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  • Joe Wichowski 8:55 am on September 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    TractionCRM Is On The Microsoft CRM App Store! 

    Our tool for Microsoft CRM, Monday Morning Quarterback, is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!

    Our tool for Microsoft CRM, Monday Morning Quarterback, is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!

    Our app for Microsoft CRM – Monday Morning Quarterback – is now available on the Microsoft CRM App Store!  You can check it out here.

     
  • Joe Wichowski 7:00 am on March 31, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft CRM, ,   

    Give your Microsoft CRM 2013 Online Some Style… 

    Rico Suave

     

    Microsoft has done well with CRM 2013 by making it easier for us to train – its simplified interface really cleans up a lot of the confusing options for your sales force.  However, the style sheets for CRM 2013 Online aren’t editable.  They are shared by all users on the same server, and as such, there are some issues if you have an older salesforce.   (Update:  Sorry, CRM 2015/16 has a new dom, and this script no longer works)

    For example, there are no “lines” defined between rows in views.  And the fonts used are really small – some of the sales teams we work with have great salesmen in the 50+ age range – really hard for them to “see”.  Consider the following list.  It’s very hard to see where you are at with larger datasets, or smaller screens.

    plain-crm-2013-css

     

    As such, we have created a Greasemonkey script (We use Tamper Monkey) for use with Microsoft CRM 2013 Online.  It greatly enhances the CSS, and makes it much easier for sales staff to see their data.  Enhancements include:

     

    • We added lines within views to separate each row.  We also increased the font size by 1 step to make it easier to see:

    enhanced-crm-2013-views

     

    • We added underlines separating each row on forms.  We also increased font size, as well as provide a “light grey” background for Section headings:

    enhanced-crm-2013-forms

     

    enhanced-crm-2013-left-navigation

     

    We’ve begun rolling this out to all of our customers – and they really like it.  Enjoy!

    _____________________________

    // ==UserScript==
    // @name TractionCRM BetterCRM Navigation – https://tractioncrm.com – Special Thanks To:  Magnetism Solutions
    // @namespace http://www.magnetismsolutions.com
    // @include
    // @version 1
    // @grant none
    // ==/UserScript==

    function addCss(cssString) {
    var head = document.getElementsByTagName(‘head’)[0];
    var newCss = document.createElement(‘style’);
    newCss.type = “text/css”;
    newCss.innerHTML = cssString;
    head.appendChild(newCss);
    }
    addCss(“TD.ms-crm-ReadField-Normal {border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-Inline-Value {border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important; font-size: 15px !important; font-weight: normal !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-List-DataCell, .ms-crm-List-DataCell-Lite, .ms-crm-List-DataCell-Associated-Lite, .ms-crm-List-Data A.ms-crm-List-Link {font-size: 12px !important; border-bottom: 1px solid rgb(229, 229, 229) !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-InlineTabHeader {color: 1px solid rgb(0,0,0) !important; background-color: rgb(230,230,230) !important; font-weight: bold !important;}”);
    addCss(“.ms-crm-Form {color: rgb(0,0,0) !important; “);

     

    addCss(“.navActionGroupContainer, .navActionListContainer{overflow-x:hidden;overflow-y:auto;width:215px;height: -moz-calc(100% – 40px);height: -webkit-calc(100% – 40px);height:calc(100% – 40px);}.nav-scrl{overflow:hidden;position:static;}”
    + “.nav-scrl{overflow:hidden;position:static;}” + “.nav-scrl-left-lnk,.nav-scrl-right-lnk{display:none!important;}” + “.nav-scrl-view{overflow:hidden;}” + “.nav-scrl-cont{margin-left:5px!important;}” +
    “.nav-tabBody{width:200px!important;}” + “.nav-subgroup,.nav-group{display:list-item;float:left;}” + “.nav-layout,.nav-groupContainer{display:inline-block;width:200px;}” + “.navActionButtonContainer{margin-bottom:5px;}” +
    “.navActionListContainer{left:198px;overflow:auto;top:40px;width:135px;}” + “.navEmptyActionButtonSmall img{float:left;margin-top:5px;}” + “.navEmptyActionButtonSmall .navActionButtonLabel{display:inline-block;overflow:visible;white-space:normal;width:126px;}” +
    “.navActionButton.selected:after{border:none;}”);
    Mscrm.ScrollInputHandler.prototype.attachScrollEventHandlers = function (handler) {
    }

     

     

     
    • Jared Johnson 5:08 pm on November 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Joe,
      Surprised to see that somebody deployed that GreaseMonkey script to customers!
      I now have created a managed solution for the Left Navigation that can be imported into CRM which makes deploying this a lot easier. It can be downloaded from http://crmleftnav.codeplex.com/

      • Joe Wichowski 2:50 pm on November 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for sharing Jared – I’ve shared with my Microsoft Rep as well. Hopefully, somewhere in CRM 2015 we will be able to customize the CSS directly via a web resource. But for now, we do leverage your solution to enhance the user experience.

