Tallan's Technology Blog

Tallan's Top Technologists Share Their Thoughts on Today's Technology Challenges

EDI: Still Essential After All These Years

Tallan Partner

Back in 2011, Gartner analyst Benoit Lheureux wrote a blog post titled: “EDI is Hot, No, Really!”
That was probably stretching it then and six years later…well, let’s just say “hot” is perhaps overstating it. But there’s no overstating the continued importance of EDI to many businesses.
“Bottom line: EDI remains — and will remain for years to come — a high impact, valuable asset to business,” Lheureux wrote in his report. “… EDI is a well-established approach that is still a vital component of most companies’ overall B2B strategy and easily contributes to B2B, cloud computing, business intelligence, et al.”
Like the Internet, EDI has its roots in the military. The scale and complexity of the 1948 Berlin airlift required the exchange of information about transported goods—over a 300-baud teletype modem, no less. The effort led to standards that eventually became EDI as…

Making the Case for Entity Framework in the Enterprise

Recently, I was met with some friction by the IT department at a client where, they asserted, that a decision had been made years ago to ban Entity Framework. Like many enterprise environments, this client was understandably concerned with the potential pitfalls of embracing Entity Framework. That meant that my job was to convince them otherwise – not to discount their apprehension, but quite the contrary – to demonstrate how EF can be leveraged for its advantages, and avoided for its shortcomings.
Entity Framework (EF) is a broad framework with many optional parts. There are several aspects of EF that provide great benefit, while others are a source of great consternation – particularly from the perspective of the database purist. As the cliché goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and so this blog post explores different aspects of EF, and…

The Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

Tallan Partner

Upgrading your software can be daunting, Microsoft knows. The fast pace of business makes it easy to tell yourself, “I’ll do it later when I have time.” Microsoft gets it! But here are five key reasons to make time to upgrade to SQL Server 2016, which was named DBMS of the Year in 2016 by DBengines.com.

Seamless step-up without rewriting apps. Thanks to November’s SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1), SQL Server now has one programming surface across all editions. If you switch from Express to Standard, or Standard to Enterprise, you don’t have to rework code to take advantage of additional features. Time saved! In addition, the change brings access to innovative features across performance, security, and analytics not previously available in Express or Standard—a great reason to upgrade applications that run on those editions. The Enterprise edition of…

Automatic Deployment and Extraction from CRM Using PowerShell Scripts

Hayden Lee

Recently I was tasked with the task of creating an automatic extraction and importing solution using PowerShell Scripts. To do this I created two files one for export and extracting with the other in charge of pack and importing the solution. I was using the Visual Studio template of CRM Package that comes with the sdk.
Export and Extracting The Solution
First thing I did was implement the export and extraction of the CRM solution. The PowerShell script first exports the solution from the web using a module called Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell. Then it extracts the downloaded zip into a folder for the correct file structure. A nice thing about using the Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell dll is the fact it gives you additional CRM commands you can do. For example before downloading the solution it allows you to change the version number of the solution before downloading.


Quick Measures Preview

Tallan Partner

Quick measures, a new feature Microsoft released in their April Power BI Desktop update, lets you quickly create new measures based on measures and numerical columns in your table. These new measures become part of your model and can be used in any of your charts, just like manually created DAX calculations. You can also see the underlying DAX, and edit it if you need to tweak the results.
You can create measures based on 19 different calculations across five different categories. Let’s take a look at those five different categories.
Aggregate within category
These calculations let you apply different aggregates at different levels in your data. For example, you can sum revenue up to the month level, and then take an average of that total to display at the year level.

