Microsoft to Change Dynamics 365 Subscription Plans
Jul30

Microsoft to Change Dynamics 365 Subscription Plans

Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-is-set-to-shake-up-dynamics-365-pricing-and-packaging-again/ According to an article on ZDNetlast week and an earlier article in MSDynamicsWorld, Microsoft is planning to change the pricing and package of Dynamics 365 apps.  At present customers can purchase apps a la carte or buy a bundle or suite of apps.  For instance, the Dynamics 365 Customer… Continue...

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When is a Sales Opportunity an Opportunity in Your CRM?
Jul18

When is a Sales Opportunity an Opportunity in Your CRM?

Sales force automation is one of the three biggest reasons to implement a customer relationship management system, but some of the business rules for tracking sales are not universal to all businesses.  For instance, CRM products such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce center on tracking sales opportunities.  How you define opportunities for your business may be different from how other… Continue Reading...

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Gap Analysis for Dynamics 365 (CRM) Implementations
Jul09

Gap Analysis for Dynamics 365 (CRM) Implementations

Gap analysis explores the differences between your software requirements and the as-is features of an off-the-shelf product such as Microsoft Dynamics 365. It is one of the most useful techniques in a customer relationship management implementation.Determining software requirements is a challenging process, and requires guidance and facilitation to help end user identify their needs and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Grants Manager Plus for Victim Assistance Grants
Jul02

Grants Manager Plus for Victim Assistance Grants

InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus supports the full lifecycle of grants for victim assistance, such as those under the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), the The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and state victim assistance programs.The goals of grants for victim assistance are to prevent violent crime, respond to the needs of crime victims, and educate the public on crime and victim issues.The… Continue Reading...

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Low Code Solutions Require High Knowledge
Jun24

Low Code Solutions Require High Knowledge

Low code solutions such as Microsoft Flow and PowerApps offer faster development of some types of software solutions.  These products allow non-developers to create solutions or apps for functions such as approvals, routing or even integrating data for multiple systems.Writing successful solutions, even without coding, requires quite a bit of knowledge and experience.  Here are some of the… Continue Reading...

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Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs
Jun20

Understanding Grant Management Data: CDBG-DR Programs

InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus is used for tracking many types of grants because the data model may be extended with new fields and entities.  For tracking Community Development Block Grants for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the system tracks grants in ways that are different from typical grants.CDBG-DR grants flow from a federal… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Releases New Videos for Grants Manager Plus
Jun17

InfoStrat Releases New Videos for Grants Manager Plus

On July 6, 2016, Microsoft announced the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AppSource. Scheduled to be available in the fall of 2016, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will allow new ways for customers to consume Microsoft’s current CRM and ERP cloud offerings based on business functions such as financials, field service, sales, operations, marketing, project management and customer… Continue Reading...

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InfoStrat Earns Microsoft Gold DevOps Competency
Jun10

InfoStrat Earns Microsoft Gold DevOps Competency

InfoStrat has earned the new Microsoft Gold Competency for DevOps as part of the Microsoft Partner Program.  DevOps is a key part of cloud computing, and helps organizations close the gap between software development (Dev) and operations (Ops).The DevOps Gold Competency shows a commitment to mastering cloud tools for DevOps which relate to Microsoft Azure, not only Microsoft products such as… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners
Jun06

Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow Licensing for Beginners

Next month marks two years since Microsoft announced the preview of its Flow workflow automation product.  Since then, PowerApps and Microsoft Flow have been gaining in popularity.We at InfoStrat are receiving more questions from customers on how PowerApps and Flow are licensed by Microsoft.  This is a brief overview with links to authoritative Microsoft resources with all the… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Don’t Fight the User Interface
May29

Don’t Fight the User Interface

Businesses and government have adopted off-the-shelf software, especially cloud software products, to avoid the cost and technical risk which have often accompanied custom software development.  This means that software vendors control the user experience such as navigation, menus, colors, fonts, and all other aspects of the products. Faced with rapid innovation and competition, cloud… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Government Budget Management with Dynamics 365
May28

