CRM 4.0 - Word 2007 - mail merge - wtf?

OK, so I've read a number of blogs detailing the mail merge process.
Open in Word, save as XML, import to CRM, edit and add the mail merge
fields. Simple, right?

My organization has about a dozen mail merge templates which worked
very well in CRM 3.0. I was fully aware I would probably have better
luck just re-creating them in CRM 4.0. No biggie.

I've done so and mail merge in CRM 4.0 is ... shall we say less than
stellar.

Mail merge on the Contact entity does not work at all. For any user.

Mail merge on the Account and Opp entities works sporadically.
Literally from one user to the next using the same CRM 4.0 template,
mail merge will work one time and fail the next.

This is a fully patched on-premise CRM 4.0 install. Outlook clients
only. Roll up 3 applied at server, client, yada yada yada.

Anyone have any ideas? I see a lot of similar experiences but no
solutions.

Regards,
- Greg Crowe

BTW - is it just me, or is this group really quiet last year or so?
0
greg.crowe (29)
4/7/2009 5:31:42 PM
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No, it is a lot more quieter.

We used MS CRM 3.0 as a platform on which to build a resume tracking
system because we had a manager that claimed this was the way to go
because they saw it done somewhere else, yada yada, yada.

It turned into a nightmare and the manager who pushed for it left.
Now the new management wants to get away from it and port the resume
application to something that's easier to develop on and support.

There's no easy way to move data in and out of CRM back and forth
between a production and development environment, and DMF is designed
as a one-time-transfer that is clumsy to use.  We didn't find CRM as
easy to extend as in terms of how it was positioned.

Trying to sell the resume system to someone is almost impossible
because of what our clients felt were astronomical licensing costs for
CRM.  Our client had 20 users and had to shell out 20K just for the
licenses.  That doesn't cover the development work we did, or the cost
of hardware to run it on, etc.  Maybe 20K isn't much to a big
company.  But, in Canada, there are only 500 companies with more than
100 employees.  The rest are small businesses.  They can't afford to
handover their treasure chest when development costs start to approach
a hundred grand..  The market that the big companies exist in is
saturated with vendors like IBM, Price/Waterhouse, Delloite & Touche,
Oracle.

I had to hack CRM 3.0 email to allow it to work with unsupported
entities.  There are several phases an email goes through in CRM.
There's a mailmerge, then the merged document is turned into an
activitypointer/email entity record with activityparty records for
each participant.  Then there's the step where CRM hands off the email
to an email server for it to be sent.  We wrote our own merging
process that takes an email template (with CRM style boilerplates) and
we perform the merge ourselves with the template and dynamic lookups
into CRM entity records using crmservice.  We then create an email,
and set its body and subject to our merged content.   We create
activity participant records for all the recipients, and those that
the email facility doesn't support, we set the activityparty
addressused field to the email address.  Maybe this is what is needed
for 4.0?

Have you figured out how to keep CRM from falling asleep after
significant inactivity so that users don't have to wait 10 minutes for
it to wake up?


0
anedza (69)
4/7/2009 8:38:51 PM
Andy,

Thanks for getting back to me, I certainly feel your pain.

We have never had the sleeping issue you describe. Sounds like IIS
caching of the various landing page views? The first person to log
into CRM in the AM gets a bit of lag pulling up the Contacts,
Accounts, Opps pages as IIS is building those views for the first
time. By "a bit" I mean in the neighborhood of 15 seconds.

We do not use email mail merge. I wonder if I won't have better luck
with that? I'll give it a shot here in a bit and let you know.

- Greg
0
greg.crowe (29)
4/8/2009 3:58:48 PM
When you say the mail merge does not work, what do you mean. 
Does word just not open, or is the no data to merge with?
Also are you using the outlook client, or doing this just with the webclient?

Thanks

Rob

"greg.crowe@gmail.com" wrote:

> OK, so I've read a number of blogs detailing the mail merge process.
> Open in Word, save as XML, import to CRM, edit and add the mail merge
> fields. Simple, right?
> 
> My organization has about a dozen mail merge templates which worked
> very well in CRM 3.0. I was fully aware I would probably have better
> luck just re-creating them in CRM 4.0. No biggie.
> 
> I've done so and mail merge in CRM 4.0 is ... shall we say less than
> stellar.
> 
> Mail merge on the Contact entity does not work at all. For any user.
> 
> Mail merge on the Account and Opp entities works sporadically.
> Literally from one user to the next using the same CRM 4.0 template,
> mail merge will work one time and fail the next.
> 
> This is a fully patched on-premise CRM 4.0 install. Outlook clients
> only. Roll up 3 applied at server, client, yada yada yada.
> 
> Anyone have any ideas? I see a lot of similar experiences but no
> solutions.
> 
> Regards,
> - Greg Crowe
> 
> BTW - is it just me, or is this group really quiet last year or so?
> 
0
RobMottram (202)
4/9/2009 1:51:12 PM
I am currently trying to resolve a few issues with mail merge. I have just 
found that there is a field on contacts and accounts (not checked 
Opportunities) with a display name of 'Send Marketing Materials' (schema name 
donotsendmm) if this is not set to Yes then the record will not appear when 
you do a mail merge. 

"greg.crowe@gmail.com" wrote:

> OK, so I've read a number of blogs detailing the mail merge process.
> Open in Word, save as XML, import to CRM, edit and add the mail merge
> fields. Simple, right?
> 
> My organization has about a dozen mail merge templates which worked
> very well in CRM 3.0. I was fully aware I would probably have better
> luck just re-creating them in CRM 4.0. No biggie.
> 
> I've done so and mail merge in CRM 4.0 is ... shall we say less than
> stellar.
> 
> Mail merge on the Contact entity does not work at all. For any user.
> 
> Mail merge on the Account and Opp entities works sporadically.
> Literally from one user to the next using the same CRM 4.0 template,
> mail merge will work one time and fail the next.
> 
> This is a fully patched on-premise CRM 4.0 install. Outlook clients
> only. Roll up 3 applied at server, client, yada yada yada.
> 
> Anyone have any ideas? I see a lot of similar experiences but no
> solutions.
> 
> Regards,
> - Greg Crowe
> 
> BTW - is it just me, or is this group really quiet last year or so?
> 
0
RobMottram (202)
4/9/2009 2:23:01 PM
Reply:

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