From the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blogs: Codeless Universal Search; Outlook Client Tracing 101; Running Dynamics CRM on a Mac; Leverage Excel to Edit Records
Codeless Universal Search for Dynamics CRM:After "helping out" at a Salesforce.com roadshow:
but also taking note of Salesforce's built-in universal search capabilities, Leon Tribe took on the task of creating a codeless configuration for universal search in CRM 2011.
Tribe provides a detailed look at his approach, concluding that:
"It turns out it is possible and actually reasonably usable. Moreover, while the solution is built on CRM 2011, I can see no reason why you could not build the same thing in CRM 4." While it may not be the polished solution that Microsoft would release as part of the core product, he concludes that, "[a]s with other codeless solutions, the result is a little clunky but very usable. Probably the biggest downside with this one is the back end maintenance...On the plus side, this works in 2011 (and probably v4), is codeless and can be set up in an hour or two. I guarantee that a coded solution cannot get near that kind of turnaround."
"Tracing is a way to gather a list of the information passed back and forth between a program and a computer. For the CRM Outlook client, tracing will show a chronological, readable play-by-play of what the add-in is trying to do, including error messages that are often more helpful than "An error occurred. Please contact your System Administrator.
"How do I turn tracing on? If you encounter weird errors and there's no apparent cause (like a SwagBucks browser add-on perusing all your web traffic - c'mon, people!), you can enable tracing by going to the Start menu > All Programs > Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 > Diagnostics. Click on the Advanced Troubleshooting tab, and place a checkmark next to "Tracing". Then click Save."
Efficiently Leverage Excel to Edit Records: From the MS Dynamics CRM Team blog:
"Have you ever wanted to edit multiple Microsoft Dynamics CRM records from within Microsoft Excel, without having to open each record's individual form? With this new Dynamics CRM 2011 feature, it is possible to update Dynamics CRM records using Microsoft Excel (2003, 2007, or 2010). All you have to do is export data from any grid, save it to disk, edit it in Microsoft Excel, and re-import the file using the Import Data Wizard (the file will get auto-mapped). Within minutes your records will be updated by a system job running in the background... Updates are carried out on the fields that were changed. In case a record was updated in Dynamics CRM between the time data was exported and re-imported, we skip over your changes to that record so that invalid updates aren't carried out."
Demo Video on Running Dynamics CRM on a Mac: The BusinessNone blog recently posted a demo video that shows how to connect to a Windows Server using Remote Desktop Services, automatically launch Outlook, Export some data to Excel, edit the data in Excel on the OSX desktop, and update it in Dynamics CRM:
"So as things would have it, about four months ago, I purchased an iMac. And after playing with it, it sat in the corner of my office playing music and not much else. Well wouldn't you know we had a couple of customers who are running CRM in a 1/2 Windows | 1/2 Mac Environment. So it gave me an excuse to break out the new machine and record some videos."