Government Budget Management with Dynamics 365

Government budgeting requires more than just accounting.  It also entails complex business processes to prepare and approve budgets.InfoStrat has been using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for government budgeting solutions for over ten years.  Dynamics 365 includes several features which enable budget tracking:Business process flows which automate approval processes Ability to store chart of… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Update Policies for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement
May23

Update Policies for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement

Customers of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement have been notified in recent weeks of new policies for updates.  Customer Engagement refers to the traditional core components of what was formerly Dynamics CRM (sales, marketing, and customer service) as well as newer apps for Project Service and Field Service which have been added to the Customer Engagement subscription bundle.The… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities
May16

Dynamics 365 for Auditing Activities

Many government and commercial organizations are responsible for conducting audits of financial and other performance in order to ensure compliance with regulations.Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a rich platform for automating auditing activities.  Here are some of the key functions that Dynamics 365 and Office 365 can perform for auditors:Schedule visits. The Field Service app for Dynamics… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Standards and Interoperability for CRM
Apr29

Standards and Interoperability for CRM

Tomorrow I will be presenting on “Standards and Interoperability for CRM” at the CRM Evolution Conference in Washington, DC.  Standards are important for many technologies, but in business software standards are often sacrificed as companies compete with one another for a share of the market.Customer relationship management (CRM) has not been known as a field which fosters cooperation… Continue Reading...

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Getting the Most Out of GovCon CRM
Apr18

Getting the Most Out of GovCon CRM

Selling to government agencies requires a different approach from most sales processes, and therefore a customer relationship management (CRM) system bust reflect the way that your company behaves as a government contractor in order to get the most from your software investment. Here are some top hints on how to get the most of our your CRM which are embodies in InfoStrat’s Dynamics 365… Continue Reading...

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Handy CRM Views and Graphs for Government Contractors (GovCon)
Apr15

Handy CRM Views and Graphs for Government Contractors (GovCon)

If you use a customer relationship management (CRM) system for tracking government contracts, you will find yourself using some views, reports and graphs more frequently than others.Here are some favorites from my experience and from users of the InfoStrat Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors solution.The most fundamental chart is the sales pipeline funnel.  This is broken into the sales… Continue Reading...

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Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus
Apr09

Understanding Budget, Payments and Milestones in Grants Manager Plus

Managing finances is at the core of InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus software for grantors to manage the full lifecycle of a grant.  This post explains key concepts for understanding how budgets, payments and milestones are managed in the solution.Grants Manager Plus may be configured to your business rules, so your implementation may differ from the scenarios described here.  Many of the… Continue Reading...

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When You Want CRM Power without Sales, Customer Service or Marketing
Apr05

When You Want CRM Power without Sales, Customer Service or Marketing

My company InfoStrat has been working with Dynamics 365 for over 13 years since version 3.0 of Dynamics CRM was released.  For more than half of our customers, we have been using Dynamics for line of business solutions which are not the typical sales, customer service and marketing applications that make up customer relationship management (CRM).Microsoft offers a subscription for these… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Review on FinanceOnline
Mar26

InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus Review on FinanceOnline

FinancesOnline recently reviewed InfoStrat Grants Manager Plus and named it a rising star of 2019 as well as one of the top 50 grant management software products.  FinancesOnline is a European  independent reviewer of business-to-business (B2B) software in many categories such as accounting, customer relationship management, human resources and help desk software. Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim Townsend)’s Article on...

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Understanding Programs in Grants Manager Plus
Mar14

Understanding Programs in Grants Manager Plus

InfoStrat’s Grants Manager Plus solution helps grantor agencies with the full lifecycle of a grant.  This blog post focuses on setting up grant programs.A grant program allows you to establish rules that govern applications, scoring, and reporting for a set of applications.  For instance, a grant program is of a specified type, has dates that relate to it, and draws funding from one or… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Victim Notification Software: InfoStrat SAVIN360
Mar12

