Archive for ‘January, 2011’

How to populate a date field with today’s date + one year in MS CRM

As I’ve shown in previous how to posts you can do some very nice customisations in MS Dynamics CRM by using JavaScript in conjunction with event handlers. Assuming that you know how to customise either a form OnLoad event or a field OnChange event, here’s how to apply the necessary JavaScript to populate a date field with today’s date plus one year.

In my scenario, my client needs to carry out a review for their customer after a year, so by default they populate a date field with a date 12 months in the future. They then use that date to drive various reports and automated activities.
Populating a date field with today’s date is simple:

crmForm.all.new_customdatefield.DataValue = new Date();

In this case “new_customdatefield” is the date field you wish to populate.
This code can be slightly tweaked to establish today’s date and then add a year onto it.

Var today = new Date()
crmForm.all.new_customdatefield.DataValue = today.setYear(today.getYear() +1);

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Author: Paul Saunders

#AeroIT Hashtag

Back in September when we exhibited at the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Singapore we attempted to drum up some traffic for the event on Twitter. The full conference title is a bit of a mouthful and not particularly conducive to conversation on social media channels when you are restricted to 140 characters or less.

After some debate with fellow delegates we opted to use the slightly more concise #AeroIT hashtag as a means to tag posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as being associated to the conference.

As we’re exhibiting at the American leg of the conference on the 2nd and 3rd of March we’ve decided to utilise and broadcast the same #AeroIT hashtag.

We’re exhibiting at the Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference in Miami. Going to use the #AeroIT hashtag insteadless than a minute ago via webconduce
conduce



Join the #AeroIT chatter on Twitter, LinkedIn and FaceBook.
click here to access the conference website

Author: Paul Saunders

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Small Print, Big Consequences

Having booked a flight ticket to some sunny destination most passengers feel that the transaction of searching, choosing and purchasing a ticket has been completed. All they need to do now is pack their flip flops and make sure that they turn up at the airport on time. Very few passengers would view their ticket purchase as ‘entering into a legal contract’ with the airline yet this is exactly what they have done, in a round-about sort of way. 

And there lies the problem. When something so incredulous as a volcano spewing out ash dust, or a riot in Tunisia or a hurricane in the Caribbean means that your flight is well and truly not going anywhere soon and you find yourself queuing on the phone to the airline, trying to find out exactly what they plan to do about it.
Now given an airline is in control of many things there are certain instances when they have the upper hand, so to speak, and in that very hand they are waving their ‘get out of jail’ card in your face, quoting “force majeure”.

In the event that the passenger decides to both find the small print that accompanied their booking and is brave enough to actually sit down and read it, if they haven’t got bored after the first few clauses and actually make it towards the end, they will stumble across the force majeure clause and find a long and comprehensive (for the airline that is) list of reasons when the airline will be relieved of their obligations under that contract. This will probably cover ‘acts of God’ (such as fire, earthquake, hurricane, flooding or other natural disaster), riots, war, rebellions, revolution, insurrection, invasion, strike, embargo, labour dispute etc. and the list goes on.

So why aren’t people aware of this before complaining and demanding compensation? Under EU regulations a passenger is entitled to compensation and assistance although in the case of force majeure, an airline will be relieved of having to pay compensation. However they are obliged to assist any passenger caught up in an event regardless of whether the circumstances are extraordinary or not.  Given that 1 in 4 internet purchases are for airline tickets surely no one would be daft enough to accept e-commerce terms and conditions without reading them first and knowing where they stand…

As an April Fool’s Day joke, the retailer GameStation added a clause to their terms and conditions on their website, granting the company the right to ‘claim the soul’ of their online customers, going as far as to say that any such notice to invoke this right would be served in ‘6 foot high letters of fire’.

Based on the number of those who read the terms and conditions, and checked the box to opt out, GameStation states that almost 90% of their customers did not read the small print (or presumably were just happy to sell their soul). 

PC Pitstop, a Computer optimisation software maker tried a similar experiment offering a $1000 reward, although details of this reward and how to claim it were, of course, hidden in their terms and conditions. They had 3000 downloads of the software and it was only after 4 months that someone emailed claiming their reward.

Although these are just 2 small scale examples of the ease with which people are happy to accept the small print, it is fair to say that they are most probably indicative of the size of the problem of ‘clicking without reading’ whereby internet users agree to contract terms without ever reading them. There are many reasons for this, ‘bounded rationality’ being one of them, whereby people believe that unfavourable and unreasonable terms will not exist or in the event that they do, the law will be on their side and the terms will be unenforceable.

So, whilst most terms and conditions found on internet sites are only capable of being either accepted in their entirety or wholly rejected, leaving the customer with no room to re-negotiate any parts of ‘the contract’ in the event that they wish to go ahead with their purchase, and bearing in mind that extraordinary events do happen from time to time which no-one could have predicted or prevented, shouldn’t more people start reading the small print before clicking the ‘I Agree’ box?  You might just save yourself a whole lot of time being held in a queue on the phone and you never know, there might be a reward for your diligence and perseverance.

Author: Rachel Andrews

You have to be Linkedin it to win it

There is one candidate from the 2010 series of The Apprentice who will be remembered for his infamous personal labelling; Stuart Baggs or to use his self-styled moniker, ‘Stuart Baggs, The Brand’. Whilst he has become somewhat of a talking point, despite being put in his place during the semi-finals when he was resolutely told he was not a brand, has he not got a point? When it comes to ‘selling yourself’ to find a job or to get the job shouldn’t you consider yourself as a brand? If you are not going to sell yourself, surely no one else is going to do it for you?