    • Mouhanad 10:14 am on December 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi , thanks for sharing this info.
      i think it is possible to use the same concept to change the (blue) module color in the toolbar ? could you help as i am not that strong in CSS for CRM

      • Joe Wichowski 10:42 am on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry – looks like Microsoft changed the entire DOM in 2015/2016. As such, the script above no longer works 😦

  • Joe Wichowski 7:22 am on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft CRM   

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 Rollout is coming in November 

    crm_2013_update

    Got our notice today – most of our customers will be getting the Fall ’13 update to CRM in November.  Here’s the list of items we are excited about:

    1. Finally – a built-in iPad interface – For too long, Microsoft CRM has “snubbed” the iPad in favor of Surface Pro.  But finally, Microsoft gives in, and CRM (including the customizations) will work as-is on an iPad.  This capability will take the form of an “App” on the iPad, but in practice, it will require a data connection (at all times) to utilize – meaning there will be no offline access.
    2. “Clicky” Interface – The user interface has been a bit redefined (or re-imagined?) to be more touch in nature.  This should bode well as tablets emerge as the go-to device for sales professionals.  In addition, one can imagine that office managers, leveraging CRM’s development capabilities as a workflow tool, can interact easier with employees engaged in work orders directly on the floor.
    3. Process-Based forms – In the Fall 2012 update, Microsoft introduced process-based forms for Leads, Accounts, and Opportunities.  This has been expanded to be allowed for “all” forms.  So, perhaps a Customer Service issues needs to go through a 3-step process, with specific information that must be gathered before  the next stage can begin – this can all be accomplished without writing code.  Here at Traction, we use these types of capabilities to help the software “walk a user through” the process, which requires less training up-front.

    Things to note:

    1. There will be no support for Windows XP.  This means that if you are running Windows XP, you will need to upgrade those PCs to at least Windows 7.
    2. Terminal Services 2003 is also no longer supported.  So if you have an older TS farm, you will be required to upgrade.
    3. The new interface will take some getting used to – this update will probably require a training session in order to effectively rollout to your team.
     
  • Joe Wichowski 12:27 pm on April 5, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    Looking to speed up CRM 2011 Online? Try switching to Chrome… 

    need4crmspeed

    Does Microsoft CRM 2011 Online feel too slow?

    I have a motto here – if we support it – we better use it.  As avid users of CRM 2011 Online, we sometimes feel that it is a bit “slower” than we would like.  However,  Microsoft recently updated CRM 2011 to allow for just about any browser.  

    I loaded up Chrome today, and all I can say is – wow!  It is so much faster than IE10 (and my previous IE9)

    On a side note…  Do you use Comcast?

    Back about 12 months ago, the route between Comcast (Detroit area) and Microsoft servers was severely impacted by a change in routers on Microsoft’s side.  It took us working directly with Comcast (who worked directly with Microsoft) over a period of about 3 weeks to get it resolved.

    Once “resolved”, we still noticed latency on our side.  For example, here is our trace-route between our internet lines, and the Microsoft servers.  As you can see, it reaches Comcast fine, but times out along the route twice (the final 2 timeouts are normal, since crm.dynamics.com does not allow for return route tracing).

    tracert

    Is anyone else experiencing this?  When I visit a customer site with a normal T-1 or T-3, they have no timeouts along their tracert.  And their speed is always impressive.  So I do believe that a portion of the issue is with Comcast’s routes to CRM Online.

     
  • Joe Wichowski 10:39 pm on February 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft CRM   

    Sad sad sad… Microsoft CRM Online r8 still missing iPad interface… 

    Kill Bill

    To my dismay, and utter disappointment, the r8 update to Microsoft CRM Online for our customers did not include cross-browser functionality for iPads.  Instead, users are still greeted with the same old (and lame, I might add), Mobile Express interface.

    This is extremely upsetting.  Yet again, I must apologize to our customers for being misled by unattainable timelines.  I am unsure of what Microsoft’s strategy is, but right now, it really feels disjointed.  Almost as if there are too many hands in the pot.

    While I agree that releasing a product with the stamp of “It’s good enough…” is not the way to go, I do feel that a company like Microsoft (with their $$ Billions and $$ Billions in the bank) should be able to throw enough resources at this to get it out the door when promised.

