Tips on how to become a CRM MVP from CRM MVP’S

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I regularly get asked this question

How do I become a CRM MVP?

or

Do you have any tips on becoming a CRM MVP?

I find this questions a bit odd because I am not a CRM MVP so I’m not really the best person to ask? But readers of my blog will know ignorance of a subject has never stopped me giving advice or blogging about it.  Blogging about something I know nothing about is one of the methods I use to learn about topics

My usual method of learning

  1. Research a topic
  2. Write about it
  3. Get comments from Adam Vero correcting me on the subject

I’m not sure why some people assume I am a CRM MVP maybe because I wrote I interviewed 24 CRM MVP’s and you can read all of those interviews by clicking the link below

CRM MVP Q&A

Rather than writing individual emails to people, I decided to write a blog and could just point people in the direction of this blog and save myself time in the future.   It also seemed like a good time to write this article as the latest round of CRM MVP awards was yesterday on 1st April (which seems like a bit of a cruel day to award MVP awards).

Congratulations all the CRM MVP’s who were renewed and created yesterday, keep up the great contributions to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community.

I personally really appreciate the content and effort of the CRM MVP’s, not only have they made my life easier by providing tools, explanation and solutions to CRM problems they have also been responsible for creating interesting and thought-provoking solutions.  It’s not just CRM MVP’s it’s a lot of members of the CRM community, lots of clever people doing lots of clever things and sharing it.

Lets start by understanding what an MVP award is

What is a Microsoft MVP Award?

Microsoft has an award called MVP (most valuable professional), this is different from the Microsoft Community Badges.

Microsoft gives MVP awards for all the different flavours of products and software (.NET, CRM, NAV, SQL Server)

The Microsoft MVP award even has it’s on wiki page – Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, here is how the Wiki page describes the MVP award

According to Microsoft, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award is given to “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.”[ The awarded are people who “actively share their … technical expertise with the different technology communities related directly or indirectly to Microsoft”. An MVP is awarded for contributions over the previous year.

Microsoft has a page about becoming an MVP, there are currently 3800 MVP’s!  There are currently 68 CRM MVP’s and you can see all your CRM MVP’s here

Microsoft describes Who are  MVP as

Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals, or MVPs are exceptional community leaders who actively share their high-quality, real-world deep technical expertise with the community and with Microsoft. They are committed to helping others get the most out of their experience with Microsoft products and technologies.

If you want to find a CRM MVP in your country then you can use the search tool here

http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/search-mvp.aspx?ex=Dynamics+CRM#

How do you become a CRM MVP

To become an MVP you have to be totally awesome with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  In fact you have to be so awesome that someone will think.

“That person is so awesome at CRM, their blogs/video’s/forum answers/group meetings/tool has made my life so much easier and better I’m going to nominate them for an CRM MVP award”.

What I am saying is CRM MVP’s have to be nominated by going to this page

http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/nominate-an-mvp.aspx#iwt

The page does have two options

  • If you would like to nominate yourself, click here.
  • If you would like to nominate someone else, click here.

but I’m guessing not one of the CRM MVP’s nominated themselves?

When someone gets nominated the person who nominated them sends them an email with a link to their nomination and the person will fill in details about their contribution to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community.

CRM MVP’s are given out 4 times a year, every three months.   To decide who gets a CRM MVP award a mysterious panel of Microsoft people get together to decide who should get an CRM MVP award.

Then on allotted day the CRM MVPS will get an email notifying of their award.

What are the benefits of being a CRM MVP

As I am not a CRM MVP I am a bit hazy about the benefits apart from the obvious benefit of being recognized as a CRM MVP by Microsoft and the CRM community.

I believe they get some early access to new releases and features

The MVP’s meet up once a year at the CRM summit

Free membership of CRMUG

Free license for Resharper

Replace MVP with career

The advice in this blog is around becoming a CRM MVP but if you replace the letters MVP and replace it with career, most of the sentences would make sense.

The point I am making is the advice is useful in becoming a CRM expert, increasing your network and personal brand.  Improving those areas will undoubtedly be a benefit to your career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Other articles to help your career and improve your skills

A collection of CRM Developer articles I recommend you to read.

Microsofts Tips on how to become a CRM MVP

Who better to ask about becoming a CRM MVP than Microsoft themselves.  Probably motivated by being asked the question “how do I become an MVP?” a million times, Microsoft created this page

How to Become an MVP or MCC

This is a very detailed page and has 93 revisions! last updated Jan 2014

It’s a long article here are three significant points

Be a Leader in CRM

The article mentions leadership and being a leader in a number of places.  CRM MVP’s lead the community with advice, best practices and understanding of the CRM Product.

Be consistent – MVP Award is a marathon award

MVP awards are awarded for 12 months of high-quality contributions

High-Quality Contributions

Quality is more important than quantity

I would advise you to read the article because it has links on Tips to Becoming an MVP (by MVP’s), these are not just CRM MVP’s

Personal Blogs on becoming an MVP

These blogs which are listed on the becoming CRM MVP page, the personal blogs

How to become a CRM MVP by MVP’s

MICROSOFT SQL MVP AWARD – I’LL TAKE A FIFTH

How to become a Microsoft MVP – Most Valuable Professional?

