Vol. 19, #16 - April 21, 2014 - Issue #976
CRM in the IT Pro's World
- Editor's Corner
- Heartbleed News Update
- CRM in the IT Pro's World
- Tip of the Week: Show Network Adapters whose status is "up"
- Recommended for Learning
- Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Quote of the Week
- Admin Toolbox
- Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
- Events Calendar
- Asia Pacific
- Webcast Calendar
- Register for Webcasts
- Tech Briefing
- Dynamics CRM
- Enterprise IT
- SharePoint, Exchange, and Office
- Windows Client
- Windows Server News
- What cloud broker services are you missing out on?
- How virtual applications work (Hint: It’s not magic)
- Tech Watch: vGPU remote graphics delivery extends VDI uses
- Change puts two-year limit on VCP certification
- WServerNews FAVE Links
- Barkley Dog Family Subaru
- Magician Andrew Kelly Amazes Ellen
- Vivaldi 'Summer' - Classical Music Comedy
- "Unsung Hero"
- WServerNews - Product of the Week
- SolarWinds free Real-Time NetFlow Analyzer - Don't Let Bandwidth Hogs Slow Down Your Network
- SAVE THIS NEWSLETTER so you can refer back to it later for helpful tips, tools and resources!
- FORWARD THIS NEWSLETTER to a colleague who you think might find it useful!
- SEND YOUR FEEDBACK to [email protected] if you have any comments or suggestions!
This week's newsletter is all about customer relationship management (CRM) business solutions and software from the IT pro perspective. We welcome Jeff Loucks, a Microsoft MVP in Dynamics CRM and the Chief Strategy Officer at Winrox, who has contributed our guest editorial on this subject.
Of course we all know what the Pointy-Haired Boss of the Dilbert comic strip thinks about how one should "manage" your customers:
P.S. Be sure to check out the Tech Briefing section of this issue for some links to resources on Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Heartbleed News Update
Here are couple of news items relating to the Heartbleed (OpenSSL) bug:
VMware has issued a security advisory listing the VMware products that ship with OpenSSL 1.0.1 and which are therefore exposed to the OpenSSL vulnerability:
WindowSecurity.com has a blog post that lists a collection of different tools you can use to test your servers for the OpenSSL vulnerability:
If you know of any other tools for identifying/mitigating this exploit or important security advisors concerning it, let us knwo at [email protected] and we'll inform our readers.
And now on to our guest editorial by Jeff Loucks...
CRM in the IT Pro's world
Over the past 20 years working as a leader in the CRM implementation world, things have certainly changed. In fact things are likely changing faster now than ever before. This is a familiar pattern for those of us who work in the IT field and we cope with it well. Our foundation of knowledge is one which adapts readily to new innovation that both simplifies old tasks and introduces new ones. This makes us both bold in adopting change and timid from past experience when we were surprised by the yet to be understood subtleties of the emergent. As a result we research and rely on the expertise of others greatly. As I mentioned CRM is not new and yet for many readers, it is new to them and their organization. This article covers the subtleties of understanding why CRM is different and will help shape your approach both to existing implementations as well as new implementations. We will cover some advanced IT Pro topics although at an introductory level. We will cover why CRM is really not an IT project and this knowledge will be your strongest guide to success.
OK, let's start with the bombshell that I dropped in the last sentence. CRM is not an IT project? What does that mean? It is software so that is IT's domain right? Wrong, well sort of wrong. Perhaps more so than any other project, CRM is at its root about helping business processes execute within the various Activities Systems in such a way that it drives value for the customer. If we think about Sales as an activity system and the processes that operate within the Sales department, CRM is about facilitating the way that department works. The Sales Activity System (Department) is not the only place with processes that CRM facilitates. In fact two other areas are considered core, Marketing and Customer Service. As we will learn later CRM goes even beyond these three activity systems. Suffice it to say, CRM is 99% a business project which is empowered by a solid IT foundation. So it is important for all parties in your organization to understand the IT department cannot and should not be the only contributors to the CRM project. There will be significant thought leadership required from each of the departments in the organization. With that, let's lay a foundation of what CRM does in a way you will likely not have heard before.
