CRM MVP Question and Answer – Dave Berry

This week’s CRM MVP who comes under the ice cool stare of the Hosk whilst I shine a bright desk lamp right into his eyes is Dave “Chuck” Berry also known as “The Berry” or “D Berry”

Berry is a slippery customer and he used classic question avoidance tactics, getting the answer out of Dave was like trying to nail jelly or herd cats, tricky but fun like trying to herd cats with jelly.

The D Berry shot to fame in his early CRM career with the popular JavaScript grid editor but it was too much too soon.  The story goes that his Mentor Boris Cheesewater one day found Dave crying, he asked what was the matter and the 21 year old Dave Berry said he was viewing items in a grid in CRM 4 but he couldn’t edit them, it’s not fair, why does Bill Gates stand for this.

Boris told him to leave it and accept the CRM 4 grid limitation but Dave wouldn’t, he couldn’t and he worked day and night until he had created an editable JavasScript grid in CRM 4.

The accolades bestowed on Berry soon made him believe the hype and he would then be heard making outrageous comments like

“Don’t tell me about CRM, I am CRM”

“why would anyone need more than 8 tabs on a form”

Dave then took time out from blogging, creating editable Javascript grids for CRM 4, and indeed you can’t even find a link to the JavaScript editable grid.  Dischanted with CRM life, The Berry purposely got himself arrested and sent to a prison in Bhutanese.  Then in 2014 he decided the time was right for a comeback and exploded into Convergence 2014

]

CRM MVP Tanguy Toulard was heard to say

“it was like there was 10 Dave Berry’s, he was a blur of CRM energy”

You can read about Dave’s poor excuses for not updating his blog or creating any editable JavasScript Grids recently

http://crmentropy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/im-not-dead-yet.html

 

if you want hear Dave Berry in action, just watch him go in the MVP panel chat.  Unfortunately his joke about the MVP t shirt flew right over the heads of the other CRM MVPS, I did for the record chortle

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 MVP Panel Chat – YouTube

When asked how big he felt Microsoft Dynamics CRM could get, Dave gave estimated this much

 

The Berry has had four MVP awards, if he keeps this up he will have an MVP tower.

berry rockstar

Dave’s MVP biography is a good one

About David Berry

My experience with programming started at the age of 12, and has spanned many languages (mostly object-oriented ones).  Dynamics CRM welcomed me with open arms, and has been an engaging platform for me.  My first experience started with version 3.0 back in 2006, and continues today.  I remain active in the Dynamics CRM community as a leader in the developer category.

I’m honored to have received four consecutive MVP Awards from Microsoft, and welcomed among the many whom I respect and admire.  My goal is to continue advancing my knowledge, experience, and technical aptitude for all things CRM.

I have worked for many companies in many capacities, ranging from commercial router and internet support, to developing utilities and tools to increase productivity and efficiency over previous systems with dramatic results.  My experience has given me keen insight into the users of computers in the workplace, system administration and security practices, and practical, embedded (environment, not system) development.  Currently, I work for Avtex, as a Senior Developer in their Dynamics CRM practice.

On his Google Plus profile he stats he has these bragging rights

Bragging rights
4-time Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVP; Programmer; Stud-muffin

 

I would like to say thanks to Dave for his interesting and funny answers to the Hosk’s  questions and I apologise for my rather random introduction which is completely made up, except for the fact Dave did make the fantastic editable JavaScript grid for CRM 4.

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A

 

DAVE BERRY’S ANSWERS

Name, current job title and social media links please

Dave Berry

Senior Developer, Dynamics CRM

crmentropy.blogspot.com

twitter.com/crmentropy

linkedin.com/in/6ix4our/

google.com/+DaveBerryForPresident

 

What does an average day at work look like

programming

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

Senior Developer

Senior Consultant

Developer and Consultant

Systems Developer

The Guy that Makes It All Work

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I done did systems administration (I.T.), support (Helpdesk), and networking (ISP).

 

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

Microsoft CRM 3.0, thankfully.  If I had met 1.2, I think I might have ran in horror.  Can’t use it much, though, too busy trying to make it work for everyone else.  Next question!

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Microsoft Update, which you have to enable separately from Windows Update.  A lot of people don’t get that.  Otherwise, you have to go get all the updates yourself.

 

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

See, when I first started with Dynamics CRM, I was in I.T., and when things work smoothly, the phones are quiet enough to go get into the MSDN forums, or write a blog post.  As a developer now, I never really have an opportunity to contribute while I work.  It all ends up being in my “spare” time.

 

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

RTFM

 

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

My first impression:

 

My current impression:

berry crm

It’s easy to gloss over a lot of the UI changes and forget that even more of the raw improvements to the application happened under the hood, and at layers even more deep than their APIs expose.  At first, it looked to me like Dynamics CRM 2011 got a face-lift and a “refreshed” price tag.

Knowing what I do now, about flattened SQL tables, custom Actions, and the concept of “responsive design”, I understand Dynamics CRM 2013 a lot more clearly, and appreciate it even more than every previous version–despite some of the ‘quirks’ that originally discouraged me.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

It’s not about what I can add; it’s about what I can take away.  When Michelangelo completed “David”, he was anecdotally asked, “How did you do it?”  He replied, paraphrased, “Simple: I removed everything that wasn’t David.”

I want a version of Dynamics CRM where I can uninstall all of the Sales, Service, Marketing modules and behaviors that come out-of-the-box.  I want XRM boiled down to its base components, and everything Microsoft provides built upon an API that allows me to reject their framework and build my own, if I so choose.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The use of Iframes as containers for Web Resources.  It constrains the custom inline controls that I like to make, and it artificially expands the number of resources that are loaded (stylesheets, javascript, etc).  I’m not saying Iframes are useless.  I just don’t want to replace a whole section on a form when I really just want one or two custom controls on it (that do things like fly-out).

 

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

1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

2.  Dynamics CRM in the Field

 

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

Crap!  That wasn’t a “yes” or “no” question!  I think you broke my only link to the future!

8 ball

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

There will always be verticals for On-Premise, I suspect.  I won’t comment on the customers I work with, but I will say that I’ve personally utilized CRM Online for more “trials” lately, rather than utilize my local development environment.  If you try to develop for both at the same time, the Online environment is a handy place to demonstrate from, since it’s become tremendously more stable and reliable over the last year and a half, and reduces your presentation hardware to a simple tablet.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

It’s a 3-way tie between TypeScript, Tanguy Touzard’s XrmToolbox, and KendoUI.

