Today I needed to send an e-mail blast to about 3,000 of my nearest and dearest friends. I created a template, selected the Contacts and then Leads I wanted to send to and sent the e-mail. Boom! I was through. Easy enough. Then I started to check the Contacts and Leads to see that the messages were in fact sent. Hmmm, nothing yet. Then after a bit, I noticed that the message was showing up in the History as expected. Seems simple enough but there’s more to the story.
First off, I have my user account set to send CRM e-mail through Outlook. For some reason my server E-mail Router service won’t start and I didn’t want to spend the time figuring it out. Maybe I should next time. This means that my Outlook must be up and running for the messages to be sent. And they are not sent all at once. No. I appears they are sent in batches of 10 and the batches are sent every 5 minutes. I can see this by monitoring my Sent Items. So at 10 every 5 minutes means 120 messages an hour. 3,000 messages at 120/hr = 25 hours. And this is 25 hours of continuous operation of the CRM Outlook client. My main machine is my notebook and I generally shut it down in the evening so I can take it with me where ever I go.
I think next time I want to send an e-mail blast, especially if I want it to go out quickly, I’ll figure out why my E-mail Router isn’t running.
Larry’s Taco Talk would be very remiss if I didn’t commiserate on the passing of Gidget, the Taco Bell dog. Gidget passed away yesterday from a stroke at the age 15. RIP, Gidget. Yo quierro Taco Bell.
Have you gotten on the Twitter bandwagon yet? It seems to be snowballing. There was a LOT of Twitter activity this past week at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. It addition to everything else, they announced a new CRM accelerator for Twitter. Check out the video at http://crm.dynamics.com/demos/twitter/default.html. I haven’t been able to find the actual accelerator download site yet but will post when I do.
Today in San Antonio, the local social media community held #TweetCampSA. It was an all day event with multiple tracks and almost 250 attendees. I wasn’t able to attend but have been following the tweets coming from the group. There seems to have been a very high level of energy and excitement. The tweeters were posting highlights of the different sessions and I learned quite a lot following them. If you want to learn a bit more about how to use Twitter, perhaps as a tool in your business, you might want to have a look at the Twitter traffic at #TweetCampSA on Twitter. While you’re at it, be sure and follow me, @CRMLarry.
Yesterday I downloaded the just released (to WPC & MVP) Microsoft Office 2010. I first installed it on my Vista (32bit) notebook which already had Office 2007. The Office ‘10 install proceeded as an Upgrade. It seemed to take a looong time but eventually finished successfully. After a reboot, I fired up Outlook. The first run of Outlook took again a looong time to do what it needed to do to upgrade the 2007 system to 2010. But eventually it finished. It only seemed so long because it was getting much later than I had planned on staying up since I had class the next morning. Once it came up, I looked for the familiar CRM tool bar and Outlook menu item. Not there. Darn! then I saw the ‘Add-Ins’ item in the new Outlook menu. Clicking on that presented a new ‘ribbon’ which displayed what looks a lot like the old tool bar. The CRM menu was also there. I exercised it a bit and everything seemed to work. Again, this are my VERY first experiences. I haven’t had much stick time so far.
Tonight I decided to try installing the 64 bit of Office 2010 on my Windows 7 RC notebook (same computer, swapped out the hard drive). Wanting to see how Office installed in a clean environment, I uninstalled the existing Office 2007. I had never installed the CRM Outlook client on this implementation. Once Office was installed and activated, I attempted to install the CRM Outlook Client with Offline Access. The preliminary steps install several required services including the SQL 2005 Express database. This went fine. But it failed when trying to install the SQL Reporting Services Report Viewer services. After a couple of tries I decided to scrub the Offline access and go for the ‘desktop’ client. It doesn’t need the SRS Report Viewer. Unfortunately the install aborted when it couldn’t find a supported Outlook version. It only supports Outlook 2003 or 2007. I understand there may be (UNsupported) ways around this and I will blog when I figure that out.
For now, I will exercise the CRM Offline Client on my Vista 32 with Office 2010 32 bit.
Microsoft has just released a number of new accelerators for CRM 4.0. Have a look here for a full description. One that particularly caught my eye was one for Twitter. You can learn more about it at http://crm.dynamics.com/. I like to Twitter (follow me at CRMLarry) so I’m looking forward to trying this one out.
The accelerators don’t just provide great add-ons for CRM, but can be used as examples of how CRM can be customized. The accelerators come with full source code so you can modify them to best fit your needs, or use them as examples for creating other customizations.