Monday 17th April
Easter Monday saw me preparing for a customer visit on Tuesday. They have been on 1.2 for about 18 months with a heavily customised customer service solution but have just rolled out to Telesales and there were a number of little issues which were affecting user adoption and which needed to be addressed.
Tuesday 18th April
On customer site. Most of the issues were training issues but there were some security issues with some users able to see data they shouldn’t. This is a particular problem with 1.2 were the security descriptors can become unreliable. These and the constant CRM toolbar issues leads me to prepare a plan for upgrading to 3.0.
Wednesday 18th April
Back on site with the customer with email problems from last week. When rebooting Exchange the Information Store was unable to start and when diagnostics were run Active Directory was not visible from the Exchange Server. The error log contained Event ID 103 for GCs not responding and when accessing the DSAccess tab under server properties an error was displayed and no GCs were listed and all the options were greyed out.
What appears to have happened is that the crm administrator user had been added into the Exchange Domain Server group when the CRM Exchange Router was installed. Simply removing it from the group enabled Exchange to start.
I have no idea why the crm administrator was added into that group and have never seen this before. I have done some tests and cannot re-create so it is an obscure problem which I hope you will not see.
Anyway, I did a full test of CRM email and all was working OK and taking the user out of the group has not affected CRM email at all so one wonders why it was placed in there.
I spent the rest of the day looking at campaigns and reporting. One issue which isn’t well known is that if you generate an email campaign the emails are not sent automatically. Fortunately, a knowledgebase article describes how to create a .NET Assembly for use with workflow to auto send campaign emails.
This is a good introduction into using .NET Assemblies and workflow and follows my belief in using simple chunks of code for solutions.
On reporting the use of Dynamic Pivot tables in Excel and then loading the spreadsheet as a report for use by others answered many of the reporting requirements. However, as with views and advanced find, pivot tables can only use attributes from one entity, so if you want to report on attributes from more than one entity you need to use SQL Reporting Services and Visual Studio to create a report. This is beyond most users although with SQL 2005 Report Designer it will become easier.
Now, I have a lot of experience with SQL Reporting Services as we adopted it over a year ago even for CRM 1.2 reporting so I was able to quickly generate a report using a matrix to meet the remainder of the marketing reporting analysis requirements.
Thursday 19th April
Back in the office and generated quotes for CRM for a number of enquiries which seem to be increasing week on week.
I then packaged up and documented the charity project implemented last week before heading off early to travel ready for Friday.
Friday 20th April
Out of the office visiting a couple of prospects. Early days yet but some interesting uses for CRM.