Hosk tips (take into account I’m not a CRM MVP)

If your goal is become a CRM MVP then you are likely to fail.  People are awarded the CRM MVP award for contributions over a 12 month period.  12 months is a long time,  it would be very difficult to artificially put in a lot of effort for 12 months.

To become a CRM MVP you need a passion for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and a passion for sharing knowledge and helping people (learn CRM).

If you become a CRM MVP it’s not because you wanted to become a CRM MVP it’s because you have contributed some great content to the CRM community.

Your goal should be to increase you knowledge and skill in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and by sharing this knowledge with the community you might become a CRM MVP at some point.

Quality not Quantity

If you read CRM MVP blogs their blog posts are high quality.  Simple blog posts can be what I can show and tell, where the blog post will walk you through a process step by step by lack any insight.

CRM MVP blog posts are often very detailed and have these characteristics
  • Deep dive
  • Best practices
  • Gotcha’s
  • Innovative use of CRM
  • Solve problems not just technical displays
  • Long detailed posts

Join and interact with the CRM community and make friends

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM community is everywhere, so get involved and start contributing.
Twitter
CRM Forums
Linkedin Groups
Blogs

CRM MVP’s our thought Leaders

CRM MVP’s are thought-leaders in the CRM community.  They provide innovative  solutions, tools, best practices, help and guidance to members of the CRM community.

Create your own content

There are lots of great blogs/videos/books/presentations and other content being created about Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Don’t spend all your time commenting and discussing other peoples great content.  Make sure you create your own great content, to show people you are an expert in CRM.

Be Nice, Be humble – The goal is to become more knowledge about CRM

You learn about CRM by teaching (writing blogs, creating videos, Wiki articles, giving presentations).

You learn about CRM by learning and consuming other peoples CRM content

Make friends with CRM MVP’s

It’a  community, reach out and make contact.

Become an expert in a part of CRM

If you look at the CRM MVP’s they are often experts in an area of CRM.  There isn’t any path the CRM MVP’s took to become a CRM MVP, all of them did it in their own way, in their own style and made a great contribution to a certain area of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP from CRM MVP’s

One of the questions in the questionnaire to the CRM MVP’s in the interviews was do you have any tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP, the answers to this question are below.

Gus Gonzalez

There are many tips that have been repeated over and over but I don’t think people embraces exclusivity. I believe that if you want to be a CRM MVP you should find a place and become the best at it. For example, say you decide to create youtube videos about CRM. Don’t go and create 3 videos, answer 20 questions, post 15 blogs, send 100 tweets. That won’t get you noticed as fast as posting 75 videos on youtube, or answering 300 questions on the same forum. Being an MVP is all about getting noticed by the right people, to get noticed you need to stand out by helping others, answering 2 questions on 20 forums is not the same as answering 40 in one forum. The people from that forum will notice you and that’s what you need. So, pick a vehicle and be the best at it.

Julie Yack

Get a mentor.

Mark Smith

Follow everything that Gus Gonzalez says and writes about. He is the number one CRM Guru in all the US J

Jason Lattimer

Find a few ways to contribute to the CRM community and be consistent. Play to your strengths, for just about any skills needed in CRM (developer, analyst, infrastructure, etc…) there is probably a forum someplace where people need help that you could participate in. Attend events and get to know people. Local CRMUG meetings or big events like Convergence are great places to meet people and network.

Andrii Butenko

Contribute with community. Do something innovative. It is better to try and regret then regret that you haven’t tried.

Tanguy Touzard

You shouldn’t want to become a MVP and work hard for it. It is because you work hard for the community that you will eventually be awarded as a MVP.Leon TribeMicrosoft value measurable community activity which means their forums are a good place to make a splash (although these days it is highly competitive). Being outside of the USA also helps for forums because it means you may see a question and have a chance to answer it while the board leaders are sleeping.Having a blog and providing interesting, fresh content is also good and is, again, very visible to Microsoft.However you make your mark, the other thing you need to do is make sure people know about your activity. Reach out to existing MVPs, reach out to local Microsoft representatives and become known in those circles. If you have an awesome tool for CRM, give the MVPs easy access to it so they can use it and blog about it. Being known for being passionate about the product is just as important as the passion itself.

Gonzalo Ruiz

When you blog or get involved in the community, differentiate yourself with original content. Try to connect with other MVPs by reaching out chatting during events (e.g. Convergence). Always be respectful and never “steal” content from someone else’s blog.

Joel Lindstrom

Be consistent—someone will not be a MVP by writing blog posts for 3 months—you have to regularly contribute, and find a pace that you can keep up with for the long term. Don’t do it if you are just looking to advance yourself—you won’t make it. Do it if you genuinely enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.The way I became an MVP was by setting a goal to answer 1 forum post a day—something that you can do in 10 minutes while watching television at night. By answering forum posts, I found out what people were wanting to know. This gave me ideas for blog posts. If I didn’t know the answer, I figured it out, wrote a blog post with the answer, and posted it as the answer.Even if you don’t make MVP, you will still benefit from growing your knowledge of CRM.Don’t be intimidated by others in the community—everyone has something that they are better at than you, but you are probably better at some things than they are. And don’t view them as your competition. By sharing your knowledge, we all benefit.

Gustaf Westerlund

Find your own blue ocean, understand that you don’t have to be the best to be able to share something to the community. There is a lot that can be said about many things not rocket science.

