Sunday, May 16, 2010

ShareTalk Integration – WSS Adapter Web Service Request format is unrecognized

When you install the SharePoint Adapter Web Service for BizTalk, and browse to the BTSharePointAdapterWS.asmx Web Service, you will be prompted with an error that makes it seem like your installation of this Web Service was not successful:

Server Error in '/BTSharePointAdapterWS' Application.

Request format is unrecognized.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.
Exception Details: System.InvalidOperationException: Request format is unrecognized

In fact your Web Service may be functioning correctly as mine was.  The issue is that the Service metadata is disabled by default.  To enable the Service metadata, you will need to update the web.config of the BTSharePointAdapterWS Application



Comment out, or remove the <remove name="Documentation"/> line in order to enable displaying the Service metadata.



Metadata will now be displayed correctly.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Microsoft Canadian Leadership Summit Day #2

On the 2nd and final day of the Canadian Leadership Summit, I  focused on Dynamics xRM and Windows XP to Windows 7 Migration. 


In the context of  “xRM”, the ‘x’ stands for “anything” meaning if you have a requirements to track relationships then Dynamics may be a good fit.

Relationships with many different entities

  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vendors

Dynamics CRM Global Customer list

  • ING
  • Nortel
  • LG
  • Volvo
  • Sara Lee
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • City of London
  • Pfizer
  • Barclays
  • Tourism Whistler

Dynamics xRM Deployments

  • Over 22 000 customers
  • 1.1 million users
  • 4000 worldwide partners
  • 50 worldwide hosting partners
  • Dynamics CRM runs on top of the xRM platform and is available in the Cloud (hosted by Microsoft) or On Premise
  • Experience is delivered through PC, Browser or Phone


Rapid Deployment

The session contained a video that included a complete Sports team management application built in less than 24 hours on the xRM platform by 4 Microsoft employees during the World Partner Conference in the summer of July 2009.  Surveys were posted on Twitter asking for ideas and requirements as to what people would like to see built.  The deliverable included a semi-detailed design and fully functional system within the allotted time.  The team then presented the solution to the attendees of the conference.  I have found a LiveMeeting of this event here.  Use  Meeting ID 8B74CC to view the content.


CRM Key Capabilities

  • Point and Click Application Development and Deployment
  • Out of the box user experiences (Outlook, Office, Mobile, Offline)
  • Leverages Microsoft Application Platform Technologies
    • SQL
    • Windows Server
    • SRS/SAS
    • WF
    • .Net

CRM 5 – The Road Ahead

Here are some of the themes that Microsoft is focusing for the next version of the software:


  • Insightful
  • Role-Tailored
  • Collaborative


  • Social
  • Connected
  • Extensible


  • Cloud and On-Premise
  • Solution Partners
  • Smooth Upgrade

SharePoint and XRM are Complementary

SharePoint and XRM have overlapping capabilities.  SharePoint has evolved beyond just storing Word documents.  It has become a platform that is capable of performing some tasks that a CRM is capable of .  On the flipside CRM, has some lightweight document management features.  The end result is that the two platforms work better, together.  If you owned both sets of technology, it makes sense to leverage both solutions to build the total package.

  • SharePoint better with unstructured data
  • xRM is better for structured Data


The next portion of the session involved Christian Gosselin, the CRM Practice Leader for CGI in Quebec, Canada.  CGI is a very experienced CRM implementer with over 50 Certified professionals on platform.

Christian, discussed some of the Business and IT Challenges that make CRM a viable option:

Typical Organizational Challenges

  • Rapid Innovation is a key mandate
  • Waiting for IT to deliver requested Applications
  • Business builds shadow applications(MS Access)  to survive
  • Poor productivity due to many different user interfaces and tools
  • Lack of intelligence/insight

IT Challenges

  • Limited budget and resources
  • Trying to support all requests coming from business
  • Option of  building or buying (both have big negatives in cost, time and scope)
  • Supporting hundreds of legacy applications
  • Difficult to deliver quick wins

xRM as a platform

xRM was built from a platform perspective and then added the application as opposed to some other vendors building the CRM application and then duct taping the platform around it in order to make it extensible.

xRM is a complete business application platform:

  • Data and Metadata Services
  • User experience services
  • Access and Security Services
    • Active Directory
  • Analytical Services
  • Extensibility Services
  • Integration Services
    • User Interface – Mash-ups
    • Web Services
    • Plug-ins
    • Data Integration
  • Architecture Services
    • Deploy once
    • Currency Conversion
    • Multi-language support
  • Platform Management Services
    • System Centre Operations Manage
  • Process Automation and Orchestration Services
    • WF
    • BizTalk
  • Point and Click Customization Services

Related Microsoft Technologies

  • Outlook
  • Office
  • SQL Server
  • .Net

One Platform, many Applications

Organizations use xRM for a variety of applications including:

    • Project Management
    • Recruitment Management
      • Professional Sports
    • Property Management
    • Employee Management
    • Asset Management
    • Supplier Management
    • Program Management
    • Customer Management

Benefits of building on Dynamics xRM

  • Drive Efficient and Effective IT
  • Develop the right business applications
  • Deliver Rapid Innovation and Agility
    • Don’t have to rebuild the plumbing
  • Demonstrate  Business Success
    • Let IT become the enabler and not the bottleneck

Real Life Projects

Christian then described some of the projects that his organization has been involved in:

  • Financial Services Client
    • Centralized and shared application accessible across Canada in English and French
    • Stronger, more profitable customer relationships
    • More Competitive advisor recruitment
    • Better regulatory compliance
    • New business insights
  • Government Client
    • Needed to communicate with other Government entities
    • Not one line of code was written
      • Customizations were accomplished through configuration
    • Better collaboration between Ministry and other agencies
    • Higher quality of information
    • Reduced manual data entry
    • Simplified communications
      • Ability to follow up on communications is more rapid
    • Increased business agility
  • Pharmaceutical Client
    • Tracking of drug/medical agents
    • Implementation was 9 weeks
    • More time spent on business requirements than on time to implement
    • Centralized application accessible from all of the the world in multiple languages
    • Minimal end user training
    • Ability to easily generate custom reports with Excel
    • Ability to quickly create new LOB applications

Dynamics CRM as a business application platform generally saves 50-70% of the development time as opposed to custom development

Windows XP to Windows 7 – A roadmap for success

The next area that I focused on was migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.  A key component to a Windows 7 migration is the Windows Deployment kit wizard.  We saw a 7 year old upgrade his Windows XP system, with data, to Windows 7 using this wizard.  I should note that his father works for Microsoft in the Windows division so I suspect he had a little help.

When configuring the Windows Deployment kit, a wizard will walk you through the various options including:

  • Choose Migration type
    • Refresh this computer
      • save information and install new OS
    • Upgrade this computer
  • Specify computer name
  • Join domain or workgroup
  • Specify where to save your data and settings
    • Can specify network location
      • Local Disk
      • Network
  • Specify language and locals
  • Time Zone
  • Specify BitLocker configuration
  • Branding


  • Refresh existing hardware – don’t have to wait for hardware replacement
  • Make the process fast and non-disruptive
  • Test wisely, but don’t expect things to break as often as before
  • That means fewer helpdesk calls

Microsoft’s Environment overview

  • Microsoft has offices in 105 countries
  • 89 000 employees globally
  • 70 000 venders globally
  • 220 windows deployment servers and product servers globally on a virtual server infrastructure
  • User is supported by 5 call centers globally

How did it go?

  • No new hardware purchases beyond 3 year refresh cycle
  • Very few compatibility issues  - mostly with Internet Explorer 8
  • Single image for each platform(x64 and x86) for entire globe 
  • Helpdesk staff was not increased
  • Deployment numbers
    • Beta > 60 K in 3 months
    • RC >90K in 3 months
    • RTM > 100k in 3 months

How was it possible?

  • User excitement
    • easier to achieve these days because of user satisfaction
  • Executive sponsorship and local goals
  • Vastly improved toolset
    • Task sequence automation
    • Hard-link data migration
    • Multi-cast and multi-stream deployment model

Early Adopters of Windows 7

  • T-Mobile
  • Dell
  • EDS
  • Avanade
  • Halliburton
  • Sheraton
  • Del Monte
  • StatollHydro
  • WiPro
  • Samsung
  • BMW
  • City of Miami

Recommended Deployment Tools

  • Microsoft Deployment Toolkit(MDT) Lite Touch and/or
  • System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 Zero Touch
  • Automates what would be manual processes

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microsoft Canadian Leadership Summit Day #1

I recently had an opportunity to attend the Microsoft Canadian Leadership Summit in Redmond and thought I would share some of my findings. The Leadership Summit allows Microsoft Canada to invite key customers and partners to discuss technology trends that are relevant to the Canadian business climate.  Below is a recap of some ad hoc notes that I made through-out the presentations.


Why use Microsoft products?

    • Standardization allows you to reduce costs
    • Flexibility is required to change directions as the economy demands it
    • Microsoft technologies allow you to manage costs and have agility
    • Microsoft provides building blocks that allows you to fill the gaps between legacy applications, 3rd party and core Microsoft offerings no matter whether they are on-premise or in the cloud.

Pressures continue to Intensify

    • New generation of workers
    • Security and Compliance continues to be a challenge as more and more integration occurs
    • Mobile and Distributed Workforces are increasing in numbers
    • Innovate without additional resources

Consumerization of IT

We use to go to work to have a more advanced IT Experience

    • Fast network download speeds
    • Stable email environments

Now people at home have more IT capabilities at home than in the office

    • Video conferencing
    • IM
    • Facebook
    • Wireless Access points

Customers can use Microsoft products to provide a balance between improved collaboration while implementing security and management of those services.  Some examples of these technologies include the Social networking features in SharePoint 2010 and Office Communication Server (OCS).

