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

 

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

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Adam Vero

This week we have another of the new CRM MVP’s and today it’s Adam Vero from the UK.

Adam Vero has given himself the grand title of CRM Master and he has a blog called CRM Guru, so it’s good that Adam is CRM MVP and has the knowledge to back up his titles.

here is Adam’s explanation

Why CRM “guru”?

There are various definitions of the term”guru”. The common themes are that a guru should be a teacherone who imparts wisdom and knowledge to others, or in some cases a leader as well. One possible etymology is that a guru is “one who dispels the darkness of ignorance”. Through the articles in this blog I certainly hope to use the experiences I have gained as a Dynamics CRM consultant and trainer to enlighten others, and to shed some light on features available and best practices of using the software to get the most out of it.

I am certainly not using the term “guru” to claim that I am the greatest expert on the subject (that is for others to judge), but that I intend to use my knowledge to help others, just as I have learned so much from those who have done things before me.

 

I did say to Adam I was jealous of his title and I wanted a simliar title for myself but Adam like the great teacher he is informed me I already have a grand title

The Hosk

and that ladies and gentlemen is why Adam is the CRM Master (of the universe)

Adam has contributed more comments on my blog then any other person and his comments I usually find very insightful because it’s usually pointing out something I have got wrong or adding some additional information.  Sometimes the hole’s in my blog post can force Adam to write whole blog posts on stuff I missed.

like this excellent blog post, which is a classic example of a CRM MVP doing a deep dive on a subject

Why use access teams in dynamics CRM 2013

talking of Adam’s blog he recently wrote another really useful one

Workflow OR conditions in CRM 2013 SP1

 

An interesting fact about Adam is he helped write some of the excellent MOC material for CRM, so when you are studying for the CRM 2013 certifications, remember to thank Adam for writing excellent documentation and then curse him for making it so long.

Adam organizes the UK CRM User Group (CRMUG) meetings!

here is some Rockstar 365 highlightsadam1

 

Thanks for Adam 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

Adam Vero

Owner of Meteor IT and co-founder of CRM Masters

http://blog.crmguru.co.uk/

http://twitter.com/AdamVero

http://linkedin.com/in/AdamVero

http://rockstar365.com/AdamVero

 

What does an average day at work look like

It can vary a lot, from on-site meetings for discovery and business analysis, to working remotely on customer systems to customise and build out their CRM environment. I spend some time writing training materials, and other days I will be in the classroom delivering Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) courses for learning partners as an MCT.

 

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

Consultant, trainer, project lead, depending in the project and the requirement – often all three at once.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I’ve been in IT for 20 years: teaching school-age kids, programming (we didn’t call it development in those days!), technical sales and service delivery for blue chip customers, systems administration and IT management for a large law firm.

Along the way I picked up various skills around process re-engineering and specification of software to manage these processes, which later I came to fall back on when I started working with CRM.

As an IT manager and later in my consultancy practice, I worked on many projects involving substantial change management and user training, especially during company mergers (always a political minefield). This has helped me to figure out how to ask the right questions and propose pragmatic, workable solutions using CRM that users can easily and willingly adopt.

 

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, about 6 years ago now, when it was just out. My first project was for 120 users across marketing, sales and service, so a pretty complex system with lots of ongoing incremental changes to rollout over the best part of a year – talk about being in at the deep end!

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

With difficulty, given the rapid pace of changes and new releases. I have over 70 blogs in my Outlook RSS feed, which I try to keep on top of using saved searches to show me the most recent, unread posts only. This is also useful as an offline archive so I can easily search for something I know I have skim read once before, when I get to a situation where I need it.

I try to travel by train when I can and this gives me a chance to catch up again, but usually leads to me opening loads of links to further reading.

Twitter is great for pointing to even more stuff to read. When I have fewer deadlines to meet, I can spend as much as 10% of my time reading up on new features or neat ways to “out think” CRM to achieve interesting results.

 

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

I’ve always given back to the community in different roles – in the past I have done loads of stuff with Windows security, active directory and group policy and was active in that arena, I am a MS Office Master Instructor and spend a lot of time in the Office forums too.

In particular in my early days with CRM I could not have dealt with some of the challenges I had without other people’s efforts in forums, blogs and other ways of sharing information. That stuff meant I could do the job and at least get to go home on time sometimes. So now I make a point of trying to do the same to give something back.

Luckily as my own boss, I get to call the shots and spend time online, as well as organising the UK CRM User Group (CRMUG) meetings, which run as whole day events, three times a year now.

 

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

Choose a path that plays to your strengths. If you are a people person, look at the business analysis and functional consulting end of the spectrum, if more technical then maybe you want to spend more time installing, customising or supporting. And of course if you have a beard and sandals then stick to writing code.

