Sunday, July 26, 2015

MB5-705 Online proctored exam experience

How I took the Online Proctored Exam

As I mentioned earlier, I have applied for the MB5-705 Exam - Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations and I decided to took the Online Proctored version, which was just made available in my country.

Before I applied for it, I reviewed some blog posts that were mentioning this kind of exam. I thought, they are old, Pearson Vue must have improved it since that article....
So I read the manual, verified that my computer is capable of handling the Online exam and I was getting ready for it.

In the morning (2 hours to exam), I tried to access the site, and it is not working :-( I was panicking. I checked different connections, and computers. It does not work!
BTW - it does not work until today, apparently when you are in some European countries, you will not be properly routed (you will get something like timeout, gateway error or something like that).

Fortunately - you can use this URL: and it should work.

So when you get in, you can log into to the exam.
Your desk should be clean and empty and also the room should be clean and there should be no obstacles. Also, note, that the door should be closed, no one can visit you during the exam.
I went through the checking process with the "Greater" everything was fine, I just struggled little bit with moving my laptop, because the greater needs to see the whole room and I was using wired connection. Next time, I would use the external webcam or WiFi connection.

Then I was transferred to the Online Proctor and the computer froze. I could not press any button, move the mouse or anything.
After one hour of speaking with polite Indian people, we stopped all the tries and ended the exam. I did not get even to the first question :-)
My online proctor issued me a ticket in their system and told me to call their office.
It was closed at that time, so I had to wait until it opened (it is US number and operates in US time zone, so I expected Americans, but it is also handled by Indian people).

So about a day later I received a voucher for my next exam.

I decide to register, but I am not able to register for the exam, as it is already in the system and you cannot register for the same exam twice if the previous one has not finished.

I have not been able to reschedule the exam either, because it is past the scheduled date. So I had to contact the helpdesk again.

Now I am in the stage, where they told me they will register me through email manually, so I am waiting for the confirmation of my date and time of the exam.

So to make some end, never take the Online proctored exam. It does not worth it. I lost 6 hours of trying and communication with helpdesk people and I did not get anywhere.

It is fair to say that my colleague scheduled the exam in the testing center on the same day and he was not able to take the exam either. There were some technical difficulties. So maybe the problem is with the whole Pearson Vue company. I always preferred Prometric, but now there is no choice.
I will let you know when I get to the end of this adventure :-)

Have a good summer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Entitlements - automatic Renewal using workflow

Automatic renewal of Entitlement without coding

As mentioned in my previous post, CRM 2015 Update 1 has a nice feature - you can create workflow, action or dialog with entity called Entitlement.
Recently I needed to renew the Entitlements automatically on regular basis.
So there are basically 3 main ways how to do it:
  • develop a custom windows service, which will renew the records
  • develop a workflow activity or action to call the Renew action (RenewEntitlementRequest)
  • create a workflow that will renew it without coding
I will focus on the third option, as it is easiest and it worked in my case just fine.

So, first of all some prerequisites which we need to keep in mind:
  • you need to base all Entitlements on some Entitlement template, otherwise copying through workflow will not work and you need to use option 2 mentioned above
  • copying with workflow is tricky for monthly renewals, as some months do not have 30 days
  • workflow for copying is waiting for the whole period of the entitlement, so the performance must be taken into account if you have a lot of entitlements
    • in case you have really o lot of them, you could create Entitlements using import for the whole year in advance and activate them. Then they will be in the Waiting status until their first day - actually this I would do in previous CRM versions
We start with Entitlement templates - create at least one.
Then go to the processes and create a workflow which look like this:

The workflow should be started as a new Entitlement is created. This way you will be able to loop it.
Also you can enable manual start when you already have some Entitlements in the system.

Second step is to create the copy of Entitlement. Here is the screen:

Then just save and activate the workflow.
Keep in mind, that it must be Asynchronous, as there is a Waiting condition used.

I hope you find this helpful some day.