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Microsoft Azure for Recovery Sites and Failover

Whether you are operating your servers on premises or in the cloud, a cloud service like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform are ideal for supporting recovery of sites in case of hardware or communications failures.  If your servers are primarily at your data center, having additional servers at that facility may not help your users if access is cut off due to a natural disaster or other event.  Recent floods in North Carolina and South Carolina remind us of how infrastructure can be vulnerable to weather. 

Microsoft Azure provides you a resource for building failover and maintenance sites which will be up and running even when your data center cannot be.   Microsoft offers technical documentation and videos that take you through the steps of establishing recovery sites.


These techniques are based on several failover scenarios, including these:

FailoverSourceTargetAzure to AzureAzure regionAzure regionVMware to AzureConfiguration serverAzurePhysical machines t…

DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics

Much has been written about how Microsoft Dynamics may be used to create software solutions using configuration to replace extensive coding needed for traditional software development.  This "low code" approach can save time and reduce costs for building and implementing business solutions for some scenarios.

At the same time, development tools and processes for "low code" are not as mature as those for most software development, especially for large and complex projects with multiple developers.  The tools are catching up and Dynamics implementers and administrators are adopting best practices for rolling out Dynamics solutions.  One of the most important of these approaches is DevOps. The goal of DevOps is to shorten the time between software iterations by integrating development and operations processes.  One of the chief ways to accomplish this goal is through automation of the software build and deployment processes.

Last weekend I attended a session on DevOp…

Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service Best Practices

By Ayesha Mirza, senior consultant at InfoStrat
One of the key initiatives of customer service is to make tasks easier for both the customer and customer service agents. Customers want to find information and customer service agents have the need to process, absorb and promote information requests in order to provide an adequate customer experience.
Streamlining this flow of information requires planning and a robust platform such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 to bridge the gap between the customer experience and agent activities.
This post describes our approach and best practices to consider while implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service. ·         Strategy – Plan out your implementation from the start. Define purpose, scale, budget, baselines, promotion, delivery, maintenance and escalation methods prior to kick-off. This will aid in clarifying internal and business expectations and help keep costs and schedule as projected. The approach can be defined …

Learning About Microsoft Azure: What is Azure?

Microsoft Azure is one of the big three cloud computing services (along with Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform ) and has been growing rapidly for many years.  The following highlights key concepts for those who may be new to Azure.  These topics are geared toward a CIO or CTO rather than a network expert or developer who may be researching more advanced topics.

Many of the cloud computing concepts explored here apply to Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform as well.
What is Azure? Azure is the Microsoft brand for cloud computing services.  Some, but not all Microsoft Cloud products are purchased and managed through Azure.  The largest exception is Microsoft Office 365, the cloud version of Microsoft Office which is sold under its own brand and managed from its own console.  Similarly, Dynamics 365 runs in the Microsoft cloud but is not managed from Azure but rather from Office 365. Azure and Office 365 do overlap and interact to the extent that Azure offers…

Capture Management in CRM for Government IDIQ and BPAs

Government agencies often create blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) and indefinite date indefinite quantity (IDIQ) orders in order to simplify procurement, so that they can have a smaller number of bidders respond to requirements and to set prices for products and services that they know they will need in the future.

Tracking these BPA and IDIQ opportunities in your customer relationship management (CRM) system is a bit different from tracking an individual contract opportunity.  While many of the data elements you track will be the same, you do not know the dollar value of the contract until orders are subsequently submitted.

One decision for you to make in your reporting is to decide whether to include an estimated value for the BPA or to count it as zero dollars and assign the dollar value only to task orders.  If you choose to give the BPA a value and also each task order, some reports will end up double-counting the revenue because only won orders generate revenue.

You may also …

The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management

I am often asked how InfoStrat became involved in grants management and why Microsoft chose InfoStrat to develop its grant management solutions Stimulus360 and Grants Manager Plus.

Since the late 1990s, InfoStrat has been working in grants management for state, local, and federal agencies.  In 2009, we were contracted by Microsoft to build the Microsoft Stimulus360 ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Grant Management system which we deployed in the states of California, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, cities including Chicago and Seattle and counties such as Harris County, Texas, Los Angeles County, California and Cook County, Illinois.

Since then Grants Manager Plus has been adopted by grantors in many countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.

In January of 2011, InfoStrat worked with Microsoft to launch the next version of Stimulus360 as the Microsoft Grants Manager Plus Accelerator. It was initially called Grants360.  We continue to maint…