Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | F1 Installation (Part II)

Last week I kicked of my blog series around FieldOne, from Microsoft. Currently FieldOne Sky solution is available for new trial instances of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1 and you can expect the solution to be available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online when it hits the ground.

Today I´m going to cover “Do I need special knowledge about installation?

CRM_Admin_Console_SolutionsA simple answer: No, if you´re the O365 Administrator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, familiar with the new solution management from inside the admin console.
The better answer: Yes, cause installation of such solution needs some background knowledge and as a matter of fact, if you click on further information for FieldOne Sky, you currently will be forwarded here.

Presented with a bunch of options for more details you can get, a major step is to sign up for FieldOne, from Microsoft online learning center to get more background knowledge. You have to create an account – which might be subject to change in future – but honestly, I do encourage you to sign up. Some content might change due to the direction Microsoft will go with this solution.

 

Before Installation

Maybe you´ve heard of FieldOne, from Microsoft being the next step of appointment scheduling inside Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Maybe you think of an extension of the service calendar build inside Dynamics CRM and requested for many years by the community or you think of a clever way of avoiding conflicts during scheduling an appointment.

FieldOne, from Microsoft is more. And though Microsoft is introducing it as a horizontal solution being extensible and customizable in the future – the current solution will still contain a lot of vertical components specialized to fit specific customer care service scheduling scenarios and mobile field management. So please, don´t think of installing it an evaluating it without deeper knowledge about your requirements or at least a fit/gap analysis done by yourself or supported by an implementation partner. Why? Please continue to read.

 

Installation Process

Assuming you´re not familiar with Field Service scheduling, optimization or management, my advice would be not to install the solution directly inside your production environment without performing one of the courses available from the online learning center or at least staying in contact with an implementation partner who is familiar and can assist.

FieldOne_ListedInSolutionAreaWhy? You might think FieldOne Sky is a managed solution and you should be able to uninstall it anytime and therefore return to your original system. And in fact, after starting installation process and readiness, all the solution components will be listed inside the solutions area in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

But because of the installation is as easy as 1-2-3:

  • You would simply select the solution to be installed,
  • accept the license agreement you will be presented with
  • and immediately the installation process starts in the background

you better be aware what you´re doing.

SQL_Server_Timeout

In my environment this lead to this unfriendly message, while trying to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM right after. Obviously some “bigger” SQL scripts are running in the background preparing and installing the solution itself. And as you can see from the picture above the solution currently contains three components or packages that will be installed. The system needs some background resources for deployment and though you cannot schedule the installation process to start at a specific date/time, you probably shouldn’t start this during business hours. Otherwise your users will already love the new system because of getting that message window.

 

Further Notes

Keep in mind that this isn´t a fault of the FieldOne Sky solution itself. It is more about an improvement needed from my point of view within the solution admin console inside O365.

I installed FieldOne, from Microsoft inside my environment with german base language and additional english language pack. The progress run without any further complication, but ended in a scenario I did not expected – the solution hasn´t been translated yet?! So in my environment I ended up having a mixture between english / german.

FieldOne_SitemapIcon_GermanLanguageNot a big issue, but it also ended up in a sitemap containing such navigation items. The good news around that one is – it is a solution component, so you can export your translation files and then start translating it the way you want it to be…

ExportedTranslationFile_ShapeSimply export the translation file from your customization area after FieldOne Sky being installed and the extract the solution components. Inside the XML file (opened with MS Excel), you´ll find the f1_ components and will be able to translate them the way you want them to be.

On the other hand, I guess Microsoft will soon ship the according translation files within the solution as it would lead into a lot of work translating it by your own and not knowing the solution logic itself.

 

Conclusion

FieldOne, from Microsoft installation progress is simple and easy to handle. Installing it in a vanilla system for evaluation / testing can be done with a couple of mouse clicks and takes less then 15 Minutes. Within my next criteria Do I need to spend hours, before I can use it?, I will continue diving deeper into the solution and the components offered. So stay tuned for my next article.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 | FieldOne – Part I

fo-ms-iso[1]Yesterday Microsoft announced FieldOne, from Microsoft being ready for purchase and installation directly within O365 by Param Kahlon.

Surprisingly I was just about to start a blog series with FieldOne, from Microsoft – my personal experience during installation and configuration as well as some insights in daily use-cases.

Before kicking things off, let me give you a short background of myself and why I am writing about this topic in specific. Those not knowing me or my blog (as I normally write my articles in german language) – I used to work with Customer Care Service area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for more than a decade now. I specialized in that area while not loosing my focus on other areas and competitors as well. 3 yrs. ago, I joined FLS (fastleansmart) – a company specialized in Field Service and Workforce Management offering a unique real-time optimization and planning algorithm called PowerOpt. This ISV add-on was built with horizontal focus to enable partners inside service area to lower driving times, costs and optimize field service scheduling mainly by ensuring so called “Domino effects” (based on an algorithm calculated time-windows to allow reassigning worker items instantly).

Not to my surprise, but to be mentioned for sure, this solution could also be installed and “live inside CRM” with FieldOne being used as a vertical industry fitting solution and enhancing this.

With this background it was my pleasure to read about Microsoft making the investment with the acquisition of FieldOne and now having FieldOne, from Microsoft as a horizontal fitting field service scheduling solution/engine to built on top of. So I immediately started figuring out, what an Implementation Partner or an ISV needs to know about offerings, features and entities within current FieldOne, from Microsoft solution and ensure a better field service, a better customer care and in the end a better productivity for all involved parties.

To be honest, I´ve done so many Pre-Sales appointments and trainings around this topic and have seen sales agents talking about so many things that can be done, numbers that should influence a buyers decision or stories that should emphasize users to work with that system. Instead of asking twice about current company service offerings, processes that might need some optimization and of course users that wants to return to productivity – simply by doing what they´ve been asked for – deliver a high quality service to you – the customer.

So my criterias during my “preview” were:

  • Do I need special knowledge about installation?
  • Do I need to spend hours, before I can use it?
  • What minimum data needs to be prepared to setup the system?
  • Do I need specific training for end users?
  • What is the story being flexible around customizations?
  • What process automation capabilities will I find or being able to setup with?
  • Will I need more training around scheduling scenarios and what a “domino effect” might be?

Stay tuned for Part II and following to (maybe) get your first impressions and see how better customer care scheduling and follow-up can help increase your sales, motivate your employees and even improve customer loyalty with simple actions – I´m sure we all have been into scenarios where we wished a better customer service would have helped us. If you need inspiration first, than walk on to this article by Tricia Morris.

See ya…