The result would look something like this:

The calculations included in the Aggregate…

Solving Plugin Types Import Failure on Dynamics 2016 up 1 On Premise

Chris Magrane

This is the error I received when trying to import a managed solution into an organization where an early version of it already existed.
From the import log :
Plugin Types import: FAILURE. Error: Plugin: [PluginAssemblyName], Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=c66c1d5121b276ee of PluginTypeName: Microsoft.Crm.Entities.PluginType and PluginTypeNode: System.Xml.XmlElement caused an exception.
This one was new to me and caused me to have to do some digging, first I had to be reminded how to start digging, and the first step should be to enable tracing, which you can find here : https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/907490/how-to-enable-tracing-in-microsoft-dynamics-crm.  Then after that do your import and go to the TraceDirectory to find the internal exception causing this import exception.
That lead me to this exception from the trace logs :
>Crm Exception: Message: Plugin Types import: FAILURE. Error: Plugin: [PluginAssemblyName], Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken= of PluginTypeName: Microsoft.Crm.Entities.PluginType and PluginTypeNode: System.Xml.XmlElement caused an exception., ErrorCode: -2147188718, InnerException: Microsoft.Crm.CrmException: A managed…

New Chatbot Assists Educators with Quick and Easy Access to Office 365 Training and Teaching Resources

Tallan Partner

The Microsoft Educator Community recently launched a new bot built with the Bot Framework to provide educators with a personal human-like assistant that can direct them quickly to relevant content. One of the key roles of the bot is to help educators better engage with Office 365 and develop their teaching skills with Microsoft’s Office products.
Since the bot was added to the site in January, engagement with the bot has been high, with over 40,000 messages from educators being exchanged. Educators have found the bot to be human-like, valuable, and easy to use. They shared positive praise for its assistance and helpfulness. In fact, Microsoft is beginning to see a trend towards educators preferring to start their engagement on the site with the bot. Educators who use the bot during their visit to the site have 3-times longer session duration…

How to Drive and Plan an Envisioning for a Business Intranet

Patricio Cabrera

We have all encountered intranets in our professional lives. Often, the intranet is where information goes to die and is forgotten. How do we break away from this pattern? Depending on whom you ask, some users may view the intranet as a tool to find HR Related information; others may use it to work collaboratively with a team who works remotely, and some will simply resist using it at all.
The road to overcoming common intranet missteps and misconceptions begins with a proper envisioning. We will discuss the process of envisioning a successful intranet, starting with a handful of factors: user and business stakeholder interviews, project requirements, documentation, and being mindful of the unique needs of your users as intranet solutions are not one-size-fits-all between companies—or even between departments within a single company.
Business Stakeholders
The first group of people you are going…

Safeguarding Your Cloud Resources with Azure Security Services

Tallan Partner

While cloud security continues to be a top concern, Microsoft recently shared insights from a survey that show overall concern has dropped significantly since 2015. They’re now at a stage where half of organizations contend the cloud is more secure than their on-premises infrastructure. In conversations Microsoft has with their customers and partners, they hear increasingly about how using the cloud improves an organizations’ security posture. As many organizations push forward on their digital transformation through increased use of cloud services, understanding the current state of cloud security is essential.
Maintaining a strong security posture for your cloud-based innovation is a shared responsibility between you and your cloud provider. With Microsoft Azure, securing cloud resources is a partnership between Microsoft and their customers, so it’s essential that you understand the comprehensive set of security controls and capabilities available to you on…

Part 2 – Analysis Services Multidimensional: “A duplicate attribute key has been found when processing”

Mark Frawley

Introduction – Part 2

Part 1 of this post focused on the first category of how the Analysis Services Multidimensional (MD) duplicate attribute key error can arise. It reflects the perspective of an atomic attribute – an attribute having no attribute relationships other than with the dimension key attribute.
This post focuses on the second category of this error, which can arise when an attribute does have attribute relationships besides the (required) one with the dimension key attribute.
As is well known, creating attribute relationships is a best practice in Analysis Services MD for improving query performance. The most common reason attribute relationships are created is to support a natural hierarchy – so your data model has to have one for this to arise. The next most common reason is to support attribute properties, such as a sort order – i.e. when the…