 

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

I don’t have any current certifications.  My goal this year is to pick up several, but that’s only because I want to leverage them for a pay increase.

 

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

Not many developers spend time here, and I’m glad that I have–because it gives me a sense for the real footwork the Business Analysts I currently work with have done.  It also helps me to identify and define gaps of process, and diagram the solution well in advance of code writing.  That’s essential, I’ve found, to preventing the wanton dump time into a feature that wasn’t clearly cemented in the outset.  Above all else, it’s integral to identify the needs of the end user–and managers are often poor windows into the lives of their subordinates.  They have to be engaged and onboard, and know that they can be a part of the conversation around this tool they’ll be compelled to use.  I’d prefer that they felt compelled from within.

 

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

Thing is, being an MVP really cemented me on the path of the developer, above and beyond any experience beforehand.  It delivered my uneducated ass from the trenches of I.T.  There’s no disrespect to my I.T. brothers and sisters in that.  My heart was always just in a different place.

I’m proud of where I come from, and the success I’ve enjoyed.  Not many developers have a decade of I.T. experience under their belt.  Working directly with the users of bad software has informed my user-experience side, and working with raw data has informed my application architecture side.

 

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

I have enough experience with Scribe to appreciate its functional gaps.  Dynamics CRM is much more dynamic than simple CRUD (Create-Read-Update-Delete, for the uninitiated).  Sometimes I want to Associate, or RevokeAccess (operations available for CRM).  Though I’m desperate to try KingswaySoft’s SSIS adapter, I really don’t spend my time on integration.  I work with our data engineers for these, and they’d speak better to the efficacy of a particular solution, on my behalf.  There is still a fair amount of work to wire some systems together, and I look forward to the day when intermediary SQL tables are no longer considered.

 

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

6 to 8 times a year, I’m putting my body through millimeter wave, and back-scatter X-rays.  I’m hoping that I’ll reach a tipping point, and my mutant powers will transform me into something without carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

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

You already broke my 8-ball.  I’m not tempting evil spirits again today.

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Being interviewed about my opinions on things.  I have lots of opinions.  Some of them are informed!  Would you like to hear some more?

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

Really looking forward to Titanfall to arrive.  Oh buddy.  Love me some games.  I have proof right here:

berry computer

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

I read whitepapers more than books.  If you can call browsing “C# 2012 and .Net 4.5” book-reading, then I guess that’s it.

Recently saw Mr. Peabody and Sherman with my daughter, and thought it was an expert visit to my past with all the amenities of the present.  I think I was the only one in the theater that got most of the “smart” jokes–especially since they catered them to the adults.  Worthy of high marks, even if it gets heavily sappy at the end!

 

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

Only when I bring CRM to bed.  And I tell you now, if you’re married, don’t ever do that without permission first.  You can’t just claim that it was an accident, and you couldn’t see where you were going.  Does not work.  Believe me, I tried.

 

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

I find that a healthy dose of work and responsibility curtails social media engagements.  My friends are probably more tired of my “Which Dave Berry Are You?” quiz results.  Speaking of which, I recently got “Internationally Renowned Dave Berry”:

bery mvps

Pictured: “Representatives of Croatia, USA, Ukraine, and France engaged in peace talks, as implied by the international hand-sign for ‘telephone’.  Alcohol may have been involved.”

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

My pedantic nature about documenting and designing paid off a few years back when a client almost jumped ship because they couldn’t “see” what we had spent our time on.  This was for a previous employer, mind you, and they didn’t have the kind of task or project management I now enjoy.  At the time, I was solely doing the work for my own benefit in managing the project’s massive scale.  When the consultant that was managing the project called me in a panic, asking me to send him everything I had, it seemed already that the project was done for.  Upon seeing my work, the client had an immediate change of heart–nearly an impossible feat, I was told.  It was shortly after that I was recognized for my efforts by being told that I would be working even harder and be more responsible; which effectively translated to, “Thank you for saving our major client, we’d like you to do even more work that keeps you up late and takes you away from our family.”

Developers are stones.  The more you have, the wider the foundation they can collectively provide.  Build too much on a small foundation, and the whole thing can come crashing down with the slightest upset.  What developers often need, isn’t more responsibility, it’s more support.  Support to train and learn, to contribute to design and architecture, and to be rewarded with money (we like money, our hobbies are expensive).

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Might have been Adi Katz or Dave Jennaway.  Persons whom I still have not met, unfortunately.

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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.

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Too soon

 

Javascript or .NET

Script#  (Ha!)

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Lynx

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Scooby Snacks

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Reflector

 

twerking or tweeting

Twerking is like tweeting at work, right?  #guilty

 

books or ebooks

Whitepapers

 

save or autosave

Autosave.  It’s the way of the future. The way of the future.  The way of the future.

 

OnLine or On Premise

Online up front.  On-Premise in the back.

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

VMWare

 

work from home or work from office

Home office.

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Which ever one wins the “Let’s see who can be quiet the longest” game.

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Spotify

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

James Cameron Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

Batman

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do or Do Not

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Can’t we all just get along?

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Weather chooses you!

 

Half Full/Half Empty

50% Progress

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Carsten Groth

This week we are hop from Finland to Germany to celebrate Bayern Munich being thrashed in the Champions League (that’s proper football american readers, where the ball is round and not egg shaped) and the Hosk questions Carsten Groth

If you want to know what Carsten Groth looks like here is a picture

oh a man of mystery hey, lets try again.  ahh there he is, I would recognize that eye anywhere.

I looked at the MVP biography, it’s fairly standard stuff

Currently I am a Technical Product Manager at FLS and Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Microsoft Dynamics CRM since 2012. I am responsible for the CRM Partner Program and developing the roadmap for our portfolio around ISV Add-Ons. Prior to FLS, I worked for different CRM Silver and Gold partners as Consultant/Developer. Since the beginning of CRM 4.0 I blog as well as joining different communities, like xRMVirtual.So I am part of the Microsoft Dynamics Developer Family for over 14 years now – designing and building solutions on top of the xRM Framework.  Specialized:Developer, Technical Design, Pre-Sales Consulting

but of interest it has his recent activity and we can see Carsten has been doing quite a bit of speaking, MVP’s love speaking, they often do this in front of crowds of eager CRM users but if you monitor a CRM MVP in the wild you will often find them talking about CRM to themselves