    For now, if you are looking for an iPad solution, I have since recommended to my customers to purchase an OnLive Desktop account and browse via its Virtual Desktop.  Access is speedy, and since it uses regular Internet Explorer, it at least gets sales professionals functional with their iPads.

    (Note:  We have tried the “User Agent” switching thing with some other browsers available on the iPad – but there are too many errors with that solution.  The OnLive solution provides for a perfect rendition of CRM – albeit with a few additional clicks that they shouldn’t have to do, and $5 more per user per month for the OnLive account).

     
  • Joe Wichowski 9:19 pm on March 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM, SkyDrive   

    Using MS CRM Online? Don’t forget to grab your SkyDrive! 

    As I mentioned to my customer today, if you are using Microsoft CRM Online, then you already have a “Windows Live” user id.  This automatically makes you eligible for afree 25gig “hard drive in the sky”.  I use it to send large files to customers, or work on “collaborative” ideas and initiatives.

    Since CRM Online currently only gives you 5gigs with your subscription, this is a great way to minimize your storage footprint in CRM yet still get files back-and-forth to your customers.

    Log on to your SkyDrive here.

     
  • Joe Wichowski 9:10 am on January 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Microsoft CRM, ,   

    TCG – The year ahead… 

    Happy New Year!  On behalf of all of us here at Traction Consulting Group, we hope your holiday was awesome, and you are ready to get-after-it in the new year!  As a primer to some of the innovations we have set for our customers in 2012, here are some of the exciting things we are working on:

    1. BizBoard – Our streamlined web-enabled metrics system is ready to engage your management team. With it, teams will be able to combine metrics from ERP, CRM, Spreadsheets, and other database applications – all into a single dashboarding solution. In addition, each metric will have an associated “Action List”. So not only will the metrics help you better understand your company, but they will also prove as a central hub of activity to improve where there is work to be done. This solution works from any web browser, including iPads and other tablets.
    2. BizBoard Mobile – We don’t want your iPhone or Android to be left out.  To that, we have created BizBoard Mobile, specifically formatted for phones with web browsers, to better react to just-in-time information while on-the-go.  Alerts are set up to push to users on a daily or hourly basis.  For example: customers and orders requiring follow-up, salesmen not performing to goals, opportunity not closing, and more.  Users can then interact with these alerts, and track them over time, giving them mobile tools to quickly react to changing business data.
    3. Traction LMS– As part of our ongoing focus of Mentoring & Training as an extension of the Development & Support services we perform for our customers, Traction has created a Learning Management System (LMS) to help customers gain traction within their educational initiatives.  No longer will your employees struggle to find policies, procedures, instruction, and expectations.  With our LMS, teams will find a one-stop-shop for everything – Instructions and procedures, policies, how-to’s, tips and tricks, videos, and more.
    4. Traction Alerts – Don’t hunt for information – have the information find you.  Our alerts/reporting system for Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and SugarCRM delivers just-in-time information directly to a user’s inbox.  So instead of salesmen “searching” CRM for information, the information is pro-actively delivered to them.  We have many generic reports, like:  This week’s customers & activities, Customers you haven’t visited in a while, This week’s birthdays, and Opportunity Follow-up; but we can also customize these or add any additional as needs arise.  We also include these services free-of-charge with our Managed CRM Service Agreement.
    5. Traction Intelligence – For Microsoft CRM Online and Salesforce.com customers, it is often best to have a “local copy” of the information in order to do extended reporting, analysis, and data integration.  Traction Intelligence provides you with exactly that – a copy of your Online information, directly in a local database your resources can quickly reach.  You can choose your database – our data pumping system does the rest.

    Thanks again for all your support in 2011, and we look forward to continuing our rock-solid quality, service, and value for you in 2012.

     
  • Joe Wichowski 2:58 pm on December 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Microsoft CRM   

    Some (un)Intelligent design in Microsoft CRM… 

    It’s always a love-hate relationship with Microsoft to me.  I love the way it integrates with Outlook, Office, and the Microsoft stack of tools.  But here is a good example on their engineer’s not “getting it”.

    This is a screenshot of me going into Microsoft CRM, and selecting to “Set Regarding” an email.  First, the term “Set Regarding”.  What?  Couldn’t they use “Save to CRM” or something more intuitive for users?  I can’t begin to describe how hard that term is for us to explain to users during training.