 

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

“This will really upset some of my customers” – it’s a lot of change to take in all at once. I do lots of migrations and people were just getting nicely used to CRM, to the point where they would not want to go back to their old systems (in a “Daz doorstep challenge” kind of way), then they had to start all over again.

I still think this is the case, but there are lots of compelling reasons to upgrade (for me, Quick View forms alone is a huge one). For new customers this is much less of an issue, and I think the learning curve is possibly slightly less than for 2011. This assumes you have built a well thought-out system – including customising the SiteMap to optimise where things are, and maybe reached for Ribbon WorkBench to prioritise the buttons shown in the Command Bar for some entities.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Off the top of my head, either field level security for at least some system fields, or the ability to customise the behaviour of composite address fields (for example to include custom option set fields or lookups that are often used to replace things like country and state).

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The big change of emphasis to how Leads are used, how Leads are qualified (and the lack of control and customisability of that process), and the fact that there is a strong shift towards B2B scenarios.

 

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

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

Probably Jukka’s Surviving CRM at http://www.niiranen.eu/crm/ for all round range and depth of topics.

 

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

I don’t know, and genuinely don’t care. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dynamics CRM, but in a growing market I think Microsoft should be more focused on growing the customer base by delivering a quality product so that the vibrant ecosystem of partners and ISVs can deliver great end-user experiences, and not looking over at what “the other guy” is doing all the time.

 

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

I’ve been doing a mix of online and on-premises over the last few years. I think there is a shift to online for some new customers, but many conversations I have are with people that for one reason or another just won’t move into the cloud. The lack of control of the ever faster release cadence and the need to constantly test, retest and retrain users is usually the biggest perception problem.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

I probably could not do my job without http://XRMToolbox.codeplex.com/ – I can do things that would otherwise take way too much time and effort, and in budget conscious projects would probably therefore get pushed out of scope. There are so many great tools in there it’s probably cheating though, like claiming a Swiss Army knife or Leatherman as you favourite “single” tool.

 

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

I passed exams for CRM 4.0, then 2011 and now have two of the core three for 2013 under my belt. For me it is a way to validate my own skills to make sure that when I sit in front of a client and propose a particular solution I am comfortable it is the right way to go.

I have to stay current because as an MCT I can only teach Dynamics MOC courses for which I have passed the related exam (there is a grace period of six months after each exam comes out where prior versions count).

Preparing to train people I find is always a good way to learn a subject thoroughly. Last year I was lucky enough to be the lead author on the Customisation course for 2013 which was a great way to force me to really get to grips with the new release and investigate how features worked which at that point were not even fully documented (although the Implementation Guide now has some great topics from a customisation point of view).

 

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

Very important. Even if you are not involved directly in the customer-facing, discovery part of a project, I think you need to be able to understand the business drivers behind a set of requirements. This may help you to propose a more practical way to achieve an objective, or at least to understand why that pesky functional consultant has requested that you customise or develop something in a particular way. Equally you may be able to ask the one question that makes a big difference in the approach you take, and avoids you developing down a blind alley that later need a complete redesign to take into account a change of direction that you might have been able to anticipate.

 

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

It depends on the role.

As a lead consultant I have often worked closely with developers, although I don’t write code myself. I can usually ask them the right questions, and equally answer theirs to get the best out of what they can bring to a project. I try to encourage dialogue to avoid them simply developing whatever I first suggested – if they can see a roadblock, or suggest a different angle, I want to understand their reasoning and work out the best approach. So I find it useful to at least understand some of the limitations they are working with, and know in advance what I think is feasible and what will be inherently difficult or complex, even though I can’t actually do what they do.

I also find that having done some programming in my dim and distant past (as a hobby, then as a job), the discipline of breaking something down into small logical parts and building them back together to a whole solution is a useful skill in analytical thinking. I often find the edge case or corner case in a scenario to ask the customer “so what do you do if this comes up…” because I am thinking about all the logical paths in a process and see the gaps in what they have defined, just like learning to trap errors.

In other roles, I am sure you could be a great business analyst, or trainer without knowing any of this dirty “code” stuff, as long as you have someone on the team to broker that conversation.

 

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

I spend a chunk of my career in systems admin, so had to look after Windows, Exchange, SQL and so on, as well as network infrastructure. Of course, this knowledge gets out of date as new versions come along, but again, as with programming, it allows me to ask the right questions of the right people when I need to, and to understand their answers (and questions) too. This kind of background helps with things like ADFS / IFD since there is so much reliance on basics like certificates, split DNS, and so on, whereas someone coming from a DBA or development background may struggle more with this.

I wish I had more in-depth knowledge of SQL server to be able to do a better job of optimising performance for high-volume environments, but there is only so much time to become expert in so many things.

 

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

Every month, but not every week.

 

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

I guess “never say never”, but right now I see no reason to want to move away. I like the variety it brings, since every customer’s business is different and every project is a fresh start, but using familiar pieces.