Recent activities
Date Activity Type
4/28/2014 Big year 8 releases and 8 questions to MVPs Articles
3/23/2014 MVP talks about BPF in CRM 2013 Speaking (User group)
3/22/2014 Curah! Microsoft CRM Customer Care Blog Site Posts
3/4/2014 Convergence Atlanta Conference (booth presenter)
2/11/2014 Ask the MVP Experts Speaking (Conference)
2/10/2014 BPF Do´s and Don´ts Speaking (Conference)
2/3/2014 BPFHelper Library for CRM 2013 Code Project/Tools

below is the Rockstar 365 highlights

Carsten mvp 1

Carsten mvp 2

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A

Thanks for Carsten for answering Hosk’s questions and if you do come into virtual contact with Donna Edwards, Scott Durow or Jamie Miley please feel free to remind them they haven’t answered the questions yet and we want to know how they would answer

QUESTIONS

 

Name, current job title and social media links please

Carsten Groth, Technical Product Manager at FLS GmbH, Germany
http://carstengroth.wordpress.com
@Carsten_mscrm
http://www.linkedin.com/in/carstengroth
http://rockstar365.com/carstengroth

 

 

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

Starting as a Consultant I worked for different Silver and Gold Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implementation Partners in northern Germany specialized in multiple industries. I was engaged in Enterprise Deployment projects, before finally I switch sides and went over as a Technical Product Manager at FLS GmbH an ISV specialized on Field Service- and Workforce Management.

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

I was actually starting using CRM in version 1.0 which probably most of the users didn´t ever see. I´ve been working with CRM since then. So I´m a long time fellow…

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I do have a single dashboard actually build inside my own Microsoft Dynamics CRM system which helps me aggregating multiple informations and keep up to date with all the news and ongoings inside CRM systems. The other part is basically a mixture between joining different events and participating in a great community in which we share our knowledge.

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

This, of course is the most challenging, right? But I’m not gonna share my secret I manage this…

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

Actually, starting a career with MSDynCRM is pretty easy. First of all keep an eye on the different MS Academic Alliance proposals you have. This could be your first moment dealing with MSDynCRM. It then depends on the different roles you might want to start your career in, but it is for sure best practice if you´re following a goal. Think of “Where do I want to find me in 5 years?” – Don´t think this won´t change. In fact – you might find up yourself in a total different role in 10 or more years you never thought about.

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

I do think it was something around… Sorry I don´t remember, cause I do work for a long time with CRM2013 right now. But I can share a personal story as we´re still dealing with multiple 2011 organizations as ISV solution. And if you ever return to that UI you will notice how much better the new UI and form extensions are – promise.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

I already added this one – a much more flexible and precisely scheduling engine. So check out our ISV solution FLS VISITOUR.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

There isn´t one I´m aware of

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

1. Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Tips & Tricks (carstengroth.wordpress.com)

Even though I´m writing in native german language – you can actually take translation engine of your choice to translate it and I promise content will make sense and bring value to you…
What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

Sorry but I´m going for quality not quantity. So actually having customers loving their CRM system is more important than dealing with a couple of seats that might be sold, but actually those are not using their CRM.

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

Because of working together with multiple Implementation Partners across EMEA I would bet that the amount of online organizations compared to OnPrem might have switched. If you do think from developer perspective being online is not that bad, cause you do not have to deal with different technology issues you might run into. Unless there´s a way to make it available “offline” as well.

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

There´re multiple “best” tools I´m using as an ISV/MVP – so I cannot highlight one only. But if you´re up for tools, visit codeplex.com and you´ll find multiple tools MVPs are sharing with the community and we love to get feedback from you to improve…

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I do have all CRM possible pre-sales/consultant 2011 certifications and will take the personal challenge to take all 2013 certifications as well. 3/4 are actually done the moment I´m answering this.

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

That depends on the job role you´re working in. I won´t say it is not important, but there´re a bunch of situations where you do not need BA skills.

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

Again, this depends on the job role you´re seeking for. I do know a lot of customizers who actually don´t have programming skills, but do a really good job just by customizing the system with OOB features.

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

I do know a lot of Integration software solutions around MSDynCRM. So where should I start?

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

Not gonna sharing this…

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

…mmh… I don´t think so.

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Getting in touch with a great community – YOU and sharing knowledge, pains, opinions – to improve, grow and making things easier

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Jürgen Beck

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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.
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 – Jukka Niiranen

This weeks MVP is from the cold climate of Finland and the when ever I hear his first name of Jukka, I think of the Chaka Khan.  Here join me in singing it in your head

Chaka Khan – I Feel For You – Wow this has been watched nearly 5 million times!

That’s it, now the ear worm is firmly placed into your head

Jukka Khan, Jukka Khan.

Here is a picture of him, so if you are ever in Finland look out for him.

Here are his Rockstar highlights, clearly not many people take CRM 2011 exams in Finland! Jukka has been a CRM MVP since 2013 which I was suprised at because I thought he had been an MVP longer than that, which just shows you have to be on top of CRM game for quite a while before bestow the MVP honour upon you.

Jukka rockstar

Jukka has uploaded himself to the internet, like Voldermort he has split his soul into several parts making it almost impossible to delete him.

http://www.niiranen.info/

Not everyone puts in much on the CRM MVP profile but Jukka’s is very good.

Biography
Jukka is the Lead CRM Consultant at CodeBakers, Finland. He started working with Dynamics CRM in 2005, initially on the customer’s side as a project manager for a CRM 3.0 implementation. After managing a development team for global CRM system roll-outs in EMEA & APAC regions and learning the ins & outs of the Dynamics CRM platform while solving real life problem scenarios, Jukka joined a Microsoft partner organization to assume a senior CRM consulting role. With over 10 years of experience on working with customer data management, loyalty programs, direct marketing, campaign management and other CRM processes, Jukka has developed skills for viewing the related information systems through the eyes of the end user and is focused on delivering Dynamics CRM based solutions with high usability to ensure user adoption.
I guess most people will know Jukka from his excellent and detailed blog posts on his blog Surviving CRM
The blog post below I thought were particularly good

 

Thanks for Jukka for answering my questions and after the recent MVP awards I noticed some new people were awarded MVP status, so I quickly pounced and asked them whilst they were still new and eager and have managed to snaffle a few more CRM MVP’s to be questioned by the Hosk.

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A

QUESTIONS

Name, current job title and social media links please
Jukka Niiranen, CRM Consultant at Digital Illustrated – www.digitalillustrated.com

Twitter

@jukkan

blogging on Surviving CRM

http://niiranen.eu/crm/

sharing Dynamics CRM news on Google+

http://bit.ly/crmgplus .

