvals

Job or Task tracking

MarketingPilot Jobs and Tasks

In the demo, a search for a particular white paper was performed. Which takes us to another useful capability, content management, content markup, development (landing pages, web pages, etc.), and even content tracking (how often has the material been opened, downloaded, clicked, etc.).

Moving, a nice add is global search. Notice it at the top of the screen?I really hope we see this in CRM as well!

MarketingPilot Global Search

Content Management

MarketingPilot Content Management

Content Markup

MarketingPilot Content Markup

Content Tracking

MarketingPilot Content Tracking

?Another important area to most marketing teams are the ability to conduct email campaigns. There has been light details on these capabilities to date. The demo was brief and did not provide much more details, however, they did indeed demonstrate there are HTML email managing and tracking capabilities.

HTML Email Performance Tracking

MarketingPilot Performance Tracking

HTML email and template editing.

MarketingPilot Email and Template Editing

In today?s business world, social media campaigns are a very important requirement for marketing teams. As we saw with the email capabilities, we will see social media campaign management and tracking.

MarketingPilot Social Media Campaign

Twitter posting made from MarketingPilot.

MarketingPilot Twitter Support

That covers the highlights from the demo and recording. The session ended with some details on what?s coming in the office release, which has been delayed. The original information we were getting from Microsoft is MarketingPilot would be included in the Orion release. The information below now confirms it will not be in Orion, and rather, will be in a Q1 2014 release, currently code named ?Mira?. One of the nice adds will be visual nurture and workflow capabilities.

MarketingPilot Mira Update

And for our international clients and friends, below are the 17 markets and 10 languages that will be included with the Mira launch.

MarketingPilot Markets and Languages

A couple of questions that still remain open are current availability with Dynamics CRM integration and pricing. On current availability, we heard from Microsoft that MarketingPilot 15 was released, and it stated the integration is available; ?MarketingPilot 15 and the MarketingPilot Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM is expected to be available in the month of March, and will be offered to customers in the United States and to existing MarketingPilot Online customers worldwide.?

Well, there are a few caveats and back-pedaling on that, namely (from the configuration guide):

  • MarketingPilot and the Connector are initially provided to a limited audience of customers and partners (referenced as Customer in this document).
  • The customer must have subscribed to Microsoft Azure which can be requested as a free trial or paid subscription. (MH: I really hope they make this step completely automated like so many of the partner add-ons do ? sorry, but setting this stuff up on your own is for techies only).
  • In this subscription the customer will need to create a Service Bus of an available namespace of his choice and two queues (MH: See what I mean…)

For all intents and purposes, this is really not available yet. In fact, a question in the Q&A was asked and Jamie Fiorda responded that he doesn’t recommend anyone going and selling this just yet.

Regarding pricing, the statement is a flat ?no pricing is available at this time?.

All in all some exciting things to look forward to. It?s still a bit pre-mature to go out and start using MarketingPilot but it looks like good progress. Unfortunately, a little slower than our initial expectation, but progressing none the less.

Sign up for our newsletter if you would like to receive timely information on MarketingPilot as well as CRM 2013.

Dynamics CRM Keynote Highlights WPC 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM momentum, vision, and product roadmap

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 (WPC) – Houston

I was not able to attend WPC this year, however, I have been keeping a close eye on the action. In the spirit of sharing I have a few highlights below from the Dynamics CRM roadmap session. If you want to watch the whole video the link is posted below. It’s about an hour so I am giving you the Cliff’s notes version here.

A few Dynamics CRM stats to start with:

  • 3.5 Million Dynamics CRM Users
  • 40,000 Companies
  • 2 out of 3 customers choose cloud
  • 35th straight quarter of double-digit growth

Pretty impressive numbers across the board. Dynamics CRM provides businesses huge value so it’s no surprise to me that adoption rates are so impressive.

