Agent Communications Panel for OCS 2007 R2 and CRM 4.0

The Agent Communications Panel (ACP) is a link between OCS 2007 R2 and Dynamics CRM 4.0 that Microsoft released awhile back.  I’ve seen plenty of posts and mentions of the product, but not so much yet that shows how to install it and what it actually does.

First, some notes that I feel have been a little overlooked, or not made terribly clear in the documentation thus far.

  • I’ve seen conflicting information around support for the add-in.  A lot of posts indicate it’s fully supported by the OCS team, but according to this post, the ACP is not supported in any way from Microsoft. It really sounds like it’s more of a proof-of-concept application to show what you can do with the UC APIs and the ability to link to other platforms. Anyone know what the official story is? I’m hesitant to mention this to clients because of the ambiguous support policy.
  • CRM natively has presence, IM, and click-to-call functionality as long as Communicator is running on the user’s PC. This is true of both the Outlook version and the web-based access to CRM.  The ACP application differs by providing the Communicator functionality through the browser without actually using Communicator.  However, there is no link or dependency on Communicator Web Access for the ACP.
  • Because this is an XAML browser application (XBAP) it provides a lot more functionality than Communicator Web Access. Specifically, audio traffic can be played through the browser, so you have the Enterprise Voice features similar to a full Communicator experience.

To get started, download all the material found here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=0d689f13-4953-40ea-995e-49469dae559e

I used an x86 Server 2003 CRM machine, but read the install guide for some notes regarding installation on Server 2008 and UAC.

The installation is very easy. On your CRM server, launch the AgentCommunicationsPanelServer<Architecture Type>.msi setup, accept the license agreement and press Next.

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The install should be fairly quick. Press Finish once it completes.

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Now, make sure you have a client machine with Internet Explorer 7 and the .NET 3.5 SP1 framework installed.

On your client, add your “https://<CRM Server Name>” site to the Intranet Zone in Internet Explorer to allow automatic logon.

Also, take the contents of MicrosoftCodeSigningPCA.zip and MicrosoftCorporation.zip files and install both certificates to the Trusted Root Certification Authorities and Trusted Publishers stores.

Now if you visit https://<CRM Server Name>/AgentCommunications/Microsoft.AgentCommunicationsPanel.xbap and you’ll see the application begin to download. It’s about 60 MB in size.

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If you forgot to install the two certificates to both the Trusted Root Certification Authorities and Trusted Publishers store you’ll probably see this error: “Trust Not Granted. The application cannot be deployed because it is not trusted and possibly unsafe.”

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If you followed everything correctly you’ll be presented with the ACP. Your presence and note can be set at the top of the screen. You can also now click on Set up A/V to configure your audio device for VoIP.

The screenshot below shows an incoming call from Roger Daltrey to an Enterprise Voice enabled user, Mick Jagger. You can see that Roger’s information was immediately pulled up in front of the agent when the call came in to provide easy access to the contact.

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This second screenshot shows the ability for the agent to consult with another agent or contact while in a call.

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I hope this was helpful to those wondering what the ACP actually looks like and what the installation process entails. There is obviously some great potential using the Response Group Service here to accommodate a small call center. Supported or not, it’s a great way to show off how you can build UC voice into applications.