First of all, I cannot take credit for the solution in this post. My thanks to the awesome guys over at iTG Technologies for researching and finding the fix for this.

If your organisation is on Office 365 and is still currently running Office 2013, then you may have noticed the following message has suddenly popped up on your Office programs recently:

Office2016UpgradeMessage

The bad news is that this message turns up of it’s own accord. This is not so much a problem if you are a home/single user, but could cause huge issues for enterprise IT departments who are holding off on upgrading due to add-in compatibility, not yet being able to test the applications themselves and problems with the computer environment itself (e.g. computers not meeting the minimum/recommended specifications).

The good news is that this error message can be disabled either via a Group Policy or by making the following change within the registry on the affected computers:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\office\15.0\common\officeupdate

Add the following value under the office update subkey:

“enableautomaticupgrade”=dword:00000000

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3097292

Whilst it is generally better to ensure you are on the latest versions of software, Office 2016 is still very early in its overall life-cycle and it makes prudent sense to delay rolling this out across organisations for a few more months at least.

Has anyone already upgraded or rolled out Office 2016 across their organisations yet? I would be interested in hearing your views/comments on how it is working for you.

Microsoft have recently released four new exams for Dynamics CRM 2016. The first thing to point out is that these exams do not replace/supersede the exams for 2015, which are likely to stay around for at least another 2-3 years. Therefore, passing these exams should be a definite goal for anyone who works extensively with CRM or is planning on upgrading to 2016 in the near future. The four new exams are as follows:

There’s some interesting things to point out here. Microsoft have chosen not to provide an updated exam for MB2-708: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Installation, which focuses on On-Premise CRM installation and configuration. I’ve not yet been through a Dynamics CRM 2016 Server installation, so I would assume that not much has changed on this side of things. This would appear to be match up with the look and feel of CRM 2016, which is very much the same at first glance to CRM 2015 Update 1. No major changes must mean no new exam, in which case.

On first glance, the new CRM Online Deployment exam looks exactly the same – even down to the title! Look more closely however and you will see there are some major differences in the learning objectives. This bit in particular stuck out for me:

Manage related services (10% – 15%)

  • Describe related services
    • Identify related online services; integrate Microsoft Social Engagement with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online; manage campaigns with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing
  • Integrate Yammer and SharePoint Online
    • Describe Yammer and SharePoint Online; identify SharePoint Online integration types; describe the integration process

Integrate OneNote, Skype, Skype for Business, Office 365 Groups, and OneDrive for Business

  • Compare Dynamics CRM Notes and OneNote; identify storage location for OneNote notebooks; configure OneNote integration; integrate Skype and Skype for Business; identify limitations for Skype and Skype for Business; describe Office 365 Groups; identify requirements for Office 365 Groups; integrate Office 365 Groups with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

As well as some of the expected mentioned platforms such as Yammer and SharePoint, the relatively recent Office 365 Groups also makes an appearance. Suffice to say, the integration element with other Microsoft applications plays a much bigger role this time around, fitting in with the general strategy behind CRM Online/Office 365. That’s great news if you are familiar with the Office 365 platform, but this may present a challenge for those who primarily have CRM On-Premise experience and are looking to make the jump onto CRM Online. Fortunately, Microsoft offers free trials of both Office 365 and CRM Online, so you can quite easily spin up a CRM Online instance and Exchange Online, SharePoint etc. so you can get up to speed.

Lastly, something which I’m disappointed about, there is no updated version of MB2-701: Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 AKA the CRM Developers exam. The name of the exam tells you everything you need to know, it’s for CRM 2013! Whaaaaat!?! Unfortunately, CRM developers don’t seem to be getting much love these days… 🙁 Admittedly, from a developers point of view, there hasn’t been too much that has changed, however CRM 2015 Update 1 rather sneakily altered some of the supported methods for form level JScript. This has caused some issues with coding that was written pre-update 1. On the balance of things therefore, an updated Developers exam is definitely something that would be great to see and I was very much looking forward to seeing this as part of the new refreshed exam list. Looks like I will have to attempt to sit MB2-701 at some point this year instead.

I’ve already been able to sit and successfully pass MB2-712, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will be able to pass all three of other exams too. Better start hitting the books soon!

Do you have any advice or tips for these exams?

Due to Microsoft’s NDA relating to each of the exams, I cannot disclose any details relating to the exam and its contents (as a result, any discussion in the comments that are in breach of this will be promptly removed). My best advice is to really focus on the learning objectives for each exam and, ideally, have a CRM instance open whilst you are revising so you can get some practice as you learn new concepts. PartnerSource has some great resources to download and test your knowledge on, or you could look at attending one of the many training courses out there from Microsoft Training Providers. Those of you who have passed previous exams shouldn’t have any major trouble, but it’s always good to refresh your memory or go over things within CRM that you don’t use that often.

Good luck to anyone who is sitting these exams – particularly if it’s you first time sitting them. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.