On to a few key slides from the presentation…

First up, Dynamics CRM 2013 Key Themes. Microsoft recently announced?we should see Dynamics CRM 2013, previously called Orion, in the “fall” of 2013.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Key Themes

  • Reimagined Experience – Clean, fast, more intuitive interface drives productivity
  • Process Agility – Agile process guidance to respond rapidly to changing business needs
  • CRM on the Go – Access what you need where you need it
  • Social in Context – Work across boundaries to create the right customer experiences

A lot of marketing speak in that slide, so I’ll translate. Dynamics CRM 2013 will have a brand new, totally re-written interface. The online users have had early access to this experience for the last few months. It is a much more fluid and seamless user experience that has a more flat “metro” like look and feel with an emphasis on friendly finger input. Here is an example of that UI.?Dynamics CRM 2013 User Interface

Agile process guidance, think of it as almost step by step guides built into the experience. The great news is that multiple processes will be supported to better fit the business need. E.g. one can quickly select between a Lead to Cash process, or a Lead to Quote process or a Qualify a Lead process. Each process has it’s own stages and steps associated with it. Even better, very simple input and data updates. For those that have multiple environments or divisions, the processes will be “package-able” to make it easy to move them from one instance to another.

CRM on the Go, is the first attempt at a more mobile device friendly experience. The bad news, initial release will not have offline access, however the connected experience is a great step forward.

Social in Context is mostly about having Yammer inside of CRM and connected with related records and entities. This is a bit of new paradigm for a lot of people but I highly recommend you have your

users try it out.

Dynamics CRM with Yammer

It allows for much faster and efficient internal communication and collaboration on leads, accounts, opportunities and pretty much any other entity in CRM. E.g. instead of sending out?an email to the entire company that you need a reference for a client, simply post that in the related Yammer feed and see the entire thread of conversation at a glance. This gives you an idea of that…


I’ll now switch to a more visual post and show you some of the more pertinent updates in screenshots.

First up are a couple of more screenshots of the new UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) changes coming. All of the left side navigation has been moved to the top, essentially replacing the old, but familiar, ribbon toolbar. I happen to like it. As you can see below, if click or tap on the Sales link, it shows you the related entities for Sales.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Sales

As you can see here, you can more easily and quickly get to any of the other entities. Selecting any of the buttons will show you the most recentlyopened records.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Navigation

There is a now also a Quick Create link that you can access to quickly add any records. Notice there is no popup, per se, rather it is a “drop down” form that provides quick and easy data entry. Definitely much faster than before.

Dynamics CRM 2013 - Quick Create

As mentioned in the key themes, multiple process support is included. it’s fast and easy to switch between processes. This really helps with a consistent process for all users. It’s almost a built in user guide for CRM.

Dynamics CRM 2013 -  Multiple Process Support

Dynamics CRM 2013 -  Multiple Process UI

Nest up is the CRM on the Go, or mobile device support. The initial focus is on tablets, and frankly, that makes sense to me. CRM is really meant for a larger screen. Here are the Windows 8 mobile and iPad screenshots.

Dynamics CRM 2013 - Windows Mobile

Dynamics CRM 2013 - iPad

Next up are a couple of screenshots from the upcoming Netbreeze integration.

Dynamics CRM 2013 - Netbreeze

Dynamics CRM 2013 - Netbreeze - 2

The bad news it seems there is a slip of the MarketingPilot and Netbreeze integration. That’s a shame because we have been hearing all along it would be included in Orion. These will now be included in the Mira release in Q1 2014.

Dynamics CRM Release Plan

Finally, a peak into what the future releases will focus on. I am happy to see a long overdue update to Customer Service enhancements. No details but at least they are thinking about it.

Dynamics CRM Roadmap

All in all, some pretty exciting updates! As more details are learned I will pass them along.

Resco MobileCRM Spring Update 2013

Resco Announces Mobile CRM Spring Update 2013.

Details here:

Resco?has their?new office in Boston up and running and currently focused on staffing and partner outreach. Just released a new HTML5 review client. This is basically a proof of concept and not really ready for production deployment, but, a good example of how quickly they provide new updates and the future direction of HTML based app clients. Download from your favorite device app store to check it out (search for Resco). The next major release of MobileCRM ?will include additional functionality to the business rule editor, which provides codeless business rules. Looking forward to that.

