Tag Archives: features

Spotfire 7.13 is Now Available with 17 Cool New Features

We are very excited to announce that we have just released Spotfire 7.13. We have delivered 17 new features and enhancements across visual analytics, data access, data wrangling, API’s, and administration. I am going to highlight one cool feature from visual analytics and data access & wrangling themes. Make sure to check out the full list at What’s New in Spotfire and the community wiki.

Visual Analytics

A very cool feature added on the visual analytics theme is automatically adjusting zoom sliders. Visualizations with zoom-sliders now auto-zoom when the data changes (e.g, when filtering) and when sliders are at the end of their range:

Auto Zoom GIF Spotfire 7.13 is Now Available with 17 Cool New Features

Data Wrangling

Continuing on our “Edit Everything” theme, we are very excited to tell you that with Spotfire 7.13, you can add columns to a data table using the Spotfire Business Author web client as well. No more having to switch to Spotfire Analyst to make fixes when you discover issues with your joins.

Add Column GIF Spotfire 7.13 is Now Available with 17 Cool New Features

Data Access

TIBCO Cloud Spotfire supports Apache Spark SQL and Microsoft HDInsight Hive, offers support for Amazon EMR and we now have added a timeout setting to the Cloudera Impala connector allowing for longer query run times.


Spotfire 7.13 makes it possible to trigger execution of Automation Services jobs from external applications using a REST API. The Web Service (SOAP) APIs now use a OAuth2 based authentication/authorization mechanism. We have also simplified the procedure for building .NET extensions for Spotfire. Beginning this release, it is now possible to ship a bundled solution, containing several Spotfire packages, as a single distribution file (.sdn).

For a full list of features release in Spotfire 7.13, please visit us on the web, community and check out the video.

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Spotfire 7.12 is GA with Improved Export, Customization, In-line Editing, Mobile Features, and More

TIBCO Spotfire® 7.12 is now generally available and addresses your requests for improved features in exporting reports, visualization, data wrangling, mobile support, and more. These enhancements make collaboration, self-service data prep, and visual analysis easier than ever.

This release not only includes features for more beautiful, professional reports, but also greatly improved export to PDF capabilities. We made it easier to export in the same format you see on the screen, with same visual theme of the analysis, automated if you like. Now your reports will really reflect the creative genius in your visualizations.

Spotfire 1 250x150 Spotfire 7.12 is GA with Improved Export, Customization, In line Editing, Mobile Features, and More

Export visual theme to PDF</dd>

Spotfire 2 250x135 Spotfire 7.12 is GA with Improved Export, Customization, In line Editing, Mobile Features, and More

Prepared report overview

The reports that business authors and analysts create can now include multiple DXP screens, dynamic header and footers, repeating visualizations, and more. Users can export to PDF directly from a dashboard or via email through Spotfire Automation Services.

Also helping you create better looking dashboards is the ability to better control the layout of your visualizations and avoid scrollbars by adjusting the height and width of selected text areas and visualizations.

Improvements in visual analytics also include better mobile support for tablets and other smaller screens via two-finger scroll as well as the ability to maximize and restore visualizations. This is handy on both mobile and desktop screens so you can easily focus on visualizations in a dashboard without losing context.

Our new data wrangling features are a continuation of our “edit everything” theme, because you should be able to do just that, all inline. This effort has resulted in best-in-class, in-line data wrangling capabilities such as inline data cleansing, recommendations for adding rows, and the much appreciated column split wizard.

No matter how you wrangle your data, Spotfire records everything you do in the Source View. Already starting to be emulated by others, the Source View is your access point to go back and edit everything, saving you time when authoring something new and when maintaining analysis files over time.

The Source View API allows you to build smart applications that include data wrangling control. It also allows you to share your wrangling steps with others and to automate.

Our last release delivered the ability to replace and easily transform data sources and preview the results, a huge time saver especially when working with many transformations and unions. Now with 7.12, you can even more quickly and intuitively edit data sources in the source view. You can also remove individual data sources completely. Smart movements in data transformations occur when you remove the sources, so now you just need to review.

Spotfire 3 250x197 Spotfire 7.12 is GA with Improved Export, Customization, In line Editing, Mobile Features, and More

Source view – Show added columns

For better data access, Spotfire now supports stored procedures/macros for Teradata as well as temporary views in Apache Spark SQL.

Spotfire 7.12 is available now for current on premises customers through eDelivery. TIBCO Cloud Spotfire will be updated with new functionality later this month. For a complete description of everything new in Spotfire 7.12, see the Spotfire Community Wiki.

If you have questions, please contact us.

Not using Spotfire yet? Trial it for free at spotfire.com/trial.

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2/21 Webinar: Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data

Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data.

