Wednesday, October 07, 2015

I’ll Be Online Next Week At Collab365 Delivering The Deadly Sins of SharePoint

3 out of every 5 companies using SharePoint struggle
.  If this sounds familiar, then I encourage you to attend Collab365, the free, 24-hour, online conference on Oct 7-8. There will be hundreds of great sessions with some pretty amazing content, and I’ll be delivering my Deadly Sins of SharePoint session, which was developed specifically from the things we have learned from helping struggling organizations.

Sure Way to a CRM Fail: "If We Build CRM [Right], They Will Come”

No one is using our CRM solutionAfter working with hundreds of companies and investing hundreds of hours into CRM success and failure research, there is one thing we have never heard from organizations that have successfully implemented CRM: “Our CRM was such a good tool for our sales team, that they want to use it.”

In other words, CRM is not going to be your Field of Dreams.  If you build it, they won’t come – no matter how good it is.

4 CRM Support Lessons from a Wine Maker

Support Agreement for Salesforce CRM Support Agreement For Microsoft Dynamics CRMWine.  I love it.  And I love visiting wineries whenever I can.  Wine and wine making are such rich sources of history, have an element of the artistic, and just feel closer to the basic and raw elements of the earth.  Like farming, there are a lot of simple lessons in wine making that apply to everything else in life.

But the lessons learned when my wife and I visited a wine maker on a recent trip still came as a surprise – I wasn’t expecting to see the connection between making wine, and improving customer relationship management (CRM) projects with solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and

Seminars or Snippets - Are You Training Your End Users Wrong?

imageThe truth is, the “training” methods we have been using for decades are dying. And if your organization is still hoping to train users on SharePoint, CRM, or any other technology by sitting them in a room to watch recorded videos or a live individual, I want to offer some suggestions that I believe will transform the way end users adopt and learn new technology. 

What’s Missing from the SharePoint 2016 Preview?

SharePoint 2016 IT PreviewIf you keep up with SharePoint news at all, you have very likely heard that Microsoft recently dropped the beta 1 build of SharePoint 2016 (or more affectionately called the IT Preview) to much fanfare. With the release of the public beta, there are lots of folks in the community who have written about these new features and how to install it. In today's blog I want to discuss the initial highlighted features that are removed from the SharePoint 2016 preview.

Using AutoSPInstaller to Build a Three-Tier SharePoint 2013 Farm – Part 2


Welcome back to part 2 of my short series of using AutoSPInstaller to build a 3-tier multiple server SharePoint farm.  Last time we looked at all of the work we needed to do to get setup and discussed what our end goal was.  Now we can get down to business and start some installation!   I’ll walk you through the most critical part – creating your answer file, then the installation itself.

Maximizing Your “Support” Investment

imageChances are, if a company has invested in a collaboration or relationship management solution without an experienced solution partner offering ongoing coaching, support and training, its internal IT support staff is feeling the sentiments of one or more of the following: “I have 7 other jobs”, “Management thinks it’s just another application, like Outlook”, “I’d rather do anything than try to learn this”, “I don’t spend enough time on this to ever be very good at it”. Have you said, or heard, any of these statements? Then read on.

CRM 2015 UR1 (Spring 2015) Top 10 New Features

What are the 10 most important upgrades available in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Spring (UR1) Release?  Read the blog for the details, or thumb through the SlideShare, below, for a quick overview.

Creating a Neglected Accounts View in CRM 2015 UR1+

Everyone wants to know which of their accounts have not been followed up recently.  But using the Neglected Accounts report is just sooo 1995.  Nobody uses reports anymore – we want everything as a view, chart or dashboard!  But until the most recent release of Dynamics CRM, the only way you could create a Neglected Accounts view was thru installing add-on products or developing code.

Using AutoSPInstaller to Build a Three-Tier SharePoint 2013 Farm – Part 1


In this 2-part series I am going to take you through all of the necessary steps to use autospinstaller to build a 3 server farm doing remote installations on Windows Server 2012 R2 with SharePoint 2013 recent CU. (When I say all, I am referring to the SharePoint relevant pieces and the autospinstaller.) Continue reading for SharePoint 2013 (2010) installation.

Getting the Website URL When Importing Leads Into CRM

Extract Website URL from Email Address using Excel for Microsoft CRM Salesforce ImportEver received a trade show list after an event that has email address but doesn’t have website, with a request to import it into your CRM solution? You know those website URLs are locked up inside of the email addresses, but you need to get them imported in a hurry, so you just import it without concern for the website. The problem is that the website can contain critical information. This article explains how to use an Excel formula to quickly pull the website URL out of an email address before importing into your CRM solution.