Announced at Convergence, they also released an “Extras Update”. Included in the newest release of Woodford and Studio, they have added:

Improved Enterprise Security –Resco MobileCRM Spring Update 2013

  • Remote Wipe-Out of data from the application
  • Session Time-Out that locks the app
  • Session Time Table and GPS Fencing restricts users to work within a given time period or location only
  • Session Speed disables the app when the device moves at speed over a predefined limit
  • Kiosk Mode – enables users to use nothing but the Mobile CRM app on the mobile device

Improved User Audits –

  • view, create or update data
  • synchronize the application
  • launch and exit the software
  • actually use Mobile CRM app

White Label/Branding Push –

??????? Customers can create their own branded app offer on app stores

  • Change the look and feel of the application to match company identity
  • inform customers about company?s nearest locations, services or special deals
  • add sale vouchers or news
  • actively engage with the company via chat wall
  • provide customer feedback and service issues through the app and back into CRM

More details here:?Details here:

Microsoft Convergence 2013 – Polaris and Orion

When Update Rollup 12 (UR 12), codename “Polaris”, was released for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in January, it included a new Process Driven User Interface. This is still only available for CRM Online customers, it does provide an glimpse into the changes coming in the Dynamics CRM user experience (UX). If you want an idea of where this new UI/UX is going, take a look at, the former Hotmail browser based email. User Interface and User Experience - Coming to Dynamics CRM

The single window paradigm, Polaris, signficantly reduces the amount of pop-up forms in Dynamics CRM,  (whic is a good thing). The Polaris release provided this new experience for just a few forms, think if it as a preview, including Account, Contact, Opportunity, Case and Lead detail forms. Orion, scheduled for Q2 2013 has a goal of replacing all forms with this new experience. Below is an example of that new experience.

Dynamics CRM - Polaris UI / UX - Coming to all of CRM

In the new UX, opening an individual record form, all editing and updates takes place in the same window. Even the lookups no longer popup another form, rather, they provide an "inline" lookup. The same goes for grids in the main window, no more popups, just a nice clean, in-grid editing experience…nice!

Michael McCormack, Senior Program Manager Lead for the user experience team within Microsoft Dynamics CRM said “The whole purpose of Orion is to get rid of that window problem we’ve had for so long.”  Yeah!!!

Polaris also provides cross browser support! See supported browsers and OS's here:

In addition, the commitment to cross-browser support was emphasized multiple times. Mr. McCormack even said he doesn’t currently use Dynamics CRM on Internet Explorer at all and neither does most of his team. He said this helps ensure they provide an excellent non-IE user experience. Double Yeah!!! (PS – the new release actually runs faster on Chrome….go figure 🙂 )

Dynamics CRM on Chrome

Dynamics CRM on Google Chrome

Dynamics CRM on Mac OSX Safari

Dynamics CRM on Mac OSX Safari

Microsoft Convergence 2013 – Summary


Microsoft Convergence 2013 was held in wonderful New Orleans (NOLA), LA, March 18th-21st.

NOLA - New Orlease - Microsoft Convergence 2013 - Dynamics CRM

If you would like to see my tweets from New Orleans, go here:

The following are a few highlights from Convergence 2013:

  1. Let’s start with growth. Microsoft announced at Convergence 2013 the latest Microsoft Dynamics CRM adoption numbers, with more than 3 million users and more than 39,000 customers.
  2. The opening had some great customer stories. I found it curious the vast majority were B2C customers. Just a coincidence? The posted case studies can be found on the Microsoft website here.
  3. The Marketing Pilot Announcement & Netbreeze AnnouncementAcquisitions.
  4. The new User Interface (UI) recently released with Polaris and the continued direction and new features for Orion. I will include some screenshots soon.
  5. The new cross browser and mobile experiences available across devices

There were a lot of good sessions. In fact it’s often hard to choose which session to go, there are so many good ones! There are a few below that cover the some of the highlights above. In addition you can see the changes coming in the user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). You may need to register herebefore viewing these videos.