How does CRM facilitate the processes in an Activity System?
CRM does this based on 4 major competencies:
1. Relating information created by people both to the people who created it and to the people for whom it was created.
This seems like a strange point. As IT Pros we understand the amount of work we put in to creating resources to store and share the work organizations produce through digital assets like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and hundreds of other documents including email, SMS and even social posts on Facebook and the likes. We understand that Active Directory, File Shares, SharePoint, Exchange and the corporate Search Engines really are not well suited for relating information powerfully. The need for an organization to put the information in one spot and at the fingertips of the authorized people who need it is a key reason for CRM. So CRM is immensely powerful because at its root it is based on the principle work is done to drive value for people and for each piece of work, there is a relationship to the person who created it and the person for whom it was created. In this way, the need for powerful search engines or deep knowledge of the internal File Share or SharePoint structure is not needed to effectively respond to customer needs. As we will cover later, this creates some behind the scenes needs for which the IT Pro needs to take in to consideration.
2. Articulating sometimes complex business processes in a repeatable manner which leverages organizational resources effectively
Every organization has processes. Each individual within an organization has a different approach to those processes and often this leads to vastly different outcomes. The customer can receive completely different value from the organization as a result. CRM drives value by streamlining the approach on many processes while giving the people in the organization greater time to handle the high value personal interactions which deepen the relationship. A CRM implementation spends a tremendous amount of resources defining those business processes, studying best practices and looking at the overall strategy of the business to rearticulate the best practice going forward. Perhaps one of the greatest things to bear in mind when implementing CRM is that each process is about delivering value to the customer and no more effort should be required than the value it delivers. As a result, people in organizations often collaborate and both making sure people have access they need is the job of a sophisticated role based security model. IT Pro's have an understanding of Role based security if they have worked with Groups in Active Directory. CRM is far more sophisticated in many ways and this is an area which IT can lend some experience to the overall learning curve.
3. Tracking and leveraging communication around the relationship to effectively drive value
We live in a communication bombarded world. In today's social enterprise, the effectiveness of communication is a key driver to the value we generate. Despite the fact that we can store more communications and search them, without dedicated tools such as CRM the sheer volume becomes an obstacle to making it effective. Earlier I stated that CRM is more effective because it is related to the people. Tracking communication in one place is a key competence of CRM. Many organization are investing heavily in Lync and have people who use SMS. As we look into the future we see an increasing volume leaving and entering the enterprise through social channels. All of these channels have major structural limitations. In part they are centered on the individual and are not well suited for leveraging the full resources of an organization. Here is a simple example. A sales person is visiting the companies Facebook page to see if there are any new inquiries about products. She discovers a customer who is not only looking to buy but is also experiencing an issue with a previous purchase. How does the company leverage this scenario? Do they send email to the Customer Service person?
An effective way would be to capture all of the communication in CRM with everyone able to access the communications related to the customer and the related Facebook posts. What if a colleague happens to spot the same customer, should the CRM be able to indicate the process has been kicked off? There are many aspects of leveraging communications effectively that can only be completed by a tool that breaks the structural issues with traditional one on one communication. Again, with CRM and the IT Pro, we see opportunities to capture communication more effectively such as by adding persistence to non-persistent communications like Chat, Video Conference, Phone, SMS and other channels. Making these systems work together often relies heavily on IT pro knowledge and skills.
