The Training Resources I've been missing

The Training Resources I've been missing

If you have attended any of my sessions, you have probably heard me tell you to complain loudly (but politely) and expect that the answer to your problem has already been solved and you simply haven't asked the right person. I have practiced method faithfully for years but never has it reaped as much as it did in meetings this week. I will need to cover other findings in future blog articles but I wanted you to know about all of the wonderful things the Documentation team has written for us, and we need to start using today.  

We are here to learn

We are here to learn

Walking into my 5th Summit, I am surprised by how many things haven’t changed. I still overpack. I am still a little nervous about each of my sessions and continue to tinker with my PowerPoints, knowing I likely won’t make peace with them but will just run out of time and have to present them as they are.

It is a mix of nerves and excitement. So many things I still don’t know. The old fears of looking like an idiot or putting my foot in my mouth haven’t gone away like I hoped they would. It seems becoming an MVP does not silence Imposter Syndrome.

Focus17 and New Faces

My brain is tired, but my heart is so full. I have been lucky enough to spend the week in St. Louis with the CRMUG community, learning together at Focus17. I owe my career to this group or as I often say “I grew up here.” Weeks like this always make me ask myself how can an exhausting week leave me so energized.

When I first started my career in Dynamics CRM, I was shocked at the support of the community. The fact that the leading experts share their knowledge freely with others was so refreshing. The abundance mentality is visible around every corner. I know not all women in STEM, or even in Business find themselves so lucky, and I count myself as blessed.

My “family” in St. Louis gave me yet again what so many of our reunions have: Rich learning, great conversation with kindred spirits, amazing food, and energy for what is to come. It is like a small town that I get homesick for before my plane even hits the tarmac.

While I am counting the days until I get to come back (149 days until Summit 2017) I am eager for the weeks ahead. Our gap between employers and talent has always intrigued me. I, like so many others, got into this industry by accident and we can’t sustainably grow that way. I am determined to build a bridge so more people can bring their talents here. We need them.

I am so glad a brave group has entrusted me with their time and talents, and I am going to do all I can to see them make a successful jump to this great industry. Next time I get to visit our little “home town” I intend to bring some new faces with me.  

Easy indication of you User Adoption Levels

I am so excited to present on the topic of CRM visualizations this week at the CRMUG Summit. The reason I am so excited is this basic set of skills is vital to user adoption in every organization. 

As a system admin, how often you are asked to create visualizations in CRM says a lot about your team. If you are constantly being asked for new views, charts, dashboards and templates it shows that your training program has room to grow. If you are going to Summit, Visualizations 101 will walk through these skills and how to grow them within your organization.

If you are not being asked for these things it could mean one of two things. On one end of the user adoption spectrum, it could mean that your users are not in CRM looking for data and trying to make use of that data. This would be a major red flag. If your users are not seeing the value of your CRM data your user adoption is in critical condition. The quality of your CRM will be measured in your user adoption. A beautiful, intricate, unused CRM is pointless. If you find yourself in this camp and you are lucky enough to be headed to CRMUG summit this week you will want to take the time to attend User Adoption focused sessions to help you turn things around.

Now let's explore the other side of the spectrum. If you are not being constantly asked for views, charts, and dashboards but you think your user adoption is strong here are a few ways to check. The more of these statements that ring true for your organization, the higher your user adoption.

  • Your CRM is rich with ever-evolving data. This is easy to tell by measuring the flow of data through your system through views and dashboards.

  • Your users are self-sufficient. When they have a question about data they can usually answer it themselves

  • Your users regularly spot and report issues.  The only users who report data issues are the users who are actually in CRM, usually by pulling views and reviewing data.

  • The data used in meetings is pulled right before the meeting. Users are not storing their own data in their own spreadsheet

  • Your implementation continues to grow because users are constantly asking for more fields and entities for tracking data. The level of excitement creates a sense of urgency to get CRM ready to receive more and more specific data.

  • Each area of data has specific users or departments that defend and uphold the quality of the data. If something or someone is compromising "their data" you hear about it.

These are things I consistently see in healthy, well adopted CRM organizations. Most commonly there are individual departments that score high in this way but others that do not.

If you score high on this list across your whole organization you have an implementation story that needs to be heard. If you don't know how to share that story please reach out to me and I will happily help you getting your story out to the community. 

If you have some departments with room to grow in this area I hope to see you on Thursday so we can dig into this topic.


