We are going to upside down territory today as we head on down or up to New Zealand. Just to be clear Steven Foster is not the same Stephen Foster who was as we all know the father of American Music. To my knowledge Steven Foster CRM MVP is not father to any kind of music……….yet.
Here is the MVP Bio
Steven is the Product and Marketing Manager for the leading Microsoft partner Intergen in New Zealand. Steven is an MVP, Microsoft VTSP, has an active blog and is on the committee of the Dynamics CRM usergroup in Auckland.
Steven has been a speaker at many events across the world on the topic of CRM during his 15 years focussing on delivering and selling CRM solutions. Steven has multi industry expertise and has delivered both small and global CRM implementations.
His current role sees him focusing on driving the CRM business within the New Zealand marketplace and managing Intergen’s business partners for CRM. In this role he is focussed on delivering business outcomes from pre sales through to delivery where he plays an active QA role across a number of implementations.
In summary, Steven is a well-balanced professional consultant with a wealth of project experience of both small and large engagements, and over time has built up an extensive consultant toolkit of practical tools and techniques.
He has written some great posts on his blog recently
Thanks for Steve for answering my questions
If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A
Name, current job title and social media links please
Dynamics CRM Product and Marketing Manager
What does an average day at work look like
My role varies very much day to day. My focus is on driving the Dynamics business and in particular Dynamics CRM, enabling sales, marketing and delivery to deliver the best CRM outcomes. An average day would probably see me first taking a look at any latest blog posts and reviewing my Twitter feed, that may lead me to review a new add on, working with the sales team on new or existing customer, answering any posts from our CRM interest group on Yammer, working with any of our partners on new opportunities. Other days would see me focus on TAP programs or marketing initiatives or new partner add-ons.
What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Many over my 15 years working in CRM – CRM Consultant, Senior Consultant, Solution Architect, CRM Practice Manager, CRM Solution Specialist, CRM Product and Marketing Manager.
What job did you did before you starting using CRM
I was a RPG 4 programmer (AS400) on a product called ICMS. I quickly moved on to a Business Analyst and Process Analyst before starting my CRM journey with Siebel in the 90s.
What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
The first version I worked with was Dynamics 1.0. I worked on Dynamics and Siebel at the same time before really solely focussing on Dynamics at V3.
How do you stay up to date with the CRM
I read lots of blogs, I attend the Early adoption programmes (TAP) for all new releases of CRM, I attend Convergence each year, and I play a lot with CRM for demos, and trying out new solutions and ideas. Plus I speak a lot with my peers.
How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
I am lucky my role allows me to be a CRM evangelist and contribute to the community. But I spend a lot of time outside of work as a committee member of the CRM User Group, updating and adding content via my blog, posting on twitter links or comments that I find useful, and generally contributing where I can add value. When I am not doing CRM, I spend a lot of quality time with my Wife and 2 girls and anytime I have left over which is very little I like a game of golf now and again!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
My main tip would be to understand what CRM means, forget the technology for once but understand what the core drivers and outcomes are from delivering a great CRM experience. If you understand the desired outcomes you will better understand how Dynamics CRM can deliver them. If you start from the product you will be blindsided by the technology and may over complicate what is a simple process.
What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
First impressions were clean, simple and some cool new features, one of my favourites being quick view. After using it for a while the new menu structure can become tedious if you do not plan it well as a slight drop in your cursor or finger and you have to start again. But other than that still love it and cannot wait for the new updates coming in Q2 and Q4.
What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Visualisation of interactions over time with a Customer and a marketing calendar view. Whoops thats 2!
Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Unfortunately would be the new menu structure when it spans a page, if you keep it simple or use say Easy navigate then this overcomes the issues.
You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)
Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
Surviving CRM http://niiranen.eu/crm/
What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
Quality rather than quantity! But not long CRM 2013 the advancements in CRM and the lack of in Salesforce will lead to greater uptake and growth, all said it will be a few years yet.
Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online? Do you think it will all be online in the future
I think in the future yes but now more hosted than online and that is probably a little to do with where I live New Zealand and this causes some issues with latency to CRM online.
What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
I just love ClickDimensions, its ease of usage and capability makes it a great add on and complements Dynamics CRM beautifully.
What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I do my best but been a little slack lately I am a MCP but do need to update my certifications in the latest versions when my diary permits!
How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Depends on your role, but you cannot be a great consultant unless you have these skills. Dynamics CRM 2013 is very much process driven and with any CRM system unless you understand the business needs you cannot deliver a great CRM solution.
How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Again depends on your role, but to be honest less and less these days with Dynamics, you can do so much with configuration that the role of the developer is diminishing. But to have some groundings in development and data model structure does help.
What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
I can spell them! I understand them from a business perspective and functional perspective but I leave the integration to my technical team! I am very much a business orientated consultant with strong analytical and knowledge of CRM systems, best practices, and driving great outcomes, but my developer days are truly in the past!
How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
My role sees me travelling a lot around New Zealand and Australia and occasionally across to the US. To be honest in all of my roles from when I was living in England to now I have travelled. But that is what has made me what I am now, exposing me to so many different industries and customers has given me a lot of knowledge and experience to draw upon.
Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
No, I love CRM it’s my niche.
What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
Being a part of the community and helping to shape the future of Dynamics CRM.
What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Golf, walking, beach, spending time with my two young girls (5 and 7) and a little bit of reading. Also working on my side business Push My Button, reselling the HappyorNot customer feedback solution from Finland.
What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
John Grisham Sycamore Row and film 12 years a slave.
Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Got me in trouble, umm, only when I get the opportunity to go with the team to Convergence in New Orleans and what a party we had!
Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
Yes! Partner is very proud of me achieving my goal of MVP. I set out just over a year ago to achieve it and now I have.
Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
On my honeymoon (in Australia) I licked a green ants back end to supposedly give you a vitamin C rush, and it did.
Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
Become part of the CRM community, share insights through the multitude of channels, network and attend Convergence, you will meet so many people and learn so much that it’s an invaluable experience.
Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)
Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
Certifications or Use CRM
twerking or tweeting
books or ebooks
save or autosave
OnLine or On Premise
Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
work from home or work from office
Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox
Early Bird/Night Owl
Do Today/Do Tomorrow
CRM Developer/CRM Consultant
Hot Weather/Cold Weather
Half Full/Half Empty