Friday, 8 May 2009

Update Rollup 4 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 has been released

Microsoft has released Update Rollup 4 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.

This Update Rollup contains 5 hotfixes that have been released since Update Rollup 3, and contains a number of resolutions for issues for which no hotfix had previously been released.

We are testing Update Rollup 4 and we will issue a Status Update email to all users advising them to install Update Rollup 4 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Outlook when we are satisfied that our testing is successful.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Issues with Internet Explorer 8 and Hosted CRM 4.0

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been testing IE8 with hosted CRM 4.0 and found a couple of issues.

Specifically, when users have Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Outlook installed and Outlook is running and then attempt to log in through the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 web client, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 becomes temporarily disabled. A message pops up from the CRM icon in the Windows system tray: "Signed Out. You successfully signed out of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. To re-enable the CRM toolbar, the user has to restart Outlook.

Other issues include login screens appearing when trying to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Outlook with IE8 installed.

Uninstalling IE8 and reverting to IE7 does not appear to resolve this issues.

We have raised the issues with Microsoft Premier Support and expect to have resolutions provided shortly. In the meantime, our advice is not to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8. Users should be careful applying Windows Update as we expect IE8 to be automatically downloaded as part of Windows Update services within the next few weeks.

Update (Tue 28/04/2009): Thanks to Jim Sheehan at PowerObjects, I've discovered that using the shortform URL login (e.g. prevents me be signed out of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook. Still a few other gremlins though when using lookup features.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Genesis acquires Increase CRM: FAQs

Are there any changes to our agreed terms and conditions?
No, there are no immediate changes to the terms and conditions of any agreements you had with Increase Ltd. Over the next few months, you will be moved across to the Genesis terms and conditions. We will be contacting you shortly.

What’s happening to billing?
You will have received your March invoices from Increase CRM. From April onwards, we will begin to transfer your contracts to Genesis Communications Ltd. Following this, you will receive all future invoices from Genesis.

For April billing, invoices will be dated later than the start of the month as we go through the contract transfer process.

Genesis accept payments by Direct debit. If you currently pay by:

  • Debit/credit card and direct debit: on transfer of your contract, your payment details will be passed from Increase CRM to Genesis. In the interim, you will continue to see Increase CRM as the organisation on your bank statements.
  • Bank transfer/ cheque: you will see our bank details on our invoice to you. Please amend your records to update payment details to our bank account.

Going forward, we aim to move all payments on to direct debit, especially if you currently pay by bank transfer and cheque. This will be discussed with you as we transfer the contracts over to Genesis.

Are there any changes to CRM support?
There are no immediate changes to how you receive CRM support. You can still reach the Increase CRM help desk by calling 020 8099 1302 or emailing CRM cases will be investigated and resolved by the same team of CRM heroes as before. In the next few months, the support numbers will change and we will communicate the new details to you in plenty of time.

How do I find out more about other Genesis products and services such as hosted Microsoft Exchange, hosted SharePoint or mobile solutions?
Genesis customers are managed by regional account managers. Please contact the Increase CRM help desk and we will put you in touch with your local Genesis account manager.

Who has left Increase CRM?
Two of Increase CRM’s directors, George Bliss and Jon Sturgeon, have moved on. Neil Benson and the rest of the Increase CRM team are now part of Genesis.

Have any contact details changed?
The Increase CRM team has now moved to the Genesis London hub. Our new address is: 12-16 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5PQ. You can continue to use all the Increase CRM contact details. Over time, our email addresses and phone numbers will change and we will keep you posted about how you can continue to communicate with CRM support heroes too.

What are the plans for migrating Increase CRM servers to Genesis?
Increase CRM’s servers were hosted by Rackspace. Genesis has its own data centre in Leicester and a secondary facility in Bury. We will be migrating all hosted CRM systems from Rackspace to Genesis during the weekend of 4-5 April. During this migration there will be a period of downtime that we will schedule to minimise disruption to your hosted CRM service.

On this weekend Rackspace were planning to move Increase CRM’s servers to the new Rackspace data centre, which would have involved six hours of downtime. Rather than migrate to a new Rackspace data centre and then later to the Genesis data centre, we are planning to minimise disruption by moving the service directly to Leicester.