What to try when drag & drop isnt working in the form designer

Today I was going a little nutty. I was in the middle of a very productive swing customizing until my recent loss of drag & drop got the better of me. Frustrated, I turned to the ever helpful community and found just what I was looking for. I wanted to report in the event that anyone is struggling with this issue.

1. Click on the settings in your IE 11 Browser

2. Go to Compatibility View Settings and add https://* and click OK.

3. Then Go to Security in Internet options.

4. Click on Trusted Sites and then sites

6. Add https://* to the trusted sites

7. Then Enabled Display Mixed Content in Internet Security Zone.

8. Enabled Display Mixed Content in Trusted Site Security Zone

9. Restart your browser.

Hopefully it works for you as well as it worked for me. Happy Monday!

Special thanks to Jonathon Kazemaini for figuring it out

Excel Oddity with Appointments and the Quick Fix

Not only is Excel vital to my team (in Finance we live in Excel) but it is also a huge piece of my daily work as an Admin. So today when my rows and columns were not agreeing it was cause for crisis. I do not take Excel malfunctioning lightly.

I went into the throw together a report of past appointments I stumbled across this little gotcha (pictured below):

The rows numbered 1 and 2 span one row in some columns but multiple rows in other columns. This does not a happy systems administrator make.

Unfortunately I took it as an Excel glitch, fought with it, gave it a good ol' reboot and was still stuck. When I finally slowed down and looked at the issue I realized that these rows represented Appointments with multiple "Required Attendees." Removing the Required Attendees column resolved the issue.

I am sharing this in hopes your day doesn't have the hit the speed bump that mine did. If you have a better work around for the issue please let me know in the comments.

Nerd Christmas

I have no shame in admitting that tonight, my introvert night, I found myself curled up with a cup of tea and a sleeping dog on my lap, listening to Pandora and grabbing screen shots out of CRM. I wandered through familiar areas, grabbing shots as I went.

Suddenly I threw my hands up, let out an audible shriek of excitement and then froze. Was I going crazy? Was this the indicator I should call it a night?

The abruptly awakened miniature dachshund in my lap was not nearly as excited as I was until I explained to him in excited tones how my quality of life had just radically improved. Call me a nerd, but this find made my week.

Dear friends, the wait is over. The OR function for workflows has arrived!

We have had OR in several ways throughout CRM but it had always been missing from the workflow designer. Ask any workflow enthusiast and I am sure they can share at least one story where they went to impressive lengths to work around the lack of an OR for a workflow.

CRM 2013 Service Pack 1 is like Nerd Christmas. Good things come to those who upgrade.

If you are not excited by this it most likely means that you have yet to dive into workflows. I won’t hold that against you. You’ll just have to trust me, this is a big deal.

Resources for Outlook and Excel for the End User

When Gretchen Opferkew and I were given the privilege of presenting Outlook and Excel for the End User at the CRMUG Regional Conferences in Dallas and Minneapolis, we knew that we couldn't possibly fit all of our favorite tips and tricks into one hour. So, in the hopes of leaving users inspired and equipped, we compiled this list of helpful resources to tide them over until Summit 2014. 


Working with Outlook and CRM
An Overview of Tracking records in CRM through Outlook
Maximizing the use of the Outlook Client
Conditional Formatting Emails
Synchronization vs. Tracking

See you at Summit! These classes at CRMUG Summit on October will help you dive even deeper in Outlook and Excel for CRM. 

A Beginners Guide to Outlook Client Administration
The End User's Deep Dive into Excel & Outlook Mastery
Outlook Client Troubleshooting with Dynamics CRM
Techie Talk: SharePoint, Outlook, and Excel - Oh My!
Adoption Leveraging Microsoft Outlook & Excel


For many users, Excel is intimidating and too reminiscent of high school algebra. Fortunately with a bit of practice and a few helpful resources, any user can learn to benefit from this powerhouse tool:

Getting Started with Excel
Groups and Subtotals in Excel
Conditional Formatting in Excel
Filter Data in Excel
Simply Mathematical Formulas in Excel
How to create a Power View report in Excel with CRM Data
Training courses for Excel 2013 from Microsoft
Mass Editing CRM Data in Excel

Shameless Plug: If you are looking for more on these topics I hope to see you in my sessions at Summit 2014 

Excel Essentials for the CRM Administrator
In this session, we will be walking through the essentials excel skills that any CRM Admin or Power User should have.
Creative Excel Use in xRM Deployments
In this course, we will be diving into the many out of the box opportunities when Excel is pared creatively with CRM. (Those who are just getting into Excel are encouraged to attend Excel Essentials for the CRM Administrator prior to this session)