Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Accelerators For Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Overview

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Accelerators For Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Overview

  1. 1. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs In this document: General Questions Enterprise Search Questions Analytics Accelerator Questions eService and Event Management Accelerator Questions CRM Notifications Accelerator Questions General Questions What will be included with the Accelerators for Microsoft® Dynamics® CRM? Each Accelerator will have a different set of deliverables based on the Accelerator itself. Each Accelerator may consist of the following:  Data – Entities, forms, views  Workflow – Workflow configurations  BI – Business Intelligence (e.g. custom reports)  Source Code - Full source code samples (strictly adhering to SDK guidelines)  Documentation - Installation, operation, localization, and additional solution documentation Where can I get the Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM? The Accelerators and associated materials are available for download on Microsoft CodePlex at: http://www.codeplex.com/crmaccelerators . Will the Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM contain a VPC or a VPC Diff file? Since VPCs (Virtual PCs) are typically extended significantly by users around the world, a decision was made to provide some detailed instructions as well as modular instructional videos explaining how to apply Accelerators to the base level RTM VPC (found at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=dd939ed9-87a5-4c13-b212- a922cc02b469&DisplayLang=en) or to any VPC that you are using. As a rule of thumb, the Accelerators take about 5 minutes each to install with the exception of the eService and Event Management Accelerators which take about 20 minutes each to install. In the future, Accelerators may be incorporated into VPCs and demos. How is support provided for the Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Are the Accelerators supported by Microsoft? Although Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are not considered part of the core Microsoft Dynamics CRM product, the CRM development team was consulted during their creation. Extensive QA was performed on the Accelerators and its components meet the Software Developers Kit (SDK) guidelines. Given the Accelerators’ adherence to the SDK guidelines, Microsoft will support them in the same fashion as any other customer created customization that follows the SDK guidelines. Accelerator workflows and customizations will be supported as any other workflows and/or customizations are today. Accelerator reports, because they use standard means of building reports, will be supported in the same way as customer/partner reports are supported today. From a coding perspective, calls to the platform will be supported in the same way that any other customizations that call our platform are Page 1
  2. 2. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs supported today. In the case of the Portal, customers or partners that go outside the boundary of CRM and build non-CRM related customizations will not be supported. The Microsoft Support organization is in the process of being trained on the Accelerators to ensure they are equipped to help customers or partners troubleshoot Accelerator-related issues. Are the Accelerators open source? Yes, Accelerator materials are open source. Source code will be made available so that customers and partners can extend them. Are the Accelerators customizable? Yes, the Accelerators are customizable and extensible. In fact, a key driver for the development of these modules was that Microsoft was eager for customers and partners to “make them their own”. Who developed the Accelerators? Did Microsoft or Partners develop them? Accelerators represent a collaborative effort by members of the CRM product planning team and some partners. Microsoft’s Reuben Krippner and Barry Givens led the bulk of the coding effort, with some external vendors assisting with some foundational work. Microsoft owns the Intellectual Property (IP) but will we sharing the source code. What is the roadmap for Accelerators? The product team is currently assessing whether or not to insert the more popular Accelerators into the next release (V.Next) of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Whether or not some or all of the Accelerators are subsumed into the next version of the product, Accelerators will be updated to ensure they are compatible with V.Next, and any updates to the SDK guidelines. It is extremely important that any extensions to the Accelerators that customers or partners code are compliant with SDK guidelines to ensure compatibility with the next generation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Migration guidance for Accelerators will be provided as part of the V.Next launch. Will the portals work with Language Packs? Yes, the portals are compatible with installed Language Packs. The meta data that you have configured will be displayed by the portal. Resource files to localize portal specific labels are available. Is it possible to use the English Accelerators with the non-planned language version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0? Yes, all configurations can be translated into your language. Any of the portal pieces will work with non- English languages as well. How can I identify an item that comes from an Accelerator after I install it? All of the Accelerator related code, configs, etc. are prefaced by MSA in the item name. MSA stands for Microsoft Solution Accelerator. Are there any Microsoft Dynamics CRM hotfixes included? No, the Accelerators represent a separate release initiative from the core Microsoft Dynamics CRM product, and as such, do not address any issues with the core CRM 4.0 product. Page 2