Forget Technology, Focus On People

imageThe latest technology out there today is compelling and can do great things. And it’s true, a few could revolutionize the very way you do business.  But in an effort to do more with less, move faster than competitors, be agile and lean, and choose “best of breed” technology, we often see organizations forget about the very ones who will make the investment successful and worthwhile.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: How to Start (and Finish) Every Day in CRM

Let’s face it, customer relationship management applications can be confusing. There are lists of lead, accounts, contacts, opportunities and – in some cases – other things like products, quotes and orders. With all of these things you can do, we are frequently asked, “where do I begin and how do I start each day with my CRM application?”

The answer is simple … but how you arrive at the simple solution takes some discipline.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: 4 Steps for CRM Account Management

It costs about 7 times more to win a new customer than it does to retain and grow a relationship with an existing customer.

But most Sales Reps receive very little training on how to prioritize different customer relationships.  Just a little bit of work with your customer relationship management (CRM) system can mean a boost of 10% or more to standard commissions – and to overall sales!

Marketing Automation: Questions To Consider When Selecting A Solution

I recently ran across a staggering statistic: less than 10% of businesses are using a marketing automation solution.

How can this be? What are businesses using to not only create and send email templates to their marketing lists, but also tie in nurture marketing, web forms, landing pages, web tracking, social sharing, campaign management, and more? It’s time to address what to look for during solution selection.

Upgrading From CRM 2011 to CRM 2015?

Microsoft has added a lot of functionality to CRM since version 2011.  If you’re on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (or earlier), Dynamics CRM 2013 or are on Dynamics CRM 2015 but have not yet applied Update Rollup 1, this article provides a useful list of resources to help you understand the new benefits for your users. 

CRM 2011 to CRM 2015 Update Rollup 1

Quick Tip: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2015 - Immersive MS Excel

The release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Spring 2015 includes a helpful new feature; Immersive Excel. This functionality allows a user to manipulate Dynamics CRM data in MS Excel, without the cumbersome "Export to Re-import" process required in the past.

Defining Failure? Stop Blaming Technology

AKTweet There is a big issue in business these days – blaming technology for people problems.Though it’s true that technology can be fickle and frustrating and even I have often restrained myself from sending my laptop sailing out the window, well…it’s a computer. Can we all just agree, collectively, to assert our human brain’s superiority and stop blaming technology? Here are a few ways to start bringing people back into the mix.

The Components of a Successful Roadmap Engagement – Part Two

8b502c8a42e8fa0cff48581c8792678c[1]In part two of this successful roadmap engagement series, we'll look at Risk and Obstacle Evaluation, Business Case and ROI, Culture Change, Training, Adoption, and Future Planning.

Getting the Most ROI and User Acceptance from Your Business Systems

You may have just made the momentous decision to purchase a new CRM or ERP system, or perhaps you have had your systems for some time. With many companies offering ‘Best of Breed’ business systems, one thing typically remains true: each of these systems are silos of data and information. This blog details real-world benefits of systems integration.

Resolve Stubborn Missing Reusable Workflows in SharePoint Designer

imageHave you ever opened SharePoint Designer, clicked on Workflows, and saw nothing?  I sure did and was able to fix it.  In today's blog post, we'll do a quick primer of SharePoint reusable workflows, then I'll discuss the problem and all the troubleshooting I did to try and fix the issue.  Finally I'll review the magical steps necessary steps I took to actually resolve it.

The Components of a Successful Roadmap Engagement – Part One

thOK1FGFYKThe idea of engaging in a road mapping exercise has gained in popularity in recent years due to the ever changing technology landscape and the pace at which new business process evolves. Contrary to popular belief, a roadmap is not just a pretty Visio! It is not one size fits all, so don’t let the expectations or results of others dictate the expectations for your engagement. This blog series will explore some of the most critical aspects of a road mapping project.

Debugging Plug-in Made Easy for Dynamics CRM Online

imageIs Exception Handling one of the easiest ways to track values of variables used in C# plugin for Dynamics CRM Online? It was really helpful for me, when I found that developers can use the Profiler in the Plugin Registration Tool to debug a C# plugin. Here is a step by step guide for the whole process.

Replace Tasks with Queues for Inside Sales Productivity

queueInside Sales teams are rapidly replacing traditional sales teams.  This approach to sales is resulting in significant productivity gains, improvements in responsiveness to prospects and customers, and cost savings.  It also introduces an ability to have a much tighter and more buyer-driven sales process.  But it also requires some rethinking of the tools used in CRM to support the sales function.

Activity planning and management is one of those areas. Learn how queues can boost the productivity of the Inside Sales team.

Scribe’s 7.9 Release Multi-Threaded Integration Processes

clip_image004The new Scribe Insight 7.9 release offers multi-threaded integration processes for all four of the integration process types available within the Scribe Console, but, let’s clarify. Previous to the Scribe 7.9 release, only one thread was reserved for processing all File, Time and Query based integration processes. This blog discusses what you should know about the newest release.