4. Creating clarity at all levels of the organization regarding the operations of each of the activity systems through reporting and predictive analysis
Business Intelligence and Reporting are major aspects of CRM. Regardless the activity system there are various levels of participation. Each level requires different information. For instance as an organization grows it will have predictable levels of management. Individual Contributors, Managers and Executives. A benefit of all the automation and data tracking is better insight into the operations of the organization. CRM systems leverage reporting tools such as SQL Server Reporting Services, Excel and Dashboards. The ability for organization to react to opportunities to deliver value with agility is enhanced. Having said that there is a need for skills to help craft complex queries and this has not changed in the past 20 years despite many advances in the tools.
Why is business strategy a key component of CRM projects and how is that important to IT Pros?
As we discussed earlier CRM is about business processes and making them effective in delivering value. Many people think that CRM will bring effective business processes to their organization out of the box and this simply is not true. The product is nothing more than an easel and paintbrush. The master piece is created by those who implement it effectively. Even the most sophisticated third party add-ons will not be made for your business. This is a good thing and you need to understand that all the hoopla those who market and sell a product might claim, means very little if they think every business is just like every other business in your industry. Every business to be effective needs a unique strategy and that strategy will be empowered by unique processes. Those unique processes are a source of competitive advantage which means your organization will be more sustainable than the industry average if executed properly.
This is why senior executives need to be engaged in building out your CRM project. Although this does not mean they are the ones doing the work, the business strategy which guides the development of the processes in CRM needs to be clear enough that it can be determinative. Here is an example. Let's say we have two window companies. One sells windows to new large condo towers and the other sells windows to residential users for retrofit. Now if an add-on vendor claimed to have a CRM system specifically for the Window industry, how comfortable should you be that they understand both of these scenarios? How would their processes be different or should they be the same for these companies Sales, Marketing and Customer Service let alone Production, Logistics and Installation? The key is, even within these segments of the Window industry, there are competitive positions which affect the way CRM is implemented.
For instance, let's look at a low cost provider versus a premium provider in the condo tower windows industry. One would do everything in their power to reduce cost while the other would do everything in their power to deliver a higher quality service. Is there a price difference? Yes. Does that mean that the low cost provider could afford to have the same expensive processes as the high cost provider? Not if they want to be a sustainable business. This should clarify the risks of thinking that a business can buy a business process which will be effective for their market position. Effort and skill are needed to craft and mold the tool to your unique organizational needs. This goes well beyond the skill set of traditional IT pros and business users.
Where can IT Pros be effective?
Areas where IT pros can be effective in implementing and managing CRM solutions include:
1. Infrastructure, server and clients configuration
CRM empowers a modern work force which can be either internal to one building or fully mobile using phones, tablets and laptops. Any combination of these two primary scenarios can exist. As a result there are several client versions of the software and infrastructure pieces which support the empowerment of these scenarios. Having a mobile workforce, requires perimeter security considerations which are natively supported by CRM through Internet Facing Deployments. Knowledge of Active Directory, IIS, Routing, Firewalls, Certificates are among the skills required. Furthermore, a good deal of attention needs to be paid to scaling the size of the Internet bandwidth requirements to support a mobile workforce as well as latency which can affect the execution of customized code. Understanding these factors and the ability of your organization to effectively respond to them is a key determinant of using On-Premise versus Online deployments. For more information Download Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Implementation Guide from Official Microsoft Download Center here:
2. Security, Roles and Privileges
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a robust and powerful role based security model. As a result IT staff who have worked with security roles will have a smaller learning curve adapting to this different method of granting users the appropriate access. IT users will still have a significant learning curve requiring specialized training. Having said that, power users will be able to take full advantage of several pre-defined role based security profiles which come out of the box. All Data access to CRM is performed through the web interface or programmatically through the web services which intuitively understand the calling user's access level and filter the data accordingly. For more information please review this MSDN article:
3. Reporting and Dashboards
Reporting and dashboards leverage SQL like definitions with FetchXML being a specific variant of query language which can be used for online as well as on premise reporting. FetchXML is becoming increasingly robust and it is its flexibility across both platforms that makes it the query language of choice for reporting. For those looking for a jumpstart on reporting and BI in 2013 please download the following:
4. Data Backup and Solution Management
As with any important line of business application, a well-defined data back up and management plan needs to be in place. This includes test environments both for qualifying backups and restores as well as testing new features prior to altering the production environment. Managing this is a task that could become the role of IT however designing and training the person for this role takes specialist knowledge. There are complex implications to the way the customizations to the CRM systems are stored and managed. These are called managed and unmanaged solutions. A brief read on this topic should help the untrained understand why a specialist is required to design production and test environments:
Intro to Solutions:
Backup planning see the Operating and Maintaining section of the Implementation Guide:
In summary, CRM implementation are different than most IT projects in that they empower unique business processes that drive value for the customer. This difference calls for deep collaboration with each of the activity systems within the organization and will be directly influenced by the executives who set the strategy for differentiation from the competition. Despite these out of IT's scope areas of the project there are significant traditional and non-traditional areas where IT Pros can and should add value. It is very helpful for IT to understand their role and the limitations they will face in trying to bite off more than they can chew. It is also helpful for implementers to work closely with IT and to leverage the skillset to provide long term resources to manage the health of the implementation.