What does an average day at work look like
Looking at my work hour stats from last year, around ⅓ of my time was spent on presales related tasks. The rest is mostly around customer projects, either in delivering new system implementations, upgrades, integrations and new feature development. I do meet with customers quite often, but I try to reserve regular slots for focusing on designing solutions to more complex problems and putting together materials that help in communicating these to both the customers as well as our internal team members.

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
My first experience with Microsoft’s CRM was in the role of an ICT Specialist in charge of managing a CRM 3.0 implementation on the customer’s side. Next I moved to a larger user organization that had an internal CRM development team, where I worked as Internal CRM Consultant, Lead CRM Consultant and finally as Manager, CRM Team.

A few years ago I switched over to the partner side as Solution Manager, then Senior CRM Consultant and currently my business card says Lead CRM Consultant. I’m not sure how descriptive these job titles are of the actual roles and daily tasks, but let’s just say that I’ve had the pleasure of working in positions with a good mixture of responsibility plus freedom to influence my own focus areas in the field of CRM.

What job did you did before you starting using CRM
Contrary to what many of my colleagues and customers usually think, I don’t have any technical degree but rather I came from the business side to the world of CRM. I was working with customer loyalty programs and direct marketing campaigns, i.e. using the CRM systems as an end user before moving into designing and implementing the systems.

What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
My journey with Microsoft’s CRM solution began when they released the first version in Finnish language, which was MS CRM 3.0 in late 2005.

How do you stay up to date with the CRM
The online world is full of great information sources for anyone who wants to keep up with the latest turns in CRM, whether it be Dynamics CRM product specific or related technologies and business trends. Over the years I’ve collected around 200 RSS feeds for Dynamics CRM that I regularly read via Feedly. For the breaking news of what’s happening right now I usually get the information via Twitter and the #MSDYNCRM hashtag.

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
I see the community contributions as a way to improve my capabilities for doing my day job. There’s no better way to learn any topic than writing it down and instructing it to others. During the course of my daily activities I usually come across a number of things I’d like to research in more depth and this is the fuel that I use to power my blog posts. It gives me a good excuse to spend more time on any given problem that I’d normally have as a part of a routine assignment in the role of a consultant. As a result of it, I gain far more insight on the topic than I would have if I’d just deliver a point solution to a single customer.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
CRM today is quite a different ball game than it was 10 years ago, even though we’re fundamentally still working on the same core challenges of managing customer relationships and all the information that revolves around it. While it’s a bit of a cliché to say, both the technology and the behavior of customers and system users is changing at an ever increasing pace and it’s unlikely to slow down anytime soon. In order to be successful in your career that touches Dynamics CRM in some ways, you’ll need to learn how to embrace that change.

Instead of longing for tried & tested patterns with familiar applications and tools, develop the skills and learn the habits that will allow you to survive in this world of uncertainty that doesn’t have any single right answer to a specific problem. Don’t just “do CRM”, rather try and challenge your own perceptions of what CRM actually is by keeping your eyes and ears open to what others are doing with the same technologies.

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
When the new UI was revealed back in Spring 2013, it really did bring together many of the features previewed earlier in the CRM Online only Polaris release in a consistent and fresh way. Later when the new process management capabilities like Business Rules and Real-time Workflows were introduced this also brought a highly welcome extension to the platform capabilities.

Looking back to the release of CRM 2013 now, it truly feels like a whole new chapter for the product, even if many of the underlying platform components and API’s from CRM 2011 are compatible with the new version. CRM 2013 offers a toolkit for functional consultants like myself to design solutions that are so much more advanced than what was possible just a few years ago, which is why I think the product has a bright future to look forward to.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
I work with several devices during the day and always prefer solutions that can be accessed directly from a browser. I’d love to see Dynamics CRM bring the tracking capability of activities available to also environments that don’t run the PC Outlook client, since server side synchronization doesn’t cover all the use cases needed.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
I can’t really pinpoint a single feature that would be causing me the most frustration personally. It’s of course not a perfect product for all scenarios and there is plenty of configuration work needed to make the platform behave as a solution that meets the user expectations of specific customer organizations, but that’s just the everyday work that a consultant like myself needs to do.

I guess what I’d most want to see in the product is a more granular level of control being offered to the system customizers for polishing the details in the user experience, since some of the new CRM 2013 features are now more locked down than the previous platform components.

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

1. Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
2. Leon’s CRM Musings

There’s such a wealth of great blogs focusing on the Dynamics CRM features or development side of things that I can’t pick out favorites. Leon’s blog, on the other hand, has consistently delivered interesting insights into a different side of the CRM consulting business that doesn’t get nearly as much coverage in the Dynamics blogosphere. So, if anyone’s thinking of starting their own CRM blog (and why shouldn’t you?), I recommend taking a look at how Leon has managed to turn his own perspectives into a highly enjoyable blog to follow.

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
I won’t give any predictions on if or when Dynamics CRM would possibly pass Salesforce. I think that the most important milestone has already been reached, because effectively there are only 2 solutions out there that most customers view as the potential CRM systems they could adopt and one of them is Dynamics CRM.

Rather than focusing on the rivalry between the two horses, I think the most interesting question to think about would be “who’s gonna be the next challenger?” I doubt we’ve seen the end of innovation when it comes to software that can help companies manage their relationships with existing and potential customers.

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online? Do you think it will all be online in the future
If there was no “power of choice” available for Dynamics CRM then it could of course be 100% cloud deployments. However, there are scenarios where an on-premises solution or a domestically hosted server do make a lot of sense from the customer’s perspective, so I wouldn’t say there is going to be a complete end to on-premises deployments within the next few years. Having said that, the cloud certainly is the new default, which means that nowadays you need a good reason for not going with CRM Online, whereas just a while ago it would have been the opposite.

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
Rather than a single tool, it’s a box of awesome time saving tools that no CRM consultant should be without: XrmToolbox by Tanguy Touzard. I’m sure most CRM folks will have heard of it, but I urge you to also keep up with all the great new additions that Tanguy keeps on releasing into the Toolbox by following his Dynamics CRM Tools blog.

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I previously had the CRM 2011 certifications for Applications and Customization & Configuration. Now that the new version was released, Microsoft Finland was gracious enough to arrange a training bootcamp for current CRM partners to get certified on CRM 2013, so I managed to pass the same exams for the latest version, too (cheers to @fonsell at @MicrosoftOy for making this happen!). I also have a certificate on the SureStep implementation methodology.

Even though certification exams tend to be largely about learning the details in the training materials by heart, I do think they serve as a useful metric for validating a person’s knowledge about the standard application functionality and high level processes. The real skills that a CRM consultant needs will be acquired in the field via real life customer scenarios, but it’s important to have the a thorough understanding of the product you’re working with to be able to recommend the right kind of solutions to the business problems that customers will have.

