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What’s on your list for CRM?

It’s that time of year again, with CRM 2015 getting ready to ship, CRM MVPs will be heading to Redmond for the MVP summit and sitting down with the CRM team to hear what’s ahead and provide feedback.  One of the things I love about traveling and delivering events around the world is meeting everyone and hearing what they wish got into CRM.  I try hard to represent that with the team when giving them input.  Since I can’t possibly meet everyone… I wanted to give a call for input to share what are your top 5 “asks” of the CRM Team?   Drop me an email via – if you have some connect items that are hot topics send those along too!


New Dynamics CRM Quick Start Book

I’m a little belated in getting the news out, but I was on the road most of August.  Early in August we launched a new book CRM 2013 Quick Start targeted at all of you moving from CRM 2011 or older to the current version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

I was joined by several other CRM MVPs to help get this out the door so you have insights included from Joel Lindstrom, David Berry, Richard Knudson, Dylan Haskins, Jukka Niiranen and Julie Yack. 

You can  order a PDF EBook or Print from our site at and use discount code DavidYackCRMQuickStartEBook at checkout for 20% off.  Or you can use this link which already has the discount code pre-loaded – Discount Link

For those of you that are Amazon fans and can’t live without your Kindle, we also released a Kindle version of the book!

We would love to hear what you would like in the future for books, video training or otherwise – feel free to reach out with your ideas 

Chapter Overviews:

Chapter 1 - Hello I’m CRM 2013

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is a major release building on the strong foundation of CRM 2011. From the user experience to platform capabilities CRM 2013 has changes that are targeted for everyone as users, customizers, IT Pros, and developers. In this chapter we give you a 50,000 foot tour of what’s new.

Chapter 2 – The User Experience

Before you can build solutions in CRM 2013 you should learn how the new user experience works. In this chapter we will dive into the new experience and break down all the key changes so you are ready to start thinking about customizing it.

Chapter 3 – Customizing CRM Forms

The 2013 user experience requires rethinking how we customize forms. From the new layout options, new controls and even new form types we have a lot to talk about. We also can’t forget you might have CRM 2011 forms and want to know how to move them forward into this release.

Chapter 4 – Security Model Changes

Today’s global business challenges the traditional organization structure as people form dynamic teams to work on individual opportunities or other data in CRM. CRM 2013 addresses that with Access Teams which challenge past thinking of how to handle these types of needs. In this chapter we will explore the new feature and discuss how and when to use the different CRM security concepts.

Chapter 5 – Building Business Processes

To consistently bake good cookies people often times use their favorite recipe. The Business Process feature of CRM 2013 brings that to CRM allowing you to bake in a business process into the life cycle of a CRM record. In fact you can even blur the lines of multiple CRM entities and have a business process cross the entity boundaries reflecting more real-world business processes. In this chapter we look at the features and how to leverage them to improve user productivity and consistency.

Chapter 6 – No Code Business Rules

Portable Business Rules, or PBL for short, offer a declarative way to define business rules. This new feature represents the start of a journey to a common need of having simple rules like “This field is required”. In this chapter we will explore the capability of PBL and when to use it versus other concepts in CRM that can enforce business rules.

Chapter 7 – Real Time Workflows

Workflows offer an easy way to compose flexible business processes that can optionally include custom code created by a developer. Prior to CRM 2013 these had to run asynchronously in the background and never could happen in real time. This caused a lot of plug-ins to be built to handle the requirement. New in CRM 2013 is real time workflows that can allow processing of events real time. In this chapter we discuss when and how to use the new feature.

Chapter 8 – Upgrading to CRM 2013

Next, Next, Next…Done… If it was only that easy it would be an automated upgrade. In this chapter we explore what you should consider before you upgrade and how to prepare.

Chapter 9 – Solutions going forward

As the pace of CRM releases increases, understanding how to package and deploy solutions becomes increasingly important. In this chapter we will discuss changes to the Solution Framework and how to prepare for the bold new world of frequent CRM releases.

Chapter 10 – Taking CRM on the Road

There is no question Microsoft was behind in mobile applications for CRM but came back strong with the introduction of the new tablet application for IPad and Windows. Learn how this fits in with the customizations you are doing to CRM and limitations you should be aware of in this first generation release. This chapter will also cover Outlook enhancements and Server Sync that in many scenarios will free the deployment from having an E-mail router.