 Are you a Power BI Jedi? Do you have the powers to become one, and join the fight for insights? In this hands-on session we will build together a Power BI report that analyzes Star Wars data from a web service. We will create custom functions to iterate over paged results and extract the entire dataset of characters and species. We will apply three different techniques to calculate the body mass index (BMI) of the Star Wars characters, and create smart mashups using Cartesian Product to classify BMI into different categories. Finally, we will apply What-If techniques to explore better BMI calculations for droids (Being made out of metal, doesn’t help your BMI).

When:  2/21/2018

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0Qk5V8dvgg

Gil Raviv MVP 1 2/21 Webinar: Be a Full Stack Power BI Jedi – A walkthrough of Power BI most advanced features through Star Wars data

Gil Raviv is a Microsoft MVP, Analytics Group Manager at Avanade, and a Power BI expert. As a former Senior Program Manager on the Microsoft Excel Product team, Gil led the design and integration of Power Query as the next-generation Get-Data technology in Excel 2016, and became an extreme M practitioner (M=Power Query formula language).

Gil is a highly skilled Software Development & Product Manager with 18 years of experience, and four US patents in the domains of social networks, cyber security, and web. He also held a variety of innovative roles in the Israeli Cyber Security industry, where he was harnessing the power of data analytics and big data to deliver new security products from advanced threat detection and reporting solutions for enterprises, to protection of kids on Facebook.

In his blog DataChant.com, Gil has been evangelizing about Power BI & Power Query since he moved to his new home at Chicagoland, and recently received the Microsoft MVP Award in Data Platform Category. Read more here.

Contact the author at gilra@datachant.com

Find Gil’s MVP Profile or other MVPs here.

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2/1 Webinar: SharePoint Loves PowerApps! A Summary of SharePoint/PowerApps features by Ashish Trivedi

One of the earliest adopters of PowerApps and Flow, Ashish Trivedi, joins me this week to cover one of his favorite topics: how to use Microsoft Flow and PowerApps to get more out of your SharePoint installations. 

SharePoint Loves PowerApps! A Summary of SharePoint/PowerApps Features by Ashish Trivedi


It has been a while since PowerApps has made its debut in Office 365 family. After Microsoft announced the new release of InfoPath, there were a lot of discussions in community. During this time, developers created their own pattern for forms and customizing lists alongside 3rd party products were released in the market. After the launch of PowerApps, you can see the shift in forms and business app customizations.

Business users and developers are using PowerApps capabilities with new Modern SharePoint features to build applications and provide the ROI to business. At same time, developers has used the development capabilities to extend it using Flow, Azure Functions and more.

In this session, we will summarise the SharePoint features which are being made available in PowerApps. This include, built in support for different field types, new/edit/display forms, built in connectors or rules, connecting to sources or triggering a flow on button clicks. This session will be all around SharePoint and how PowerApps strengthen the SharePoint.

When: 2/1/2018 10AM

Where: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQl8L-8Ggvk



AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcxAAAAJGRjMWIxMjIyLTE2YzgtNGUwYS04ZGI5LTNhYmY0YTI4OTkzYQ 2/1 Webinar: SharePoint Loves PowerApps! A Summary of SharePoint/PowerApps features by Ashish Trivedi

About Ashish Trivedi

Ashish has more than 10 years of hands-on experience with Office 365 + SharePoint and related technologies.
He has been involved in the enterprise applications design and development processes and drive the end user requirements to met the solution using technology.
He is capable of handling end to end engagements through different phases as pre-sales, solution design, planning development activities, customer expectations with technology solutions, Proof of concepts, submitting proposals, project planning, leading team to develop & deliver solution on time with zero defects.
Being a trusted consultant, he advises each of his customer to follow the recommended and best practices in technology and business domain solutions.
He has hands-on practical experience on implementing Six-Sigma (DMAIC) and ITIL process and manage projects using Agile/prototype development.
Expertise skills – Solution Architecture using Cloud technologies, Legacy system migrations to SharePoint, Application reverse-engineering
Primary Technology – SharePoint (on-premises/Online)
Related Technologies – Office 365, VSTO, Azure, PowerShell, C#, JavaScript, OpenXML, Win Phone 7, SQL Server

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Little Known CRM Features

chart tablet Little Known CRM Features

If you work with a customer relationship management software on a daily basis, there is a chance that you use it for the same functions. Often times, the software offers so much more than what businesses use it for, leaving many features left untapped. It is always important to make sure that you are getting the most out of your software, knowing the complete ends and outs of it, so that your company maximizes its use, getting your money’s worth.

In today’s blog post, we will discuss a few of its features that tend to be left behind during its daily functions. Read below to learn more about your software and how these unknown features could potentially benefit your business.

