Category Archives for "Dynamics CRM"

New Workshop: Understanding Dynamics CRM Processes

Hi Everyone,

I have been trying to formalize some of my Dynamics CRM automation and processing training and I think I’ve finally found a format that I am happy with.

Let me introduce you to my new workshop: Understanding Dynamics CRM Processes.

Here is a little about the course:

Goal

When you finish this workshop you will have a very deep understanding of Dynamics CRM process, how to design and build them, and how they will benefit your business.

 

Hands-On

I am a huge believer that nothing makes you understand a new concept or technology better than just doing it yourself. That means you’ll be doing a lot of exercises and there will also be homework.

 

Live Environment

We’ll have a real playground in which to play by using a Dynamics CRM environment for all of our work.

 

A Different Style of Course

Instead of dedicating a full day to training, we’ll be meeting once per week for two hours. Can’t make a session? Don’t worry, they will be recorded and you can replay them later and just perform the work on your own, just like you are in class.

Class with start on Tuesday, June 21st and run through Tuesday, July 19th.

I will actually have two sessions: 10am-12pm CDT and 6pm-8pm CDT, so that people can fit it into their already busy schedules.

 

What You Will Learn

Here is a brief summary of the topics we’ll cover:

Workflows

From the basics to the advanced, you’ll learn everything that you need to know to understand, create, and maintain custom workflow processes.

Dialogs

So I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Dialogs” but don’t really understand what they are and how you would use them. Like workflows, we’ll be covering them in-depth so you can see for yourself.

Business Process Flows

I’m sure you have seen the progress bars on the Lead and Opportunity entity that give the user a quick indication of where that specific entity record is within the process. You’ll learn how to create and maintain these process flows to fit your business.

Custom Actions

Custom Actions have been around for a while but are often overlooked. We’ll discuss how and why they are used so you can see if they can be of benefit to your business.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions that have come up while building out the course:

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is for anyone who is classified, or classifies themselves, an administrator or power user. Or, it is for anyone who wants to expand their Dynamics CRM product knowledge. (see the next question.)

Am I qualified to attend?

Do you have at least a basic understand of how Dynamics CRM functions, how data is stored, and how to navigate around the application?  If so, then yes, this workshop is for you.

Will there really be homework?

Yes. With only two hours of class-time per week, there will a lot that you will need to accomplish on your own.

 

Ready to Investment in Yourself?

The cost of the course is a one-time payment of $997.

Preferred Session:

Announcing the Dynamics CRM Developer Bootcamp in June.

TrainingCourse description

If you are looking to get started with Dynamics CRM development, and are looking for an instructor-led, hands-on workshop, then let me introduce you to the Dynamics CRM Developer Bootcamp.

This course provides an introduction to the technologies, tools, and processes required to turn a .NET developer into a Microsoft Dynamics CRM developer. In–depth coverage is provided for both client and platform technologies through the use of real–world lab scenarios. Students will also be exposed to the most current third–party tools to aid them in their development efforts and finally, each student will receive a collection of templates and code–libraries to jump–start their development efforts.

Is this course for me?

If you are a developer who is just starting your journey into Dynamics CRM development and who needs to gain an understanding of the technologies, processes, and tools required to be a Dynamics CRM developer, then the answer is Yes!

Likewise, if you have been thrown into Dynamics CRM development (either voluntarily or kicking and screaming) and need to fortify your knowledge, then this course is also for you.

What you will learn:

The information covered is relevant to Dynamics CRM versions 2011 through 2016 (though some topics are specific to one version or the other). Here is what we cover:

  • Using the Dynamics CRM SDK with .NET to perform platform and query operations
  • How to create plugins and custom workflow activities
  • How and when to use the Dynamics CRM JavaScript object model
  • How to edit the Dynamics CRM SiteMap and the Ribbon components
  • How to create and use solutions effectively
  • You’ll also learn where to find, and how to use, the free tools available for both Dynamics CRM developers and administrators

Your instructor:

This class is taught by Mitch Milam, ten–time Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Dynamics CRM and an independent consultant specializing in Dynamics CRM architecture, development, and training.  This is your chance to learn from someone who has been developing with Dynamics CRM on a daily basis since Dynamics CRM version 3.0.

The dates:

Monday, June 6th through Friday, June 10th.

Class starts at 8:00am CDT and will last five or six hours per day, depending on the topic. Please budget the entire day so that you have time to complete the homework assignments. Class will end around mid-day on Friday, depending on the speed of the students.

