Friday, 30 November 2012

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Web application and Mobile device Requirements

This section applies to both Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 on premises versions. This section lists the operating system and software requirements for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application when running on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application hardware requirements

The following table lists the minimum and recommended hardware requirements for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application.

    Processor (32-bit)
    750-MHz CPU, or comparable
    Multi-core 1.8-GHz CPU or higher

    Processor (64-bit)
    x64 architecture or compatible 1.5 GHz processor
    Multi-core x64 architecture 2GHz CPU or higher such as AMD Opteron or Intel Xeon systems

    2-GB RAM
    4-GB RAM or more

    50 kbps (kilobytes per second) bandwidth
    175 ms (milliseconds) maximum latency
    Better bandwidth and response than minimum.

    Super VGA with a resolution of 1024 x 768
    Super VGA with a resolution higher than 1024 x 768

Supported operating systems when you use Internet Explorer

The following operating systems are supported for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application:
  •     Windows 8 (Requires Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 10 or later update rollup.)
  •     Windows 7 (all versions)
  •     Windows Vista (all versions)
  •     Windows XP Professional SP3
  •     Windows XP Tablet SP3
  •     Windows XP Professional x64 Edition
Important: Internet Explorer is only supported for running in Mobile Express mode on Mac OS-X (Leopard).

Supported versions of Internet Explorer

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application can run in any of the following Internet Explorer versions:
  •     Internet Explorer 10 (compatibility mode) (Requires Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 10 or later update rollup)
  •     Internet Explorer 9
  •     Internet Explorer 8
  •     Internet Explorer 7

Supported versions of Microsoft Office

To use Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft Office integration features, such as Export to Excel and Mail Merge, you must have one of the following Microsoft Office versions on the computer that is running the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application:
  •     Microsoft Office 2010 or Microsoft Office 2010 SP1.
  •     2007 Microsoft Office system SP2
  •     Microsoft Office 2003 SP3
Note: Microsoft Windows 2000 editions are not supported for installing and running the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web application.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile device support

There are several options available to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM data from different devices such as mobile phones. 

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Express

In most cases, non-Internet Explorer web browsers use Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM mode, which offers reduced access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM typically used for mobile devices.

Mobile Express comes installed with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server 2011 and is available with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Mobile Express offers great device flexibility because it runs on any web browser that supports common standards, which are HTML 4.0 or a later version, and JavaScript.

Users who want a lightweight experience when accessing CRM data, even with a supported web browser, can run Mobile Express mode by appending “/m” to the URL, for example, or https://crmweb/organization/m.

  • How to force Microsoft Dynamics CRM to run the full web application

By default, Microsoft Dynamics CRM runs in Mobile Express mode when an unsupported browser is detected. To force Microsoft Dynamics CRM to try to run the full web application, append ?web=true to the URL when you sign-in. For example, use the following URL that is appropriate for you.

Warning: The full web application may not run correctly in certain web browsers.

For Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, orgname is the organization name of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online organization.

For on-premises deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, servername is the computer name where the web application is running and orgname is the unique organization name that you entered during Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server Setup or organization import.
https:// servername/orgname/main.aspx?web=true

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM app for Windows Phone 7

Dynamics CRM app is a Windows Phone 7.5 application which brings Activity Feeds to your mobile device.

My above blog is based on Microsoft's Official information.
I hope this blog about 'Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 - Web application and Mobile device Requirements' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Quick, Overall & High-Level Estimations for Enterprise Level Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Implementation

In this blog I will provide a quick high level estimation calculation for any enterprise level Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 project.

Currently I am working on a large scale enterprise level Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 project. Having a high level estimation on paper is must for the ultimate successful delivery of the project. If you, being a project manager or a team lead, can justify estimations on paper, then it is easier to manage any project. In any project the 3 most important considerations are "tracking daily work", "working to the exact requirements" and "engaging the end user". If you have high level estimations rightly planned and calculated all the above 3 can be carefully achieved.

You can adopt any project methodology for an enterprise level Dynamics CRM 2011 project, but at the end of the day you can deliver the final product only if at the beginning you had your estimations right. You don't have to be 100% accurate. If you have noted down all high level components and the work/time estimations against them, then minor changes during the course of the project becomes easy.

I don't have any estimate template handy, but can give some ideas.

There is a very important factor in Dynamics CRM 2011 project and that is your team members. Your enterprise level A-team will consist of many Business Analysts, Testers, Team leads, Architects, Developers and a Project Manager. Being a project manager and/or a team lead you should be well versed with their capabilities. You will have to define on paper whether a resource is of a senior or junior level in terms of his/her Dynamics CRM capability. Also within their capabilities, you will have to well define what they can do and how well they can do. For example one of your senior developers is very good in custom Dotnet programming. So you can utilise his/her expertise to build plugins and custom workflow activities. On the other hand one of your resources might be least experience in CRM 2011 but a good Business Intelligence expert. You can utilize his/her capability in developing custom SSRS reports for CRM 2011.

