Archive for May, 2011

It is amazing what you find on the net….

Just doing a bit of searching and ran across a short blog post by me ūüėČ dated July 9, 2006. What made this interesting to me is:
A – I had deleted the post a long time ago.
B – I THOUGHT I no longer had a blog account w/that particular provider/service!

It just goes to show you it is impossible to get rid of something once it hits the “net”!

FYI – Here’s the post:
Why do companies not put as much priority on their CRM system as they do on their other systems?

I’ve heard lots of reasons. Here are a few:
“.. everyone knows CRM is a money pit…”
“.. CRM is too complicated and wastes my sales/marketing/support team’s time…”
“..IT has more important things to do – like maintaining¬†the email server…”

Certainly financials does not get this type of “backseat” service! Is it because a financial system is basically a “legal requirement” and a CRM system is not? I’m sure the argument can be made that CRM is just as mission-critical as financials.

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$100 Hammer ??? – NO – It is the $50 Light Bulb!

Back in 2005, the United State Congress passed a set of sweeping laws/rules as an attempt to control rising energy consumption.  (Go here to read all about it).

One of¬†the¬†interesting parts of¬†the¬†bill is it¬†amended¬†the original Uniform Time Act of 1966 which required changed to the “Daylight Savings Time windows/slots” and became active in 2007. I am sure we all can relate to the impact of this change (ex: impact on computers, computer programs, and IT operations – backups, etc.).

Well, the “other shoe” is about to drop. As of January 1, 2012 it will be illegal to manufacture or import “conventional” (incandescent) 100 watt light bulbs.¬†California¬†went so far as to ban¬†the¬†re-stocking of 100 watt light bulbs for sale effective this past January 1 (2011).

So where does this leave us?.. You could go out and stock up on conventional bulbs but that is not a long-term solution. Besides, they are expensive to “run” as we all know. Today you can purchase “CFL” bulbs which do save quite a bit and they are relatively inexpensive – but they contain mercury.. and we all know about THAT problem! Drop one and you have a “haz-mat” issue on your hands. Right now the only other solution are “LED” bulbs and they are VERY expensive. The only saving grace is they are very cheap to run and they last a LONG time. They last so long you might consider adding a part in your will where you “leave” them to someone. If you move, you will want to remove them and take them with you. After all, they are not “nailed-down” and are easily removed.

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More HTML5!

A while back I blogged on HTML5 why should you care. The more I dig into it (HTML5) the more I see the power and simplicity of it. THIS is the standard ALL web pages should conform to. It’s time to throw ALL that “junk” out and have pages that meet a OPEN standard.

The best way to to get your hands (and mindset) around this subject is to start searching the net using keywords like: “HTML5, javascript, canvas, samples/code/examples, etc…”. ¬†Here are some of the sites/pages I found out there:

You cannot talk about HTML5 without discussing CSS3. CSS3 is where browsers are even further behind on standards. The site caniuse has some info that is very helpful. You will see that even though IE9 supports a lot of HTML5, it supports very little CSS3.

Just a short word on the “scripting” side of HTML5/CSS3 sites/pages – javascript is the current front leader in how these sites/pages are “programmed”. ¬†I’ll be discussing this a bit more in a later blog along with some examples. For now, jump over to Wikipedia and take a look.

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Trashy Data Bites/Bytes Back!

I was showing someone the new Sage SalesLogix html5 app yesterday on my Droid X and telling him it was connected to my live SalesLogix system (not a demo site). Of course Murphy’s Law jumped right in front of me and it threw up an error dialog immediately when attempting to open up the first lead on the screen:

“A server error occurred while requesting data”

I clicked OK,  then on the back arrow and all was fine. To see if this was a system or data issue, an attempt was made to open the 2nd lead in the list.. it opened fine. Going back to the first.. failed.. again..