Particularly with regards to hosted CRM, what are the future plans of Genesis?
Genesis are making significant investments in mobile and hosted IT services, including:

  • Improved Infrastructure – to make hosted CRM faster, more resilient and secure
  • New Products and Services – such as mobile CRM to compliment its mobile phone and mobile email services, and new CRM add-on products
  • Better Tools and Communications – as well as a fresh new brand to be launched this summer, Genesis will be launching improved customer communication channels such as a customer portal and community for CRM customers

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Update Rollup 3 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM team released Update Rollup 3 last week. (Increase CRM is the only hosted CRM partner in Europe to have a Microsoft Dynamics Partner Advantage Plan, so we got a 'heads up' a couple of weeks ago.)

We'd consider Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 to be a mature, stable product, so as expected Update Rollup 3 contains fewer hotfixes than previous rollups. Update Rollup 3 contains six previously released hotfixes and resolutions for many minor issues. None of the hotfixes or resolutions are known to affect any of our customers or are considered major.

Our initial internal testing of Update Rollup 3 is going well and we expect to deploy this update on our hosted CRM platform within the next few weeks. Once the server components have been installed, we will be distributing the client component for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 for Outlook to all our users.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Latest Microsoft CRM Statement of Direction

Microsoft has published an update to the Dynamics CRM Statement of Direction that was released last year.

The highlights for the next version of CRM include:

New Levels of User Productivity and Collaboration Capabilities
  • Improved view of CRM data within Microsoft Outlook
  • New 'ribbon' user interface
  • Streamlined user interface with fewer pop-up forms, clicks and keystrokes
  • Personalisation of views
  • Greater levels of SharePoint integration
  • Inline reports for better business intelligence
  • More options for balancing workloads and prioritising tasks
Continued Enrichment of Core CRM Capabilities
  • Visualisation of contact and account hierarchies
  • Team-based collaboration
  • Call centre and unified communications improvements
  • Additional revenue recognition, forecasting, revenue management features
  • New team-selling features in sales opportunities
  • Further investment in knowledge management
  • Extended outbound marketing capabilities, particularly email marketing
  • Ability to schedule future recurring activities
Best-of Breed Business Solution Platform
  • Ability for developers to build application packages, called "Solutions", that will provide the ability to easily add, update and remove add-ons
  • Secure code on the server
  • Integration with Windows Azure cloud services platform
  • Data auditing
  • Extended use of Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Global picklists and hierarchical/cascading picklists
  • Improved Visual Studio integration
  • Improved multi-tenanted management for hosting partners (yeah!)
  • Greater leveraging of Windows Hyper-V for virtualisation, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 for business intelligence and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006 for integration
The Statement of Direction also includes a summary of the CRM solution accelerators:
  • Analytics
  • eService
  • Event Management
  • Enterprise Search
  • Extended Sales Forecasting
  • RSS Notifications
  • Sales Methodologies (to be released Q1 2009)
  • Newsfeed Business Producitivity (released March 2009)
It also covers:
  • Mobile Express for CRM 4.0
  • Ten Digits Alliance for mobile CRM on Windows Mobile and BlackBerry devices
Still no scheduled release date though. Our money is on Q1 2010, and a name change - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2010, or possibly even Microsoft Dynamics xRM 2010 - who knows?

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

CRM record counter on grids

Ever asked yourself, "how many records are in this view?" and found yourself counting the number of pages of results one-by-one? There are a couple of elegrant third-party add-ons that provide the often-requested record counter and page counter features on CRM grids.

If you're an Increase-hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer and interested in either of these record counter add-ons, please let us know. We're currently testing them and hope to release one of them on our on-demand CRM platform soon.

New CRM Business Productivity Accelerator released

Microsoft has released the latest accelerator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0: the Newsfeed Business Productivity Accelerator.

The Newsfeed Business Productivity accelerator provides a dashboard that shows users all the recent activity within the CRM system, for example: cases created, sales opportunities won (or lost!), marketing campaigns launched, and so on. The goal of the Newsfeed Business Productivity accelerator is to present live CRM data in a way that your users will find appealing and interactive and encouraging user adoption.

CRM administrators will be able to configure the newsfeed dashboard to display notifications about updates to any type of entity, including custom entities.

The screenshot (courtesy of Joel Lindstrom's Customer Effective blog) shows a typical Newsfeed Dashboard showing the day-by-day updates to CRM records, each with the entity icon and a clickable hyperlink to the record itself.

Over the next few weeks, Increase CRM will be testing this new accelerator ready for deployment at no charge to all our hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 customers.