In estimations, you will have to breakdown work into broader tasks like requirements gathering, solution design, documentation, entity creation (which includes attributes, form layout, views), JScript (or any web resources), plugins, workflows (including any custom workflow activities), setting up the general navigation (which includes sitemap, icons and ribbon button customizations), SSRS Reports, integration (if there are any integrations with SharePoint, ERP or any third party applications), testing, SIT, UAT and Production Deployment (including data migration). All these will fall under various stages of your software development lifecycle. Your project will start with requirements gathering and solution design. Then the development will begin, followed by testing. This will lead to SIT, UAT and finally deployment to production.

Then under each you will have to breakdown into sub tasks. For example let's say you have 25 JScripts, 30 Plugins, 60 Workflows, 120 Reports, etc. Now each of these sub tasks should be categorized into 3 types: Simple, Medium or Complex. These types define the developer/BA/Tester man hours/days effort. Like a Simple report should take 4 hours, medium report should take 1 day and a complex report should take 2 days. Same way a Simple plugin should take 1 day, medium plugin should take 1.5 days and a complex plugin should take 3 days. It all depends on your requirements and the quality of developers you have.

Apart from development, you have to provide time for Business Analysts for requirements gathering, time for a Solution Architects to design the system, time for Testers to test the whole development and then time for SIT, UAT and Production Deployment. Rule of thumb is 35% of total development time should be added for testing. One of the most important areas in any enterprise level CRM 2011 project will be data migration. There is hardly ever a project without data migration. There should be sufficient time allocated for data migration testing and finally the actual migration.

Once you have no. of days and no. of hours for the above, add all and this is your final estimation. Add 10-20% contingency time on top and you will get final estimation. Once the development starts then you can assign simple, medium and complex tasks to developers based on their skill level and understanding.

All the above is for an enterprise level Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 project which will have all the stages and a proper software development lifecycle. For small to medium CRM projects some of the above stages might not exist.
I hope this blog about 'Quick, Overall & High-Level Estimations for Enterprise Level Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Implementation' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Market in Australia

There are many times when Dynamics CRM professionals from all across the globe have asked me my view points on the Dynamics CRM market in Australia. The queries come in different forms of questions like:

  • Is it possible for an experienced person like me (in Microsoft Dynamics CRM) to get a job in Australia
  • Being a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Business Analyst can I immigrate to Australia
  • What is the market in Australia like for Microsoft Dynamics CRM developer
  • Are there many companies using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Australia

In this very brief and precise blog I will try to answer the questions above. My answers are based on my experiences as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solutions Architect working in Australia. Most of my career I have worked in Australia. Currently I am working for NEC in the Melbourne office. I have worked in different companies and different places. Within Australia I have worked in Sydney, Perth, Hobart, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne. Prior to my current work in Melbourne I was working in Singapore for 2 years. This blog is for the benefit for all the Microsoft Dynamics CRM professionals who would like to work in Australia.

Coming to the topic at hand, "Microsoft Dynamics CRM" in Australia. Australian economy is very good as compared to its counterpart economies like US, UK and Germany. Australian economy is going "OK" because it is a small economy. As compared to many developed economies, Australian population and its GDP are very small. Having a small population and hence a small Dynamics CRM workforce has its own advantages and dis-advantages. For companies it becomes very hard to find the right skill set. This in turn is good for Microsoft Dynamics CRM professionals as they can demand high wages.

MS CRM in Australia is used mostly by small to mid-size customers. There are few large scale or enterprise level Dynamics CRM projects. It is very rare to see Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects which are more than AUD 15 Million. There are lots of small to medium scale projects in Dynamics CRM. 

There are many technology companies providing Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultancy and services in Australia. Among these major players are:
The market for Dynamics CRM architects and consultants is good, but again the overall jobs advertised are decreasing by month (as per statistics). If you are a good Dynamics CRM Architect or CRM consultant who has lots of experience in third party integration then you are in demand. Also if you are an all-rounder Dynamics CRM expert having experience in almost all the facets of customizing CRM/xRM, then you are in demand. If you are a top end Microsoft Dynamics CRM business analyst with good communication skills, you are preferred. Any Microsoft Dynamics CRM pre-sales experience is very much in demand.

Overall companies here prefer local candidates as the costs and time associated with overseas candidates are very high. If a company cannot find any good candidates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they train someone in house.

If you are an outsider and want to work in Australia in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, then the options are limited. Australia till last year was open to work permits and immigration. As of now both are greatly reduced. First try the immigration route, if applicable. Australia has points based immigration system. As an immigrant and having experience in Dynamics CRM, it is very easy to land in a good job.

Companies now-a-days prefer the path of work permit if right calibre resources are not available within the country. If you are not currently in Australia and are working as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM professional elsewhere, then try securing a job first. Try to find suitable roles in job portals. The most widely used job site is Almost every company will advertises their Microsoft Dynamics CRM jobs on this site. You can apply for jobs where a job specification doesn't specify that "only local candidates need apply". So I would suggest the easy way would be to look for jobs and apply to them. If the companies don't find local people, then you might get lucky. You never know, a company can be eager to sponsor you.

If you pass the company interviews and the company is willing to hire you, then you can negotiate your salary and relocation. Companies are not giving much relocation assistance. They will definitely cover visa and air tickets cost, but nothing else. This is mostly the case but again there are companies which would be willing to pay part or full relocation depending on your calibre and the requirement.

I hope this blog about 'Microsoft Dynamics CRM Market in Australia' was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.