For those who are looking to implement CRM within their organization and need to ask questions please feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]
About Jeff Loucks
Jeff has been the Worldwide President of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners. He has been Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in three different competencies in the Dynamics Family and in the Server and Cloud family over seven years. He has been a Subject Matter Expert for 14 different areas for Microsoft Learning. He has worked for companies of all sizes and industries over an 18 year career. Jeff provides C-Level strategy consulting to help fortune 500 and public sector organization drive value from their technology. After an initial strategy session, Winrox drives success by creating a strategic plan, managing the selection of best of breed partners to bring home competitive advantage and accelerated business processes. Jeff leverages his skills in complex projects with multiple vendors to mediate effective delivery based on strategic goals. Leveraging his deep and diversified knowledge of the Microsoft technology stack and respected insider's understanding of the broad global Microsoft partner ecosystem, he provides companies with an invaluable and unique ability weave together strategy, planning, implementation in to realization. Winrox is a company dedicated to strategy consulting so that we can choose the best resources for the project rather than be compelled to use those resources in our own stable.
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Send us feedback
Got feedback on this topic? Let us know at [email protected]
Here's a tip from Ed Wilson a.k.a. The Scripting Guy at Microsoft.
PowerTip: Show 'up' physical adapters
Question: You want to see which physical network adapters on your Windows 8.1 computer using Windows PowerShell. How can you do this?
Answer: Use the -physical parameter with the Get-NetAdapter function and filter for a status of up. This technique appears here:
Get-NetAdapter -physical | where status -eq 'up'
Ed Wilson is the bestselling author of eight books about Windows Scripting, including Windows PowerShell 3.0 Step by Step, and Windows PowerShell 3.0 First Steps. He writes a daily blog about Windows PowerShell called Hey, Scripting Guy! that is hosted on the Microsoft TechNet Script Center; for more PowerTips check out the Hey, Scripting Guy! blog.
GOT TIPS you'd like to share with other readers? Email us at [email protected]
Are you working towards a Microsoft certification? Did you know their Training and Certification Guide is now available as an app? Read more on the Born To Learn Blog:
Microsoft Virtual Academy
Some announcements from the Microsoft Virtual Academy:
April 23-24: Microsoft Azure Developer Camp Live Jump Start
Developers, do you want to quickly build and deploy apps to the cloud? Join this free, live, 2 day Microsoft Virtual Academy Azure Developer Camp with interactive Q&A sessions, explore the latest Microsoft Azure development tools and technologies, and leave with code running in the cloud. Register today!