Increasingly social media is being used as a means of finding employment, perhaps not least due to the rising prominence of social media in people’s lives and the increasing numbers looking for employment. Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin all have success stories of those who have found new jobs via these methods rather than through traditional avenues.

Less so with Twitter and Facebook which are being used as a ‘voice to tell the world that someone is looking for employment’, Linkedin works in a slightly more demure way as a means of selling yourself to as many people as possible and networking, all without having to leave the comfort of your own home.

Recognised as the a ‘personal branding guru’ by The New York Times, Dan Schawbel, author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success believes that networking remains the number one path to a new job. He states that “job searching is evolving in to ‘people searching’. It is no longer about finding the latest job opening, now it’s about finding the right people who can help you.”

Having exhausted the more old fashioned ways of finding a job, Conduce Consulting’s newest employee turned to Linkedin as a means of getting back out there on the market. Rachel decided to join Linkedin on the 3rd November 2010 and set about linking in with old colleagues and business associates, letting them know that she was looking to return to work and asking them to pass her details on if they heard of any suitable opportunities. By the 10th November, Wayne Enis, CIO of Conduce Group had contacted her suggesting meeting up for coffee to discuss potential opportunities within the company. Although their paths had very briefly passed some 5 years prior whilst Rachel was at MyTravel Aircraft Engineering and Wayne was working for RAL neither had had any business dealings with each other.  

Shunning conventional means of interviewing Wayne and Rachel spent a few hours in Starbucks at a service station on the M6 one week later: having a general natter about the wonderful world of Aviation and hearing what each other could bring to the table.  This was followed a week later by a day spent at Conduce’s office meeting the rest of the management team, again lots of friendly chatter with no stereotypical interview questions in sight. One week later, Rachel started working for the company, exactly 4 weeks and 1 day after getting on Linkedin. 

So if this story were to have a modern moral to it, it might be that whilst traditional means and protocols of recruitment using newspaper/trade magazine adverts and job websites, job hunting via these mediums and conducting interviews in a structured, scripted and business-like manner in an office environment are well suited to some professions, industries and people, there are modern alternatives out there for searching for your next employee or your next job. In this case, it was definitely a case of ‘you have to be in it to win it’.

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Author: Rachel Andrews

Undocumented System Features

Have you ever worked with a piece of software that has a feature which doesn’t appear in any documentation, any training notes or help file? It may be the most insignificant flaw that might not even class as a bug, but the real system experts know where it is and what to do about it. If you query the problem via Google there might be a well explained solution or workaround, but it’s a pointless exercise to ask the question why the software works like that – it just does. Get used to it.
 
I found an “Undocumented System Feature” yesterday in MS Dynamics CRM v4. Stalkers and keen followers will know that I’m working on my first two MS CRM projects at the moment. Overall, it’s a pretty impressive bit of software, but hey nothing’s perfect.

I had trained my customer’s IT guy, JB on custom reports and let him loose. In no time, he’d managed to knock together some nice reports and was feeling pretty smug about it, but when he rolled them out to his users, nobody could run them. They were all getting some useless piece of micro-copy back about lack of privileges. What sort of privileges? CRM privileges? SQL Reporting Services privileges? Active Directory privileges? Diplomatic privileges? No idea….

We checked it all out. Both JB and I could run the report with our admin rights on any PC. Our test user could not. We narrowed it down to CRM user rights because the test user when given admin rights could run the reports ok – but not without. We checked the security roles, but all seemed ok. So we resorted to Google.

 
“MS CRM custom report security”

The answer we got made no sense. Time after time via the usual blogs and forums the answer was given that you had to create security roles by copying existing ones and amending them rather than creating them from scratch. We both assumed this was nonsense and kept looking. After searching further and further into obscurity, we found no other satisfactory answer and decided to DWGS (“Do what Google says”)

So I copied the existing admin security group and renamed it “Run Reports”, then took out all of the security except for the security required to read, write and amend reports… which seemed strange because the existing security roles already had all this. I applied it to the test user and “Bob est ton oncle” as they say in France…. Success!! It was a quick job to apply the security to all users and resolve the problem.

 
So the moral to this story – all software has undocumented system features and if you get stuck finding a work around just DWGS – do what Google says….

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Author: Paul Saunders

Conduce Software Exhibits at Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference

Conduce Software will be exhibiting at the Aircraft Commerce Airline & Aerospace MRO & Operations IT Conference – AMERICAS in Miami on the 2nd and 3rd of March 2011.

The world’s leading aviation IT conference and exhibition moves on to Miami for the American leg of the tri-annual Aircraft Commerce organised event. The conference is the definitive aerospace IT event which brings together IT vendors with airlines and MROs of the region, with shows in the Far East and in Europe each year as well.

Last October Conduce Software made their exhibition debut at the Far Eastern leg of the conference in Singapore. This proved a great success with some solid leads, opportunities and partnerships established in the Far East and Australasia as a direct result of the show. Conduce will be showcasing their latest software including Fatigue Reporting and MyTechLog. Joining us on the exhibition stand will be Dreamscape Design’s Managing Director Neville Langston who will be exhibiting their virtual office software eOffice2Go as well as showcasing their most recent design portfolio including www.aircraftIT.com

Paul Saunders will also be repeating the presentation he did in Singapore on the subject: Why is MRO software so complicated? What does the future hold?

Paul said, “I was asked by the conference’s organisers to repeat my presentation to a new audience, but I have promised to update it a bit to reflect new trends and thinking. So hopefully those who had previously heard me speak on the subject will be interested to get an update and debate the subject some more.

click here to access the conference website