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Showing posts from August, 2015

FAV Plugin for Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Formula, Aggregation and Validation

InfoStrat has developed the FAV Plugin for use with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to support data validation, aggregate operations, and formula support without programming.  Many business applications for Dynamics CRM require complex business operations that are not supported in Dynamics CRM out of the box but can be implemented through plug-in configuration.

Typically, in a complex Dynamics CRM deployment, business rules, complex calculations and additional security measures are scattered across multiple layers.  Often all of the above are implemented in JavaScript code on various Dynamics CRM forms, in Plugins, and in other extensions such as external portals and data integration components. This proliferation of implementation decisions makes a solution extremely hard to maintain and modify, breaking the development agility inherent to Dynamics CRM. The FAV Plugin allows an implementer to concentrate these functions in a single location and implement all requirements declaratively.

Backgro…

Dynamics CRM for Political Campaigns

With the presidential campaigns taking so much of our national attention, I have been think about how candidates can benefit from customer relationship management technology.

My company InfoStrat has implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM to provide constituent management, executive scheduling and correspondence management for elected officials such as governors and county commissioners.
Candidates have similar requirements to communicate with voters as elected officials . These communications come from multiple channels, including website forms, emails, in-person meetings and, yes, even letters.  Dynamics CRM and Parature allow you to respond in kind, using the appropriate communications channel.  With ClickDimensions email marketing automation, you can create richly formatted emails and event invitations, and track responses in Dynamics CRM.

Communications should be handled consistent with the policy positions of the candidate and often require escalation and staff action to respond to…

Planning for Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) Solutions

NOTE: Updated to include Dynamics 365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) allows a developer to package  a number of customizations as a solution so they may be installed and managed as a unit rather than individually.  For instance, you could put all your custom entities and attributes as well as reports in a solution.  The solution may be installed into an instance of Dynamics 365 -- online or on premises.

Managed solutions are a type of solution which prevents unintentional changes to the customizations. You must start by creating an unmanaged solution and then deploy it as a managed solution in another instance of Dynamics 365.

There are many approaches to defining solutions.  One extreme is to put all customizations in a single solution.  The other extreme is to use dozens of solutions.

For Microsoft Grants Manager, we would use one solution for the standard Grants Manager Plus customizations, and another which contains customizations unique to a particular agency. A …

Dynamics CRM and Azure Together at Last

It's no secret that Dynamics CRM 2015 and the Azure cloud are both high priorities for Microsoft. This summer has seen a series of announcements that bring them closer together than ever before.



Dynamics CRM 2015 and Dynamics CRM Online 2015 now support integration with Microsoft Azure. This means that you can use Azure as a channel to communicate runtime data from Dynamics CRM for requirements such as synchronization with other CRM servers.

In more news, Microsoft has published the Azure Mobile Connector SDK to connect to Dynamics CRM Online and allow built-in sync and integration with Azure Active Directory.

Azure can fill in some of the gaps of Dynamics CRM Online, such as offloading reporting or loading CRM data into business intelligence tools.  You can use Azure blob storage for document storage in order to reduce storage requirements for Dynamics CRM Online.

Azure can provide a great development platform for Dynamics CRM so you avoid the short lifespan of Online trial accou…

Dynamics CRM for Correspondence Management

InfoStrat has developed a correspondence management solution that complements its constituent management and executive scheduling solutions.

Elected officials need correspondence management in order to respond to letters and other communications such as phone calls, emails, and website comments. 
You can use the system to respond in kind, that is to use the same communications channel that was used to initiate the contact. For instance, you would respond with a letter if you received a letter, or send an email if you receive an email.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides the foundation of the solution by including activity tracking, a workflow engine, integration with email and Microsoft Word for merges, and even mobile clients to view activity on your phone or tablet device. 
When you implement the solution, you choose how to handle frequent inquiry topics, and can build a library of templates and standard responses which may be combined as needed. 
If you used Dynamics CRM to track ever…

Dynamics CRM for Executive Scheduling

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has obvious uses for sales force automation, customer service, and marketing.  Even more interesting are the uses for other functions.

Elected officials, particularly those in some form of executive office such as governors and mayors, receive numerous requests to appear at public events or private functions, for interviews, and a host of other events. The InfoStrat Executive Scheduling solution enables the official’s scheduling team to conduct these activities in a standard way that ensures all requests are managed and that a timely response is provided.

Microsoft Outlook is the most popular professional scheduling application, and is used in nearly every government agency.  Outlook is a great way to manage a calendar, but Dynamics CRM can add the workflows needed by someone with a staff of assistants whose calendar is much more complicated and fluid.

The solution tracks incoming requests for attendance by the executive at various events. Requests can come in v…