Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicken or the egg?

We’ve started the move to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. So begins the task of exportation of information and the resulting importation of said information. Sound easy enough, however both CRM 4.0 and 2011 don’t have the most…robust import/export feature set.

Off I start creating a report (remember, poor export tools) of all of our active accounts. Everything is going just fine, the export went well it was only a few accounts to test the process with, no big deal.
Start the import process in CRM2011, looks different, maybe this will be a better experience than the export. At step ‘n’ I map the fields in the export with the associated fields in CRM2011 that went nice and easy. So at this point, I am thinking that the import process for the contacts should go swimmingly as well.  I get to the “finish” screen for the importation. Click “run”. Navigate to the import status page, “failed”.


“Alright, must be a logic error that I missed”, I think to myself. I view the details of the failed import, yup, sure enough. The process bombed on the primary contact field. It is an option list, well seeing how there are no contacts in the CRM2011 yet, doesn’t really surprise me that it failed at import.


I go create the export report for the contacts. I start the import on the CRM2011 server. I pause.


I cannot import the contacts with the parent customer field mapped.
I suddenly had the urge for breakfast.

Went to the gang, told them that there was a hitch-in-the-giddy-up about whether to import accounts or contacts first. We decided that it was best to import accounts, not map primary contact. After they are imported go ahead and do the contacts. The downside is that the accounts won’t have a primary contact filled out. So we plan on filling the primary contacts in as we touch those accounts.

Has anyone found a way to programmatically import accounts with the associated primary contacts?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Thomas LaRock (w|t) actually came up with a #memeMonday writing assignment that I am able to participate in! His question seems innocuous enough, “if You today, had the chance to go back to You when you started your IT career, what advice would You (of today) tell You (of yesteryear)?”

First advice: Don’t worry about the time paradox that we would be creating, it’ll be fine.
Second: Listen to this, (point at my Boss) man he knows what he is talking about.
Third: Ask more questions, get more involved with projects, don’t just fill a role while at work, make one.
Fourth: Involve yourself more with the open source community, just because you aren't a programmer, doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to projects
Fifth: While you’re at it, learn a programming language it will help you in the long run when working with developers.
Sixth: Take this sports almanac, put it to good use.

So the major gist of our talk would be to learn more about the things that pique your interest, dive deeper in the subjects. Ask questions, learn from people who know more than you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Already? Sheesh, that was quick.

Great, just as I was getting the hang of SQL 2008R2 (still no luck getting the hang of Thursday), 2012 has come out (with CU1 being released just a few weeks ago). I was one of the many whom waited with bated breath for the virtual launch event and watched in awe of the fail. I am excited for the new features, especially the Always On, Availability Groups. With 2012 database mirroring is going the way of the stage coach. Which puts a huge crimp in my HA/DR plans. Currently I am utilizing mirroring with TDE, which I have yet to find any documentation on how to use TDE with AG. Granted I looked days after release, so I am hoping that there is more out there on the intertubes now. I am also looking at the newest interface for “power users” for data modeling and the SharePoint/SSRS integration.

We upgraded to 2008R2 almost a year ago now, what I have to decide is if it is worth the upgrade to 2012 so soon. I will have to talk with our developer(s) and have them check out any of new developer tools or enhancements and see if they think it is worth it. I would like to stay fairly current with our database infrastructure. I have to worry about the changes to the licensing model.

I also have to make sure that our various internal programs and 3rd party software will be compatible with the newest version. With the current shift that is going on in house, I have to at least make sure that MS Dynamics CRM 2011 works fully with SQL 2012. I am sure it will, but with Dynamics soon to be the center of business, I cannot afford to go with “I’m sure everything will work”.