Here are five principles that I would give as advice for any Dynamics CRM professional aspiring to be an MVP:Be active on several different sites/networks/forums. No matter if you’ve got the best CRM blog in the world, having a presence that is limited to a single channel isn’t going to be beneficial for the MVP Award evaluation process.Be consistent. No one has enough time to be active on all possible channels where Dynamics CRM is discussed, so it’s important to focus your efforts on those where you feel you can regularly contribute content.Amplify the work of others. Often times you can bring value to the community by simply sharing the best content that you have come across while reading blogs. Become the “filter” that other community members trust for curating the feed of relevant CRM news.Remember to interact, not just share. The Dynamics CRM community is a relatively small group of professionals spread around the globe, therefore a bit of personal touch in communication can make a big difference.

Carsten Groth

Think of becoming an MVP is an honor. It is not something as collecting titles just as collecting “friends” inside your favourite social community. Start sharing knowledge and someone will recognize and honor this. Always “give first” to get something back.

Dave Berry

I think the best MVPs aren’t the ones that tried for it.  In fact, I dare say that those who try for it and get disappointed with the lack of results are more dangerous to our community than those who simply live and love Dynamics CRM.  It’s not that your effort isn’t appreciated by the community, it’s that being an MVP isn’t up to anyone but Microsoft.  Quantity and quality are both measured.  MVPs can be nominated by anyone.  That’s the first step to achieving the award.  I’m aware of MVPs who nominated themselves.  You just have to have an attractive portfolio to back it up.

Demian Adolfo Raschkovan

Just start sharing knowledge, and collaborate with others. One important thing is to do it for a long time, with no stop, at the end Microsoft recognize people who really want to help others.

Blake Scarlavai 

The nice thing is that there isn’t one defined path and it is flexible based on your expertise.  I think the easiest first step is to get on twitter and start a blog as well as join your local CRMUG and browse the forums to see if you can help.  From there you can gather speaking ideas for conference sessions or webinars or as a developer, build some free custom tools/utilities. 

Andre Kristanto Margono

Contribute anything you know to the community, let the golden idea shines, any idea will be beneficial for the CRM community to grow.

Adam Vero

Visit the forums, and find a “how do I…” question you don’t immediately know the answer to (especially one that is unanswered after a few days). Reproduce the scenario, build a working solution, and test it out for yourself. Write up the answer, and if it merits it, turn it into a more detailed article on your own blog. Repeat.Write about things that others are not covering, look in more depth at a feature, and give people a step-by-step guide on how to do something unusual.Carve out a niche. Become the “go-to” guy or gal for ADFS, or Workflow, or security, or Business Process Flows, or the new 2013 sales process, or the Dynamics Connector. This will get you noticed without you having to make much noise.

Matt Wittemann

Share what you learn and help people solve problems while being passionate about your work. That’s not only a great prescription for becoming an MVP, it’s a great way to have a happy and rewarding career.

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.

 Salim Adamon

It’s all about your contributions to the CRM communities online, in user groups etc. The key is you have to like being involved and engaged in the communities. Everything else comes naturally IMO.

Atilio Rosas Estigarribia

Read, participate in forums and read

CRM MCC Question and Answer – Guido Preite

I knew it would happen but I have finally run out of CRM MVP’s willing to answer my questions.  Luckily I have lined up a future CRM MVP (in my opinion) Guide Preite who has earned at least two MCC awards.  We get some answers from the boot shaped Italy, where incidentally I went on my honeymoon but not with Guido 🙂

If you don’t know what an MCC award is, I shall let Microsoft explain

 You can also see Guido is 10th in the All time verified answer Leaderboard.  This is a list which features all the Dynamic products (NAV, AX, CRM, GP)
here is his Rockstar 365 highlights
guido

 

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

Guido Preite

Dynamics CRM Developer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/crmanswers

Blog: http://www.crmanswers.net

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/guidopreite

 

2.    What does an average day at work look like

Writing code, customer support, developing demo and internal tools.

 

3.    What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

Developer/Trainer/Consultant

 

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

I used to be a PHP/MySQL developer, but I always liked and used Microsoft languages (I started with QuickBasic 4.5)

 

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

CRM 4.0 – I use Dynamics CRM since 2010

 

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

It’s not easy because Dynamics CRM is a huge platform, I check often Twitter and I mark the interesting tweets as favorite so I can read them later.

 

7.    How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

I like to read the questions, I’m curious about the problems encountered in real CRM implementations, and if I can help, why not?

 

8.    What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

The obvious one: to use the product every day

 

9.    What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

“Change is always positive” is one of my mantras and I apply it to CRM as well. I like the new UI, but under the hood several things still need to be improved.

 

10.  What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

OOB read audit (who read what and when)

 

11.  Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

Labels fade if the text is too long, it’s very annoying for some customers

 

12.  You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

2.  http://niiranen.eu/crm/ Surviving CRM by MVP Jukka Niiranen

 

13.  What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

14.  Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

CRM Online projects are the majority. I think On Premise will still be relevant for several years.

 

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

Role Updater (it’s inside XrmToolbox)

 

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

CRM 2011: Customization & Configuration, Extending

CRM 2013: Customization & Configuration

 

I have a love-hate relationship with CRM certifications, currently I’m preparing CRM 2011 Applications.