Victim Notification Software: InfoStrat SAVIN360

InfoStrat developed the SAVIN360 Victim Notification System to help agencies manage contacts and alerts when offenders are transferred or released. State departments of correction and county jails and related public safety agencies must deploy a system for notifying victims, constituents, law enforcement officials and other stakeholders when an offender’s custody status changes.Today three… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Coming Soon: April 2019 Release of Microsoft Dynamics 365
Feb28

Coming Soon: April 2019 Release of Microsoft Dynamics 365

Dynamics Virtual Agent for Customer ServiceIt is still winter in Washington, DC, but spring is just around the corner.  We can look forward to cherry blossoms, the Potomac shad run, and Microsoft’s next release of Dynamics 365.Microsoft has published the release notes for April ’19 and there are many highlights.Artificial Intelligence is still one of the hottest trends, and Microsoft has a… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Ignite: The Tour Visits Washington, DC
Feb06

Microsoft Ignite: The Tour Visits Washington, DC

This week Microsoft took its tour of the Ignite conference to Washington, DC.  The initial Ignite conference was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the tour brings much of the content to a broader audience. You can access recordings of the sessions online. Because there were over 100 sessions and workshops in two days, it was impossible to attend all of them.  Here are the learning paths from the… Continue Reading...

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Export Reports from Dynamics 365 to PowerPoint
Jan28

Export Reports from Dynamics 365 to PowerPoint

Microsoft Dynamics 365 now offers an option to export reports to PowerPoint in addition to the formats such as Excel, PDF and other file formats which have been supported for several versions.  Here is how the Export menu looks on a report:The output of the report is converted into pages which become pages in the PowerPoint file.  By default the pages do not fit in a standard PowerPoint size,… Continue Reading...

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5 Best Things about the Unified Interface for Microsoft Dynamics 365
Jan16

5 Best Things about the Unified Interface for Microsoft Dynamics 365

The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 moves most of the core functionality of sales and customer service to a new user interface – The Unified Interface client.  This user interface is not completely new as it was gradually introduced for the Hub features such as the Customer Service Hub in recent versions of the product.The new interface is quite different from the previous interface… Continue Reading...

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Extending Grants Manager Plus
Jan08

Extending Grants Manager Plus

Grants Manager Plus provides grantors with an all-in-one, integrated solution that simplifies the grants process from initial solicitation through review, scoring, award, payment processing and post award. InfoStrat designed the solution to allow it to be extended and customized to meet the needs of specific grant programs.Grant programs may be quite different from one another, and adopting… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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BPFs on steroids – Using Dynamics Business Process Flows to Implement a Fully Guided Lifecycle of a Record
Dec13

BPFs on steroids – Using Dynamics Business Process Flows to Implement a Fully Guided Lifecycle of a Record

This is a guest blog post from Dmitri Riz, the director of InfoStrat’s Microsoft Dynamics Practice. We are all familiar with Business Process Flows (BPF) in Dynamics 365 – they’ve been around for a while. The set of chevrons at the top of the single record form typically represents major phases in the record’s lifecycle. Phases of record lifecycle or BPF The problem When starting a new… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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InfoStrat Releases New Versions of Grants Manager Plus
Dec12

InfoStrat Releases New Versions of Grants Manager Plus

This month InfoStrat released new versions and new editions of Grants Manager Plus to help grantors track the entire grant life cycle, from funding sources to awards, reporting, and closeout. This blog will feature a future post which provides detail on new features, but here are highlights:New process flows for grants which pass through to sub-recipients and those which do not Planning… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Internal Training Sessions at InfoStrat
Dec04

Internal Training Sessions at InfoStrat

One of the biggest challenges for IT services companies like my company InfoStrat is to stay current with the latest product releases and to keep learning new things even while we are engaged with demanding projects on behalf of our clients.For this reason, we have created multiple ways to collaborate and share with one another.  This week we are conducting internal training sessions to allow… Continue Reading...

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New InfoStrat Blog Launches
Nov07

New InfoStrat Blog Launches

InfoStrat has launched a new blog devoted to technical answers and tips.  These will be on software topics including custom development, CRM, Dynamics 365, Azure, Adobe, Sitecore, SharePoint and other products. Stay tuned for frequent additions to the new InfoStrat blog. I will continue to post my observations and insights on software and related topics on this blog.  Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim Townsend)’s Article...