Chapter 11 – Developers, Developers, and Developers

This release doesn’t have huge new API changes but it does have a lot of small useful changes across the different parts of the developer features. In this chapter we will explore from oAuth authentication support to Custom Actions and all the little changes between them.


Connecting Mobile Apps to Dynamics CRM 2013

Earlier this month Mahesh Hariharan and I presented to the XRM Virtual ( user group on connecting mobile applications to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.  If you weren’t able to watch it live there is a recording here 

During the talk we discussed how oAuth makes it much easier to connect to CRM from Windows, Windows Phone, iOS, Android and other platforms as long as they can do the oAuth workflow.  I showed a library to make it easier to connect from Windows Phone as one of the demos.  I’ve just uploaded the source code for that library to github incase it might help others get going.

You can find the library here -


Upgrading CRM Orgs via PowerShell

I recently blogged about creating CRM Organizations using PowerShell (here) another thing I’ve been doing a lot lately is upgrading.  When you upgrade an on-premise install of CRM 2011 to CRM 2013 only one organization will be upgraded during the installation process.,  So if you have let’s say 10 other test orgs on there you would need to do them one at a time in Deployment Manager which would drive you crazy. 

A better way to handle that is to use the Update-CRMOrganization command and do a batch of them without handling it one by one.

Here’s the syntax

Update-CRMOrganization –Name Dave1 –Upgrade

If you want to get fancy, the command gives you a GUID that you can use to monitor the progress of the process.  


Activate your MSDN Azure Benefits

I'm often amazed how many people with MSDN waste away their free Azure benefits - activate them here  -

And if that wasn’t a good enough reason, the fact you could win an Aston Martin should help…wish mine wasn’t already activated now!


Create CRM 2013 Orgs with PowerShell

ok, so creating orgs with Powershell isn’t new but something that’s often forgotten.  The reason I think it’s useful with CRM 2013 is with a new version you always want to play around and try things and that requires a few orgs to do it right!  If you have ever tried to create more than a couple orgs with Deployment Manager you know it is a lengthy process.  The nice thing about PowerShell is that you can queue up creation and walk away and let the server do all the work.  When you come back all of them are created.

Here’s a very simple snippet of PowerShell code that will create multiple orgs – you can obviously make it a lot more fancy but this does the job!

Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.crm.powershell

$nextOrg = 1

  $orgName = "Dave"+$nextOrg
New-CrmOrganization -DisplayName $orgName -SqlServerName crmdev -SrsUrl http://crmdev/reportserver -Name $orgName
while ($nextORg -le 20)

After it runs you should see something like the following which is the ID of the create request that will run.  One create happens at a time – you can monitor the progress via PowerShell or via Deployment Manager. 



Extending Dynamics CRM via Acquisition

Couple days ago Microsoft announced they acquired MarketingPilot – while I don’t know a lot specifically about MarketingPilot as a product, from a strategic point of view this is a big deal.  I don’t think it’s a big deal just because of the company acquired but because it signals to me a desire to fill product gaps by acquiring.  In the past, this was done via complicated alliances / IP licensing that just made it confusing to everyone should they use the built-in or the partner directly.  Acquisition is clean, product is absorbed into the core product and no confusion exists.  It’s also a fast way to fill gaps and add innovation in a proven way.

You can read the announcement by Bob Stutz the new corporate vice president for Dynamics CRM here


Choosing Smart Defaults for New Entities

When creating a new entity some of the choices you make will stick with you for the life of the entity.  Prior to CRM 2011 the general advice used to be turn on things if you think you might ever need them.  For example, Notes and Activities – in the past if you didn’t enable them there was not a supported way to enable them.

CRM 2011 changes this, most of the options like these in the Communication and Collaboration section can be enabled later.  The defaults though that come up have them enabled as you can see below:


The + sign next to an item indicates that once enabled it cannot be disabled later.  So what I recommend is unchecking all of them and only enabling it WHEN you need it.  Ideally in the future maybe the new entity form will get updated to not have those defaulted but until then take a few seconds and be smart about what you need!