How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
This depends a lot on your role in the project, of course. I’d say when you’re working with implementing a system like Dynamics CRM the emphasis on business analysis skills should be quite high. While the product contains a large share of the platform functionality that will be needed for meeting common customer requirements, there aren’t many readymade processes to address the business needs of specific verticals. This is the expertise that someone in the project needs to bring onto the table.

I would further like to stress that it’s not just the industry knowledge that makes a difference between success and failure in a Dynamics CRM implementation project. The general understanding of what information processing challenges users are typically likely to encounter when working with CRM data in the day-to-day tasks of their business roles and how these could/should be solved in a Dynamics CRM based system will be a key ingredient to delivering successful CRM implementations.

How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
If you’ve got a programming background, you can surely get up to speed with extending Dynamics CRM via custom code solutions quite quickly. However, as I mentioned earlier, I see the no-code side of the product’s capabilities growing at such a remarkable rate that a person with zero programming knowledge can solve a large share of the business problems by just learning how the Dynamics CRM platform works.

Me, I have zero experience on writing code and I’ve managed to do quite alright with leveraging the platform when building solutions. It is naturally beneficial to be able to speak the same language as the developers in your team, but I wouldn’t consider programming knowledge to be a requirement.

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
I’ve been more of a power users when it comes to other productivity tools from MS (SharePoint, Excel, etc.) rather than an expert consultant on the topic. I do work with SQL, Scribe and many other applications as a part of the tasks I have within a CRM project, but usually there’s a person more qualified than me who assumes the ownership of configuring these systems. I enjoy learning to use new tools as much as any geek, but I do it mainly to gain an understanding of how they can be used to solve current or future business problems I’ll come across, rather than necessarily being the admin or key user of the systems.

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Currently I’m working for a company where all the customers are domestic, with most of them also located in the Helsinki capital region where I live, so there’s fairly little need for overnight travelling.

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
At times I do ask myself the question “what comes after CRM?” Not because I would be actively trying to distance myself from CRM (technology or process wise), but mainly to ensure that I don’t lose perspective on the big picture of where CRM fits and what it’s connected to, what else is there around it in the great big world of business technology.

I started my CRM journey over ten years ago and at that time I didn’t really have a clue on where I was going to be by this time, nor how the field of CRM would look like. Whatever I’ll be doing in the next 10 years is equally difficult to predict, so I’m just trying to keep my eyes open on new innovations and opportunities around me, to be prepared for the environment that I’ll find myself in the year 2024, and to keep my mind open to a neverending learning experience.

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
It has to be the ability to learn from the collective pool of wisdom that is the current CRM MVP community. Not just all the information they possess but also the perspective that it gives you when reflecting on your own personal work with the problems and opportunities that the other MVP’s encounter and share with you.

What are your hobbies outside of CRM
I’ve always been a music freak that looks to fill up any quiet moments in the day with audio waves that provide stimulation for my brain. In the 90’s I hoarded up a large collection of CD’s from various genres of electronic dance music, but in the past few years I’ve had to let go of these physical artifacts and consume my daily dose of beats via streaming services. As for physical exercise, I always prefer to do it in the outdoors, which means cycling trips during the summer or longer walks in the winter time, with my headphones firmly attached to the ears, of course.

What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
The book I’m currently finishing is “Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day” by Todd Henry. The last movie I went out to see in the theaters was “Gravity”.

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
My partner is very supportive of the work that I do around CRM and I’m very grateful to her about giving me so much space for my own hobby projects around it.

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
I try my best not to expose my friends or family to the CRM related content that I produce, since it wouldn’t be nearly as exciting for them as it is to me. Sure, occasionally I get requests on not being so “connected” all the time, which is when I have to remind myself of the fact that there are people also outside of the social networks, as strange as it might seem…

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
My backup plan for making a living in case my business studies wouldn’t have landed me a job was to become a truck driver. During my military service in the Finnish Defence Forces I acquired a license for driving 60 ton trucks, but apart from one summer job and occasionally moving a few busses around for a friend, I’ve never had to practice that profession. Up until this date, I’ve actually never even owned a car myself.

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
It’s difficult to know the exact right answer for this, but I would say Ronald Lemmen must have been one of the earliest CRM MVP’s whose blog posts I regularly came across when searching for answers to questions regarding CRM 3.0.

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
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.

Measure your impact. Keep track of the community related activities you perform, analyze the stats and feedback, then adjust your actions accordingly. Quantifying the value of your own community contributions isn’t easy, but remember that this is the criteria Microsoft will need to apply when evaluating all the MVP nominations.
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
Beer

Certifications or Use CRM
Use CRM

twerking or tweeting
For the love of god, tweeting!

books or ebooks
eBooks

save or autosave
Whichever the app has been designed for

OnLine or On Premise
Online

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
Windows 8

work from home or work from office
Both

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
Achy Breaky Heart!

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe
Subscribe

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox
Zero Inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl
Night Owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow
Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant
CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather
Cold Weather (which we Finns like to call “Summer”)

Half Full/Half Empty
Half Empty, it’s time for a refill!

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Joel Lindstrom

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to demand some more answers from the CRM MVP’s, today we are off to the good old U S of A, where the effective people live (or at least those who work for them, that’s a customer effective joke for you).  Today’s CRM MVP on to come down Hosk’s red carpet is Joel Lindstrom.

 

You can hear Joel when he gave an interview to Rockstar 365

He can also be seen on one of the great MVP chat’s hosted by Donna Edwards

 

looking at Joel’s highlights on his Rockstar profile – http://rockstar365.com/JoelLindstrom, well it certainly won’t take you long to soak up his highlights

Joel Lindstrum

But if you want a good biography of Joel then you you should look at his CustomerEffective Bio , I have taken the Certifications and accolades below and we can see Joel has been an MVP 5 times and been number 50 in the Microsoft Dynamics most influential people.

Certifications & Accolades:

 

You will have probably have read many of the tips Joel has recently been writing about CRM on the blog CRM Tip of the Day, which is definitely a favorite among the CRM Twitters out there

http://crmtipoftheday.com/

 

As always thanks to Joel and the other CRM MVP’s who have answered my questions and shame on you those who have not yet done so.  BOOOOOOO

As usual you can find the previous CRM MVP Q&A at the bottom of this post

 

THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

Name, current job title and social media links please

Joel Lindstrom, Solution Architect, Customer Effective

http://about.me/joellindstrom

https://twitter.com/joellindstrom

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

What does an average day at work look like

I tend to work some unusual hours. I will catch up on email before my kids get up, then help them with breakfast and getting to school, then work on client projects. During lunchtime I will catch up on blog posts or tweets, work on projects during the afternoon, After my kids go to bed at night I write blog posts or work on extra-curricular projects.