DAY 1 | April 23, 2014 | 9:00am - 1:30pm Microsoft Azure Developer Camp: Build a Cloud-Native App:
DAY 2 | April 24, 2014 | 9:00am - 3:00pm Microsoft Azure Developer Camp: Move LOB Apps to the Cloud:
April 29: Microsoft PDW: Modern Data Warehouse with Big Data Analytics
Join Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Architect Brian Walker and SQL Server BI Expert Sanjay Soni on April 29, from 9am–5pm PDT, for an informative Jump Start on PDW—the logical next step in the evolution of your data warehouse. PDW is a massively parallel processing appliance which can improve your data loading and query response time as much as 100x beyond legacy solutions. It enables querying of structured and unstructured data with simplicity and speed, using standard SQL queries. The solution even tackles your Big Data and business intelligence needs and joins Hadoop and relational data. Register here:
Quote of the Week
"My father used to tell me, 'Know everything you can about what you're doing.' He was absolutely right." --Donald Trump
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Admin Tools We Think You Shouldn't Be Without
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AD Explorer lets you view the Active Directory database, save snapshots, create favorite locations, and save advanced searches:
TechEd North America on May 12-15, 2014 in Houston, Texas
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2014) in July, 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Microsoft SQL Server PASS Summit 2014 on November 4-7, 2014 in Seattle, Washington
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We'll start off with a few resources on Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
Microsoft Dynamics home:
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Resources on Curah!
MSDynamicsWorld.com news and analysis:
The CRM Book from PowerObjects
Darren Liu's Blog
News and insights from McGladrey LLP
Now on to some other tech briefing areas...
When To Use ForestPrep, DomainPrep And RODCPrep (Jorge's Quest for Knowledge)
Installing SQL Server 2012 SP1 with CU8 like a boss (Deployment Research)
A novel method in IE11 for dealing with fraudulent digital certificates (Windows PKI Blog)
Security of Infrastructure Secrets (Paul's Journal)
SharePoint, Exchange and Office
Exchange OWA Through ADFS (Jorge's Quest for Knowledge)
Product Review: Cogmotive Reports (MSExchange.org)
Step-By-Step: Enabling Hyper-V for use on Windows 8.1 (CanITPro)
Windows 8.1 Power User Guide for Business (Microsoft Download Center)
What cloud broker services are you missing out on?
Cloud brokers provide companies with the insight and tools they need to choose the right cloud provider, but some broker services go well beyond that by offering companies additional higher-level services. Is your business using your cloud broker to its full potential? Get the facts inside.
How virtual applications work (Hint: It’s not magic)
With virtual applications, IT admins can easily deliver applications straight to PCs and mobile devices through remote access technologies. Still, virtual apps aren’t right for everyone. Uncover some of the stellar benefits and possible risks associated with virtual applications in this comprehensive report, and see if they’re right for your organization.
Tech Watch: vGPU remote graphics delivery extends VDI uses
VDI deployments are becoming increasingly appealing thanks to virtualized GPUs (vGPUs), and it is anticipated that larger ecosystem support will soon make the technology even more accessible to IT shops. Find out more about one emerging vGPU technology IT pros are paying attention to and how it gives high-end graphics users good virtual desktop performance.
Change puts two-year limit on VCP certification
As of March 10, VMware Certified Professionals (VCP) now have to renew their certifications every two years. To find out all you need to know about this new policy, how to get yourself certified or recertified, and what happens if your VCP certification expires, view this comprehensive resource today.
This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
GOT FUN VIDEOS or other fun links to suggest you'd like to recommend? Email us at [email protected]
Barkley Dog Family Subaru
Dogs are back behind the wheel. Meet the Barkleys, a typical American canine family that loves going on adventures in their Subaru.
Magician Andrew Kelly Amazes Ellen
The amazing things Andrew Kelly can do with a deck of cards will blow your mind.
Vivaldi 'Summer' - Classical Music Comedy
The female quartet 'Salut Salon' knows how to play Vivaldi's 'Sommer' in the key of comedy.
Dedicated to the unsung heroes who strive for the common good. You know who you are...