    But that’s not the worst part.  When I select the email, I hit “Set Regarding”, and what do I see?  A complete list of Accounts, contacts, or Leads.  Shouldn’t it have automatically performed a “search” on the email addresses, found the best match, and simply limit the list to those found?  Instead I have to manually “Search” for my contact.  It could have been so much easier…  So silly…

     

    We have done what we can to “automate” this type of behavior in core MS CRM.  For example, all of our customers get a script added that automatically prompts the user’s for the Regarding and Required Attendees when they create a new appointment.  This is an automated macro, and save the users plenty of time.  However, it is something that should have been in there as “default”.  Without an associated Regarding (in our case, the Regarding is always the Customer) and Contact, the data is useless to report on.

     

    Although we can do this on the CRM form, the Outlook pop-up filter box does not allow us to customize it.  So, sadly, I will continue to have to first find customer “ABC”, then still run another query to find the contacts for customer “ABC”.

     
  • Ken Sobieski 11:23 am on November 28, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    JavaScript and the CRM 2011 DateTime Field: Deconstructed 

    Suffice it to say, the DateTime control is not very intuitive when you need to manipulate pieces of it so, if you found your way here you are probably climbing the walls trying to figure out how to manipulate it.

    A project I am working on has a requirement where I simply needed to disable the date part of the field. After much searching, I wasn’t really getting where I needed to be until I paired the little information I had with the  which lead me to explore (and document) my findings to help someone else wrestling with this.

    If we look at the code snippet below which defines the control in the page (in this case we are looking at an appointment’s “scheduledstart”), we can see that it is quite complex in the structure (the left of the snippet documents the childnode indices of the control). However, by using the DOM, we can achive just about anything we would like.   To access each of the elements, of the control, you traverse the DOM tree using javascript .childnodes property.

    //The date textfield of the control
    document.getElementById(“scheduledstart”).childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[0].childnodes[0]

    //The date imgbutton of the control (opens the date selector)
    //NOTE: if you are disabling this control, set the image to ‘_imgs/btn_dis_cal.gif’, the “greyed-out” control
    document.getElementById(“scheduledstart”).childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0]

    //This can also be accessed by  crmForm.all.scheduledstartimg
    // as I understand it, related imagebuttons will always be named “<related control name>img”

    While the time selector part of the control appears to be a standard SELECT control, it is, in fact, a text box paired with an image button. To disable the control, the easiest route is just to disable the TD that the control lives in:

    //The time selector of the control
    document.getElementById(“scheduledstart”).childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[2]

    If you need finer-grained control and want the parts, while I have not tested this, the indices should be:

    //time text box
    document.getElementById(“scheduledstart”).childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[2].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[0].childnodes[0]

    //time image button
    document.getElementById(“scheduledstart”).childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[2].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0].childnodes[1].childnodes[0]

    Happy coding!

    DateTime Control Snippet

     
  • Ken Sobieski 10:41 am on November 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    Things I have learned about CRM so far 

    Things I am having to learn, or have learned, about CRM:

    • Individual fields are set “dirty” rather than the entire record, reducing the chance of a collision (if you want to know more, look here)
    • The back-end data structure (e.g., where things like user time zone information live — can you say “user settings“)
    • Creating new fields (hey, the “whole number” type can be formatted to display as a time zone list!)
    • Processes & Work Flows
    • and, of course, all the other pieces to build “the right solution” for the customer (thanks to the Channel 9 crew for a ton of good information!)

    I’ll keep posting (hopefully) good information as I learn to leverage the power of Dynamics CRM as well as other CRM and data packages. If I’m lucky, maybe along the way I’ll find better and easier ways to accomplish my tasks and, if not, at least you may benefit from my pain conquering a problem “the hard way.”

    Oh, and if you are listening, Microsoft, would it be that unreasonable to ask for a package like this to make manipulating the UI a little less cumbersome? I mean, really, you already have such a nice AJAX tool set…just saying.

     
  • Joe Wichowski 4:24 pm on October 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    Don’t forget your “Start Date” in Microsoft CRM! 

    In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, one of the most common questions we get is “Why is it so hard to see a chronological picture of the history of an account within the views CRM provides?”  More often than not, the answer lies in the fact that Microsoft CRM does not have a good default method for dealing with dates for activities.

    For example, using out-of-the-box CRM, I can create a new Appointment, and it will default to “today”.  This will set the “Start Date” and “Due Date” fields to a value.  This behavior, however, does not automatically happen for Phonecalls, Tasks, or Emails.  This can leave the “Due Date” field blank.

    To add more complications to the question, we found you cannot solidify your company on only enforcing “Due Date”.  Due Date is the “end” of the task.  So if you create a report or view, and you do not have room for both Start Date and Due Date, enforcing Due Date will only provide you with the “ending time” of the appointment.

