Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices
Nov21

Navigating through Complex Cloud Computing Choices

By now most organizations are familiar with the benefits of moving their computing to the cloud, such as scalability, reliability, security and elimination of hardware costs.  What may be less clear is that for all this to work as advertised, a business process or application needs to be designed properly to work in the cloud.Cloud computing presents information technology departments with a… Continue Reading...

Read More
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development
Nov05

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Community Business Development

Local governments agencies such as the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development in my hometown of Washington, DC, – work on behalf of residents to improve living conditions, create economic opportunities and jobs by attracting businesses and helping businesses thrive. A customer relationship management system is key to work in community business development.  If you are… Continue Reading...

Read More
Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes
Oct31

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Entities and Attributes

Types of Dynamics Entities To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises. This is the second post in a series, and covers entities and attributes.Entities are the most fundamental part of… Continue Reading...

Read More
PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal
Oct29

PowerApps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft’s new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family. Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

Read More
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update
Oct28

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing: October 2019 Update

This month Microsoft announced new pricing for its Dynamics 365 family of products. This is the first major change in pricing since October 2017, when Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP products were rebranded, and several new apps were released.The current major Dynamics 365 apps are: Category Apps Marketing MarketingCustomer Insights Sales SalesMicrosoft Relationship Sales

Read More
For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low
Oct24

For Low Code Software, Keep Requirements Low

According to industry analyst companies such as Gartner and Forrester, enterprise customers are increasingly turning to no code and low code platforms as an alternative to traditional custom development (now called hand-coded to evoke a feeling of labor intensity) in order to increase their agility and reduce expense and personnel.According to Gartner, Microsoft is a leader in enterprise… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

Read More
Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution
Oct22

Key Concepts for Microsoft Dynamics 365: Tenant, Instance, App and Solution

To understand Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Dynamics CRM), you need to learn some new terms and concepts that may be a bit different from what you know from databases and solutions that are hosted on premises.This post introduces some of the key terms and how these concepts are important for planning your implementation.While Dynamics 365 is available on premises, it is most commonly… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com (Jim...

Read More
Evaluate Dynamics 365 with a Proof of Concept
Sep20

Evaluate Dynamics 365 with a Proof of Concept

Choosing software is a big commitment, and you want to be sure that you don’t regret your choice later.  One of the best ways to evaluate Microsoft Dynamics 365 and apps built on the Dynamics platform is to conduct a proof of concept.Here are some of the keys to make your proof of concept (POC) successful: Set a schedule and stick to it. You need a predefined beginning and end to the proof of… Continue Reading...

Read More
Tracking Feature Deprecations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement
Sep19

Tracking Feature Deprecations in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

Cloud solution providers such as Microsoft have stepped up the pace of innovation, and are releasing features continuously rather than their traditional pattern of major releases every year or two.  This fast innovation means that users see new features and enhancements often, and you must account for how to train them to take advantage of them.It also means that some old features are… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

Read More
Use Azure Machine Learning for Spam Detection in Email to Case process in Dynamics 365
Sep18

Use Azure Machine Learning for Spam Detection in Email to Case process in Dynamics 365

The following is a guest post from InfoStrat’s Dmitri Riz which is also available on the InfoStrat Tech Blog.Major software platforms like Microsoft Azure are rapidly developing toolkits that simplify access to AI or Machine Learning technologies, making them available to a wider group of developers. This article shows how the new AI Builder tool on Microsoft Azure PowerApps allows for a quick… Continue Reading...

Read More
Be Careful Deleting Users in Microsoft Dynamics 365
Sep12

Be Careful Deleting Users in Microsoft Dynamics 365

Deleting users and reassigning licenses in Microsoft Dynamics 365 requires some planning and consideration.  Otherwise, you may experience undesired consequences.  Deleting and deactivating users can be complex and involve multiple administrators.   Here are some top considerations: Reassign records in CRM. Do you want to reassign record ownership for cases, opportunities, accounts, contacts and… Continue...

Read More
Automating Your GovCon Wins in CRM
Aug29

Automating Your GovCon Wins in CRM

Microsoft is rolling out a series of enhancements to the Dynamics 365 for Sales app which will make government contractors happy and which InfoStrat is incorporating into its Dynamics 365 for Government Contractors solution.One of the best new features is customization of the Opportunity Close dialog box. Microsoft is opening up this feature so developers can treat it more like other CRM… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

Read More
7 Factors in Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Package
Aug23

7 Factors in Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Package

Many business reach a point in their growth when they consider implementing their first customer relationship management system (CRM).  Some of them start by using Excel or SharePoint for tracking customer data, then reach a point when they need functions that these tools do not easily provide, such as reports and dashboards or integration with other systems.There is a wealth of online… Continue Reading noreply@blogger.com...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More