Sales and Lead Generation

For all businesses, especially those in the retail and sales industries, having a CRM software that caters to lead generation is a given. However, not all software solutions have a sales and lead generation functionality. Implementing software that meets your needs is important, but what is even better? Playing the long game and thinking ahead when it comes to your business. Growth. You want a customer relationship management software that can help prepare your business for its (hopeful) expansion throughout the years. Considering sales and lead generation as part of your software is a must, especially is expansion is on your mind and part of your business plan.

Multiple Forms of Access to Software

As we have covered in our previous blog posts, there are different ways to access your software, whether it is on premise, through cloud and even with mobile integration. Many businesses do not know that there are so many options when implementing CRM software, which is why research is incredibly important. Being able to access your software no matter where you are, is an investment worth taking. With cloud and mobile integration, you have all of the information you need at the palm of your hand, no matter where you are in the world. Depending on what your business is looking for, the different options for software can help make your daily life much easier and more convenient.

Voice Memos

A great software feature, and one that often goes unmentioned, is voice notes. During phone calls with customers, taking note of important information helps you recall the conversation, but many things can happen while manually taking notes. Bad penmanship and missing important details are just a few things that could potentially go wrong when writing down notes. There is no need to worry about that anymore since CRM allows for phone calls to be recorded up to a certain length of time. This feature helps you to cut down on note taking completely, sense you are able to recall and listen to an entire conversation through a recording. It is the little details that we tend not to think about that make our jobs easier.

There are many other features in customer relationship management software that we didn’t cover, but are there for you to utilize and enjoy. What is most important is finding a software that works best for your company, its current and future needs. Researching before the implementation process allows for you to truly consider what it is your company needs in an effort to make your work life easier and less stressful.

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OnContact CRM

13 Features Being Removed From Future Releases of Dynamics 365

Normally we hear about all the great new features being added to Microsoft Dynamics 365. But you also need to be aware of the features and capabilities that are being deprecated

Technically “to deprecate” means “to express disapproval of (something)”. In the software world, it means something that is “usable but regarded as obsolete and best avoided, typically because it has been superseded.”

According to Microsoft deprecated means “we intend to remove the feature or capability from a future major release of Dynamics 365.” However, the feature or capability will continue to work and is fully supported until it is officially removed.

It is important for all Dynamics 365 users to be aware of which features are on the chopping block so that they can determine if it will impact their business and decide on the best strategy before their next upgrade.

In this article, Microsoft discusses 13 deprecated features that apply to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement as of version 9. Customer Engagement refers to the applications that make up the CRM portion of Dynamics 365: Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation applications.

Deprecated Features:

  1. Service scheduling in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  2. Dialogs
  3. Parature knowledgebase as the Dynamics 365 knowledge management solution
  4. Project Service Finder app
  5. Contracts, Contract Line Items, and Contract Templates entities
  6. Standard SLAs in Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  7. Relationship Roles
  8. Mail Merge
  9. Announcements
  10. Ready-to-use business processes available through Add Ready to Use Business Processes setting
  11. Some client APIs
  12. EntityMetadata.IsInteractionCentricEnabled property
  13. Silverlight (XAP) web resource

When the Crowe CRM team looked at this list, we spotted  a few we felt would be most likely to impact our Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 clients during their next upgrades and would require additional planning.

  • Service Contracts – plan to migrate Contracts to Entitlements.
  • Relationships – plan to migrate Relationships to Connections.
  • Outlook Client – plan to migrate to new Outlook App including meeting the server side requirements.
  • Mail merge – change document templates.
  • Service scheduling – move to Field Service.

But it’s not all bad news. Microsoft is continually adding new functionality.  Two new features that our team is excited about are:

  • Advanced find: Advanced find now has the option to build a NOT IN query. For example, users can query for all cases that do not have a related task.
  • MultiSelect option set: Users who customize forms can now add multi-select fields to forms, quick view and quick create forms and read-only and editable grids.

These new features may sound simple, but they will be huge time savers for some organizations.

Next Steps

When features are removed, it is usually because there is now a better way to accomplish the same result. Microsoft gives recommendations for the functionally set to replace anything that is being deprecated. Working with a knowledgeable Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, such as Crowe Horwath, means this planning will be done before your next upgrade.

If you are interested in discussing an upgrade plan for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (formerly Microsoft Dynamics CRM) contact us today.

Check out our offer on AppSource “Moving CRM to Dynamics 365: 3-Hr Assessment” if you are interested in moving to the Dynamics 365 cloud.