 

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

I started as a solution consultant, then my title was changed to technical specialist, now I’m a solution architect. I used to be focused mainly on technical aspects of installing CRM, now my job is more guiding other consultants and ensuring that our solution design quality standards are met and that we follow best practices.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I was an inside sales representative for 10 years for several companies. Even though that was not my favorite job, I credit it for a lot of what I do now—the sales part gave me an interest in CRM.

 

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 Dynamics CRM in 2007 using version 3.

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I push myself to try new functionality and be actively involved in the previews. I force myself to write blog posts—if you don’t know about something, write about it. It forces you to learn how things work. If there is a part of the application that you don’t use, teach someone how to use it—no better way to become familiar with something.

 

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

I have trouble sitting still and watching television, so I do my CRM community activities after hours, but I will also write blog posts and engage in community activities while taking a coffee break during the day. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You definitely want to generate quality content, but don’t think you have to write a 10,000 word blog post each time. It is much better to consistently deliver good average work than to only one time deliver something extraordinary.

 

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

Be yourself—don’t try to be someone else. Find your voice, don’t think you need to be someone else. Also, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room—there will always be someone who can do something better than you can. But deliver good work, always push yourself to be better, never get comfortable.

Find your niche—if you are a developer, be the best developer you can be. But if you are not a developer, don’t feel you have to be to be successful. The great thing about the CRM community is there is plenty of room for many different types of proficiencies. We need people who are good configurators, good developers, good report writers, server/networking experts, and business process experts.

 

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

Very positive. The UI changed dramatically. I was a bit unsure of how existing users would    take to it, but excited to see Dynamics CRM become more modern.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Server sync for every deployment type. This is one of my top 3 favorite features. Can’t wait for Online and mixed deployments to be able to use it and kill the email router.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

No offense to her, but the “What’s new” woman. She keeps coming back.

 

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

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

CRMtipoftheday.com. Not saying this because I am one of the authors, but   because I’ve learned a lot from the other tipsters

 

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

We don’t already?J Hard to say, but I think momentum is on our side.

 

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

We are seeing a lot more online projects than we used to, but still a fair amount of on premise. I don’t think On premise is going away any time soon, there will always be industries that can’t go to the cloud, but that number is shrinking. Industries like insurance and banking are still primarily on premise though.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

There are many of them. Jason Latimer’s CRM 2013 Duplicate Detection, Tanguy’s XRM Toolbox just added a fantastic sync filter manager that is fantastic, I use the orgdborgsettings tool to change the organization settings in CRM Online.

 

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

I have application, customization, and installation certs for 2011 and crm 3. I will be taking the 2013 certs soon. I think it is important, as it helps you keep up to date, exposes you to areas of the application that you might not otherwise experience if you don’t use them.

 

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

Very important if you want to be successful in a career with Dynamics CRM. To be good you need to know how the technology works but also how to adapt it to client’s business, and you need to be able to analyze business processes and translate to CRM design requirements.

 

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

Helpful, definitely, but not required. The more programming knowledge that you have, the more you will be able to do with the application, but you want to balance programming with standard functionality. Every release, there is more that you can do without programming. In CRM 2013, we got synchronous workflows and business rules. If you approach everything as a programming exercise, the risk is you will overcomplicate some solutions where a non-developer solution will work, and if you are not a programmer, you might try to use a workflow for a scenario where a plugin might be a better fit. The trick is being able to know what is the right tool for the job.

 

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

I’ve done a lot with Scribe and SSIS. I love Scribe for how easy it makes some things like   connecting to virtually any type of database and find it very approachable for people with little ETL experience, and I appreciate SSIS for how powerful and flexible it is, especially with the Kingswaysoft adapter.

My take on it is that the ETL tool you use is less important than following good integration design principles.

 

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

It really depends on what projects I’m working on. I do a lot of remote client work, but will   also travel regularly.

 

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

Anything is possible

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

By far the insight I get from other MVP’s. Being able to call the smartest people in the CRM community my friends

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I play Legos with my kids and collect vinyl records

 

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

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and the Lego movie

 

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

Yes, when I had to spend Christmas vacation getting a CRM server back up.

 

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

I always tell my friends that they can follow me on Twitter, but they probably won’t understand anything I Tweet.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I have every Johnny Cash record ever made except for one.

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Aaron Elder

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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.

 

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 – Water

Certifications or Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

books or ebooks – both—fiction books, nonfiction ebooks

save or autosave

OnLine or On Premise

Windows 7/Windows 8.1/Linux/Mac/Other

work from home or work from office 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus – Johnny cash

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe – Vinyl at home, xbox music on the go/at work

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl – Too often both

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather – Rainy weather

Half Full/Half Empty

 

Previous CRM MVP Q&A

Gonzalo Ruiz

Leon Tribe

Tanguy Touzard Questions

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Gonzalo Ruiz

It’s Wednesday, it’s CRM MVP Question time and today we are off to Canada
Today we have the rather mysterious Gonzalo Ruiz who doesn’t have a Rockstar 365 profile or a profile on his Dynamic Community user, he is a man of mystery.  Below I have a rare picture of him!

I have been reading Gonzalo’s blog for a long time, and although his output is usually about 1 a month (on average) the blog posts are worth the wait, the last few have made the Hosk CRM articles of the week list (surely there is no higher praise than this)

CRM 2011 to 2013 (Orion) Top 10 Upgrade Tips and Considerations (part 1)

CRM 2011 to 2013 (Orion) Top 10 Upgrade Tips and Considerations (part 2)

Thanks to Gonzalo for answering my questions and thanks to a couple of MVP’s who sent back their answers yesterday, which means the CRM MVP Q&A blog posts will be lasting for at least another 7 weeks.

 

 

1.  Name, current job title and social media links please
Gonzalo Ruiz – CRM Manager, Avanade Canada East
http://gonzaloruizcrm.blogspot.com
 https://twitter.com/GonzCRM

 https://www.linkedin.com/in/gonzruiz

 

2.  What does an average day at work look like
Meet a customer in the morning to realize that what they are asking for is not really what they need so we negotiate on how to best utilize Dynamics CRM to make their business more productive and increase ROI. Then I would meet with my consultant team for our daily SCRUM meeting from which I hear the great progress they are making and what their impediments are. I would then spend some time to make sure I help clear their impediments. I would spend part of the day doing some design or architecture reviews on some of my projects and finally reserve some time for sales and supporting business development.

