By ClickDimensions Chief Customer Officer, Matt Wittemann
Years ago, I wrote an article for the Microsoft CRM team blog about how to build a self-contained virtual environment for CRM. At the time, the CRM version was 4.0, and the virtual environment was on a local desktop computer. With the advent of Microsoft’s Azure, this process has become significantly easier.
If you would like to have your own CRM 2013 server for development or testing, here are the 8 easy steps to make it happen. (Okay, this assumes you’ve already got an Azure account and access to the CRM 2013 installation files.) Note that Microsoft does not yet officially support running CRM on an Azure VM.
- Log into Azure and create a new Virtual Machine.
Select the “SQL Server 2012 SP1 Standard on WS 2012” – this will give you just about everything you need to install CRM.
I chose a “Medium” size server. This has the minimal RAM that I will need for a modest dev server.
NOTE: I also added HTTP port 5555, which is the default port that CRM uses. This way, when I’m all done, I will be able to browse from my laptop to the CRM instance at .cloudapp.net:5555″>http://<servername>.cloudapp.net:5555.
- After the machine has been set up, you can use remote desktop to connect to it. The address you will use for a remote desktop connection uses the name you gave the virtual machine and the port that was set up for RDP. In my example, this is mycrm2013dev.cloudapp.net:3389.
- Adding Roles
From the Server Manager dashboard, you can add the following roles that will be needed by CRM:
- Active Directory Domain Services
- Application Server
- DNS Server
- Web Server (IIS)
- Install the Windows Search Service (no worries – if you skip this step, the CRM installation will install it for you, but it will interrupt your CRM installation and require a reboot).
- Promoting to Domain Controller
After the server has been rebooted, the Server Manager will have an informational alert you can click on to start the process of turning the server into a domain controller. Give the domain a name, like COMPANY.COM and go through the rest of the Active Directory Domain Services Configuration Wizard accepting the default settings. At the end of a successful prerequisite check you will be able to install AD and make the machine a domain controller.
- Next, make sure that SQL Reporting Services is working. This needs to be working before you can install CRM.
- Go to the Start screen and type “Reporting Services Configuration Manager” to open the config manager for SSRS.
- In the configuration wizard, click on “Web Services URL” and click the “Apply” button.
- Click on “Database” and then “Change Database” to set up a new report server database. You can accept the defaults in the wizard and click Next as appropriate to finish the setup of the report database.
- Click on “Report Manager URL” and click the “Apply” button.
- Check to make sure you can browse to the report server address at /reportserver”>http://<servername>/reportserver
TIP: Create a service account in Active Directory for the SSRS service account. In the Reporting Services configuration wizard, under “Service Account”, set it to use another account and specify this service account.
- Get your install media and license key for CRM ready. (TIP: I use Virtual Clone Drive from Elaborate Bytes to run DVD images.) Launch the CRM Server installation.
- Prior to installing CRM, go to Active Directory Users and Computers and set up a new OU to contain the groups that will be created when you install CRM.
- During the installation, I select just the Network Service for all the services during installation of CRM. This is just a dev environment, so I’m not too worried about best security practices.
- Create a new website. If you later want to set up ADFS on this server, it will use the default website, so when installing CRM, have the installer create a new website.
TIP: Disable the Windows Firewall for the ports you’ve set up for CRM.
- After running the CRM Server installation, run the CRM Reporting Extensions setup as well.
Congratulations, now you have a self-contained CRM environment for testing and development.
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We are excited to welcome Nir Eyal to the ClickDimensions team as a Technical Support Engineer. Nir has more than seven years of experience in the support field. In his last role prior to joining ClickDimensions, Nir managed support for national corporations like Ericson and Nokia, systems implementation on customer sites, and training for first-tier support and customers. Nir holds a degree in computer science. He lives in Mazkeret Batia, Israel with his wife and daughter.
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ClickDimensions Announces Release of Marketing Automation Solution Optimized for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATLANTA, GA (25 October 2013) – ClickDimensions is pleased to announce the release of its new email marketing and marketing automation solution designed specifically for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. While ClickDimensions’ latest release was built to function within both CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 environments, the new 2013 solution includes user interface changes that provide a cohesive and modernized product. In addition to the CRM 2013 enhancements, the October release includes a new drag-and-drop designer which will make it even easier to create dynamic and compelling emails right from within Dynamics CRM.
“We’ve been working diligently over the past quarter to design and release an update that is not only compatible with Dynamics CRM 2013, but really takes advantage of the new user interface,” said John Gravely, ClickDimensions’ CEO. “We’re also excited to reveal our new drag-and-drop email designer as well as a number of significant improvements that have come as a part of our normal quarterly release.”