By Ryan Plourde, Crowe Horwath, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Gold Partner www.CroweCRM.com

Follow us on Twitter: @CroweCRM

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

 Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot

The series so far:

  1. The SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Data Quality Services, Master Data Services, Policy-Based Management, Management Data Warehouse and Service Broker
  2. More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Auto-shrink, Buffer-pool extension, Database Diagrams, Database Engine Tuning Advisor, and SQL CLR
  3. Even more SQL Server Features that Time forgot: In-Memory OLTP, lightweight pooling, the sql_variant data type, stretch databases, transaction savepoints, and XML indexes
  4. Still More SQL Server Features that Time Forgot: Active Directory Helper Service, Data Transformation Services, DBCC commands, English Query, Native XML Web Services, Northwind and pubs databases, Notification Services, SQL Mail, SQL Server Distributed Management Objects, Surface Area Configuration Tool, utilities, and Web Assistant

In the previous articles of this series, we focused on SQL Server components that are, for better or worse, still part of the product. We covered such features as Service Broker, auto-shrink, database diagrams, XML indexes, and a variety of others. I picked these features because of the buzz they’ve generated over the years and the landslide of opinions that went with it.

Despite all the brouhaha, Microsoft seems determined to keep these components in play, at least in the foreseeable future. Not all features have been so lucky. SQL Server’s history is checkered with memories of features past, components deprecated or dropped during one of the product’s many release cycles, sometimes with little fanfare. Many of these features have generated their own fair share of controversy, either because of how they were implemented or because they were removed. Other components have barely been missed.

Here we look at a number of features that were once part of SQL Server and have since been removed or deprecated, with some being dismissed many years back. For the most part, I’ve listed the features in alphabetical order to avoid prioritizing them or editorializing too much on their departure. You can think of this article as a trip down memory lane, without the nostalgia or remorse that often accompanies such reflection. Mostly it’s just a way to have some fun as we finish up this series.

Active Directory Helper Service

The Active Directory Helper Service, MSSQLServerADHelper, was introduced in SQL Server 2000 to help integrate SQL Server with Active Directory (AD). The service made it possible for the SQL Server service to register itself in an AD domain. In this way, the SQL Server service could run under a domain account with local administrative rights, while being able to add or remove AD objects related to the SQL Server instance.

Only one instance of the Helper Service ran on a host server, regardless of the number of SQL Server instances installed on that host. The service ran only when the SQL Server service needed to access AD. The Helper Service also played a role in replication and SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). To support the service, SQL Server included three system stored procedures: sp_ActiveDirectory_Obj, sp_ActiveDirectory_SCP and sp_ActiveDirectory_Start.

Microsoft discontinued the Helper Service in SQL Server 2012, removing the service and its associated stored procedures from the product. The company provided few specifics for why the service was removed, but it appears that the service was simply no longer being used.

Data Transformation Services

Anyone who’s been around SQL Server for any length of time will no doubt remember Data Transformation Services (DTS), that loveable collection of features and tools for carrying out data extract, transform and load (ETL) operations.

First introduced in SQL Server 7, DTS provided the components necessary connect to SQL Server and other data sources in order to import or export data and transform it along the way. Prior to that, database developers had to rely on utilities such as bcp to move data from one place to another, with few useful tools for efficiently transforming the data.

With DTS developers could define savable packages that connected to heterogeneous data sources and performed ETL operations. They could then run the packages on demand or schedule them to run at regular intervals.

Unfortunately, DTS had a number of limitations, especially when considered against the backdrop of a rapidly changing data culture. For this reason, Microsoft effectively ditched DTS in SQL Server 2005 and offered in its place SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), a far more robust ETL tool that included advanced control flow, error handling, and transformation capabilities, along with a number of other new and improved features.

DBCC gang

Over the years, Microsoft has introduced and then removed an assortment of SQL Server DBCC statements. (DBCC is short for Database Console Commands.) One of these statements was DBCCDBREPAIR, which provided a quick way to drop a damaged database. In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft gave this statement the boot, informing customers that they should instead use the DROPDATABASE statement going forward.

Another DBCC statement that Microsoft finally ousted was DBCCNEWALLOC, which could be used to verify data and index page allocation within the extent structure. Starting with SQL Server 2000, Microsoft included the statement only for backward compatibility, removing it altogether in SQL Server 2014.

A couple other DBCC statements that have been laid to rest are DBCCPINTABLE and DBCCUNPINTABLE. The first was used to mark a table as pinned, and the second to mark it as unpinned. If a table were pinned, the database engine would not flush the table’s pages from memory.

Microsoft introduced the ability to pin a table in SQL Server 6.5 as a way to boost performance. Unfortunately, pinning a table resulted in adverse effects, such as damaging the buffer pool or causing the server to run out of memory. It wasn’t long before Microsoft disabled these statements, although they’re still part of the T-SQL lexicon. They just don’t do anything.

The DBCCROWLOCK is another statement that goes back to SQL Server 6.5. The statement enabled Insert Row Locking (IRL) operations on a database’s tables. However, this capability became unnecessary because Microsoft soon automated row locking. In fact, by SQL Server 2000, the statement was included for backward compatibility only, although it wasn’t until SQL Server 2014 that Microsoft finally removed the statement.