Prerequisites:

This is a developer course so you must know:

  • Visual Studio, .NET and C#
  • Have a familiarity with the Dynamics CRM product
  • Passing familiarity with JavaScript

Course format:

This is an Internet-based workshop. Classroom time and discussions will be facilitated using GotoMeeting and we will be using Dynamics CRM 2016 Online  for our development environments. This will allow for the completion of labs and homework without causing conflicts with the other students.

The investment:

The investment for a standard developer ticket is $2,995.

The standard developer ticket with an additional four hours of follow-on coaching is $3,495.

Discounts are available for multiple students and a payment plan is also available to help spread the cost.

 

Sign up today!

Bonuses:

Students will also receive the following tools and resources, valued at over $500. Here is what you get:

  • Single-organization license for SnapShot! for Dynamics CRM
  • Electronic copies of my Deep Dive book series: Plugin Development, Administration, Security, and Query Strategies
  • Templates and code libraries that I used in my everyday development efforts

Announcing my Mentoring Program

Hi Everyone,

I decided to formalize my mentoring program to hopefully open the door to more organizations. This is a process that I conduct for customers on a fairly regular basis which fills a niche and a requirement when you need assistance, but do not have the need or budget for a full-blown consulting engagement.

Overview

I often run into customers who need additional help with either an architectural issue or a project they are working on. Many times, they do not have a need for a full-blown consulting engagement, but need to have access to someone they can bounce ideas off of when they hit a roadblock or a fork-in-the-road and need help with an architectural decision.

How it Works

When you sign up for our Mentoring Program, you are actually purchasing five hours of advisory services at a discounted rate.

We typically work out a schedule of conference calls or screen-shares in blocks of 30 or 60 minutes, depending on your requirements. This can be weekly calls, bi-weekly,or as required.

Typical Scenarios

Here are a few scenarios that I have done in the past:

  • Architecture design questions
  • Skills development roadmap
  • Training program design
  • “What-if” scenarios
  • Code-reviews

For More Information

To sign-up visit our Mentoring Program page.

Thanks, Mitch

Webinar Campaigns with Click Dimensions

I have been doing a lot of webinars lately through my Teaching Tuesdays program and in doing so, I am constantly refining my processes for all of the tasks that need to get completed before, during, and after the webinar.

The Click Dimensions integration with GoToWebinar  is a huge timesaver, in this regard, so I thought I would take a few minutes and document my process in hopes that it would be helpful to anyone else doing this type of work.

Stages

There are three distinct stages to any webinar:

  • Preparation
  • Presentation
  • Follow-up

Let’s discuss each one in turn.

 

Preparation

The first stage covers all activities leading up to the actual presentation itself. Everyone will probably have a different set of tasks, but here is what I currently do:

 

1. Create the Webinar in GoToMeeting.

This, of course, is the first step. Don’t forget to put it on your calendar. (yes, simple, but sometimes you get busy and forget)

 

2. Create a blog post announcing the webinar

3. Send a tweet pointing to the blog post.

4. Post a note on LinkedIn pointing to the blog post.

These three steps are actually handled through the same process. I use WordPress for all of my web sites and I have plugins that handle the tweet and LinkedIn post automatically.

 

5. Create an email template containing the announcement.

I have a standard blank email template that I just clone and insert the information into. I talk about this process in this article.

 

6. Send an email to the contacts in CRM who I think would be interested in attending the webinar.

I have two main subject areas (CRM and Xamarin) in my xRM Coaches CRM instance and have marketing lists for each. I just pick the appropriate list and send the email to them.

 

7. Webinar registration confirmation

When someone registers for the webinar, GoToWebinar will automatically send them a confirmation email.

8. Reminder blog post

Since my webinars are on Tuesdays, I create a second blog post on Friday, reminding them of Tuesday’s webinar. In most cases, this reminder post drives additional attendance. This is automatically tweeted and placed on LinkedIn.

 

9. GoToWebinar reminders

GoToWebinar will automatically send a reminder emails one day and one hour before the webinar, unless you change the setting.

 

Presentation

This stage encompasses more than just conducting the webinar. There is actually a lot more to it than that:

 

1. Start the webinar.

In most cases, you need to start a few minutes late to accommodate stragglers. Just delay long enough to get around 25% attendance or so, then start.

.

2. Make sure you are recording the webinar.

I forget this one about half of the time. Put a sticky-note on your monitor and use the “what attendees see” option on the GoToWebinar control panel to verify they are seeing the correct screen and application.

