Nishant Rana is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM consultant working with Microsoft in Hyderabad, India.

He is a genius and I was lucky to have him as an old colleague of mine in Microsoft.

He is one of the best professionals in Dynamics CRM. SharePoint and Microsoft stack of technologies with whom I had chance to work for a year on the best project of my CRM journey.

His blog is just not a blog but an ocean of CRM and SharePoint knowledge.

With close to 2.11 million hits on his blog, I doubt if anyone has not solved at least one problem on Dynamics CRM without referring to his encyclopaedia.

This interview is a tribute to a great individual.

1. Name, current job title and social media links please

Nishant Rana

Consultant, Microsoft GD, Hyderabad.



2. What does an average day at work look like

An average day starts with Black Tea, my favourite workout Insanity, then frequent Coffee Breaks in Office, Workout in Gym, Book, Music and of course CRM.

3. What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I had joined KPIT Cummins as a Trainee while I was doing my MS from I2IT. There itself I got an opportunity to work in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.

4. What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Version 3.0 and 7 years till now

5. How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I would normally refer training and readiness materials released by Microsoft as well as blogs of CRM Experts.

6. What one feature would you add to CRM Product.

I wish they can make the UI of the application more intuitive, user friendly and simple to use.

7. What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

Dynamics CRM OData Query Designer and Ribbon Workbench are my favourite tool. For the earlier versions of CRM, my favorite tools used to be Stunnware Tools.

8. What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications

My Transcript

Transcript ID – 818349

Access Code – NishantRana


Yes I do try to keep up to date with CRM Certifications.

9. How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

It is extremely important, because eventually it is all about business and how CRM as a product can help improve it.

10 How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Having a good programming knowledge would help in designing the best possible solution.

11. What are your hobbies outside of CRM.

I like working out, playing cricket, listening to music, reading books.

12. What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched

· A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger Oech

· I

13. Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM.

All my friends have been supportive and always encourage and inspire me to grow personally and professionally.
14. Who is the first CRM Expert you remember reading/seeing

Michael Höhne of http://www.stunnware.com/

As an appreciation from my end, here is a certificate:


Happy CRMing!

{QUICK TIP}Enable tracing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions for SQL Server Reporting Services

Many a times we are in need to enable tracing for On-Premise reports. Here is the way:

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can create trace files that monitor the actions that are performed by Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions. Trace files are helpful when you have to troubleshoot error messages or other issues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions.

You can enable tracing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions in two ways:

Enable tracing using registry values
  1. On the computer where you have installed Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reporting Extensions, locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\MSCRM
  2. Set the following registry values:
    • TraceEnabled = 1
    • TraceDirectory = <directory path where traces will be stored>

    You can also set other row values like TraceCategories, but they already have defaults.

  3. Restart Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

Enable tracing using deployment properties
  1. Go to the DeploymentProperties table in the Configuration Database.
  2. Locate the row with the value “TraceEnabled” and set its “BitColumn” column’s value to “True”.
    Other row values like TraceCategories, TraceDirectory already have default values, but you can change these values.
    You will start seeing the traces in the directory specified in the TraceDirectory row in the DeploymentProperties table.
  3. Restart Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

Registry settings take precedence over deployment properties.

If there are any invalid entries in the registry, for example, and TraceDirectory does not exist, the deployment properties are used.

Source: Technet

Hope it helps!

{USEFUL to know}New CRM for Outlook Basics eBook joins growing family of Dynamics CRM eBooks

With the CRM for Outlook add-in, you can take advantage of all that CRM has to offer directly from the familiar Microsoft Outlook interface. And now there’s an eBook that walks you through the steps of using CRM for Outlook.

The new CRM for Outlook Basics eBook describes everything you need to get started. In this eBook, you’ll learn how to use CRM for Outlook to work with lists, track (sync) email and other activities, and nurture your leads and opportunities through the sales process. You’ll also learn how to work offline with CRM for Outlook so you can be productive wherever you are.

Download the ebook

Source: Microsoft CRM Team blog

Hope it helps!

{Quick Tip} Design it simple when you can with Dynamics CRM

Sometimes there are many simple options available to get to what customer needs. I will like to cite this with an example.

The new social pane in CRM 2013 and CRM 2015 is pretty good.

However, there are lot of limitations on it say you want to edit Add phone call form, it is not possible to do so.

In our case there are certain fields which client wanted to keep which were necessary to route phone calls to correct team and queue.

So, the ask from customer was in some way to add the phone call from there. Now there can be big unsupported ways which can be tried.

But the solution I suggested was a simple Activity sub grid instead of social pane.

The effect, it routes to the native form, also populates regarding. See the screen below:


It’s pretty effective and simple. Not only that when you hit + button,


You get popped up to default phone call form and fill in the details. This gives what the customer is looking for in a very simple way.

Hope it helps!

{ADVANCED CRM KNOW-HOW} Enable or disable tracing for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015/2013 for Outlook

On CRM for outlook, if you are facing any issues and want to see trace logs:

1. On the computer running CRM for Outlook, click Start, click All Programs, click Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, and then click Diagnostics.

2. Click the Advanced Troubleshooting tab, and then select Tracing to enable or click to clear Tracing to disable.

3. Select a Tracking level from the drop-down list.

4. Click Save.

You can reduce the amount of information during the trace by setting the TraceCategories Windows registry value. For example, you can set the value so that only error messages are recorded. Reducing the amount of logging can be helpful when you troubleshoot specific issues, such as when you receive error messages going offline. To do this, follow these steps.

Notice that tracing must already be enabled for the following steps to work.

1. On the computer where you have installed CRM for Outlook start RegEdit and locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\MSCRMClient.

2. If the TraceCategories string value does not exist add it. To do this, right-click MSCRMClient, click New, click String Value, type TraceCategories and then press ENTER.

3. Right-click TraceCategories, click Modify, type Application.Outlook:Error, and then click OK.

Source: Technet

Note: Turning on verbose tracing during process intense actions such as Outlook startup, or going online and offline with CRM for Outlook, is not recommended and could result in stability issues with CRM for Outlook.

This task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs.

Hope it helps!