Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Challenge to all Partners & Consultants

I generally find the Dynamics GP reseller community to be highly dedicated, passionate and extremely clever. Very smart indeed.

BUT there is one sequence of conversation that is making absolutely no sense to me at all. I have had this conversation 3 or 4 times during the fall as I attended our partners customer events - and it goes like this:

ME: Hi, I’m Martin from eOne.

Consultant: Great to meet you. So eOne builds SmartList Builder right?

ME: Yes – that’s right.

Consultant: I love SLB. We sell it with every deal - it is such a good tool. Our customers love it and they all own SLB.

ME: That’s great to hear.

Consultant: I do not know why Microsoft let SLB go – that was crazy. And the new designer tool is really very limited.

ME: So do you use the designer?

Consultant: NO – I tried once and had to go back to SLB – we only go with SLB as all customers need it in the end.

ME: So are you presenting any sessions tomorrow?

Consultant: Yes – I’m doing a session showing off … um er… um … the designer

ME: Oh really. This is a presentation to existing customers right?

Consultant: Yes

ME: And you just said they all own SLB already – right?

Consultant: Yes

ME: Do you want them to use the designer?

Consultant: No

ME: Hmmm – so why are you showing them the designer?

Consultant: Now that you ask – I’m not sure!

ME: Given they own SLB would you have them switch to the designer?

Consultant: No way. It does not do what SLB does.

ME: So if you show designer do you think they might get confused?

Consultant: Well – now you mention it – I guess they might be confused.

ME: So why are you showing it to your customers if you don’t want any of them to use it?

Consultant: It was on the what’s new list from Microsoft I guess. So we thought we would show it.

ME: OK so let me get this straight. You are going to take 45 mins to talk to your existing customers about a new tool, that you don’t like, you don’t want anyone to use and you will actively recommend against?

Consultant: Um yes. Seems a bit weird when you put it like that.

So I challenge all VARS and consultants to think about desired outcomes before you step up to present!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tech Tuesday: SmartConnect - Working with GUIDs in CRM

This week's Tech Tuesday is from our Senior Technical Consultant, Chris Hanson, who will walk us through a scenario many come across when using SmartConnect.

When you use SmartConnect to import data into CRM, you will run into the scenario of needing to populate a field with a GUID. Any time you have a lookup field within CRM it is storing a GUID for its value which then links to another entity record.

There are a couple ways to work with and import them. The first is using the Additional Column called an Entity Look-up. For an entity look-up you need to provide what entity you are looking up the ID for, and then provide one or more fields to compare on. The screenshot below shows what it might look like if you are importing to the currency field on the account entity in CRM:

The Currency entity is selected in the lookup, and then the field from my source data is used to compare against the currency code field in CRM. The comparison that you set up must match exactly otherwise no records will be returned by the lookup. So you need to have at least one field in both the source and CRM that will have matching values. If there isn’t one, you will need to manipulate your source data in a calculated field or the data source itself so the data does match up.

The other way to work with GUIDs is by using an Additional Column called an Entity Reference. This is only used if you already have the GUID in your source data. To set it up, all you need to do is select the entity that the GUID is for, and then pick the source field that contains the GUID. By using the entity reference, SmartConnect makes sure it's handled as an identifier rather than a string value.

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or email us at!

Friday, October 24, 2014

What Makes Summit for CRMUG and GPUG so Good?

I have just returned from my first time visiting St Louis, Missouri which I visited for the GPUG and CRMUG Summits. Fortunately for me it is not a requirement to know geography when boarding an aircraft, as I had no idea where St. Louis was. If the person next to me had said it was a 4 hour flight I would've believed them, as I really did not know where I was going. In fact I could not even pronounce the name of the city (I was referring it to St Louie – but was clearly corrected and told that there was no silent "s")!

Summit is a very unique event that is run by users, for users. Making the content completely controlled by users. Many presentations are delivered by end users and the users pay to be there. Presenters like myself are only invited to be there because users are interested in what we have to say – so if there's no interest then we do not get invited back.

Users like to hear from users. People trust other people. The users of ERP and CRM solutions want to hear from real people, doing real things and learning from their experiences. This leads to an interesting dynamic where not all presented sessions are slick, smooth and professionally delivered. The breakout sessions can be clunky, interrupted and interactive – but no one complains because they are not there to be entertained but to learn.

Customers hate to be sold to. But they love to learn. People like to know where others have made mistakes and that nobody is perfect. Businesses have no issue with spending money when it adds to productivity, cost savings or just a better way of doing business. But just don’t try and sell to them.

In one of my presentations this year I decided to do something different that was not a demo or a sales pitch. I decided to present exactly how ‘the eOne CRM, ERP and website’ all hang together to run our business. Of course this is somewhat self-serving in that we use ALL our own products to make our systems work. In this session I showed a real transaction progressing through the eOne systems. We used a real login to the website, processed a real order, used a real credit card (had to reverse it later!), showed how it lands in instant reporting, showed all the integration points to CRM & GP, showed how CRM data is displayed to end users back in our website, etc.

