Friday, 12 August 2011

Microsoft Dynamics CRM-Top Sites and Downloads

Top Sites and Downloads

Whether you’re interested in an online or on-premises solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has you covered. Check out these resources to help you create the perfect experience for your business.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM website is the place to go for information on all things CRM. You’ll find everything from an introduction to CRM and its value to your business to white papers, product specifications, customer testimonials, links to CRM communities, and much more.

Resource Center ~ The Resource Center is a one-stop shop, designed to help you get started, maximize your efficiency, and build your business. Using a community-centered approach, the Resource Center brings some of the best community ideas via blogs and forums right to your desktop.

Community Home Page ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community site is the place to go for information about all things CRM. You’ll find links to blogs and articles, forums, newsgroups, MVPs, and much more.

Team Blog ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog is the place to go to connect with the CRM team. You’ll find postings on customization, development, and implementation. This is one of the fastest ways to get to know the CRM team.

Forums ~ The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Forums are your question and answer resource. You’ll find answers to some of your most pressing questions and a team of crack experts ready to help.

MVPs ~ The Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) site recognizes exceptional technical community leaders from around the world. Here you can find experts who love to talk about all aspects of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

XCEL Technologies Ltd - Leading CRM Solution Providers

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Working From Home: How Advancing Technology Can Change the Workplace

Times are changing. Fast. The ‘typical’ job has traditionally consisted of a nine to five workday at a single corporate office where all employees commute to five days a week. Maybe there are small deviations from the rule where an employee can choose to come in at 8am and leave at 4pm. Perhaps a full hour is permitted for lunch, or perhaps it isn’t. Regardless of the details, the orthodox work schedule has had very little margin for freedom—until now.

The New World of Work Location Freedom
With the exception of traveling sales and business people, the concept of remote employees is a relatively new one. Thanks to technological leaps and bounds, the business world is quickly becoming highly mobile and versatile, and with these advancements come both technical and social considerations.

There are many different ways in which you can achieve remote access computing from a technical standpoint. However, it is essential that you carefully evaluate your specific environment to determine which mode best suits your business’ needs. Securing sensitive data from hackers may be your top priority, or perhaps fast and easy communication with your remote employee is your main concern. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have thought everything through. It’s advisable to have an IT professional help you establish which method of remote connection is most appropriate for your enterprise.

The other determining factors you will want to consider is how the change will affect your business on a social level, how work will be conducted by your remote employee, and how you as a boss are supposed to evaluate their work. Because it’s true, one can’t just walk across the office or plan an impromptu meeting to get an update on a worker’s progress.

There are aspects of employee management that would need to be reexamined and inevitably reshaped. How are employers supposed to evolve with the times? How can an employer keep tabs on a worker that isn’t there? How will it alter the camaraderie of your team? The conventional techniques an employer uses to assess an employee would have to be modified.

Trusting, Planning, Goal Setting

There is a big question that may be looming when considering remote location employment. How can I know my employee isn’t taking advantage of this untethered freedom?

Before any changes begin, a certain level of trust and respect must be shared between employer and employee. Without it, the initial plunge is unlikely to take place. If that fundamental combination has been established, ease the stress of transitioning from in house to remote employment by forming a steady and clear line of communication. Whether it is via conference calls, daily emails, or a shared calendar, a vehicle to maintain employer-employee interaction must be put in place in order to keep both parties feeling secure.

As more time passes, you will be better able to assess your worker’s level of production if you have established a well-defined set of goals that you both agree on. Understanding what projects need to be accomplished and the timeframe in which they must to be completed will make keeping track of your remote worker a far easier and less stressful task. If your employee repeatedly fails to finish the allotted tasks within the pre-determined period of time, then it may be an indication that working from home may not be the best option for that particular staff member.