Microsoft also removed the DBCCTEXTALL and DBCCTEXTALLOC statements from SQL Server 2014. The DBCCTEXTALL statement verified the integrity of the text, ntext, and image columns for all tables in a database. The DBCCTEXTALLOC statement did the same thing, but only for a specified table. Both statements originated with SQL Server 6.5 and by SQL Server 2000 were included for backward compatibility only.

No doubt, plenty of other T-SQL statements have come and gone, many without leaving a paper trail, but SQL Server 2014 seemed particularly hard on DBCC statements. Perhaps Microsoft saw that as a good time to do a bit of house-cleaning.

English Query

Introduced in SQL Server 6.5, English Query made it possible to automatically transform a question or statement written in English into a T-SQL statement. Microsoft offered English Query as part of SQL Server and as a standalone product.

English Query included a development environment and runtime engine to support the query transformation process. Ideally, an end user could type a question into an application’s text box, English Query would interpret the question and generate the T-SQL query, and the database engine would return the results, just like any other query.

In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft ditched English Query altogether. From then on, customers could no longer install or upgrade the product. However, if they upgraded a SQL Server 2000 instance to SQL Server 2005, and English Query had been implemented in the original installation, the English Query component would still work. In addition, customers with a SQL Server 2005 license could apparently install SQL Server 2000 and then use English Query against a SQL Server 2005 database, but those days are long gone.

Like many SQL Server features, English Query received an assortment of mixed reviews. Some developers liked it and made use of it. Others did not. At some point, Microsoft must have determined there was not enough interest in the feature to bother, so English Query got the axe, which came as a surprise to a number of users.

Perhaps in this case, Microsoft had been ahead of its time. When you consider how far we’ve come with technologies such as Siri, Google Assistant, and even Cortana, the potential for English Query was certainly there.

Native XML Web Services

In SQL Server 2005, Microsoft added Native XML Web Services to provide a standards-based structure for facilitating access to the database engine. Using these services, an application could send a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) request to a SQL Server instance in order to execute T-SQL batch statements, stored procedures, or scalar-valued user-defined functions.

To carry out these operations, a SOAP/HTTP endpoint had to be defined on the server to provide a gateway for HTTP clients issuing SOAP requests. The T-SQL modules (batch statements, procedures, and functions) were made available as web methods to the endpoint users. Together these methods formed the basis of the web service.

Microsoft deprecated the Native XML Web Services in SQL Server 2008, with the recommendation that any SOAP/HTTP endpoints be converted to ASP.NET or Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) endpoints. These newer technologies were considered more robust, scalable, and secure than SOAP. Microsoft eventually removed the Native XML Web Services feature altogether.

Northwind and pubs databases

Who among us does not remember the pubs and Northwind databases? Even today, you can find references to them strewn across the web (mostly in outdated resources). They certainly deserve a mention as we stroll down memory lane.

The pubs database was developed by Sybase and came to Microsoft as part of the Sybase-Microsoft partnership in the early ’90s. The database included about 10 or so tables, based on a bookstore model. For example, the database contained the Titles, Authors, and Publishers tables, among several others. The pubs database provided a clean and simple example for demonstrating such concepts as many-to-many relationships and atomic data modeling.

But the pubs database was too basic to demonstrate more complex data modeling concepts and SQL Server features, so with the release of SQL Server 2000, Microsoft also introduced the Northwind database, which had its origins in Microsoft Access. The SQL Server team coopted the database to provide a more useful example of database concepts, without having to do a lot of the work themselves.

The Northwind database was based on a manufacturing model and included such tables as Customers, Orders and Employees. The database was still relatively simple, offering only a few more tables than the pubs database, but it helped to demonstrate slightly more complex relationships, such as hierarchical data. With the release of SQL Server 2005, the Northwind database was usurped by the now infamous AdventureWorks database.

Notification Services

Microsoft introduced Notifications Services in SQL Server 2000 to provide a platform for developing and deploying applications that generated and sent notifications to subscribers. Notification Services allowed developers to build applications that could send critical information to customers, employees, or other types of users when data changed in a specified way.

Developers could set up the service to generate and send notifications whenever triggering events occurred. In addition, subscribers could schedule notifications to be generated and sent at their convenience. The service could be configured to send notifications to a subscriber’s email account, cell phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), or Windows Messenger account.

Microsoft pulled the plug on Notification Services in SQL Server 2008 because the feature was not being implemented enough, which I doubt surprised many. Notification Services had a reputation for being inflexible, confusing, and difficult to implement, requiring a great deal of patience just to get a solution up-and-running. That said, some developers were able to make Notification Services work and thought it could do some cool stuff, but they seemed to be the exception. For most, getting to that point wasn’t worth the effort.