  3. 3. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs Do any of these Accelerators require Microsoft Office 2007? No, there is no Microsoft Office prerequisite. However, to take full advantage of RSS capabilities for the CRM Notification Accelerator, use of Microsoft Outlook ® 2007 is strongly recommended. Do Accelerators require MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server)? The only Accelerator that has a hard dependency on MOSS is the Enterprise Search Accelerator. All other Accelerators require a Windows® Server capable of running ASP.NET pages. Can we use our standard CRM de-bugging tools with the Accelerators? Yes, standard de-bugging tools can be used with Accelerators. Are there any client installs required when installing the Accelerators? No, Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are server side only. That said, end users will have to decide how to view the RSS feeds in the CRM Notification Accelerator and make the necessary client adjustments. Are all of the Accelerators available for the Microsoft Outlook Client as well as the browser client? Yes, the Accelerators have been architected to work with both clients. Are the workflow settings included in the installer? Yes, for any Accelerator that has workflow definitions, they are included as part of the installer. Will the Accelerators work in a partner-hosted IFD environment? Yes, while the Accelerators were designed to support on-premise deployment, they should also support partner-hosted scenarios. Should additional guidance be required for partner-hosted environments, it will be created and made available shortly after the initial release of the Accelerators. What should be considered when deploying the Accelerators in a multi-tenant hosted environment? The Accelerators were developed to be compatible with both on-premise and on-demand environments although the initial target was on-premise. There may be some alterations needed for multi-tenant environments as the QA efforts have been focused on on-premise deployments. However, no specific guidance has been identified for hosted environments at this time. Enterprise Search Questions Do Accelerators require MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server)? The only Accelerator that has a hard dependency on MOSS is the Enterprise Search Accelerator. All other Accelerators require a Windows Server capable of running ASP.NET pages. What components of the Accelerators utilize BDC (Business Data Catalog)? The Enterprise Search Accelerator is the only Accelerator that uses BDC. It uses it for both the search and for the configuration of the portal. Can the Enterprise Search Accelerator via BDC connect directly to the CRM web service? Unfortunately no because Microsoft Dynamics CRM web services are not currently discoverable in the way that BDC needs them to be. This may change in the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Page 3
  4. 4. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs Does the Enterprise Search Accelerator support email attachments? Unfortunately no, Business Data Catalog (BDC) can view any of the data but it does not actually go into the documents that are stored within the CRM database. This will be considered in future releases. For now, if you have documents that are stored against CRM records in CRM, they will not be included in the overall search. Will Enterprise Search span multiple tenants? The out-of-the-box definition for the Accelerator is single tenant. However this can be customized by registering multiple definitions pointing at multiple databases so that an end user could search across multiple instances. Does the Enterprise Search Accelerator have the same capability as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Web Parts? Your ability to configure views as part of enterprise search mirrors CRM 3.0 Web Parts’ functionality. The key difference with the Enterprise Search Accelerator is that it has a MOSS dependency. For customers or partners running Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), a new version of the SharePoint List Web Part for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 will be released later on this year (these Web Parts will also work with MOSS), providing the option of displaying CRM data while remaining with MSS . Analytics Accelerator Questions Are the Analytics Accelerator dashboards pre-configured and can they be customized? Yes, the Analytics Accelerator dashboards are pre-configured and can be customized. The dashboards are standard Microsoft SQL Server® reports , and as such, can be configured and deployed quickly and easily. In terms of customization, you can customize these as you would any standard SQL Server report. While the dashboards do not currently feature wizards, this capability will be considered as part of the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Analytics Accelerator has something for everyone from extensive Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities provided with PerformancePoint® and Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to simpler analytic capabilities delivered by the included dashboards and reports. Can an end user create or customize their own personal Analytics dashboard? No, while this capability is not currently supported, it is being considered for inclusion into the next version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Do the Analytics dashboards take into account user security? Yes, end users will only be able to see CRM information that they are entitled to see. Is the CRM Security Model implemented in the Analytics Accelerator cubes? Yes, the Accelerator includes sample code that synchronizes the security between the cube and the CRM server. Bi-directional synchronization of security will be maintained. Page 4