    Instead, we have created a 2-step approach.  First, we default the Due Date to “now” on all Phonecalls, Tasks, and Emails.  This way, if a user does not think to enter in a value, at least we enter the current date/time.  We do this with a Form OnLoad script:

    //Automatically set DueDate if empty
    function tcgSetDueDate() {
      if (Xrm.Page.getAttribute(‘scheduledend’).getValue() == null) {
         var date = new Date();
         Xrm.Page.getAttribute(‘scheduledend’).setValue(date);
      }
    }

    We then make a workflow that automatically sets “Start Date” for Phonecalls, Tasks, and Emails equal to the Due Date on the form.  So, the Start/Stop time of the phone call and task will essentially be the same:

    The result is then for us to change all of the Activity Views of the system, and have Start Date as our primary date.  This allows us to have a unified view of History, in the most logical manner possible.  (Note:  This essentially gets you the same type of view you get when working with Salesforce.com, Goldmine, Act, Saleslogix, or any of the other commercial CRM applications.  Our opinion is that it should work this way without any customization, but it doesn’t).

     
  • Joe Wichowski 12:16 pm on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Microsoft CRM, , ,   

    What exactly did I do last month? 

    In this month’s Wired magazine, Clive Thompson talks about how Daniel Giovanni utilizes 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo to mine his 4-square check-ins.  He then gets a daily summary of where he was last year.

    What a simple idea, and a great concept.  Sales teams often forget about the repetitive nature of sales – they end up focusing on “This Month’s Deal” instead of also making progress and touch-points on ideas and connections in the past.

    This offers a great opportunity for our daily alert streams that we create for our customers.  By sending Sales teams a summary of where they were, who they talked to, and what they talked about – 1 month, 1 quarter ago, or 1 year ago “today” – we can help remind them of the conversations and activities of the past, to continually “work” the opportunities of the future.  (The Daily Alert streamer is one of the custom tools we’ve created for our customers – if you need additional details, please email me)

    If you don’t have our daily alert streaming system (or some other alert-type system), you could also facilitate this via a simple report or view in Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, or SugarCRM.  It won’t “push” to the user, but you could add it to your “Monday Morning Process” and train sales teams on how best to utilize it.

     
  • Ian Leu 7:45 am on September 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    Microsoft CRM User’s Guide 

    There is a new manual out from Microsoft.  Although it misses the “why” and “when” of CRM, it is still a good read (and a good place to get content to put into your own manual).  My view is the docs Microsoft makes do not have enough pictures in them.  So if you use any content, you may want to take “actual CRM” screenshots so the user’s see their own data, and can really understand “where” the buttons are located on the screen.

    http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27134

     
  • Joe Wichowski 8:37 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM,   

    We recently created 3 cool Microsoft CRM tools. They are all admin-style “command line” tools, which can be run manually, or from the task scheduler. They are:

    1) Microsoft CRM Exporter – Given a FetchXML query (usually generated via Advanced Find), this tool will export the records into a standard-structure XML file. Useful to take a data-dump of records, or us it with a tool like Talend Open Studio. Works for CRM Online and On Premises.

    2) Microsoft CRM Newsletter – Given a FetchXML query, this tool will create and send an email formatted with a table, with the returned records. Useful in scheduling a daily or weekly newsletter to send to sales and operations staff. Works for CRM Online and On Premises.

    3) Microsoft CRM Report Emailer – Given a CRM Report name, this tool will run the report, export it as a PDF, then email the PDF to the specified user. Useful in scheduling daily or weekly reports to send to sales and operations staff. Currently only works with CRM Online, but we are working on another tool to work with On Premises (there is a story here, will publish some other day…)

    We’ll be posting them later this month, but if you need a look at it sooner, send me an email and I can give you some screen shots. Our plan is to duplicate these tools for Salesforce.com and SugarCRM as well.

     
  • Ian Leu 4:45 pm on May 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Microsoft CRM   

    After doing a good amount of development work in CRM 2011 I have to say I am impressed at how much more powerful it is than CRM 4, there are a lot more out of the box features that are useful to developers and users alike.

    There are some strange restrictions that if you run into, a generic error message will pop up with no details on what the error is (when dev errors are off of course). One that I ran into: if you are trying to create a dashboard in CRM 2011 and are getting an error “Unable to retrieve etc etc..” check to see how many records it is returning. There is a built in limit of 50k. In my case I chose to use strategic filters to limit the amount of data returned, but there are ways to manually lift this restriction.

     
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