After pulling Notification Services from the product, Microsoft recommended that users turn to SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and take advantage of such features as data-driven subscriptions.

SQL Mail

I’m not sure when Microsoft introduced SQL Mail, but it was there in the early days of SQL Server, providing users with a tool for sending, receiving, deleting, and processing email messages. Best of all, the service could send messages that included T-SQL query results.

SQL Mail used the Extended Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) to communicate with an external email server and process email messages. However, to make this possible, an application that supported Extended MAPI also had to be installed on the server that hosted the SQL Server instance. The application would then provide SQL Server with the Extended MAPI components needed to communicate with the email server.

Microsoft introduced Database Mail in SQL Server 2005 as a replacement to SQL Mail because Database Mail was more robust and secure and offered better performance. Database Mail was also based on the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), rather than MAPI, and did not require that a local email application be installed. Microsoft finally dropped SQL Mail in SQL Server 2012.

SQL Server Distributed Management Objects

SQL Server Database Management Objects (SQL-DMO) were a collection of programming objects that facilitated database and replication management. The objects made it possible to automate repetitive administrative tasks as well as create and manage SQL Server objects and SQL Server Agent jobs, alerts, and operators. Developers could create SQL-DMO applications using any OLE Automation controller or COM client development platform based on C or C++.

By SQL Server 2005, SQL-DMO could no longer keep up with the new capabilities being introduced into the database platform. The time had come to replace the aging APIs. As a result, Microsoft introduced SQL Management Objects (SMO), a more robust set of APIs for administering SQL Server. SMO offered advanced caching and scripting features, along with a number of other capabilities, such as delayed instantiation.

To support backward compatibility, Microsoft continued to include SQL-DMO until SQL Server 2012, when it was dropped unceremoniously from the product. The thinking, no doubt, was that seven years was long enough for developers to update their apps and move into the 21st century.

Surface Area Configuration Tool

Remember the Surface Area Configuration Tool? It was introduced in SQL Server 2005 and dropped in SQL Server 2008, making it one of the product’s most short-lived features. The idea behind it was to improve security by providing a centralized tool for limiting the number of ways that would-be hackers and cybercriminals could gain access into the SQL Server environment.

The Surface Area Configuration Tool made it possible for administrators to enable, disable, start, or stop SQL Server features and services, as well as control remote connectivity. The tool leveraged WMI to facilitate these capabilities. Microsoft also made a command-line version of the tool available.

After dropping the Surface Area Configuration Tool, Microsoft recommended that users turn to such tools as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), SQL Server Configuration Manager, and policy-based management.

Utility hit list

As with many SQL Server components that have come and gone over the years, so too have an assortment of command-line utilities. Take, for example, the isql utility, which would let users run T-SQL statements, stored procedures, and script files from a command prompt. The utility used the old DB-Library protocol to communicate with SQL Server. Microsoft stopped including the isql utility in SQL Server 2005, pointing users to the sqlcmd utility as a replacement.

A similar utility, osql, does pretty much everything the isql utility did, except that it uses the ODBC protocol. However, the osql utility has been deprecated since at least SQL Server 2012 and will likely be pulled from the product in the not-too-distant future.

The same fate is in store for the sqlps utility, which launches a Windows PowerShell session, with the SQL Server PowerShell provider and related cmdlets loaded and registered.

Another deprecated utility is sqlmaint, which is slated to be removed after SQL Server 2017. The sqlmaint utility carries out database maintenance operations, such as performing DBCC checks, backing up database and log files, rebuilding indexes, and updating statistics. Going forward, DBAs should use the SQL Server maintenance plan feature instead.

A couple other deprecated utilities are makepipe and readpipe, which are used to test the integrity of the SQL Server Named Pipe services. Both utilities will soon be removed. In fact, they’re not even installed during setup, although they can still be found on the installation media. Same goes for the odbcping utility, which tests the integrity of an ODBC data source and verifies client connectivity.

Web Assistant

The Web Assistant, which I believe was introduced in SQL Server 7, offered a wizard for generating static HTML pages that contained SQL Server data. The wizard used a set of related system stored procedures to build the pages initially and to rebuild them if the data changed. The pages were fairly rudimentary, even by late ’90s standards, but were adequate enough for simple use cases.

With the release of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft did away with the wizard and kept only the stored procedures, which finally got dumped in SQL Server 2014. Whether anyone used the procedures after the wizard was removed is hard to say. Whether they used the wizard before that is even more of a mystery. I doubt many even noticed the procedures were gone.

To the best of my knowledge, Microsoft has not tried to replace this feature, perhaps deciding that static web pages provided little value, that HTML development has gotten far too sophisticated, that SSRS is more than adequate, or that a relational database management system was not the best place to be playing at HTML development. For whatever reason, Web Assistant and all of its offspring are gone for good.