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM: The New Era in CRM.
    • Includes Dynamics CRM vision, the changing role of CRM in the Era of the Customer and what that means for sales, marketing and customer care. Overview of new UI, Marketing Pilot and Netbreeze. Shows a couple of short product demonstrations. Link to video.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Recap & Roadmap Primer.
    • Details of the roadmap, including mobile, for the future of Microsoft Dynamics CRM over the next 6-24 months. Link to video.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Reimagining the User Experience.
    • This session covered to see how users today work with CRM across different browsers, mobile devices and Microsoft Office. Previews the great new innovations in user experiences (UX) and design coming in future releases. Link to video.
  • Advanced Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
    • Covers reporting and analytics capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. New and updated analysis capabilities available in Microsoft Excel 2013, PowerPivot, PowerView, Office Apps and other tools with SQL Server 2012. Link to video.
  • The New Microsoft Office 365: Your New Office – Social Productivity at Work
    • Overview of the new Office and Microsoft’s vision for enterprise social. New updates for cloud, social, and mobile. Link to video.
    • I you aren’t familiar with Office 365, go now and check it out. The 2013 updates are amazing. I think a whole new level of productivity is available. Awesome stuff, really!

Dynamics CRM on Windows RT/Surface First Look

There are a lot of blogs, articles and reviews already out there for Windows Surface, Windows 8 and Windows RT. This post will focus on the use of Windows Surface and Dynamics CRM 2011. If you are not aware, Microsoft just announced UR11 which provides Dynamics CRM 2011 support for Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 and Office 2013.

First, a little about the device. Windows Surface

One of the first things to get used to in Windows 8 and the Windows Surface device are the differences between Apps (Windows UI mode) and desktop mode. The desktop mode applications are the traditional Windows based applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, etc.). The Apps (now called Windows UI) are touch enabled or touch specific ?mini? versions of desktop applications. There are additional differences when it comes to the Windows RT versions, however, we won?t go fully into those differences in this review.

On the Windows Surface device, there is a ?full? desktop browser which is Internet Explorer 10. There is also a Windows UI app (I?ll call it IE App) that is essentially a mini version of IE 10 and is both touch and HTML5 optimized. The IE App is a slimmed down version of IE10 and does not allow any plugins of any kind (Flash, Silverlight, Java, etc.).

It?s also important to note that even the full IE10 client on Windows RT (Surface) does NOT support Silverlight plugins. In fact no plugins are currently supported on this platform. The only ones that will be supported are those that can be downloaded and installed through the Windows App Store?so that means no Flash, Java, 3rd party plugins/apps like Toolbar helpers (Evernote, Google, Snagit, Adobe PDF, etc.).

It will be possible for these plugins and helpers to be available, at some point in the future, however, those companies must create specific versions for the ARM architecture and go through Windows App store validation (everyone can thank Apple for starting this trend).

There is currently a ?limited? Flash client that has been pre-installed on Surface. From what I have found, limited means those sites that Microsoft has deemed to be ok to display/run flash in the IE10 browser?a whitelist of sorts is managed and maintained by Microsoft. Frankly, I was never a fan of Adobe Flash and think Jobs was absolutely correct in his assessment of Flash. Technically there appears to be a way to ?hack? this list but do so at your own risk. I personally don?t recommend you do this, but, if you?re feeling adventurous, here is the link.

Overall I really like the touch interface using the Internet Explorer App. It does sometimes require a double tap on a target for it to register. I attribute this to the CRM client not being fully touch aware?yet.

Hyperlinks in CRM columns often require a double-tap. Sometimes the double-tap registers as a Zoom and the screen just zooms in closer instead of opening the record. It might be a better practice to highlight the record, then press the edit button (or use the Touch Cover/mouse). BTW, I really like the Touch Cover much more than I expected I would. It works great and I recommend it. I have not tried the Type Cover yet, if any of you have please let me know what you think.



The IE App does not use the ?traditional? CRM popup, e.g. when opening an Account or Contact record, rather it pops the form to a new full browser screen. Nothing wrong with this, just something you should be aware of.


The IE App/IE10 does show the lookups as traditional popups. And yes, Find and Advanced Find work perfectly fine.