 

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

Fundamental, a lack of analytical skills can easily screw up a project

 

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

I’m a developer so you can guess my angle, but I think a basic programming knowledge is a must-have for a Dynamics CRM Professional.

 

 

19.  What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

SQL Server, CWR Mobility, a bit of Sharepoint and NAV.

 

 

20.  How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

A few days a year, most to attend conferences or teach courses.

 

21.  Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

No, CRM is for end users, and we are all end users.

 

22.  What is favourite part of being a CRM MCC

The MCC star badge from Dynamics Community, who doesn’t like badges? 🙂

 

23.  What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I watch tons of TV Series (it’s a good way to improve my English) and I am a big fan of F.C. Internazionale

 

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

Book: “Unions” written by Robert Musil

Movie: “The Hunt” directed by Thomas Vinterberg

 

25.  Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

Sometimes 🙂 my wife is ready to go out and I reply to her “wait a sec, I need to reply to this question”

 

26.  Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM?
Never

 

27.  What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM

They see I’m passionate about CRM, it’s enough for them

 

28.  Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

The movie Chungking Express changed my life, I watched it more than 12 times

 

29.  Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Jim Wang (http://jianwang.blogspot.com)

 

30.  Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MCC

Often a question has been asked before: try to avoid link-only answers adding a brief introduction/explanation, it’s important to know also the cause, not only the solution.

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill Gates

 

Javascript or .NET

.NET

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Soft Drink

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

 

twerking or tweeting

tweeting

 

books or ebooks

ebooks

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

On Premise

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Mac

 

work from home or work from office

work from home

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

No thanks, I am European

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Amazon AutoRip

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Zero Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do Tomorrow

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Developer

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

How Weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

Half Empty

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Atilio Rosas Estigarribia

This week’s CRM MVP is from Barcelona (such a beautiful horizon) but he has recently transferred to Madrid and has to spend all weekend hiding in the hills on a mountain bike

Rockstar 365

HIGHLIGHTS

Atilio is number 1 in the world for the most number of SSIS projects completed

BIO FROM MVP

I am a software developer of Dynamics CRM from Barcelona (Spain) with over 8 years of experience. I have been a trainer and consultant for enterprise solutions for this tool. I started with Dynamics CRM 1.2 in Lima (Perú) where I fell in love with this tool. I worked in more projectS with different roles (developer, project manager, consultant, etc). I declare myself as a Geek and I am passionate about CRM and all the toolS that you can create with it. I have a CRM blog (in Spanish) and also collaborate in other blogs and forums

if you want to read any of the previous CRM MVP questions click the link https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/hosks-crm-mvp-qa/

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Name, current job title and social media links please

Atilio Rosas

Dynamics CRM Developer Leader

blog : www.dexrm.com

ln : http://es.linkedin.com/pub/atilio-rosas-estigarribia/14/86/405

twitter : @atili0

email : atilio.rosas.e@gmail.com

 

What does an average day at work look like

Meet with client, team, boss. Technical discussion with my team., presale.

 

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

Developer, consultant, Project Manager, architect.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

Developer in company who build web application. (asp/asp.net)

 

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

I started with CRM 1.2 and I still working with it (Actual version 2013)

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Reading the technical material, blogs, community etc. You can learn a lot in the community -Forums-

 

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

Early morning I read the forum. On the weekend I write my blog and try to contribute with the ComunidadCRM or when I have some free time in my work 😀 (but shu!! dont tell to my boss 😀 )

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Participate in the community, read forus (I always say that the forums will be the best place to learn) , share your knowledge and “nunca dejes de aprender

 

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

I said “wow new UI, is modern and practical. It was created for mobile app…. etc” But now this UI can be annoying and for typical PC it doesn’t work correctly

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

some like TFS..

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

UI, javascript editor

 

You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

Comunidad CRM (www.comunidadcrm.com is in Spanish)

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/

 

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

next year (2015) I hope

 

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

No, I have more project in On Pre. For the big company.. CRM OnLine is not a good idea.. i think that On Line is the good option for small and medium-sized companies

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

XrmToolbox, Ribbon Workbench

 

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

I have a CRM 4-2011 but I am studying for CRM 2013 cert now

 

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

For me is critical, first you have to know the business and then you can give them solutions for their problems. I think that for the client is important speak your language.

 

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

Is necessary know how we can integrate Dynamics with another tools. Or what we can do with Dynamics

 

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

Few years ago I participated in the project where we had to reinvent the wheel was a project that we had to migrate data with SSIS, but then, I read about Scribe!.. For me is important to know about tools for do our work more easier 😀

 

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Recently I changed job.. I tell you in two months 😀

 

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

No

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

This, share information with clear people and learn with them

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

cycling, hiking, cine, padel, futbol

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

El sueño de Celta – Mario Vargas Llosa (The dream of the celta)

Hobbit part 2

 

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

Yes, with my fiance. But she know about CRM and now she is not jealous

 

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

No never, they understand and support me

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I have born in LIma – Perú… and now I and living in Madrid (just I moved from Barcelona). I like soccer, hiking (I try to go to the mountain all weekend)

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

well.. I am a big fan of

Michael Höhne

But I learnt a lot with

Marco Amoedo

Daniel Sabater

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Read, participate in forums and read

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Steve Jobs

 

Javascript or .NET

JavaScript

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Wine

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

 

twerking or tweeting

tweeting

 

books or ebooks

books

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

On Premise

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Win 8

 

work from home or work from office

Work from home

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Vinyl

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Overflowing inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do today

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Dev for ever

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

hot

 

Half Full/Half Empty

depends

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Salim Adamon

As I slowly run out of CRM MVP’s we are off to Canada today and Salim Adamon who became a CRM MVP after using CRM for four years, speedy work sir.