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Knowing that I will get a chance to voice my customers’ feedback directly to the product team, and hopefully getting a slightly longer lead time on seeing new features coming down the line to get up to speed ready to use them in the next project, or be able to write training materials to help others keep up with the release cycles too.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I like to cook, and I do a bit of home improvement here and there, but with two young kids they keep me busy enough.

 

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

I’m currently reading “:59 Seconds” by Richard Wiseman, and last week took the kids to see the Lego Movie.

 

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

Not CRM itself, but when project deadlines approach and the hours spent on final snagging lists go up, this can inevitably put a strain on others in the house.

 

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

No, I realise that most of my friends and family are not in the slightest bit interested. My wife is very generous at letting me talk at her sometimes if it will help me figure out the answer to a problem.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I came 8th in the Cub Scouts district chess championship when I was 8. I was really pleased because reaching the quarter finals that meant I got a certificate, which I still have to this day. Maybe this set me on the path of wanting to validate my skills and get certificates for it. (By the way, I am not a very good chess player, and much prefer backgammon.)

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Probably Richard Knudson is the first I remember avidly following, and I learned a great deal of what I know about Workflows from his DynamicsCRMTrickbag blog.

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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.

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill

Javascript or .NET

Javascript

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Firefox

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Real Ale

Certifications or Use CRM

Both

twerking or tweeting

Tweeting (in Yorkshire, t’werking is what you do at t’office)

books or ebooks

ebooks

save or autosave

Autosave

OnLine or On Premise

On Pemise

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

7

work from home or work from office

Home

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

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CRM MVP Question and Answer – Donna Edwards

Today’s CRM MVP is one I have been nagging to answer my questions for quite a while and finally she has relented, HAZAAR.  So this week’s CRM MVP is Donna Edwards from America.

I have greatly appreciated and personally benefited from all the great work Donna has done in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community with all the great content she has created and shared. I have sometimes been certain that Donna must have been twins or maybe triplets with the amount of content she has created but as the CRM community is often heard singing

“there’s only one Donna Edwards, one Donna Edwards, there’s only one Donna Edwards”.

That was a topical football joke.

Donna has used Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 1.2 and according to her CRM MVP Biography Donna can work in all 37 CRM positions, although for big projects I would recommend you hire a whole team and not just Donna.

Donna is one of the many CRM MVP’s who got together to write the excellent CRM Field Guide, which is not a book about fields, Meadows and taking long walks next to babbling brooks but actually a book about the good practices CRM MVP’s have for all aspects of CRM.

Donna Edwards has been awarded the MVP award for 6 years since the year 2009.

During convergence 2014 many people reported a whirlwind called Donna blew through the conference spinning people a full 360 so they weren’t quite sure what happened.  During convergence 2014 Donna kept all those who couldn’t make it up to date with some great tweets and tweet pics which at one point almost brought down twitter.

Donna is one of the fastest CRM tweeters in the world with a top speed of 5 CRM tweets per minute beating her CRM MVP rival Mark “nzCRMguy” Smith.  I would definitely recommend following on Donna and Mark on CRM if you want to keep up with the latest CRM news (I surely don’t have to say you should follow me, do I? ok just in case @BenHosk).

 

Donna has 10 CRM certifications, including 4 CRM 2013 certs.

Here are the highlights from the excellent Rockstar 365

 

donna edwards 0

donna edwards 1

I did find some interesting nuggets of information on her Amazon biography, Donna is a Granny, Staffordshire Terrier owning Golf player

Donna Edwards was born in Dayton, Ohio. She was born into a Catholic family in the mid 1950’s and has three brothers and two sisters. Donna spent her formative years in Ohio with her family and later moved to southern California where she spent a few years in Los Angeles and the next 30 years in San Diego county (primarily in the Encinitas / Carlsbad area). Donna currently lives in the Carolinas. She has three children and two grandchildren.

In her personal life, Donna enjoys spending time with family, friends, her three Staffordshire Terriers, playing golf, enjoying the waterways of the Carolinas, staying current on technology, and giving back.

 

Donna has a youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/edwardsdna

Once a month she bullies/persuades some CRM MVP’s to get together for one hour to discuss CRM.  This are very good and recommend you tune in.

The last one was about CRM 2013 SP1

 

 

Thanks for Donna 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

Donna Edwards, Architect, Hitachi Solutions America http://us.hitachi-solutions.com/

Blog 

 Twitter 

LinkedIn 

Microsoft CRM MVP 

Rockstar 365

 

What does an average day at work look like

This year I’ve been working as the Functional Lead for an international, enterprise level project.  That role includes discovery, design, configuration, prototyping, mentoring and more.  Basically, whatever needs to be done with the exception of code writing and data migration.

 

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

Just about everything with the exception of developer.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I was a Software Release Manager for a Public Safety Software Development company.