In my testing I discovered the settings between IE10 and IE App appear to be shared settings. E.g. I saw errors on several lookups, Dialogs, Export to Excel and the service calendar in both the IE App and IE10, however, after enabling Compatibility View in IE10, the settings ?carried over? to the IE App. After enabling Compatibility View, I was able to successfully use Lookups, Run Dialogs and Service calendar in both IE10 and IE App and made the application fully functional.

To enable Compatibility View, press the Alt key then select Tools, Compatibility View Settings

Add this website ?



Note, compatibility view will allow export to excel, however, maintaining a connection between the Excel spreadsheet and CRM is not currently possible. The CRM Outlook client installs functionality for maintaining a connection between the exported data and the spreadsheet. Outlook and Dynamics CRM for Outlook client cannot be installed on Windows RT, therefore, the ability to refresh the CRM data in the spreadsheet from Excel is not available.

Outlook is not supported on Windows RT and Microsoft has no immediate plans to support Outlook on Surface (they are positioning it as a consumer device and the built in mail/calendar apps are designed for those purposes).

The above also means, currently, no CRM Offline support on Surface/RT.

Since the above is the case, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you use Email Router and NOT Outlook for processing email. If you don?t setup Email Router your emails will not be sent/received in CRM.

Dialogs do not work. The form for selecting a dialog will display, but you cannot then select a dialog and

Word Mail Merge does not work. There is a special RT version of Word installed on the Surface (Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013). This provides most of the capabilities of standard Word (and Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote) however, it is a special version compiled specifically to run on the ARM architecture. One of the main limitations of this office is no Activex or Visual Basic for Applications are allowed to run. I believe this is the reason that Mail Merge does not work with Dynamics CRM.

CRM does not detect that Lync App is running so the presence/notification jewels are not available. I certainly hope this is addressed soon.

If the CRM client has any Silverlight screens, they will not work. The install plugin message is seen but it still won?t work on the IE App (no plugins of any kind). Note they do work in IE10 on the device. In my view, this is a leading indicator on why you should think about rebuilding any specific functionality you have built in Silverlight to either HTML5 or HTML/JavaScript.


Attachments work with Skydrive stored documents, very easily. I like what they did here.

We happen to use ClickDimensions as our marketing tool and it does work with either client in compatibility view. I tested all functions and found no issues, from HTML emails, landing pages, websites etc.

Admin issues.

Settings, Customization ? click and drag, even in compatibility mode is a little flaky. It sometimes works but overall not recommended that you make a lot of customization changes on Surface at this time. Oddly, the IE App works a bit better in this area. I found the drag and drop worked much more reliably and smoother. Still a tiny bit flaky but overall workable for making fast changes on the go.

Creating processes all seem to work fine.

Where this device excels (no pun intended) over the iPad are:

The Touch Pad is cool and typing on it is much easier and better than I expected it would be. The only downside, no Fn (function) keys. Bummer, there is plenty of space for them?e.g. no F1, F5, etc.. Still Touch Pad is Recommended!

Excel, Word and PowerPoint are available and does 99% of what most people use them for.

USB support! Yeah, great way to expand storage if needed and more importantly to share data while on the road. This also means USB devices are supported. Slight caveat that some drivers may not be ready for Windows RT.

Micro SD card support! Again Yeah!

External monitor support, and can duplicate or extend the desktop. Standard micro-HDMI out port will display any app to the screen or extend the monitor to the other screens. Perfect for giving presentations on external projectors and monitors. I have a 27? monitor at the office and the Surface works great with its 1366×768 (HD) display on the device AND it shows full resolution on the larger monitor (1920X1200 in this case). Only trouble is you want to start touching and swiping on the large monitor J

Printer support out of the box. I have a Canon wireless printer and it detected it automatically and set it up for me?I didn?t have to do a thing?.it just worked!

Snapping running apps, e.g. I can have 2 apps running side by side and can adjust the sizes of each. In the case below I have CRM and Email running side by side.


Apple, hear any of that?!