Single-Threaded vs. Multi-Threaded Translations

When performing a migration or integration of data, one consideration that should be high on your list is translation performance. Today's blog will discuss how to address the processing of multiple records simultaneously, as opposed to a single-threaded process.

Application Publisher vs. Stored Procedure

When building an integration between business systems, or even simply performing a migration from a business system to a flat file extract, a great way to find and extract the data you need is using an application publisher. An application publisher is a purpose built tool that typically uses the API of the application to make available data from the systems objects or entities.

Business Rule or JavaScript in Dynamics CRM…that is the question

Biz Rules IconWith the advent of Business Rules beginning in Dynamics CRM 2013 we now have the ability to implement client-side business logic without having to write javascript functions. How can I determine whether to code my business logic using business rules, javascript or both?

2 Easy Ways to Calculate Working Days Inside a SharePoint Workflow

I’m in the midst of two different major workflows for clients right now, one of them being an HR New Hire Onboarding request and approval process.  One small but critical requirement of the process was that each level of approval needed a two business day wait period. In this post I'll demonstrate 2 easy ways to be able to calculate working or business days inside a SharePoint workflow.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: Use CRM to Identify and Convert More Leads

Did you know it takes an average of 7 contacts to convert an unqualified prospect into a sales qualified lead?  And did you know that 60%-95% of sales leads are never worked at all?  That’s a huge amount of untapped potential!

In this article, we will look at the "3 C's" of lead management using customer relationship management.

Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth

It’s your data. Don’t let great on-line transactional systems limit your analytics needs. Bring the cloud down to earth, then slice and dice to your heart’s content. This blog will discuss three ways to accomplish this.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: Weekly Planning

If you’re not using CRM as a tool to plan your day, week, month – or more – then you’re missing out.  You’re leaving valuable referral sources in the cold.  You’re letting opportunities slip through the cracks.  And you’re letting your competitors snap up your best customers.

This article takes a look at how to use CRM as a planning tool.

CRM Deployment Options…How to Decide?

So you are ready to tackle that all-important CRM initiative for your company. You will need to consider multiple factors in making the initial deployment decision; however there is usually one factor that rises to the greatest importance in making the initial decision.

Some ‘Gotchas’ To Deploying Code In™

One common CRM challenge is keeping your development environment in sync with the production environment. Coding in a development environment that is not in sync with production can lead to many hours of frustration trying to find the ghosts in the code. I find this especially true working in Salesforce.

Dynamics CRM Online - The User ID Associated With The Current Record Is Not Valid

CRM Online Administration Center

A client recently found he could not enable a user he needed to use in one of our sandbox organizations. Every time he tried, he got “The user ID associated with the current record is not valid”. This blog explores the fix.

Coding for Special Characters in Javascript

clip_image002Recently, I was asked to create a button on a form that would take data from the existing form and create a new Salesforce Lead record from it. Sounds simple enough, right? However, intermittently an error was being produced with a somewhat unclear message. This blog details the encoding function I used for the fix!

Measuring Enterprise Social Collaboration

ROI and value of enterprise social collaborationThe days of the production-line worker, the inbox/outbox process and any other repetitive task for humans to perform – are vanishing quickly. With automation, apps and robotics replacing humans at an unprecedented rate, our ability to collaborate to innovate, inspire, inform and to discover new insights might be one of the last ways to differentiate human labor from an automated workforce. But there is a problem. Most organizations have only a vague notion of how they are doing with social collaboration – let alone a vision and measurable goals for how they will make improvements. 

How to use Javascript on Dynamics CRM 2011/2013/2015 form


In this blog I am going to give you a brief explanation about how to use JavaScript libraries at the form level as well as how to create new JavaScript libraries in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2015.


Dynamics CRM Versions and Array Method “indexOf”

image_thumb[1]For one of my recent projects there was a requirement where I had to check the logged in user’s security roles, to find out if the user had been assigned a particular security role. If the user had the security role, there were several JavaScripts that would run. If the user did not have the security role, the JavaScript would not run. This blog explores my efforts to trouble-shoot and cross-test across multiple browsers.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: Track Your Activities

If you’ve started to track contacts, accounts and your pipeline in CRM, then you’re ready to start tracking activities too.  Most CRM solutions provide a way to track activities such as calls, appointments, emails and tasks.  This article provides some quick tips for tracking your activities.

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 5

imageIt’s been a packed week at Microsoft Ignite, and in this final post of my daily recaps, we’ll validate the awesomeness of Visio for dashboards and data-connected data graphics, review the common problems encountered when performing the initial configurations of Office 365 service for your organization, and finally share how search works in SharePoint 2013 plus how to scale it properly.