 

if you want to read any of the previous CRM MVP questions click the link

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/hosks-crm-mvp-qa/

 

Big thanks to Salim for answering my questions

 

Name, current job title and social media links please

Salim Adamon

Senior Consultant, CRM Solution Architect

https://twitter.com/salimadamon

http://thedynamicscrmblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.linkedin.com/in/sadamon

 

What does an average day at work look like

I usually start by spending a few minutes with my hot chocolate checking out the tech industry and CRM world news.

 

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

I’ve had a lot of different roles as a CRM Consultant. I am a developer at heart, but I also love the client facing activities. I’sve worked as a developer, a business analyst, and these days I am mostly playing the role of solution architect. Love being a hybrid J

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I was a Software Developer, working on an email and data archiving platform. We used mostly Microsoft development tools and started to implement CRM internally.

 

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

Started with 4.0 back in 2008. The company I was working for at the time used it internally and was trying to sell it.

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Being an MVP helps, simply because you get access to a lot of material about the upcoming releases. There are a few blogs that I follow, and twitter is always a great resource using some of the CRM hashtags (#MSDYNCRM, #CRM2013)

 

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

I blog a lot because I love to share solutions and tricks based on my experience in the field with the product. I also spend a lot of time thinking about and testing technologies so when it’s related to CRM, it usually ends up on my blog.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

I think it’s extremely important to know the product well and to understand your clients’ needs. That’s key to be able to best see the gap between the requirements and the product and present all the options possible to build a solution.

 

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

I was feeling conflicted because I couldn’t see the left navigation pane! As I started playing around, I felt like CRM 2013 came in with a good set of new features to close the gap with some of the competition. It also brought some very innovative design and concepts which you always want to have.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Business process flows and updated forms! We get a LOT of great feedback about those from our clients. What I love the most about it is that it makes end users look at the application as more than just a tool to capture data. When build properly, a record’s form provides a full 360 view of where things are and how they got there.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

I don’t like the new navigation. Oh wait, I didn’t just say that J.

 

You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

http://garethtuckercrm.com/

 

 

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

Not going there J

 

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

It will never be all CRM online just because some businesses have too many rules and restrictions to go in the cloud. That being said, we are seeing a lot of enterprises moving to the cloud as they start to recognize the advantages in terms of infrastructure maintenance cost and risks limitation.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

I started using a tool called “CRM Solution Manager” (http://crmsolutionmanager.com/) a while ago. It’s a very nice utility and I find is a big time and productivity booster for developers. Directly from within Visual studio, you get the ability to register plugins and plugin steps, create, edit and update web resources, you get JavaScript intellisense and more! Great value for the price until Microsoft gives us a tool with similar capabilities.

 

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

CRM 4.0 Customizations and Configuration

CRM 2011 Customizations and Configuration

CRM 2011 Applications

CRM 2013 Deployment

 

I am personally not a huge fan of certifications. However the nature of our jobs forces us to stay up to date with them. I am planning to complete all the CRM 2013 exams in the coming months.

 

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

I think it really depends on your role in a project. If you are a business analyst, I think it’s important to have the ability to really understand the business of your clients in order to propose innovative solutions that best use the features of Dynamics CRM.

 

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

I don’t think it’s critical. If you have a good business acumen and can understand technical concepts (relation databases, web services etc), you will do just fine. In fact, having a programming background sometimes can make your thinking too technical when it should always start with the business aspect of things.

 

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (SharePoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

I’ve worked with CWR Mobility for a client that has strong mobile requirements. We actually had to have the company build a custom version for us which was a good experience. Like a lot of CRM people, I’ve done the classic SharePoint document management integration. I also just rolled off of a project where we have a fairly heavy use of SSIS & Kingways Software for data integration. I can name a few others like ADXStudio, Assistance PSA and AgileXRM.

 

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Not that much, most of the business that we get is local. When I have to travel, it’s usually between Montreal and Ottawa which is a two-hour drive.

 

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

Maybe in a few years I’ll try some Dynamics AX! I usually get bored when doing the same thing for a long period of time. But the nature of consulting is such that it’s OK to stick to one technology for a long time for a couple of reasons:

You always get to see different type of projects

The platform evolves so you are always learning

So we’ll see, I may find myself doing something completely different a few years from now, but I like it very much for now!

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

I’m a very new MVP so I haven’t been exposed to all the activities just yet. What I love is all the smart and talented people we are instantly connected to (MVPs, MS product group) and information we get access to.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I play basketball, watch a lot of sports. I also love to travel, my partner and I like to go on city discovery weekends when time allows, we get to see many places that are not very far from home and often offer a rich history and/or culture.

 

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

Book: Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Interesting read!

Film: I think it was American Hustle… Yes, I watch some of the blockbusters. Don’t judge me, it’s entertaining!