On a final note for this post, keep in mind that Microsoft Surface does not currently have a 3G/4G cellular option. This is a WiFi only device so for those businesses that require always connected capabilities they must purchase a MiFi/Hotspot type device, or use local Wifi that may be available. Additional Windows RT devices are hitting that market that will have cellular 3G/4G built in but those are not Microsoft Surface devices (e.g. Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, HP, etc.).

Overall I am really excited about these new devices and think it opens up a whole new paradigm for traveling users in particular. To me, the biggest limitation of an iPad is that is has been a companion device. What I mean is, I couldn?t replace what I do with the iPad. I need the power of a full laptop and access to the Office applications. We are now on the verge of having devices that give us the best of both worlds (and might I add additional capabilities for regulated industries?you know who you are). I could be on the precipice of finally having a small, light and fast device that has great battery life and lets me do everything I need it to do.

Stay tuned for some additional first looks of some of the other applications in our solution framework.

Microsoft Convergence 2012?Notes from Houston?Day 3

All good things must come to an end and so it is for Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2012. The excitement and enthusiasm continued on the final day. This has been the best Convergence for content, attendance and audience. Adding to all this great event was the closing keynote by General Colin Powel (Ret.).

Closing Keynote

Doug Kennedy, VP of Microsoft Dynamics Partners and Support Services, started the closing keynote. Doug started with a summary of the event and a recap of the volunteer and community service efforts that attendees performed while in Houston. Doug mentioned there were 10,225 attendees and 268 sponsors at this year?s event, the largest Dynamics event ever.

General Colin Powell (Ret) on stage at #Microsoft #conv12, techy at heart, COBOL programmer! transformations is constant. Loves #Corvette

Gen. Colin Powell (Ret), provided the overall closing keynote. I was looking forward to this and was not disappointed! Gen Powell has had an impressive career and delivered a great speech. He was actually a funny guy and shared some very interesting stories. Interesting note for the techies, he?s started out as a Cobol programmer! He has also been busy lately giving back with a focus on America?s Promise Alliance and GradNation.? The overall themes of his talk were:

  • Loves speaking with audiences
  • Currently a partner at Kleiner Perkins
  • He?s on Facebook!
  • Love?s Corvette’s but recently sold it for Fisker Karma (great taste in muscle cars!)
  • Where you came from doesn’t matter, only where you end up
  • Your past is not your future
  • Key to success is execution

He also shared insights on how to maintain focus, take responsibility and constantly work towards improving processes, organizations and people. Thank you Microsoft for helping make this happen with such a great leader possible. Loved it!

Developers Guide to Integrating Dynamics CRM with SharePoint

This session was presented by Girish Raja who always provides great content and presentations. He shared some great insights and tips for integrating Dynamics CRM and SharePoint beyond the out of box capabilities. Girish covered:

  • Document and data collaboration
  • User Experience (UX) options
  • Web parts (with BCS rarely needed anymore with SP2010)
  • Works great with Office 365 as well.

Future releases (end of year and 2013) will have better, more automatic integration. It will also go beyond the current Out of Box (OOB) and take advantage of document sets, workflow, versioning, and approvals.

Solutions Management in Dynamics CRM

This session was geared to those that are responsible for creating configuration and customization in Dynamics CRM and packaging them into Solutions. This could be as simple as creating some new functionality in your development or QA instance and porting them over to production. Also covered was more complex scenarios for Enterprise customers that might have multiple environments with multiple developers and heavy source code management needs. Some of the topics covered were:

  • Managed and Unmanaged Solutions and when to use each
  • Using the API for Solution packaging and deployment
  • Tips and tricks for team-based development
  • Considerations for on-premise and online deployments
  • Review of what?s happening behind the scenes

Well that?s a wrap for me at this year?s Convergence. I really wish I had more time and could tele-transport and attend different sessions at the same time. There was that much great content.

As mentioned in a previous blog, in the coming days and weeks we?ll be posting following up content and examples to help you with your learning needs as well. Stay tuned!


Microsoft Convergence 2012?Notes from Houston?Day 2

Another exciting day at Convergence. The energy around Dynamics CRM is palpable and at the highest levels I?ve seen or felt it. If this is any indication, the growth of CRM is going to explode.

