Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Success with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

Altriva has kept me very busy since joining them in October '08. My first project for them was a CRM 4.0 new deployment for a large manufacturer in the Seattle area. There are 12 users up and running on the system now and they're enjoying the increased information and productivity the application provides.

The group that I worked with are responsible for providing support to their worldwide dealer network. They can now access information that was previously difficult to come by such as each dealer's employee hierarchy, current and past service cases, a record of all correspondence, inventory information, and a knowledge base.

Besides helping to build requirements, installing and configuring CRM, and working with IT on architecture decisions, I also had fun (really!) working with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to feed the company's master dealer information into CRM. This integration (well, ETL process actually) is scheduled to run each night using SQL Agent. The SSIS package queries from a SQL 2000 database and calls the CRM 4.0 Web Service to insert or update dealer information in CRM. The article written by CRM MVP Darren Liu helped a lot to put this integration together.

While I was working on that project, there were three people around the office that were diligently working to finish the book Success with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.

After working with several others in the past who have written a technical book (or started one) I've come to recognize that it takes an enormous amount of discipline, depth of knowledge, caffeine, understanding family members, and ability to get by with little sleep to plan, write, and finalize the content for a book like this. Watching these otherwise friendly clean-cut guys turn into disheveled and mumbling animals was not pretty to see, but they're back to normal again and we'll all be more successful with our CRM deployments because of their insanity.