  5. 5. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs Do I need PerformancePoint for the Analytics Accelerator? The Analytics Accelerator does not necessarily require Microsoft PerformancePoint. There are a number of items that only require Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services. How are the differences between Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 addressed in the Analytics Accelerator? Two series of reports will be made available: one for SQL 2005, and one for SQL 2008. Although the visualization controls in SQL 2008 are richer than those in SQL 2005, the Analytics Accelerator can still enhance SQL 2005 implementations. eService and Event Management Accelerator Questions How do the eService and the Event Management portal behave in a multi-tenant environment? To lower complexity, the portals were written for single tenant, and so they must be deployed separately for each tenant. Are the web portals Microsoft Services? While Microsoft is delivering the solution and some Service Provider partners are considering delivering these Accelerators as packaged services, the primary goal is to deliver these for customers and partners to deploy to their own sites. These are not Microsoft Services that you would pay a subscription to; rather these are packaged solutions that can be offered by partners as part of their deployments. Can the eService portal be configured to use Windows Live™ ID for authentication? While the current version does not support authentication by Windows Live ID, there are examples in the SDK that demonstrate how to extend the portal to do this in a straightforward manner. How can I prevent a CRM note that I do not want to be visible to external parties from showing up on the eService portal? A tagging mechanism is exposed in the eService configuration page. If you want the note to be visible on the portal, it must be prefixed with the tag in CRM. The initial setting defaults to *WEB* and is customizable. Can you indicate/control which Knowledge Base (KB) articles are published to the web as opposed to only CRM? Unfortunately the KB article is not an extensible item in Microsoft Dynamics CRM today. Consequently it is not supported out-of- the-box with Accelerators. A possible workaround is the adding of some type of tag mechanism just as has been done for the notes to filter articles. Search would be configured to consider the tag before returning an item. A video will be available that demonstrates how to extend the Accelerator. For the eService Accelerator, is it possible to set a limit on the attachment file size? Yes, while setting such a limit is not part of the Accelerator settings, it can be done via the CRM setting for maximum file upload size. Page 5
  6. 6. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs For the eService and Event Management Accelerator portal, will there be customer login settings? Are there any limitations? The portal takes advantage of the ASP.NET Membership Provider (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en- us/library/ms731049.aspx). Documentation links to this information will be communicated. Topics covered include but not be limited to web account management, password reset, etc. The CRM Accelerator team did not build this but is using the .NET component so therefore limitations are set by it although this is also extensible. Are there any licensing issues with Membership Provider? Other than the connection from the external portal to CRM, there are no additional licensing considerations. Will instructions be available for extending the portal to other entities? Yes, there will be an Extensibility Guide for the portal that steps readers through the process, and videos covering this topic. Will there be a Microsoft Silverlight™ version of the eService Accelerator? The current plan is to deliver the eService Accelerator as ASP.NET User Controls. Should Partners want to port these to Silverlight, they are able to do so. Do you need MOSS for the eServices Accelerator? No, the eServices Accelerator only needs IIS (Internet Information Services) and .NET. CRM Notifications Questions How will RSS Feeds work with an Internet Facing Deployment (IFD) and forms-based authentication? Currently, Accelerators have been engineered for an on-premise implementation but some QA effort around IFD is underway. The authentication mechanism is causing some issues. The goal of testing is to solve for these issues and ultimately deliver Accelerators that work in this environment. Pending resolution, guidance will be communicated that document the areas where the application needs to be extended. Will we get an alert for our appointment similar to Microsoft Outlook in the CRM web client using the CRM Notification Accelerator? No, the RSS feeds out-of-the- box are not designed to provide alerts, a separate/distinct mechanism is required to do this. Do any of these Accelerators require Microsoft Office 2007? No, there is no Microsoft Office prerequisite. However, to take full advantage of RSS capabilities for the CRM Notification Accelerator, use of Microsoft Outlook 2007 is strongly recommended. Page 6
  7. 7. Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Technical FAQs Are there any client installs required when installing the Accelerators? No, Accelerators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM are server side only. That said, end users will have to decide how to view the RSS feeds in the CRM Notification Accelerator and make the necessary client adjustments. This document is for information purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED, OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT. © 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Microsoft Dynamics, the Microsoft Dynamics logo, MSDN, Outlook, PerformancePoint, SharePoint, Silverlight, SQL Server, Windows and Windows Live are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. Page 7

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