CRM Outlook Client Hotfixes

While doing my CRM Online install, I attempted to set the client up with the CRM Outlook client. It appeared to install properly but then Outlook would not run. When attempting to run it, we would get a message that the program had not shut down properly and the data file needed to be massaged. After a bit, Outlook would simply shut down. I eventually decided to uninstall the CRM client and full functionality was restored to Outlook. I also noticed that the customer had Microsoft Office Business Contact Manager (BCM) installed. Further research (asking my fellow MVPs) revealed that this is a common behavior. Matter of fact there is a hotfix in the works, but not public yet, to fix this. In the meantime I will simply uninstall BCM and then reinstall the CRM client.

One of the benefits of this ‘research’ was that a recent CRM Team blog, CRM 4 Outlook Client – Issues and Fixes, was highlighted that listed a number of hotfixes for the CRM Outlook client. It can be found here. I encourage you to visit this blog and learn about the fixes. Links are available to request the individual (free) hotfixes.

CRM Online – First Experiences

This week I’ve had my first opportunity to set up CRM Online for a client. It’s been a learning experience for sure. CRM Online, Microsoft’s hosted version of the product, looks like a good choice in a number of scenarios. My current customer is a substantial company with a network infrastructure and several servers. But at this point, only a handful of users need CRM. Rather than spend several thousand dollars to install a new server to run SQL and CRM, they can use the Online version to see how the product will work for them, especially the 30 day free trial. I expect they will eventually move up to On-premise as they see the value of the program. Other possible fits for this would be branch offices of larger corporations, like banks. In this scenario the local branch manager may see the value of CRM for their business development, but convincing the IT folks and management at the corporate headquarters may be an uphill battle, at least at first.

There were a few pitfalls in my first Online setup experience. I went to the customer’s office on Tuesday fully expecting to spend the afternoon setting up CRM and showing him how to get started using it. Well, not so fast. When you sign up for an Online account, you must wait for someone from Microsoft to contact the customer and verify that they are in fact a real live company wanting to use CRM and not a spoof trying to sabotage the system. I left after about a half hour having only been able to apply for the account. Later that afternoon, I received notification that my customer had been approved. So today I returned and had to set up the account. I fully thought it would be a quick process. Once again the system told me that we would be notified when the new CRM system was ready for use, hopefully within 24 hours. I was looking at another wasted day. But after a short wait (30 minutes?) I tried logging on the their organization and I got it! Never did receive that e-mail notification.

So, my recommendations when you are setting up a new client is to apply for the account ahead of time. It can really be done from any computer. Once you get the go ahead, you can also do the initial set up remotely as well. Once up and running, you can go to the customer’s office and set up the Outlook client and show the customer how to use it. You will need a Windows Live ID for your client and a credit card in order to set up their CRM.

Can’t Promote Outlook E-mail to CRM

Well, I’ve spent the better part of today (and tonight) trying to resolve a pesky problem that suddenly popped up this morning. Whenever I would try to Track in CRM (promote) an e-mail message, I would get the error “An error occurred promoting this item to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM server could not be contacted or the user has insufficient permissions to perform this actions.” I did numerous Google searches which produced a number of hits, including one from MY BLOG! None seemed to help. Most of the solutions, including my own, seemed to focus on there being a problem with attachments in the affected message. But it didn’t matter what type of message I tried to promote, it still gave the same error. I tried running the Outlook CRM client Configuration Wizard. That didn’t help. I tried messing with the Outlook offline cache. No help. I did a bunch of stuff that didn’t help. I tried uninstalling the CRM client from Outlook using the Configuration Wizard and then reinstalling using the Wizard. Nope! Finally I tried going to Control Panel and Add/Remove Programs (well the Vista equivalent, Programs and Features). I had intended to completely uninstall and then reinstall the client from there. But it gave me the option to Repair as well. I figured I might as well try that first. It worked!