Get Creative: Find a Happy Middle Ground

You’re the boss, so you don’t have to compromise, right? Well perhaps, but consider this: by understanding your employee’s situation and working to find a middle ground that suits both your needs, you may very well end up with a more productive employee that creates better quality work.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and be flexible as these characteristics just might be the ticket to a more successful business. Being open to your options may make all the difference for you, your employees, and the organization as a whole. For instance, if the commute of one employee is having a detrimental affect on his work, offer to let him work from home a few days a week. This way you can still have the face-to-face time while allowing him to breathe easier at the gas pump. Both of you walk away feeling satisfied: your employee’s production rate increases because he is happy and respects you, while you may have just saved yourself from losing a great worker. Your efforts will have a positive effect on the organization’s sense of community and bottom line.

Feeling the Fruits of Your Effort and Compromise

Having remote employees may end up being an experiment. See how it goes with a small number of employees, even one, and proceed from there. Make a concise list of expectations for each individual you plan on letting work remotely and be open to dialogue about the subject.

In the end you might find it works well for your organization, or it may not. Either way, you tested new ways to improve your business.

XCEL Technologies Ltd- Leading CRM Solutions Providers.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Getting Started with the LightSwitch Starter Kits

Visual Studio LightSwitch Starter Kits are project templates that help get you started building specific LightSwitch applications. You can download them right from the within Visual Studio LightSwitch and once installed they show up in your “New Project” dialog. Using the Starter Kits can help you learn about LightSwitch as well as get you started off right with a basic data model, queries and screens that you can customize further. Currently there are Starter Kits for:

  • Customer Service
  • Expense Tracking
  • Issue Tracking
  • Job Candidate Tracking
  • Performance Review
  • Status Reports
  • Time Tracking

It’s really easy to get started using them. There’s a few ways you can install the Starter Kits. The easiest way is directly through Visual Studio LightSwitch. You can find the Starter Kit templates when you create a LightSwitch project from the “File –> New Project” dialog. Select the “Online Templates” node on the left and you will see the Starter Kits listed. Each Starter Kit comes in both Visual Basic (VB) and C# (CS) versions.


Select the Starter Kit you want, name the project, and click OK. This will download and install the Starter Kit. You can also install the Starter Kits through the Extension Manager. Here you will also find LightSwitch third-party extensions that have been placed on the Visual Studio Gallery. Open up the Extension Manager from the Tools menu.


Then click the “Online Gallery” node on the left side and expand the Templates node and you will see the Starter Kits there. Click the download button to install the one you want.


Once you install the Starter Kits they will be listed in your New Project dialog along with the blank solutions you get out of the box.


You can also obtain the Starter Kits as well as other extensions directly from the Visual Studio Gallery.

Once you create a new project based on the Starter Kit, you are presented with a documentation window that explains how to use the Starter Kit and how the application works. You can then choose to customize the application further for your needs.


That’s it! For more information on building business applications with Visual Studio LightSwitch including articles, videos, and more, see:


XCEL Technologies Ltd. - Leading CRM Solutions Providers

CRM 2011: Installing Update Rollups silently

Many of my customers like to install CRM Outlook client update rollups silently in order to limit end-user interruption. It is possible to silently install Update Rollups. I've listed the necessary steps below:

  • Download the CRM update rollup that you'd like to apply from the Microsoft Download Center (ex. CRM2011-Client-KB2547347-ENU-i386.exe)
  • Extract the update rollup package (CRM2011-Client-KB2547347-ENU-i386.exe /extract)
  • After extracting the package, you'll see a file named CrmUpdateWrapper.exe
  • To silently install the update rollup via a command prompt, launch the CrmUpdateWrapper (ex. crmupdatewrapper.exe /q /log "C:\log\log.txt")
    • The above syntax silently installs the update rollup and creates a log file in the specified folder. Additional parameters that can be used are:
      • /? = available parameter options
      • /q = silent install
      • /passive = installer/uninstall runs in passive mode
      • /norestart = even if required, does not restart the computer after installation is completed
      • /forcerestart = even if it is not required, restarts the computer after installation is completed
      • /promptrestart = prompts the user to restart the computer after the installation is completed when a restart is required
      • /uninstall = update is uninstalled
      • /log = user can define the log file local path name

While it is definitely possible to run the above silent install from a command prompt, most customers will choose to use these parameters when pushing out update rollups through deployment software (ex. System Center Configuration Manager).

XCEL Technologies Ltd- Leading CRM Solutions Providers