History in the making

There are undoubtedly plenty of other SQL Server features that have gone missing over the years, in addition to what we’ve covered here. Perhaps you recall a few components that have a special place in your heart. Given how SQL Server has expanded and evolved over the years, it would be difficult to catch them all, especially if you also consider SSRS, SSAS, SSIS, or various other components. Whether or not you agree with their demise is another matter altogether.

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New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution

Bpm’online on Thursday introduced software update 7.11 for its intelligent customer relationship management and business process management platform, with more than 200 improvements designed to accelerate strategy execution.

Among the key new features:

  • Machine learning capabilities and predictive algorithms that offer users relevant information and automation within a specific context based on analysis of historical data. These additions let the platform make intelligent recommendations across a variety of business applications, ranging from automatically identifying customer needs to specifying an opportunity category, or predicting the best agent to resolve an open case;
  • A revamped campaign engine, which makes marketing process automation simple and speedy. Its new interface lets users design highly personalized campaigns, set up complex branching based on multiple criteria, and create entrance and exit conditions for campaign participants;
  • Extended BPM and case management capabilities for streamlined process automation, including the ability to run processes for selected records in any section of the system; capabilities to deeply co-figure the rules and conditions of transition between all stages; tools to effortlessly track all tasks associated with a business process;
  • Mobile app enhancements, including extended filtering capabilities and revamped customizable push notifications for events, system updates and other items; and
  • One-click Bpm’online marketplace integration, which lets users easily install or add a wide variety of applications, add-ons or process templates directly from the marketplace.

The company provides a unified platform for marketing, sales and service.

200 New Features – Twice

Bpm’online rolled out its previous update, 7.10, this spring — also with 200 enhancements and updates, and featuring enhanced tools to help businesses accelerate strategy execution.

Two hundred “is not a magic number,” said Matthew Tharp, Bpm’online’s chief evangelist.

“It happens to be the number of updates and enhancements we were able to release for 7.11,” he told CRM Buyer. “We’re determined with each release to address as many requests and great ideas as possible.”

Bpm’online is “an agile organization, so we do updates every three weeks,” Tharp said. The company delivers three to four major releases each year that have “more substantial features and functionality.”

Machine Learning and AI

Bpm’online developed its machine learning and AI capabilities in-house using open libraries and algorithms, Tharp noted.

“Because of the strengths of the company’s BPM capabilities, it’s well positioned to use AI to automate not just recommendations, but processes for customers,” noted Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.

“Key to getting value out of AI is operationalizing it on a broad scale,” she told CRM Buyer. “Customer device data, for example, is a ripe territory for that.”

Giving Marketing a Boost

Update 7.11’s revamped campaign engine “can work with relevant marketing applications and can orchestrate across channels for a comprehensive marketing stack,” Tharp said.

The campaign engine has open application programming interfaces that let customers add custom elements as desired.

“Revamping of the marketing engine is great news, as it should drive down the learning curve for marketers and make them more productive in the long run,” Wettemann said.

For the Enterprise

Bpm’online developed its product with the complex architectures of large enterprises in mind, Tharp noted.

“Speed is … a major challenge for larger organizations, which have more systems and more complexity, and need technology that enables them to move as fast as smaller [companies] when it comes to changing or adding new process automation, or integrating new applications into an existing process,” he explained.

“The ability to scale and deliver not just implementations, but add-on products and capabilities, depends on the strength of the ecosystem,” Wettemann remarked. “Bpm’online’s advances in this area will make it easier for partners to monetize their intellectual property and strengthen partner relationships.”

Competitors for BPM deals include Pega and Appian, Tharp said. For CRM deals, BPM’online’s competitors include Salesforce and Microsoft.
end enn New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy Execution

Richard%20Adhikari New BPM, CRM Features Aim to Speed Strategy ExecutionRichard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

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CRM Buyer

3 New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Features We’re Excited About

CRM Blog 3 New Microsoft Dynamics 365 Features We’re Excited About

Microsoft has recently made available its latest update for Microsoft Dynamics 365, which comes with a host of new features and enhancements. Many improvements and functionalities have been added to existing features, while new applications have also been made available to take your business even further.

While we’ve recently written about Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Talent, an application specifically designed for the management of human resources, here are 3 other new features that we at JOVACO Solutions are most excited about:

1. Microsoft Relationship Sales

This is a joint solution provided by Microsoft and LinkedIn, which brings together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales Enterprise Edition through deeper integration. It allows users to view and synchronize LinkedIn data for Leads, Accounts, and Contacts, as well as quickly track company and profile data, appointments and messages from within Dynamics 365. By centralizing all this information, the solution makes it possible to build stronger relationships with clients and buyers, while also improving productivity.