 

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

I deployed CRM 1.2.  I think I was one of the few who took the application certification exam as well.  Those of us who came from that era definitely have some war stories J

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

With the new rapid cadence, Microsoft is definitely keeping us on our toes.  I participate in TAP programs, watch training videos, try to play with the application as time permits and help people in the forums and on facebook.  The time I spend helping others also helps me because I often have to research or confirm answers before I provide them.

 

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

If I went looking for time I wouldn’t find it.  I have to make time.  The primary thing that helps me make time is the people I interact with.  Yes, there are always a few who just want to grouse and they can be a drain but 99.9% of the people appreciate the help provided.  I enjoy interacting with the community and sharing knowledge.  I’ve met a lot of good people through the interactions and that makes the time spent well worth it.

 

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

Ensure you enjoy working with people.  The CRM product is all about people.  It’s about helping companies understand and interact with their customer and staff.  If you enjoy working with people and software then you will most likely be successful.  The rest is training and that is the easy part.

 

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

When initially comparing 2011 and 2013 I immediately noticed the dated look of 2011.  Having said that, I was concerned about the navigation changes but I also understood why they were necessary and confident that Microsoft would address any significant issues reported by the community.  In general, I was quite excited because I saw this as a new platform that was going to undergo rapid development as Microsoft moved into its new deployment strategy.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Drive configuration control into the hands of the individual user.  By that I mean, give users the ability to make more decisions about what they see in the application and how they consume it.  Let users decide what and when to sync through Outlook, form layout, navigation and more.  Of course, all of that being done within the current context of user security to ensure they don’t have access to information they should not and any action they take does not compromise the system.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

Losing focus on the Ribbon when scrolling right.  The good news is that I believe that is addressed in SP1 J

 

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

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community – because it is a feed for multiple blogs

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/default.aspx

 

 

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

With the recent news, maybe we should be asking what year will Dynamics CRM & Salesforce become one application.  Imagine the market dominance that paradigm offers.

 

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

I do believe the shift is online.  I still work primarily in OnPremise since most of my projects are enterprise at this time.  However, almost all projects include Office 365 which I find an interesting trend.  That tells me that the move to Online is well underway and established.  With recent changes to Dynamics CRM online offering like the ability to have a Sandbox environment, asynchronous scaling, etc., we’re going to see more enterprise clients making the shift.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 😉  In all honesty, I’ve used a lot of good solutions, too many to mention.  Each has a purpose and within that purpose, they are all stellar.

 

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

I do work hard to stay current with certifications and have all of my Dynamics CRM 2013 certifications to include several 2011, a few CRM 3 and one CRM 1.2.

 

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

It’s a business application so one has to understand the language of business which include the ability to analyze information.  If you are a problem solver who possesses the ability to solve short term issues with an eye for the future, then you should do quite well working with the product.

 

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

It is good to understand programming.  Dynamics CRM is an extensible application so one should be able to understand those capabilities in addition to understanding what is available out-of-the-box.  The product and clients are well served by people who are able to understand, consume and leverage the right combination of product features for any given project.

 

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

I’ve had some degree of experience with most software systems integration to include the ones mentioned above as well as Experlogix, Click Dimensions, Dynamics Marketing, Dynamics Social Listening, Parature, Great Plains, Dynamics AX…….

 

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

One of the reasons I joined Hitachi Solutions is because they work to keep travel to less than 50%.  That helps me to maintain the balance I need to keep my life in some semblance of order.

 

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

Not unless one of the ideas I have launches and turns into a million dollar enterprise.  If that happens, then I’ll be a customer of Dynamics CRM so either way, I’m all in.

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

For me, it’s all about community.  When I began my CRM career with version 1.2 there was no community.  I struggled to get my hands on documentation.  There were no user groups, no Facebook pages, there was little to nothing.  The online Dynamics CRM community did not exist.  The desire to have and share information with others who were not connected became the motivating factor for getting involved with the Dynamics community  The MVP award came as a result of that work.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

Family, friends, my three Staffordshire Terriers, ocean, lakes and waterways, rafting, sometimes golf and spending time outdoors.

 

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

I’m an avid movie watcher so I’ve watched just about everything with the exception of horror flicks.  The Art of Happiness by Dalia Lama, Choice Theory by M.D. Glasser William ( I read them at the same time by switched back and forth)

 

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

No, I try to keep work / personal life balance.

 

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

No, they understand and are supportive.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I left school in the 9th grade, completed some self-study and later went on to pursue and complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology.

 

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Both great innovators and have made an impact on the world.  Based on that, I can’t choose.

 

Javascript or .NET

.Net

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Water, Tea, Coffee

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use

 

twerking or tweeting

I like a little twerk in the tweet

 

books or ebooks

ebooks

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

OnLine

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Win 8

 

work from home or work from office

Home

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Cyrus plant

 

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