 

3. After the webinar, save the recording to disk.

You will be prompted to save the recording. This process can take as long as 30-60 minutes, depending on the length of the recording.

 

4. Upload the webinar

To my YouTube Channel. Again, this will take many minutes, depending o n the recording length.  I also create a custom thumbnail by taking a screen shot of my presentation title slide and use that for the recording. This eliminates YouTube from attempting to pull a random slide out of your presentation itself.

 

Follow-up

The follow-up stage closes the loop with your webinar registrants. One of the things you need to decide is if you treat attendees (those that actually attended the webinar) different than absentees (those to registered, but never attended).

Your numbers will vary, but if you get a 50% attendance rate you should be jumping up and down with joy because that is outstanding.  Most of the time, a 25-30% attendance is the norm.

 

1. Create marketing lists

Click Dimensions automatically creates the following CRM records for a webinar:

  • Event
  • Event Participants.
  • Contacts (which are tied to Event Participants)

You can use the participation to create the following types of Marketing Lists:

  • Registrants
  • Attendees
  • Absentees

There may be cases where you want to give only certain information to Attendees or you have a different message for Absentees, so you might wish to create separate Marketing Lists so you can target each group individually.  The Registrants Marketing List has everyone.

I personally have used all of the above, depending on the webinar.

 

2. Create email templates for follow-ups.

As with the notification email, you need to create an email template to perform a Click Dimensions Email Send operation.

 

3. Sent an email to the various Marketing Lists

Again, depending on how you want to handle Attendees and Absentees, will determine the number and content for the emails.

Note: Keep in mind that GoToWebinar can also send out a follow-up as well so you probably do not want two messages going out.

In my emails I typically add any links that I discussed in the webinar as well as a link to the recording.

 

4. Put a link to the webinar on your web site.

Depending on how you have your web site structured, you can put a link to the recorded webinar or embed a player directly on the page.  I am still trying to find the best fit for my sites, for this step, but I will probably end up with the embed option.

 

5. Blog Post (Optional)

I am still trying to decide if I want to do this step but you can always post another email pointing people to the webinar recording so that others may find and view it.  I am undecided if this is to much “chatter” about the same event.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it. That is what I currently do, and it is always subject to change.  I am thinking about adding some custom tools to help me with some of this process but they are only in the conceptual phase.

If you have things to share in your process, then leave a comment on this post.

I’d love to hear what you have to say.

2 Click Dimensions QwikTip: Create a standard blank email template

I have found it very convenient to have a standard email template to use as a basis for sending out general-purpose emails.

The template can be named anything you wish, and use which ever email editor you most commonly use.  In my case, I just used the standard Block Editor:

image

The default template for the Block Editor provides us with three sections.

In section one I put a salutation and a place marker for the CRM Contact’s first name. This is also where I would add any additional text.

The second section is my signature block.

The third section is the unsubscribe notice.

image

To use this template I just open it and use the Click Dimensions Clone feature, change the name and subject of the newly cloned template, then complete the contents of section one to represent whatever topic I’m writing about.

This saves you more time than you think and having the various sections prevents the inadvertent  formatting issues that sometimes arise when creating an HTML-based email.

1 Finding all activities for a particular entity type

I am in the process of migrating one of my customers from Dynamics CRM 2011 to Dynamics CRM 2015. While moving to the new environment, I am also moving their forms to the new form model.

While working on the Contract form, I noticed that every record that I reviewed had no activities associated with it. (they mostly regard the activities to the actual Account or Contact.

Since there are seldom any activities associated with a Contract, I was thinking that maybe I could remove the Activities/Notes pane from the middle of the form.

It takes up a lot of room and is pretty useless.

BUT, I really needed to know if this would cause any issues later, should they start regarding activities to the contracts.

I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to perform some experiments with Advanced Find.  I was quite pleased with my results.

It turns out that you can indeed locate the activities associated with a specific type of Entity.  You just need to construct your Advanced Find like this:

image

Here is how I created this:

1. Navigate to Activities

2. Select the All Activities view.

3. Add a search for the Regarding Entity that matches your quest. In my case, I was looking for Contracts (as you can see above).

4. Select the field that is the same name as the Regarding Entity type.

5. Change the selection criteria to Contains Data.

6. Click the Results button on the Ribbon.

 

This should show you any activity related to the specific type of Regarding Entity type.

The way this appears to work to me is in the selection of the field that Contains Data. The field on an entity, that is the same name as the entity, is actually the record ID. 

So in essence, we are searching for any activity whose record ID, for that type of entity, is not blank.

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