 

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Consultant, solution developer, business analyst, solution architect, delivery lead, technical lead.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM
I was helping develop Dynamics CRM 2011 at Microsoft R&D but I was not a real user of CRM.

 

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 and very occasionally I get called for a CRM 3.0 upgrade, but I try to run away from that. I’ve been working with CRM since 2008.

How do you stay up to date with the CRM
As an MVP we have a great connection with Microsoft to stay up to speed with the new releases and the product roadmap. Additionally it is always good to take training, read blog posts, etc.

 

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
This is a very difficult task. Sometimes you find the time to share your knowledge with the community often while other times your job is demanding so much overtime that all I can do is to keep a log of my wish list items that I’d like to blog about and share with others. It really depends on how busy you are at work.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
I find it challenging when you want to specialize in either business analysis or in development. The reality is that the best consultants we have are those that can do both. If you want to become an architect or differentiate yourself one good place to start is to look at training yourself to be able to the technical stuff but also be able to have conversations with executives or business users to understand from a functional perspective what the best solution for their needs is. Never lean too much towards the functional or technical side, find the balance.

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
Beautiful UI and amazing features, I had been looking forward to CRM 2013 for a long time now. However, the more I use it with customers the more I realize that the “beauty” of the UI is actually a tradeoff for productivity sometimes. For example, the new navigation model is simple, attractive and saves significant real state in the screen; however, it is not quick to use and can hinder productivity.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Rollup fields and calculated fields.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Lack of duplicate detection, this is hard to explain to existing customers that rely on this feature and requires a custom solution in some cases to implement what was there before.

 

You favourite 2 CRM blogs
1.  The Microsoft Dynamics CRM blog
2.  Comunidad CRM (Spanish community blog)

 

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
2015

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future
I work mostly with on premise. In the Canadian market CRM Online is stigmatized due to Patriot Act and the fact that your data is physically residing in the USA. I don’t think CRM OnPremise will disappear, and I certainly hope it does not.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
I don’t use many tools but I like Tanguy Touzrd’s tool for sitemap and ribbon editing without having to play in XML.

 

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I have all CRM 2011 certifications and some CRM 4.0. I have not had time to look at the CRM 2013 certs yet. I’m also not a big believer in the value of certifications.

 

How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Must-have if you want to be successful.

 

How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
It is quite important. Perhaps more than knowing a programming language, you must know the principles of software engineering and architecture.

 

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
We need to know what third party tools are there available because you don’t always want to reinvent the wheel. For example, Scribe and SSIS are common examples.

 

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Rarely, we are quite busy in the local market. Most of the times I end up travelling is for training purposes or to assist conferences. However, I cannot say the same for my colleagues so I think I’m quite lucky on this one.

 

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
We’re not married yet.

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
Interacting with the product group and Microsoft and having the opportunity to somewhat influence the roadmap or provide direct feedback to Microsoft product team.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Winter sports
What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Book: The Perfume
Film: Wolf of Wall Street

 

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
It’s probably #150ish in the list, so no, not a big deal!

 

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
No, people actually like to tell me when they read my blog, but most people think CRM is a marketing or sales tool.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I have moved 6 times in the last 3 years, and I hate moving!

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
David Yack, I remember meeting him when I was working for Microsoft.

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
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.
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

 

Previous CRM MVP Q&A

Leon Tribe

Tanguy Touzard Questions

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Leon Tribe

I met a CRM buddy this week Parvez Ghumra and one of the first questions he asked me was who was the next CRM MVP to be featured on the blog, so it’s good see people are enjoying the Q&A with CRM MVP’s

This week we are off to Australia to the Lemonade stand to get the answers from Leon Tribe, someone who has been described as “The poster child for the code illiterate”.   Leon is one of our under cover CRM spies who also knows the software that shall not be named – SALES FORCE.  Indeed Sales Force is a recurring topic on his blogs and he does like to keep a close eye on Sales Force financial figures.

Like a true Australian you can find photo’s of Leon with a handlebar moustache

 

So it’s a big thanks to Leon for answering my questions and reminder to all CRM MVP’s who haven’t answered the questions yet, please contact me or look in your inbox, I and my readers of the blog really enjoy reading the answers from the CRM MVP’s and I have personally found it very interesting how all the answers have been very different.

Leon is an influential person, in fact he has been voted 55th most influential person in the Microsoft Dynamics universe in 2013 – http://www.dynamicsworld.co.uk/category/top-100/numbers-51-through-60/ and as they will be doing the 2014 at some point don’t forget to vote for Leon.  In 2012 he was at number 45.

Dynamics world has an interesting biography of Leon and here it is

Dynamics CRM consultant and business thought leader based in Sydney, Australia. Leon regularly applies his skills to improve businesses through applying a strategic focus, implementing transparent processes and using technology to bring everything together. Initially working as a trainer/lecturer, Leon transitioned into technology and started working with CRM systems in the late 1990s. Consulting at Interact Commerce (now part of Sage) on the ACT! and Saleslogix products, Leon moved to Deloittes in 2001 to hone his consulting skills. Leon moved on to work with numerous customers across multiple industries and was part of the first group of consultants in Australia trained on the beta edition of Microsoft CRM 1.0 (now Dynamics CRM). Seeing the future of the product, Leon transitioned to Dynamics CRM and has worked almost exclusively with the product ever since. A prolific business writer, Leon has been writing on consulting and the CRM industry for almost ten years. These days Leon writes and contributes to industry books, writes his humorous syndicated blog, “Leon’s CRM Musings”(www.leontribe.blogspot.com), regularly tweets.

 

Lets have a look at the highlights from his Rockstar 365 profile

leon tribe

 

 

Here are Leon’s answers

 

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

Leon Tribe
Principal Consultant, Oakton
Blog: leontribe.blogspot.com
Twitter: @leontribe
Google+: leon.tribe@gmail.com

2. What does an average day at work look like

Get lunch ready for my children
Get ready for work
Ride to work, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, grabbing a bagel en route
After that anything goes. I might be having one on one meetings with my team, conducting workshops with a client, thinking of a new way of solving an old problem or something else entirely.
After work, ride home, hang out with the little ones, read a few emails/write a blog then off to bed

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

Principal Consultant
NSW CRM Practice Manager
Senior System Architect
CRM Practice Lead
CRM Consultant
Business Manager
Senior Developer
Professional Services Consultant

 

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

Installed EFTPOS terminals, designed web sites, taught maths and electronics

 

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

Microsoft CRM 1.0 beta. Eleven years. Before that I worked with SalesLogix for two years.

