Skip to main content

Posts

5 Pitfalls in Choosing Cloud Business Software Such as CRM

Recent posts

MVP is Not Just for Startups

One of the key goals for startups is to release their products quickly, which has lead to a minimum viable product (MVP) approach.  Speed to market is so important that it's better to release a product before all the desired features are present so you can capture market share and use customer feedback to help you prioritize the introduction of new features.

The challenge of the MVP approach is to determine what "viable" means.  If you launch without sufficient features, your product may fail to attract any customers, or disappoint your first customers. But if you wait, competitors are likely to step in with their own offerings.

The MVP concept is not only applicable to startups and commercial companies that are selling products, but also to internal software projects for companies, government agencies, and non-profits.  Too often I have seen scope creep add to the feature list of a software product and delay launch dates for weeks or months.

Using MVP principles, your …

Enhanced Support for Microsoft Dynamics 365

Microsoft offers customers a range of support services, from standard support included with software licenses and subscriptions, to Premier support which can included dedicated onsite staff. 

Dynamics 365 customers can also purchase something in-between - Enhanced Support for Dynamics 365, geared toward small businesses who do not purchase Premier support.  This support offering provides many support and training benefits as listed below:


The price is only $5/user/month which makes it one of Microsoft's most affordable plans. 

You can order Enhanced Support for Dynamics 365 on the Office 365 admin portal.  Full instructions on ordering subscriptions are available here.

New InfoStrat Blog Launches

InfoStrat has launched a new blog devoted to technical answers and tips.  These will be on software topics including custom development, CRM, Dynamics 365, Azure, Adobe, Sitecore, SharePoint and other products. 

Stay tuned for frequent additions to the new InfoStrat blog. 

I will continue to post my observations and insights on software and related topics on this blog.

Azure Service Fabric: Understanding Microservices

Microsoft Azure Service Fabric helps developers build applications based on microservices to allow better scalability, faster deployment and upgrades, reduced resource costs and enhanced management capabilities.

Microservices is the latest stage of the trend to divide applications into component parts.  This trend leads to separation of the user interface, business logic, storage and other elements that make up an application.  It has been manifest in shared libraries and technology layers, and created greater mobility and scalability of applications.

A monolithic approach to application development contains all its functionality and is typically scaled by adding more instances of physical or virtual services.


Microservices take this logic much further.  They ideally are autonomous and interact with each other through well defined protocols.  Microservices may be developed in many programming languages and run in many environments, but they are compatible with each other because of s…

User Stories for Grants Manager Plus

My company InfoStrat offers government software solutions, and our most popular has been Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, based on Dynamics 365.  I receive inquiries on this solution from around the world, and the most common questions include how long it will take to implement and how much will it cost.

User stories which describe your grant program and business processes are essential to determine the scope of the project and create accurate estimates for an implementation.  User stories are descriptions of a process from the point of view of a user role.  They do not include technical details of the implementation but they capture business rules and data elements that are tracked for a specific scenario.

To create user stories for Grants Manager Plus, first identify how many grant programs you offer.  Do different programs have distinct business processes or track different data?  If they use the same processes and data, you can create fewer user stories.  Often our clients have som…

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…