Using (Firefox/Firebug), the problem was was quickly traced to the LEAD.LEADSOURCEID containing a “blank” in the LEAD record(s) which were throwing errors (yep.. found about twenty of them). A Simple SQL update statement via ExecuteSQL (in the Admin app so it would synchronize) resolved the issue immediately:

UPDATE LEAD SET LEADSOURCEID = NULL WHERE LEADSOURCEID = ”

This was just one example where “trashy data” can cause you to not obtain desired results. It cannot be stressed enough you MUST constantly be checking your database for “bad data”. Here are a few hints as to what to look for:
A – “blanks” where there should be NULLS (usually a “foreign key” field)
B Р Foreign Key Fields that have valid (looking) values but are pointing to non-existing records (EX: USERID in Activity/History pointing to users that have been deleted from the system).

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OK – What happened to my Personal/Private Records in SalesLogix?

If you use the SalesLogix LAN/Windows client (or did use it) and now converted to using the web and/or new html5 mobile web application, you might have noticed your private/personal Accounts/Contacts are giving you some problems. Specifically, you cannot get to them.

Before I delve into the specifics, let’s first understand just what makes records Personal/Private and what it really means. If you open up the SalesLogix (LAN/Windows based) SalesLogix Administrator Application and then edit a SalesLogix user, you will see a “tab” called “Security”. If you switch the Entity name to CONTACT (by default you normally see ACCOUNT), there are three “allows”:
a – Delete CONTACT (typically un-checked)
b – Add Contact (typically checked)
c – Add Personal Contacts (may or may not be checked)

It is this last one we are talking about – Add Personal Contacts. Personal contacts are private. The ownership should show up as “username (Pr)” (ex: Smith, Sam (Pr)) rather than “username”/”TeamName”/Everyone.¬† The only one who can “see” personal contacts is the specific user who created/owns them. You cannot grant any right/access to personal contacts to any other user (with the exception of “admin” who sees all because basically, admin has no security associated with it).

So what do you do with personal/private records? You use them for things like the guy who fixes your car, spouse, dentist, doctor, etc. This way you can schedule activities with them and have it show up in your calendar. On the business side I’ve seen them used for the 3rd party auditor, etc. anyone that the ceo/cfo needs to have in the system and not allow any other user to be able access (or even know¬†the information¬†is there). There are lots of potential uses. I’ve used them for years.

Here is where the problem/issue manifests itself: If you:
A –¬†Open the SalesLogix Web client
B – Click on Accounts in the NavBar
C – Display All Accounts (easiest way) in ListView
D- Scroll down to an account you know is the Account for a Personal/Private contact

Notice that the “Owner column/field is either “blank” or says “unknown”. Now click on the Account name to go to a detail view. You will hit an error that says:
“We apologize for the inconvenience, but your request cannot be completed. No row with the given identifier exists[Sage.SalesLogix.Security.Owner#…………]¬†” (………… is the value from the SecCodeID (owner) field – it is a USERID). Attempting to go after the Contact record in a like manner gives you the exact same result.

Now let us try the new html5 mobile web application. When attempting to access either the Account or Contact will pop a dialog that says:
“A server error occured while requesting data.”

DISCLAIMER – The following gets very “techie” and is should not be attempted by anyone who does not have a thorough understanding of SalesLogix. Even experienced SalesLogix administrators and/or developers should runs tests on an off-line/dev copy of their system before attempting to implement this. You blow it up – not my problem.

Now that we have identified the problem, is there a solution/fix for it? In short – there IS a way (quick work-around) to “fix it”. It simply involves adding a record to the SECCODE (Sage SalesLogix “main” security) table for each SalesLogix user. Specifically, here is a sample (All disclaimers are herby being invoked at this time!) piece of SQL that will do it:
INSERT INTO SECCODE (SECCODEID, SECCODEDESC,SECCODETYPE)
Values(TheUsersUserID,’LastName,¬†FirstName (Pr)’,’U’)
WARNING: The above SQL represents a possible user but not a user in YOUR system Рdo NOT take/use the above literally!

The above SQL must be invoked via the SalesLogix Provider in order for it to both synchronize (for people who use remote(s) as well as top have additional fields filled in properly. For those who do not want to try this themselves (with raw SQL), we have developed a very simple tool to do the job for you.

If you want to obtain a FREE copy of this tool, just drop an email (using your business email address and a phone number) to me: rjledger@rjlsystems.net and I’ll send you a link to be able to download it with instructions on how to use it. Oh yes, it comes w/complete source and you cannot sell it to anyone.. it’s “Free”.

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