 

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

I am very grateful to have an understanding and supporting partner. In order to avoid troubles, I make sure I keep some dedicated time for her.

 

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

My partner is probably almost a CRM expert at this point. As for my family and friends, I try not to talk about my work around them. I like to take a mental break from what I do in my professional life when in a social setting.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I used to be a musician and DJ in another life! I kind of missed that!

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Probably my good friend and former colleague Gonzalo Ruiz!

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

It’s all about your contributions to the CRM communities online, in user groups etc. The key is you have to like being involved and engaged in the communities. Everything else comes naturally IMO.

 

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill Gates

 

Javascript or .NET

.NET

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

 

twerking or tweeting

 

books or ebooks

books

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

On Premise

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Windows 8

 

Work from home or work from office

Office

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

I’ll pass on both

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Subscribe – Zune-Music-Pass

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Overflowing Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do today

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Consultant

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

VERY Hot Weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

Half full

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Steven Foster

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

Biography
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

How do I make the SLA timers change colour?

ClickDimensions – Jazzing up the form with the code editor

 

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

 

Steven Foster

Dynamics CRM Product and Marketing Manager

https://twitter.com/FozzyNZ

http://rockstar365.com/fozzynz

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevefoster

http://nakedcrm.com  (blog)

 

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

Matthew Wittemann

 

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

 

Javascript or .NET

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

 

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

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

 

Congratulations new and renewed MVP’s

The 1st July will bring forward some renewed CRM MVP’s and some new ones.  Tanguy has just tweeted he is an MVP for another year and I don’t think anyone can argue it’s not deserved.  Jason Lattimer has also been renewed.  For some reason Microsoft don’t release a blog post with all the MVP’s on, so you usually find out via tweets and blog posts.

If you want to learn more about the MVP program click here but basically it’s an award given to people who have made a great contribution to the CRM community.  This blog also has some information.  Jukka has also reached level 2.  Also Dave Berry and Gustaf Westerlund were MVP’s renewed.  Well done everyone.

The Hosk was nominated (which was great) but alas was not successful this time but as a consolation I should get my Microsoft Community Contributor badge (MCC) sometime soon, this is awarded every six months to the top 5 members who have the most verified answers (208 verified answers for the Hosk) on the Microsoft Dynamics forum. Learn more about the Microsoft Community Contributor badge program.  It has been a very useful way to learn using CRM 2013 and understanding some of the common problems people have been experiencing.  I highly recommend getting on the forum and answering a few questions and sharing your knowledge.

A benefit of answering questions on the forum is you will also learn from other peoples answers and there have been many times someone has come up with a solution to a problem I hadn’t considered but is really useful.  CRM MVP’s also answer forum questions and it’s a great way to benefit from their experience and knowledge on areas of CRM you haven’t had a lot of exposure to.

Today I was answering a question on this forum post about Workflows and child records and CRM MVP Scott answered provided a link to a CRM 2011 codeplex solution I had never heard of, awesome.

Why was the Hosk nominated

The main reason is someone nominated me but this was hopefully because I have been creating good CRM content and contributing to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community.  An MVP award is not something that can be forced, it’s a by product of creating great content.  I view it as being called up by the your country’s football team, you focus on having a great season and doing well for you club (The mighty Ipswich Town) and then if you do really well you might get called up for the national team, which in this case is team CRM MVP.

I was looking at some of the stuff I have done so far this year and with CRM 2013 really kicking off I have learnt loads this year and my view is you learn a lot by doing things in CRM 2013 and you get a deeper knowledge by explaining functionality to other people in blog posts and youtube videos.

Created the Hosk CRM Dev Youtube channel

Although the channel was created to help people learn CRM development, I have been blown off course a bit but there is still some great videos on creating plugins and other CRM 2013 development.  Below are the useful playlists

CRM Development Foundation (6 videos)

CRM 2013 Plugins (5 Videos)

CRM 2013 – Workflows and Dialogs (3 Videos)

CRM 2013 JavaScript (2 Videos)

Hosk Dev Tips (3 videos)

CRM 2013 Quick Tips (2 videos)

 

Created and still working on the Guide to help people pass the MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and configuration certification (see all all the content below)

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/mb2-703-crm-2013-customization-and-configuration-certification/

 

Created the CRM MVP questionnaire and then emailed (numerous times) to the CRM MVP’s to beg for their participation, you can see all those Q&A’s on the link below

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/hosks-crm-mvp-qa/

 

Reviewed lots of CRM 2013 tools and created a useful list

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/hosks-microsoft-dynamic-crm-development/crm-2013-tools/

 

I also created my first tool on Codeplex – Hosk’s CRM 2013 Guid Getter

https://hoskscrm2013guidgetter.codeplex.com/

I had always wanted to create a tool to get the guid for records, so I’m glad I finally got round to creating it.  It was also interesting because it was the first time I had really used the CRM 2013 Ribbon workbench is a fantastic tool.

 

I’m not going to go through all the blog posts because there is too many.

I also tweet a lot of great CRM articles @BenHosk if are interested in, although the best articles are put into the my Friday Top picks blog post.