The reaction from the attendees was fantastic as they had just seen something real that worked – warts and all. I highlighted the things we need to improve and where we are behind. They loved that most. I was able to point out the uniqueness of their business – how with GP, CRM and eOne tools they could build specific super ERP.

So while attendees did not leave this session with all the answers – they left with ideas, challenges and a vision of where they can get to and that clever things are possible. Multiple attendees have reached out to me since the event to ask questions and bounce ideas. They were inspired. Not because I showed them anything amazing but because we kept it real, we showed them things that were real and they saw it was doable and not just a sales spin!

So a big thanks to GPUG and CRMUG for allowing us to be real and for running an event that clearly people want to attend. While we run a business that relies on Skype, webinars, emails and phones to communicate - there is nothing more effective as talking face-to-face, building relationships and friendships with real people!

Myself, like many companies, need to learn from this experience and take the concept of learning from others, showing real solutions and incorporating this further into our marketing and sales process.

All the best,
Martin Olsen

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

3 Reasons to Travel to Fargo in November!

Now when one hears the name Fargo they tend to connect it with the 1996 thriller/drama Fargo or the latest television show. Despite having the name Fargo, this film was actually filmed primarily in Minnesota and is a poor representation of how great Fargo truly is!

So why should you visit Fargo this November? Below we've listed the top 3 reasons to come visit us this year!

  1. reIMAGINE: If you haven’t registered for this November event you will be missing a sweet opportunity to sell more, market better and create innovative solutions and applications. For more information on reIMAGINE visit their site here. For our take on the event and why it’s the best event ever click here. 
  2. Smartner Party: If you're attending the #reIMAGINE2014 event there should not even be a question as to whether you're attending the Largest Party in the History of reIMAGINE! For more info and to register click here!
  3. The Weather: Wait what? Fargo weather? Yes. Fall is one of Fargo’s most beautiful seasons with the crisp fall air and beautifully colored trees. You’ll make your friends back home jealous of the pictures you’ll snap and have a real excuse to sip something pumpkin flavored or wear a scarf. But hey, here in the Midwest we’ve learned to always expect the unexpected so if you’re worried about the weather, have no fear, just purchase one of these winter survival kits!

So come join the many partners gathering soon to Fargo, ND on Nov. 10th - 12th for the reIMAGINE event. If you're coming we welcome you to our grand city and encourage you to join us at our Smartner Party Nov. 10th! If you will not be joining us this year... well you're missing out!  

In case you're interested, here's 45 Fargo Facts you need to know!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tech Tuesday: Cannot View eOne Help File Contents

This week's Tech Tuesday is from our Product Specialist, Pat Roth who has heard your cry for assistance when it comes to Help Files and is addressing the issue below:

Everyone, including myself, is an “end user” at some point and most of the technical folk like to figure things out themselves. Sometimes that includes the necessary evil of reading documentation or referring to help files.

But what if you have a help file but cannot see the contents?

In eOne support, we’ve seen a number of times where the user cannot see the contents of help files.

If your help file is installed as part of an application, then we don’t see the issue because the installer is “trusted” and therefore the files it installs are also marked as “trusted”.

But chm help files downloaded separately aren’t installed and by default newer versions of Windows won’t trust them and so you cannot see the contents.

The symptoms of this are selecting a help topic but not seeing contents as the screenshot below shows.


Figure 1: Can see help topics but not the contents 

From an end user perspective, the help file must be “broken” because when they check other help files – they open just fine – and so they give eOne support a call. 

As I noted, since the file was downloaded and not installed – Windows has a distrust of the file and won’t display the ‘active’ content of the file.

So we need to tell Windows that this file is “OK”.

If you right click on the file and choose Properties we see:

Figure 2: Security message from Windows
Notice at the bottom there is a Security message:

This file came from another computer and might be blocked to help protect this computer.

If you trust eOne, you can press the Unblock button and the Security message will go away.

When you open the help file the next time, it will display the contents correctly.

The above has corrected this issue every time until just this last week when I ran into a twist.

The customer could not see the contents of the file but didn’t get the Security warning as displayed in Figure 2.

After a bit of poking around and talking about it, the one ‘interesting’ thing a bit different is that they were using a Windows 2012 R2 machine. I didn’t have R2 but I did have Windows 2012 and so I tested opening my help file (that opens fine on Windows 8.1 using the Unblock method above) on that machine. And I found I could repro the issue.
There wasn’t any kind of Security warning and not chance to Unblock the file – but it wouldn’t display.

Knowing the file is OK, this tells us that it is something specific about Windows 2012.
A little bit of Bing searching reveals that this is so. One result was to a forum post that talks about this issue on Windows 7 and Windows 2012 and gives the solution(s) to resolve.

One of the responses to the post says that you need to make sure you have a couple of regkeys defined allowing the ability to trust help files.

I had the one key on my Windows 2012 install but not the second.

I was missing this one:


Once I created the key in my registry, the SmartPost.chm file would now display the contents as expected.

I’ve attached a .reg file here with the registry change to add this key for you or you can add it manually.

Figure 3: Registry Key I added

Hope this helps!