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15

Feb

Intergen gets behind the scenes with (and sets the scene for) Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

There’s a lot happening in the world of CRM right now – with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and CRM Online recently launched – and the excitement round these parts is palpable.

And we’re excited on a number of fronts, not just because we’ve got a great new version to build even better CRM solutions with. (On that note, Sophie, Maryse and I talk about some of our favourite CRM 2011 highlights in detail here in the last issue of our SMARTS magazine). And not just because we’re working on some great new projects for customers who are really making the most of CRM’s cool new features. (Although that in itself would be excitement enough, of course.)

There are two other reasons for all this excitement. One: Intergen built the demo for Steve Ballmer’s Virtual Launch of CRM 2011 (you can watch the demo here). Two: Intergen built the CRM 2011 Training Development Kit, in partnership with Colorado Technology Consultants. When you view the demo and get stuck into the training material (which is now all freely available here), you’re witnessing our handiwork. So when we say we know Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, it’s not just a nice-sounding piece of marketing – we really do mean it!

Our close relationship with Microsoft means we’re often involved behind the scenes well before a new version of a product is released to market. This is great for us because it means we get to cut ourselves on the bleeding edge and play with future technologies before they even officially exist. And it’s great for our customers, because they get the benefit of this advanced insight and hands-on experience.

What this early involvement does mean, though, is that we’re veiled in secrecy right throughout these projects – usually right up until the very last minute, and even within our own four walls. But the covers are off now, CRM 2011 is officially out in the world and we can talk to our hearts’ content about our early CRM 2011 involvement. So here goes…

 

The CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit

The training kit is packed full of resources, including PowerPoint presentations which teach the concepts, videos and demos, and a set of Hands-on-Labs which come with detailed instructions and source code that will walk you through the various development features.

(And yes, we should probably point out – the fresh face (and kiwi accent) of the Channel 9 demo videos belongs to our very own Chief Technology Officer, Chris Auld.)

You don’t need to be a CRM wizard to get the most out of the kit, either. No prior Dynamics CRM experience is required, although familiarity with the .NET Framework, Microsoft Visual C#, Microsoft JScript, Microsoft SQL Server and general web development is recommended.

 

CRM 2011 screenshot

 

The kit covers pretty much everything, including:

  • Introduction
  • Solutions
  • User Experience Extensibility
  • Visualizations and Dashboards
  • WCF Web Services
  • LINQ and oData
  • Plugins
  • Client Programming
  • Silverlight
  • SharePoint and CRM
  • Windows Azure and CRM
  • Upgrading from CRM 4.0 to CRM 2011
  • Dynamics Marketplace

And, of course, if there’s something you can’t find, or something you’d like to know more about, you can always talk to us.

 

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Launch Demo

It’s all about the cloud nowadays, but instead of just talking about it, Microsoft is delivering real solutions in the cloud, providing endless opportunities for businesses, irrespective of their size.

The demo Intergen developed for Steve Ballmer’s keynote presentation at the Launch event demonstrated this.

The scenario is as follows:

A customer looking for property can use Microsoft Tag or Microsoft adCenter (Bing Ads) to land on Contoso Property Management’s internet portal. This portal is powered by Microsoft Windows Azure, and also connects to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to provide real-time information about Contoso’s property listings to the customer. The customer can see the whereabouts of the property through a Microsoft Silverlight Bing Maps control and have handy information overlaid, such as commuting data and nearby attractions like restaurants. Once the customer enters their details on the portal, a new lead is generated in Microsoft CRM.

Within Microsoft CRM, the sales person can view dashboards, configured with useful graphs as well as custom controls. The dashboard functionality is all new in 2011, and provides powerful out-of-the-box graphing capabilities, as well as allowing custom controls to be embedded, for instance a Twitter monitor or a Bing Maps Silverlight control.

We’ve also embedded Bing search, Twitter widgets and Wikipedia links within the Lead entity, assisting the sales person to make an informed decision about the lead. Furthermore, the new Connections feature in CRM 2011 is utilised to keep track of relationships within the system between various entities, providing powerful intelligence on ad-hoc relationships that are not inherently defined.

The Opportunity entity shows off the power of workflow, including the new dialog feature in CRM 2011. It is also integrated with Microsoft SharePoint Online where the sales person has access to a library of documents specific to the opportunity as well as some common templates. Of course, any emails sent through the system makes use of an Office 365 account (Microsoft Exchange in the cloud) and any inter-company communication is taken care of by Lync Online.

All the tools a business needs to be successful can be sourced online, eliminating the need for an internal IT infrastructure and requiring as little as a laptop with Internet access and Microsoft Office.

 

Contoso Property Management screenshot

 

Contoso Property Management screenshot with map

 

And there we have it. It won't be long before we have some real-life CRM 2011 customer stories to tell -- watch this space!

Posted by: Rex Wessels, Senior CRM Consultant | 15 February 2011

Tags: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit, Steve Ballmer keynote


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