 

Keep on keeping on

So I will just have to get going and creating even better CRM 2013 content for the second half of the year and then hope that someone nominates me 🙂 , I will just place the link below to save you going to find it.  Of course only if you think the Hosk is worthy of a nomination.

https://mvp.microsoft.com/private/nomination/nominateanmvp

The good news for me they consider your contribution for a whole year, so I will be added to all the content I have created above and hope to make a more compelling argument for the award.  My plan is to keep getting nominated until they finally give in.

 Don’t forget CRM MVP Q&A

I would like to remind the new CRM MVP’s to please fill out my CRM MVP Q&A if you have time.  Luckily for me the newly created CRM MVP’s are often great at responding and answering the questions

 

Once again congratulations all the CRM MVP’s created and renewed today, I’m very glad you are creating lots of great stuff for the CRM community.

 

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Matt Wittemann

Today’s CRM MVP is the Reverend Matt Wittemann, he is a deeply religious man and his religion is Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Matt is based in the USA, I like to keep people informed of the location of the CRM MVP’s, just in case there is a CRM emergency and you need to contact your nearest CRM MVP.

The reason for my waffling on about religion is because Matt is the author of the book Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible and here is a good review from fellow CRM MVP Leon Tribe

Matt has been using Microsoft CRM since version 1.2!

 

Matt Wittemann is a 9 times CRM MVP, here is his MVP Biography

Mr. Wittemann is an nine-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for Dynamics CRM and the author of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible (Wiley, 2011). As a Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of North Carolina (Charlotte), Mr. Wittemann began his career as a web technologist with a focus on digital marketing and corporate communications. He has been working with Microsoft CRM since 2003 as a solution architect, developer, consultant and practice leader. In 2005 Microsoft recognized one of his first CRM projects with a national award for solution excellence, and in 2006 he received his first MVP award, primarily for his widely-read blog and contributions to the nascent Microsoft CRM community. Since that time his writings on CRM have been published in numerous periodicals and websites, and he has spoken internationally about using Dynamics CRM to support effective marketing processes. As the Chief Customer Officer at ClickDimensions, Mr. Wittemann oversees the customer and operations teams with responsibility for ensuring customer success from onboarding through training, certification, product planning, community development, and technical support.

Also looking at his CRM MVP page you can see he has some talks coming up this year

Recent activities

 

Thanks for Matt 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

 

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Name, current job title and social media links please

Matt Wittemann, Chief Customer Officer, ClickDimensions

@mattnc

Blog: http://blog.clickdimensions.com

http://mvp.microsoft.com/en-us/mvp/Matt%20Wittemann-33756

 

What does an average day at work look like

At ClickDimensions, I get to do all the things I have always loved about working with Microsoft CRM. I oversee customer onboarding, training, technical support, our certification program and a number of other projects and responsibilities. So a typical day is spent talking to customers and partners helping them understand how to use CRM and ClickDimensions to achieve their marketing automation goals, troubleshooting technical issues, helping to design and test new features, writing blog articles and product documentation, answering community posts on our forums, delivering administrator training, and more. It really varies from day to day, but is always challenging and interested. The best part of my job is that I learn new things every day, even after working with Microsoft CRM for 11 years.

 

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

I have been a CRM and web technologies consultant, a Solution Architect, then a Director of a CRM Practice, a short stint as a Chief Operating Officer, and now the best title yet: Chief Customer Officer. My roles have included everything from CRM implementation, solution architecture, pre-sales engineering, technical support, developer, trainer, business analyst, project manager and team leader, integration specialist, author, speaker… Sheesh, there’ve been a lot!

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I started off as a web developer and designer. When Microsoft introduced CRM back in 2003, it was their first web-based, fully .NET business application. My existing customers had a need for something like that, and since it was a web-based technology, it was a natural progression to working with CRM full-time.

 

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

My first paid implementation of CRM was with version 1.2, eleven years ago.

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I read constantly and always play around with different scenarios in test environments and usually have 4 or 5 trials of CRM Online going at any one time. I like to learn hands on, and when I hear someone in the CRM community has a specific challenge, it’s always fun to see if I can figure out a way to solve it. I also follow a lot of great people on Twitter, which is a great way to get links to the most relevant new articles and stay on top of developments in the CRM world.

 

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

That’s always a challenge, but in the years since I’ve started working with CRM, the community has grown up and there are lots of channels where I can participate. I really enjoy when I have a chance to participate in a CRMUG or eXtremeCRM conference and present or take part in a panel discussion. It’s just become part of my daily routine to write, tweet, blog, and more. Of course, there are some times when there are too many plates spinning, so it’s hard to stay involved at the same high level with the community, but when my schedule allows, I always jump at the opportunity.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

My advice is to be committed to continuing to learn. The technology we work with is endless, and the ways that businesses use it is similarly infinite. Find the things that excite your interest and start there. The best CRM professionals are the ones who are passionate about what they do and always learning how to do it better, whether that is a technical role like a developer, or a business-focused role like an analyst or consultant.

 

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

My first impression was that the single-page app design was very attractive but also a big change. I like the emphasis on process in the UI, but honestly I still prefer 2011’s navigation. I may be an exception in that my work is not restricted to one area of CRM or even a small group of processes, so I tend to be all over the application and like to have several windows open with different parts of CRM quickly available to me, so the single-page app design is not a great fit for how I work.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Sticky navigation. If I navigate to an area deep in the Settings for example, it would be great to have a breadcrumb type navigation to show me where I am, and make it easier to get to adjacent parts of the application without having to go back to a higher-level of navigation. (There are some nice solutions on codeplex for this, by the way!)