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Azure Service Fabric: Understanding Microservices
Oct22

Azure Service Fabric: Understanding Microservices

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/service-fabric/service-fabric-overview  Microsoft Azure Service Fabric helps developers build applications based on microservices to allow better scalability, faster deployment and upgrades, reduced resource costs and enhanced management capabilities.Microservices is the latest stage of the trend to divide applications into component parts. … Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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User Stories for Grants Manager Plus
Oct16

User Stories for Grants Manager Plus

My company InfoStrat offers government software solutions, and our most popular has been Microsoft Grants Manager Plus, based on Dynamics 365.  I receive inquiries on this solution from around the world, and the most common questions include how long it will take to implement and how much will it cost.User stories which describe your grant program and business processes are essential to… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Microsoft Azure for Recovery Sites and Failover
Oct01

Microsoft Azure for Recovery Sites and Failover

Whether you are operating your servers on premises or in the cloud, a cloud service like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform are ideal for supporting recovery of sites in case of hardware or communications failures.  If your servers are primarily at your data center, having additional servers at that facility may not help your users if access is cut off due to a… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics
Sep25

DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics

The repository for DevOps for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement https://github.com/devkeydet/dyn365-ce-devops Much has been written about how Microsoft Dynamics may be used to create software solutions using configuration to replace extensive coding needed for traditional software development.  This “low code” approach can save time and reduce costs for building and implementing business… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service Best Practices
Sep18

Microsoft Dynamics Customer Service Best Practices

By Ayesha Mirza, senior consultant at InfoStrat One of the key initiatives of customer service is to make tasks easier for both the customer and customer service agents. Customers want to find information and customer service agents have the need to process, absorb and promote information requests in order to provide an adequate customer experience. Streamlining this flow… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Learning About Microsoft Azure: What is Azure?
Sep17

Learning About Microsoft Azure: What is Azure?

Microsoft Azure is one of the big three cloud computing services (along with Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform ) and has been growing rapidly for many years.  The following highlights key concepts for those who may be new to Azure.  These topics are geared toward a CIO or CTO rather than a network expert or developer who may be researching more advanced topics.Many of the… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Capture Management in CRM for Government IDIQ and BPAs
Sep05

Capture Management in CRM for Government IDIQ and BPAs

Government agencies often create blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) and indefinite date indefinite quantity (IDIQ) orders in order to simplify procurement, so that they can have a smaller number of bidders respond to requirements and to set prices for products and services that they know they will need in the future.Tracking these BPA and IDIQ opportunities in your customer relationship… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management
Aug20

The Story of InfoStrat and Grant Management

I am often asked how InfoStrat became involved in grants management and why Microsoft chose InfoStrat to develop its grant management solutions Stimulus360 and Grants Manager Plus.Since the late 1990s, InfoStrat has been working in grants management for state, local, and federal agencies.  In 2009, we were contracted by Microsoft to build the Microsoft Stimulus360 ARRA (American Recovery and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

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Getting the Most Out of Dynamics 365 Upgrades
Aug10

Getting the Most Out of Dynamics 365 Upgrades

Microsoft has settled into a schedule of providing significant enhancements to Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) every six months, so all of us who use the product must adapt to being in a constant state of adopting new features and preparing for the next upgrade.  Microsoft is investing heavily in development of Dynamics, and pouring the fruits of research and development such as… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Alternative Interfaces for Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM)
Aug09

Alternative Interfaces for Dynamics 365 (formerly CRM)

Source: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/customer-engagement/admin/about-unified-interfaceMicrosoft Dynamics 365 is a leading CRM package, and its web interface packs a great deal of power and flexibility.  But what if you don’t like they way that it looks, or you want to streamline it a bit for some users or functions?Although it may not be apparent to first time users, there are… Continue Reading...

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Mining Your CRM Data Using Artificial Intelligence and Analytics
Aug07

Mining Your CRM Data Using Artificial Intelligence and Analytics

One of the hottest topics in information technology today is using artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics tools to help you identify patterns which can guide you in digital transformation efforts.To make these efforts fruitful, your first hurdle is to identify data worth mining.  For many organizations, your CRM system is a great place to start.  If you have used CRM such as Microsoft… Continue Reading...

