InfoStrat president James Townsend's thoughts on digital transformation, marketing automation, customer relationship management, Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM), government contracting, customer service and more. For breaking news, follow me on Twitter @jamestownsend and for more depth see the InfoStrat website at www.infostrat.com
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Notes on Upgrading from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 to Dynamics CRM 2013
The following are notes on upgrading from Dynamics CRM 2011 to
Dynamics CRM 2013 from InfoStrat’s Dynamics CRM lead Dmitri Riz.
In many ways, the upgrade to Dynamics CRM 2013 is less painful
than the transition from version 3.0 to 4.0 or from 4.0 to Dynamics CRM
2011.In general, if your site has been
already upgraded to CRM 2011 Rollup Update 12 or later, you shouldn’t
experience significant issues with updating to CRM 2013.
The upgrade process falls into following large categories:
1.Find incompatible/legacy code and update it 2.Upgrade to 2013 (if using on-premise) 3.Review and refactor the user interface (UI) to adopt the new
form and navigation paradigm.
Dynamics CRM 2013 removes all support from legacy 4.0 features.
All references to objects like crmForm or 2007 web service endpoints such as ‘…/mscrmservices/2007/crmservice.asmx’; ISV folder, CRM 4.0 plugins are all unsupported and should be
replaced with updated objects.
Note: The Dynamics CRM 2013 Custom Code Validation Tool will
likely generate many false positives, for example, if you are using jQuery or
On-premise upgrades can be done by installing CRM 2013 and
following these steps:
-Importing the Dynamics CRM 2011 solution or backing up the
Dynamics CRM 2011 database, restoring it in a new location and importing new
organization into a fresh CRM 2013 instance using deployment manager.
-Dynamics CRM 2013 supports in-place upgrade which can convert
existing Dynamics CRM 2011 server into 2013. This is not recommended for production
environments, however.If you choose to
use the in-place upgrade, you must ensure that RU 14 or 15 are installed on your
Dynamics CRM 2011 server first.
-Testing the new organization to validate that all custom
features and extensions are functioning properly
The user interface and navigation in Dynamics CRM 2013 have changed significantly.
The most visible changes are the dramatically reduced number of popups
(new data and entity windows tend to load into the same page) and complete
redesign of navigation options.
Your upgraded Dynamics CRM 2011 solution will benefit from a
thorough review of both navigation options and form layout.Left-nav bars of Dynamics
CRM 2011 are replaced by a collapsible top-of-the-page ribbon control in 2013.
While it conserves a lot of usable space on the form, it may lead to negative
effects on converted solutions, especially when Dynamics CRM 2011 solution has
many deep hierarchies and customized navigation bars. In Dynamics CRM 2013,
this navigation gets flattened, which leads to essentially a one-level layout
with a potentially very long breadcrumb-style nav elements at the top of the
page, which can be hard to visualize.
Spend some time redesigning and organizing site hierarchy,
paying attention to simplifying the layout and making sure your users can
navigate through parent-child chains easily.
After upgrade, all your forms will function. Microsoft didn’t
change FormXml definitions.
However, for some of the entities you will get a few additional
forms. In the screenshot below, Information form comes from the Dynamics CRM 2011
solution, while the Case form is an OOB new process-driven Case UX form.
You can use both forms, or merge them. If during the upgrade
issues are detected, they will be added to Conflicts tab at the bottom of the
Since Dynamics CRM 2013 introduced the auto-save feature, and it
is turned on by default, determine if it might lead to potential issues,
especially if you are using plugins triggered by an Update message. If a plugin
is prone to consume significant resources, or if it introduces long-running
operations (such as invoking transactions in remote systems), it might reduce
overall system performance and introduce adverse effects if it is invoked often
as a result of auto-save operation.
Finally, custom JS code might need to be reviewed and adjusted. One
of the major enhancements in 2013 is an introduction to asynchronous data
saving, auto-saves and reduction in the number of popups and screen reloads. A
couple of scenarios below illustrate potential issues with legacy custom code:
-Custom JS code executes during page load and loads certain
resources. In Dynamics CRM 2011 each form save triggered complete window
reload. In Dynamics CRM 2013 it doesn’t happen anymore. Even after first save
on a New record, the window doesn’t reload. Load event however will still be
triggered, which may lead to legacy Dynamics CRM 2011 JS code loading same
resources multiple times.
-In Dynamics CRM 2013, an entity form can be displayed within the
main CRM window, or can be displayed in a popup form. If you load custom code
that manipulates DOM (which technically is unsupported, but in practice might
be unavoidable for complex scenarios), for example, to replace certain screen
element (such as text box) with a generated on the fly HTML (e.g. graphical
button displayed an image from JPG web resource), you will notice that relative
URLs are different between inline and popped forms and your DOM code needs to
After ensuring that converted site runs correctly and looks
good, take a look at such new Dynamics CRM 2013 features as quick create forms, entity
preview options, Bing maps integration and business rules. Some of these new
options may replace or enhance pre-existing customizations.
Upgrading to Dynamics CRM 2013 provides an opportunity to streamline the user experience and add the new features that may have been lingering in your user request backlog.
The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act enacted in May 2014 calls for making spending data available in open, standardized formats to be published online. It is a continuation of transparency initiatives and lessons learned with experiences such as grants.gov, the 2009 economic stimulus under the Recovery Act and the spending site USASpending.gov.
Government grantees will have significant new administrative responsibilities. Many organizations that were tracking grants in spreadsheets or documents will have to adopt more sophisticated automated grant management systems such as Microsoft Grants Manager to keep up with reporting rules.
For profit companies will lose some privacy as a result of this law. Grant recipients will be required to disclose information including officer salaries.
Continued improvements to publishing grant opportunities such as grants.gov may make it easier to find grants. These reforms together are designed to improve the effectiveness of grant prog…
To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.
Entities are the most fundamental part of Dynamics 365 in terms of storing your business data. They are similar in concept to database tables, and the relate to one another like tables in a relational database. For instance, Dynamics 365 has an entity called Contacts that stores data such as name, address, and email address of people that you track. Accounts is a related entity that describes the organizations to which Contacts may belong.
Although they are similar to database tables, Dynamics entities allow you to do some customizations that are not possible in a standard database table. Field labels, for instance, are part of an entity, and they may differ from …
Here are some answers to frequently asked question on this solution: Can I add new fields to the solution? -- Yes, the solution is fully customizable and you can add your own new fields to any form, view or report.Does Dynamics 365 for GovCon work on mobile devices? -- Yes, Microsoft offers mobile apps for all the most popular platforms including iPhone, iPad, and Android phone and tablets.Does Dynamics 365 connect with bid data systems such as Deltek and Onvia? -- Some information services, such as Onvia, offer integration with Dynamics 365. Others require third party solutions such as the InfoStrat integration with Deltek GovWin IQ.What do customers typically customize for their unique requirements? -- Not all contractors follow the same steps in the capture process. Most clients will tailor the business process to add or remove steps in order to match their sales methodology. Of…