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The back button in the browser, or the “save and close” doesn’t always take you back predictably to the last thing you were working on. But I’m sure the CRM team will continue to iron out the wrinkles – 2013 was a huge change, so it will get better over time.

 

You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog – Of course this was going to be my first choice!

It’s hard to pick a favorite. Jukka Niraanen’s “Surviving CRM” of course has emerged over the last couple of years as a great source, but there is also the Tip of the Day, and the Microsoft Premier Field Engineering (PFE) team has a great blog called “CRM In the Field” with tons of informative technical content.

 

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

One year after Salesforce finally gets acquired by Oracle.

 

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

We are seeing a greater percentage of our customers opting for CRM Online. Online has definitely continued to grow in proportion to on-premise. However, I think it will be ten years before the technology addresses all the needs that on-premise can address. They are not just technical needs – mostly they are business, regulatory and integration needs that keep customers in on-premise scenarios. But eventually the cloud will answer those concerns as well.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

I’m guessing I’m not supposed to tout ClickDimensions here, right? Of course I love our solution, and use it every day. My favorite part is our GoToWebinar integration which makes my life easier in tracking and following up with people who have gone through our training academy.

 

As far as another solution that is my favorite, I’d have to say that I really like what the guys at North52 are doing. I wish their solution had been available on CRM projects I was doing 5 or 6 or 10 years ago – would have made my life a lot easier!

 

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

I have had many of the CRM certifications at one time or another: Applications, Installation & Configuration, Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations, Customizations, etc. I try to keep at least one or two of them current – but I’m a little behind right now!

 

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

I think it is critical to have good BA skills. A good BA tries to understand what value a business hopes to achieve from implementing a technological solution. Whether you are an architect, developer, support engineer, or consultant, if you can’t connect what you are doing to the business’s idea of value, then it doesn’t matter how brilliant your work is. At the end of the day, it is all about driving value to the business.

 

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

Developers are essential, and the more familiar they are with the CRM SDK and the application, the better. But for me, I’ve always been just a hacker when it comes to programming. It has been more important in my career to understand coding and how it works and plugs into the overall solution, than to actually be able to write all the code myself. Of course, it’s always fun when I have the chance to do that!

 

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

I’ve worked with all of these technologies over my career. That’s one of the best things about CRM, and one of the most challenging. We need to understand and be able to work with a very deep stack of technology, from Windows Server, to IIS, the .NET framework, SQL Server, Active Directory, firewalls, even Excel and Outlook. I was fortunate to spend several years early in my career working for a company that did managed network services and I learned my way around all of those technologies pretty well. That proved to be invaluable in my CRM work, where I did early SharePoint integrations, used Scribe for integration and migration work, and am always in SQL Management Studio.

 

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

I used to travel a lot more when I was a consultant and implementer. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home now in Charlotte, North Carolina, and visit our Atlanta headquarters a couple of times per month. Now I can enjoy traveling to Convergence, CRMUG Summit, eXtremeCRM, or the MVP Summit more since I’m not on the road for work all the time.

 

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

It’s hard to imagine, but I recognize that the technology world does not stand still. The applications that businesses used in the ‘90s have largely vanished, and perhaps that will happen someday with CRM. But maybe I will be retired before then!

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

The best part is the camaraderie with the other MVPs. When I first became an MVP there were only a handful for CRM, and now there are dozens from all over the world whom I have the privilege of calling my friends. Since we all do similar work, we face the same challenges and experience similar triumphs, so there is an immediate rapport amongst the group that I haven’t experienced elsewhere.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I think I have heard this word “hobby” before. Is that something like golf or knitting? Maybe I will have to do some research J

 

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

Reamde by Neal Stephenson. (Yes, that’s the right spelling. Neal Stephenson is incredible! You have to check out Cryptonomicon and Anathem, two of his best books).

 

I watch a lot of movies, but I’ve really been enjoying watching the History channel show “Vikings”. I think I have a lot in common with Ragnar.

 

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

That’s a great question! Yes, I would definitely say that the long hours and travel have at times been, er, problematic. But I’m fortunate to have a very patient wife and kids.

 

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM?
Well, the friends that have stuck with me over the last eleven years are probably used to it by now, or they have learned to tune me out.

 

What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
They think CRM is boring, but it has put food on the table for a decade, so I think they are grateful that I do this “boring” work! J

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

My university degree is in Art History. This has obviously been very useful to me as a CRM professional!

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

John O’Donnell (who’s now a technology evangelist at Microsoft) and Matt Parks were the two CRM MVPs I read and interacted with online before becoming an MVP myself. They’re kind of the grandfathers of the CRM MVP community, or maybe the uncles J

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Share what you learn and help people solve problems while being passionate about your work. That’s not only a great prescription for becoming an MVP, it’s a great way to have a happy and rewarding career.

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Gotta be Gates

Javascript or .NET

JScript

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Yes please

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

Tweeting. I’m not even sure what that other one is.

books or ebooks

Books

save or autosave

Save

OnLine or On Premise

Onpremise

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Win8

work from home or work from office

Home

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Absolutely neither

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Subscribe

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Overflowing

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Hot

Half Full/Half Empty

Half Empty