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Consider the Overhead Costs of Tracking Data
Aug07

Consider the Overhead Costs of Tracking Data

When I was meeting with one of InfoStrat’s clients recently, we were discussing what fields to include in an online application form for a new system.  Over the years, the form had grown to 29 pages, including several pages of legal terms and conditions which required no user input but required review and acceptance.We went through the form page by page to determine which fields were needed,… Continue Reading...

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Five Ways to Ensure Compliance with Your Grant Management System
Jun22

Five Ways to Ensure Compliance with Your Grant Management System

As a grantor or a grantee, your organization is responsible to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the funding that you receive.  My company InfoStrat has implemented grant management systems for U.S. government agencies and non-profits for over twenty years.  Here are some of the principles that we follow in order to help clients achieve compliance and accountability as… Continue Reading...

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Cloud Services Shift Roles for System Administrators
Jun21

Cloud Services Shift Roles for System Administrators

Cloud computing has shifted many tasks away from system administrators who were previously responsible for managing servers which were located on premises or in dedicated data centers.  Many system management tasks such as all hardware upgrades, repairs and replacements and networking issues are now handled by cloud providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft,  Google and others).  In most… Continue Reading...

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Microsoft Master VAR Velosio Signs Reseller Agreement with CRM Vendor Nimble
Jun14

Microsoft Master VAR Velosio Signs Reseller Agreement with CRM Vendor Nimble

Today social sales and marketing CRM vendor Nimble, based in Santa Monica, California, announced that they signed Microsoft Partner Velosio as a global reseller for their cloud-based contact management solution.I spoke to representatives at Nimble to learn why this is important news to the Microsoft channel.  Velosio is the result of the merge in December 2017 of Socius and SBS Group — two of… Continue Reading...

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File Storage Options for Dynamics 365 Portal
May11

File Storage Options for Dynamics 365 Portal

Microsoft offers Dynamics Portal as a way for external users to access information in Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM). Portals are included in some Dynamics 365 subscriptions, and are used in scenarios such as customer service, employee self-service, online communities, and supplier portals. Dynamics Portal is also applicable for xRM solutions such as grant management, eligibility… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

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Microsoft Dynamics 365: So Many Apps, So Little Time
May11

Microsoft Dynamics 365: So Many Apps, So Little Time

I have been working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 since it was called Dynamics CRM.  The product was so successful that Microsoft took what was once three CRM products in one (sales, marketing, and customer service) and broke it into separate solutions along with introducing new apps including Field Service and Project Service.  Microsoft also brought its preferred accounting products Dynamics… Continue Reading...

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Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 3
Apr30

Migrating from Parature to Microsoft Dynamics 365: Part 3

The discontinuation of Microsoft Parature is just over two weeks from now, so presumably nearly all customers have chosen a new software platform for customer service and migrated to that platform.Many customers likely chose Microsoft Dynamics 365.  They may have picked Dynamics 365 because it comes from Microsoft, and they can receive credit from Microsoft for any Parature subscriptions which… Continue Reading...

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8 Steps to Execute an Internal Communication Plan that Builds Trust and Gets Results
Apr04

8 Steps to Execute an Internal Communication Plan that Builds Trust and Gets Results

The following is a guest blog post from Tabetha Sheaver, CEO of Plus Delta 314. Her new company focuses on helping customers succeed with adoption of CRM and other solutions. Does your company suffer from poor communication?Poor communication is cited as the #1 reason for employee turnover and project failures.Organizational change management is a discipline that has a number of steps and… Continue Reading...

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Understanding Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Admin Roles

Managing Dynamics 365 instancesIf you run Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM) in the Microsoft cloud, you need to understand how your Dynamics instances relate to Office 365 and choose which of your administrators receives which roles and permissions to manage Dynamics 365.In on premises deployments, your network administrator would create and delete user accounts.  The Dynamics 365… Continue Reading...

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