Customers with new Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 installations will automatically receive the ClickDimensions 2013 solution as part of the setup process. Customers who upgrade from version 2011 to 2013 can request their ClickDimensions account be updated with the new interface.
Recently, ClickDimensions has been working to update, enhance and modernize not only the product, but also its organization and culture. The team has grown at a rapid pace within the past three months, with six new hires in product development, three new Partner Account Managers, a Marketing Director and additional training and support staff. To accommodate the growth, ClickDimensions recently moved its Atlanta headquarters into a larger office location. Along with the new product release and office space came an update to the company’s branding. ClickDimensions launched its new website last week, which can be accessed at www.clickdimensions.com.
“There are many more updates and enhancements in the works,” said Gravely. “We’re looking forward to sharing more details in the near future.”
For more details about the ClickDimensions release for CRM 2013, visit blog.clickdimensions.com.
ClickDimensions Marketing Automation for Microsoft Dynamics CRM empowers marketers to generate and qualify high quality leads while providing sales the ability to prioritize the best leads and opportunities. Providing email marketing, web tracking, lead scoring, nurture marketing, social discovery, campaign tracking and web forms and surveys, ClickDimensions allows organizations to discover who is interested in their products, quantify their level of interest and take the appropriate actions. For more information about ClickDimensions visit www.clickdimensions.com, read our blog at blog.clickdimensions.com or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/clickdimensions.
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Just weeks prior to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 global launch at Convergence EMEA in Barcelona, Microsoft began provisioning CRM Online accounts with the newly released interface.
We’ve been working diligently over the past quarter to design and release a compatible update of ClickDimensions to coincide with the new Microsoft CRM launch.
October 15th marked the release of both the CRM 2011 and v4 Updates for ClickDimensions, with enhancements like the new drag and drop email editor, advanced image editor, and other new features. This Tuesday, we began officially provisioning ClickDimensions Solutions for Dynamics CRM 2013 environments, in coordination with the mass availability of Microsoft’s new interface in CRM Online.
While all new CRM Online organizations will be provisioned with the new interface, Microsoft plans to upgrade existing CRM Online organizations over the next few months. Because of the upgrade schedule, ClickDimensions strategically released our latest 2011 solution to be functionally and architecturally compatible within a 2013 environment, so that the upgrade process to CRM 2013 can be streamlined for our customers.
After an existing CRM Online organization (2011 platform with the latest ClickDimensions 2011 solution) is upgraded to the new CRM 2013 platform, the upgrade of ClickDimensions is as simple as any other ClickDimensions release. Customers can get the new UI and UX through either an automatic update or in the form of a managed solution file that is imported right within CRM and takes place in a matter of minutes, with no loss of data or migration needed.
Here is an overview of the updates and a glimpse at what the new 2013 ClickDimensions solution looks like:
Navigation – The ClickDimensions entities are in the same place they’ve always been, but with the new user interface, the Sitemap (or left navigation pane) is now accessed via the top navigation bar. You can get to the ClickDimensions entities by going to Marketing, and to either the Analytics, Email Marketing, SMS, or Events areas. The Web Content and Nurtures, along with Settings and other administrative components are still under Settings, ClickDimensions Settings.
Ribbon – You will notice that the buttons that used to be in the “Ribbon” of CRM are now in what CRM 2013 calls the Control Bar. Features like Add to Nurture, Full Screen, Test, Split Test, Clone, OutlookCast, and Send, etc. are all still available, just in a more convenient spot.
UI/UX – We’ve updated the ClickDimensions icons to be consistent with the user interface of the new CRM release, along with text, scripting, and other responsive features to be compatible with Microsoft’s new platform.
ClickDimensions Settings Area:
Free Style Editor:
Block Style Editor:
Drag and Drop Editor:
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The ClickDimensions service requires a CRM user account to be set up as a “service account.” If the password is changed for this user, the ClickDimensions service will be unable to communicate with CRM, and you will be unable to access ClickDimensions functions from within CRM.
Previously, if you wanted to update the password used by your ClickDimensions service user you would need to update your CRM password in Service Credentials before you changed it with Microsoft, and if you didn’t you would then contact ClickDimensions and have us update the user password on our end. As of our October 15th release, you can update the password from within your own CRM after the password has been changed with Microsoft.
To update the password, navigate to Service Credentials in ClickDimensions Settings.
You will see the window below. After you have changed the password with Microsoft, type the new password in here then type the captcha and click save.
You’ll then receive the following message stating that your password has been updated.
Be sure to also update the password in Active Directory (LiveID or Office 365 for CRM Online users) and allow 60 minutes for the connection to be reestablished. After that you are good to go!
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