The Cloud

  • Decision to move to the cloud should be a business decision and not a technology decision
  • Need to trust in enterprise-class services that Microsoft provides
  • Delivering consistent connected experience across devices (PC, Mobile phone, Laptop, Consumer devices)
  • Microsoft has had success with a lot of large “house hold” companies moving their assets to the Azure cloud.  Announcements will be made shortly
  • Understanding Canadian Federal and Provincial privacy laws continue to create challenges

Low Cost Computing

  • More companies are able to leverage low cost platforms for mission critical applications.  Windows Server is an enterprise ready OS that is much more affordable than other enterprise offerings.  Migrating your traditional AIX/Oracle environments is feasible , and achievable , on the Windows Platform
  • Technology exists to maximize the efficiency of your IT infrastructure
  • Take advantage of new ways to acquire and deliver technology


Microsoft's Commitment to Customers

  • Over 1 Billion active Windows Users
  • 500 Million Office users
  • $9.5 Billion invested in R&D
  • Long Term, tenacious and Partner-Centric

Business climates are changing faster than they have before

  • Every minute on YouTube, 24 hours of video is uploaded by users
  • Starbucks – Office Online
    • Growth through stores
    • More cross selling and up selling
    • needed to extend technology into the store level
    • Microsoft Online Services - Email and SharePoint Team sites available to 19000 employees in-store to allow employees to collaborate on  how to grow the company$

Deep investments in infrastructure

  • $2.3 Billion invested in cloud infrastructure
  • Geo-replicated data to multiple data centres
  • public and private cloud flexibility
  • 30 000 engineers working on cloud services

Microsoft’s Commitment to services excellence

  • Financially backed uptime guarantees
  • SAS 70 and ISO 27001 compliant
  • carbon footprint innovation
  • Rapid innovation model


Office 2010 launch

Some key features:

  • Ignore conversation – will remove current user from all future Distribution Lists emails and place related emails into the deleted folder
  • Pictures of email recipient, from “My Site” show up in the bottom of compose email message
    • click on the picture and you see additional context from Facebook, LinkedIn and SharePoint
  • SharePoint 2010 Search –
    • refined search and meta data
      • filter by author, date and other meta data
    • Specify content in links i.e. PowerPoint
    • Preview slides before opening document
    • People Search
  • PowerPoint over the web
    • high fidelity without the need of Live Meeting
  • SharePoint - My Site
    • status updates, similar to Facebook
    • tagging competencies allows you to easily search and identify an expert in the related competency
    • Post on “Note board’ – much like Facebook’s “wall”
    • Enriched Org chart including pictures and metadata
      • surfaced using Silver Light
    • Improved Blogging capabilities
    • Tags and Notes
      • tag pretty much anything in SharePoint – blogs, documents which create a Tag Cloud
      • follow tags via newsfeed
    • Offline capabilities – use  SharePoint workspace
  • SharePoint 2010 wide scale adoption – early adopters include:
    • Global Crossing
    • Sony
    • Associated Press
    • Six Flags
    • Telus
    • Constellation Energy
    • Energizer
  • 8.6 Million Beta Downloads
  • 80 % Beta users encouraged others to download
  • 450 Customers in early adoption program
  • Edmonton Oilers (Professional Hockey) use SharePoint to collaborate on potentials players by aligning video with meta data and statistics 
    • Player Dashboard
    • Current prospects
    • Player video page
  • Oiler organization feels that SharePoint 2010 is very intuitive and straight forward to use
    • leverage messaging and collaboration features
  • 1000 Microsoft Partners are developing SharePoint 2010 solutions
  • 20 000 Microsoft Partners partners trained
  • 500 000 developers are using SharePoint

Microsoft Online Services

Why Customers are embracing the cloud:

    • Reduce CAPEX & OPEX
    • Predictable & Pay per use subscriptions
    • Focus on Market differentiation
    • Energy Efficiency
    • Latest versions with no server upgrades
    • Choice, Flexibility and Resource Agility
    • Merger, Acquisition and Divestitures
    • Up and Running quickly

Interesting quote from a Gartner reference":

“By 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT Assets”.  Quite frankly I have a hard time believing this statement.


Microsoft Azure data canters include: Chicago, San Antonio, Northern Virgina, Dublin, Amsterdam, Singapore

No plans for Canada to have a data centre

  • Concerns about privacy and laws due to provincial jurisdiction


Customers moving to cloud

  • McDonalds
  • Rexel
  • Staples
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Phillips
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Blockbuster

Microsoft Online Services

  • 40 million Online paid seats
  • more than 5oo government agencies
  • Over 50% of the fortune 500
  • 9000 business customers