No Keynote today so I started with the ?Developer?s Guide to Integration with Dynamics CRM? session. While I?m no longer a day to day developer, I am still know enough to be dangerous and found a lot of value in this session. Keeping my technical skills sharp helps me help clients better understand the technologies, tools, approaches and options to solve business problems.

This session focused on integrating user experience, business processes and data across multiple systems for both on-premise and online (cloud). A lot of detailed information was presented for data augmentation, e.g. updating contacts with profile information from external data sources. In the Life Sciences industry as it helps ?fill in the blanks? for the health care practitioners that Life Science companies typically interact with. Data augmentation in this case includes specialties, areas of focus, research interest, clinical studies, even background information like where a physician interned.

Topics included the use of Plugins, embedded URL?s, web services, dashboards, API?s and when to use these compared to using full on data integration with tools like SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) or third party tools like Scribe, CozyRoq, Paribus and others.

The session ended with a review of best practices and recommendations from Microsoft based on the experience their large enterprise and online/cloud implementations.

Next session was:

Document Management & Collaboration Best Practices With Dynamics CRM.

This session was particularly great as it included information for both flavors of CRM (on-premise & online) as well as SharePoint on-premise and Office 365.

One of my favorite topics as it includes both Dynamics CRM and SharePoint which is an awesome collaboration and document management system. SharePoint is in fact, the fastest growing enterprise product in Microsoft history. The 2010 release only makes SharePoint an even better system and I?m confident will continue its skyrocketing growth.

The value of SharePoint includes:

  • Document Management
  • Automatic Versioning
  • Workflow
  • Presence
  • Search
  • Collaboration (internal and external)
  • Group or Multi-user Authoring

The value of Office 365 is it includes all of the above and:

  • Exchange Email
  • Lync
  • SharePoint
  • Office Web Apps
  • Cost effective
  • Doesn?t require an IT degree to setup and configure
  • Scalable
  • Affordable

The session also included some Activity Feeds best practices. If you haven?t used Activity Feeds yet (free update for CRM 2011 users) I highly recommend it. The more I use the Activity Feeds feature, the more I like it. It?s a very fast way to keep your team updated on important actions related to your clients, leads, opportunities, cases and really any CRM Data.

For those not familiar with Activity Feeds, it provides real time notifications and quick sharing of information kind of like Facebook or Twitter for CRM users. Activity Feeds enable a user to follow and listen in on important activities that take place around the people, accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities or anything else that they care about.

Feed status updates can be posted manually by users or automatically based on business rules and workflow, e.g. auto post to the wall when a case is created for a customer your follow as well as email the account owner. Activity Feeds can also be posted to by external applications using web services, e.g. a SharePoint site. Bonus! Activity Feeds can be viewed and updated with a free Windows Phone app that is awesome! I hear through the grapevine this will be available on other device in the near future (this is unconfirmed rumor at this point but I?ve heard it more than once in the halls of Convergence)

Collaboration wouldn?t be complete without Microsoft Lync real-time presence, screen sharing, IM, phone calls and emails capabilities. Another app that increases productivity and efficiency especially when used in context of CRM.

Customer Service Excellence with Dynamics CRM

Focused on the customer service capabilities of CRM. This session reviewed some advanced examples of:

  • Guided Dialogs
  • Call Scripting
  • CTI Integration
  • Dashboards
  • Call center goals

We also got a peek of future release features which include:

  • Facebook & Twitter ? integrate with ability to create a case, communicate, respond, and track these interactions in CRM
  • Easier web customer portal
  • Field service improvements
  • Gamification

An example of gamification would be a call center application that has game like features in it. E.g. badges earned when certain activities are performed, avatars for users, points to do value added things, scoring, chat, bonuses, quick tasks that launch a CRM dialog, etc.. These capabilities are borrowed from games to engage and guide end users through their customer service activities.

That wraps up today?s post. I will be posting updates with examples and more details for the items I discussed above in the near future. The future of Dynamics CRM and complementary products looks bright. Microsoft has really been stepping up their game lately and things are looking awesome!