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 4

imageAs we near the end of Ignite, day 4 was still filled with some great technical sessions.  I’ll give you a rundown of everything from SQL High Availability, best practices for branding and page design in SharePoint Online to scaling SharePoint 2013 search.  One of my favorite sessions that I’m excited to share dealt with navigating the landscape of Office 365 tools. 

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 3

WP_20150506_08_20_14_Pro_smIf you’ve been wanting to get some more information on SharePoint 2016, today’s recap is for you!  I’ll briefly review some tips from the great duo of Todd Klindt and Shane Young on upgrading to SharePoint 2013, then I’ll dangle some awesome new not yet released tools for Dynamics CRM and Office 365 straight from the mouth of the great Girish Raja.  I then got some great insights from the master Spence Harbar himself on OneDrive for Business migrations, then rounded out the day diving deep in the new hybrid search service application for SharePoint 2013 / 2016.

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 2

In today's tales from the field, I take you through each session of my day, but also give you a quick look back at something I omitted from the day 1 keynote.  The sessions cover the gamut from information architecture and governance, to search, to OneDrive for Business and best practices for farm solution development. 

Microsoft Ignite 2015–Day 1 Recap

Spring in Chicago - Ignite 2015It’s still spring time here in Chicago, but it’s also time for Microsoft’s first ever all-in-one product conference named Ignite.  Throughout the rest of this week, I’ll do my best to share with you insights from the day, and highlight innovations or other content I thought was interesting.

What is Ignite?

This Ignite conference is the first (but not last I’m sure) time Microsoft is taking most of all of the other individual product conferences and bringing them all under one roof.  These include TechEd, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.  Content and information is being shared across all 5 days this week, ranging from the normal breakout sessions to hands-on lands, ask the experts sessions with the product teams, exam preparation and certification testing, live-streaming from Channel9, community theaters and of course the expo center.  New this year also is the MyIgnite mobile app, providing the same experience from the web to your mobile device with maps, session info, your customized saved calendar and other goodies. 

Are you worth the effort?

Companies continue to spend countless hours focusing on how to better articulate their value proposition, in order to increase both the volume and velocity of sales.  There is potential for greater impact by focusing some of that time on an often neglected piece of the sales puzzle.  Have you considered how hard you are to work with?

Best Practice for Creating Sandbox Instance for CRM 2015 Online Upgrade Testing

CRM Online Instance Picker

If you currently have a production CRM 2013 Online instance, Microsoft wants you to upgrade to 2015 by the middle of June at the latest. It is important to perform full UI and customization testing in 2015 prior to approving your 2015 online production upgrade. The more customizations and managed solutions you have deployed, the more the need for good quality assurance (QA) and user acceptance testing (UAT).

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: Manage Your Pipeline

Click Here to Open Index of Sales Rep Quick TipsOne of the most important benefits of a CRM solution is that it allows a Sales Rep to track their pipeline. Sadly, this is also one of the areas that many organizations tend to make overly complicated and so painful, that reps often revert back to using a legal pad. This article will provide some tips for using your CRM solution to track your pipeline – and why this is important – regardless of the condition of your CRM solution.

Sales Rep CRM Quick Tip: Make CRM Your Rolodex

CRM for Contact Management Sales Rep AdoptionLooking for a way to expand usage of your company's CRM?  Here's a simple idea: commit to making it the one and only place that you use to manage your list of contacts. It sounds simple, but it's amazing how many contact lists are spread out over a pile of business cards, in our mobile devices and handwritten on notepads.  This article shares some practical ideas on how to get all of your contacts into CRM.

Are you creating value, or just worried about ROI?

imageWarren Buffet once said that “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”  In our daily work, we talk a lot about value. However, the truth is, a lot of organizations spend a lot of time, effort, and money trying to measure ROI – the precise financial impact of an initiative - without first understanding the value to the business. This blog entry breaks down how to generate both organic ROI and real business value.
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CPR for CRM - How to avoid failure

10/27/15 @ 11:00 AM ET Despite technology advancements, up to 60% of CRM implementations continue to fail. This session tak.....

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The Deadly Sins of SharePoint

10/29/15 @ 2:00 PM ET 60% of SharePoint projects are stalled, struggling, or failing, according to research conducted by t......

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SharePoint 2013 Feedback Solution - collect feedback from users into a custom feedback list that captures their feedback and exactly where they were in SharePoint when they provided it.

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The 60 Second Collaboration Readiness Self-Evaluation - is your team really ready to collaborate?  If they're not, software isn't going to help.  Take the quick self-evaluation in each department to understand how well your culture collaborates.

Identify Your Support Gaps - collaboration and CRM projects often fall short when it comes to supporting users, because support for these projects is different from other projects.  



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