2. Multi-Select Option Sets

This may seem like a simple, basic functionality, but we’re really excited about this one. This new feature allows you to add simple, intuitive multi-select option sets on forms. The list is searchable, allowing users to quickly access the items they want, and then simply click their checkbox to select them. This makes it possible to better target customers, for instance, and identify them based on the criteria available in the set. Many practical uses can be applied to this seemingly simple feature, such as improving searches and customer targeting.

3. Unified Interface

All products under Microsoft Dynamics 365 will now use the same unified interface. Not only does this make it look sleeker, it also ensures that users can complete all their activities and tasks from one familiar and user-friendly interface. This of course improves productivity and increases user adoption rates by facilitating operations and tasks. Both mobile and desktop apps also use the same responsive UI across all devices, ensuring an intuitive, familiar environment wherever users are working from.

Of course, several other features have become available with the new update, including the new Microsoft Dynamics for Retail solution, designed to meet the specific needs of retailers. An activity timeline also displays activities and posts into a single feed, while optimized business process flows, enhanced customer insights and an updated Web client improve operations and client interactions. In short, we’re excited about this new iteration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and are looking forward to making the most of it.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 specialist in Quebec

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

enCloud9’s Favorite 6 Upcoming Features in Dynamics 365

CRM Blog enCloud9’s Favorite 6 Upcoming Features in Dynamics 365

If you are a fan of Microsoft Dynamics 365, keeping up on the future direction of the application is probably important to you. Microsoft has made it easy with the Microsoft Roadmap for Dynamics 365. Bookmark this frequently updated page and you will always have a quick and easy way to keep up with features that are planned over the next 6 to 18 months. Visit this roadmap occasionally, as they keep everything up to date on new features coming out- even before their release dates.  In looking at it today, here are the top 6 that I’m excited about.

  1. Customer Backup and Restore
    • As part of our trusted cloud investments, Dynamics 365 (online) customers will be able to do their own Dynamics 365 backups and restores to meet their business data recovery plans. Customers will be able to back up their Dynamics 365 database to Azure storage using a secure data transfer (not the public Internet). Customers will also be able to download and connect their backup to an on-premises environment. This feature provides several potential scenarios, including a local developer experience.
  2. LinkedIn Engagement and Acquisition
    • Monitoring of LinkedIn Company Pages owned by your company, and engagement on posts and comments from Company Pages.
  3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales
    • This integration enables organizations to improve the performance of their sales processes by taking advantage of the information richness available on LinkedIn’s company and person public profiles:

      • Display Sales Navigator person and company information on every Dynamics 365 for Sales lead, contact, account and opportunity page
      • Automatically perform daily updates between systems so the accounts and contacts sales reps are actively working on in Dynamics 365 for Sales are saved to Sales Navigator. In addition, sales reps can see in Sales Navigator what people and companies are already saved in Dynamics 365 for Sales, and vice-versa
      • With a single click, write select Sales Navigator activities (InMails, messages, notes and call logs) to Dynamics 365 for Sales
  4. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
    • The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Connector for LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms allows you to automatically sync leads captured on LinkedIn with your Dynamics 365 (online) organization so that your sales and marketing teams can develop and nurture them.

      • This connector will be available as a separate standalone solution which can be installed from AppSource optionally (if you have Dynamics 365 for Sales).
      • This connector will be bundled by default with Dynamics 365 for Marketing (Business Edition).
  5. Relationship Analytics
    • Stay on top of your relationships and uncover new ones.  Understand what is happening with your team’s relationship with the customer with relationship KPIs, activity history and relationship health.
  6. Prospect to cash integration of Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Operations
    • This solution leverages the strengths of the individual Dynamics 365 components and connects them via Common Data Service. While the data is flowing seamlessly between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 for Sales, customers can carry out sales and marketing activities in Dynamics 365 for Sales and handle the order fulfillment with inventory management in Dynamics 365 for Operations. This solution provides powerful integration with a flexible solution and simplification of the integration process, without dependency on third-party solutions. These advancements offer the best of both worlds, each with significant productivity enhancements that help businesses and workers achieve more.

All of these updates will continue to transform how organizations use Dynamics 365 to manage Customer Engagement. Be sure to visit the Roadmap periodically to stay informed.

About enCloud9

enCloud9, based in Omaha, NE has one of the most experienced Microsoft Dynamics CRM teams in the US. From pre-sales to project management, and user support, we respond quickly with our expertise to answer your questions.

Our history dates back to 2009 – During the Dynamics CRM 4.0 days! – but our experience dates back even longer. Our consultants have been advising companies for almost thirty years to give them the tools to achieve their goals. Our experience leads to your success. We use our unique approach to help small and medium-sized businesses lower their costs and boost productivity through Microsoft’s powerful range of cloud-based software.

We can be contacted at our webform or call us today at 1-844-264-0729

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365