 

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

Writing my blog forces me to learn the new features of the system. Otherwise I get involved in the preview programs and read tweets.

 

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

It’s hard and is generally after hours. Some people watch television, I read emails and write blogs. I rarely go to bed before midnight and often do online presentations late into the night.

 

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

Get on the forums. You will learn the product, the workarounds and, when you start contributing, making a name for yourself. Always remember you are there to provide a service to your clients so be friendly and stay humble. Never be afraid to say ‘No’ to a client if they are setting themselves up for disaster. They pay you for your expertise, not your compliance.

 

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

Microsoft CRM 1.0 was like ACT! but ten times the price. It has come a long way and is now one of the best CRM systems on the market. I am proud of the product I work with and what it can do for my clients.

 

10. What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Calculated fields.

 

11. Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

Being forced to have a default text field for every custom entity.

 

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

1. Hosks Dynamic CRM blog (I genuinely used this one to get information for my most recent blog post)
2. Leon’s CRM Musings (My blog, I regret the title but I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t love it)
13. What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

Salesforce is a recurring topic in my blogs and I often run the numbers on this. Although Salesforce do not release subscriber numbers any more, inferring them via their revenue suggests a constant subscriber ratio (Salesforce: Dynamics CRM) of 2:1 which means Dynamics CRM will never catch up unless something changes. “Dynamics CRM” recently became a more popular search term than “Salesforce.com” for the first time, according to Google Trends, so the tide is turning.
The good news is, while Microsoft is profitable, Salesforce is not and when Salesforce run out of money and funding, this will be when the war is won.
14. Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online? Do you think it will all be online in the future

I still do more On Premise than online which may be a function of the size of client or on geographical location. Online projects are increasing though. I do not think it will ever be exclusively online but it will become more popular.

 

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

Tanguy Touzard’s xRM Toolkit. I used it to create icons, create documentation and edit the SiteMap. Any consultant who has not used it is wasting project time.

 

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

My last certifications were for v4. My boss is very keen for me to get up to speed so this will happen in the next six months. While getting certifications are good, knowledge sources such as the forums provide a wealth of knowledge and this is where I go when I have a CRM problem to solve.
17. How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

For a functional consultant, essential. I have an MBA and it has proven invaluable in understanding the concerns of the various areas of a business. If you do not understad what the client is trying to achieve, you may be able to give a client what they ask for, but not what they need.

 

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

I used to program Unix and Linux boxes in FORTRAN and C when I studied physics at university and, later, I programmed in Delphi when working with SalesLogix. However, I do not, in any way consider myself a .Net programmer. Many other CRM MVPs also do not code. This being said, a good knowledge of the coding foundations is very important when designing a solution for a client. I address this in my latest blog post (http://leontribe.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/developer-essentials-for-functional.html )

 

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

I used to work with Scribe back in the SalesLogix days and was a Crystal Reports writer for a few years but that’s about it, really.

 

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

At the moment, I am working on a project with the Australian government which has me travelling to Australia’s capital, Canberra a lot (I am based in Sydney). This has me travelling roughly 2-3 days every fortnight.

 

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

No. I have pretty much made a career out of CRM consulting and it would be a very expensive exercise in salary sacrifice to throw that experience away.

 

22. What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Mixing it up with the other CRM MVPs. By their nature they are friendly and generous and I am yet to meet one I did not like.

 

23. What are your hobbies outside of CRM

At the moment, bike riding, star gazing, Arduino sketching, researching the family tree, spending time with my family and on rare occasion, sleeping.

 

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

Having two children limits reading time but I am in the middle of reading “Shada” by Gareth Roberts. It is a novelisation of a Doctor Who television script by Douglas Adams. For me that is so many layers of good.

The last film I saw was The Hobbit Part 2.

 

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

Writing a blog three times a month can be seen as excessive sometimes but she understands it is part of who I am these days.

 

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

Never but I do not often talk about CRM to friends (unless they need one). My wife is in marketing and I am finding our worlds are coming closer and closer together as time goes on so she understands CRM very well and we often talk about its place as part of a marketing strategy.

 

27. Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I do not have a computing degree. I studied physics at university and took an IT job when my PhD scholarship ran out before I had written a thesis. I once sang solo, on stage, in the Sydney Opera House and I rode 90km (56 miles) last year for charity.

 

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

Guy Riddle. He was running the Sydney User Group and I thought I would go along.

 

29. Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Microsoft 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.

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET
.Net

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari
Firefox

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink
Scotch

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
Windows 8

work from home or work from office
office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
Toys R Us

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

MP3

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Zero inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Cold weather

Half Full/Half Empty
Poorly designed

 

here are the previous CRM Q&A

Tanguy Touzard Questions

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Tanguy Touzard

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time for another CRM MVP Q&A blog post, last week it was Andrii from the Ukraine and today we are hoping over to France and an MVP whose toolkit is bursting with CRM tools which he has mostly crafted himself.

Tanguy has written so many fantastic CRM tools that he decided to put them all into one tool called – XrmToolBox which is available on codeplex.

The XRMToolBox currently has a splash screen and if you want to remove this then please donate to Tanguy and you can find more details on his latest blog post XrmToolBox : Donate and get rid of the sponsor screen

I would like to thank Tanguy for answering my questions and all the CRM MVP’s who have answered the questions.  Any CRM MVP’s who haven’t yet answered the questions, please jump on board.

I am a fan of Rockstar 365 profiles, it’s a fun and quick way to quickly summarize the important details of a person, you can look at Tanguy’s profile here – http://rockstar365.com/TanguyTOUZARD .  The pictures below are the highlights of Tanguy’s profile

Tanguy highlights 1

 

Tanguy TOUZARD CRM MVP Q&A

 

1.  Name, current job title and social media links please
Tanguy TOUZARD
CRM Technical consultant
Social :
Twitter url : http://www.twitter.com/TanguyTouzard
Blog : http://mscrmtools.blogspot.com
Website : http://www.javista.fr

2.  What does an average day at work look like
Essentially deployment audits and project work. My lunch break is when I contribute to the CRM community

3.  What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
I guess I had each and every possible role : technical, functionnal, trainer, etc.

4.  What job did you did before you starting using CRM
Nothing, I started to work on Dynamics CRM during an internship at Microsoft France

5.  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 in October 2003

6.  How do you stay up to date with the CRM
I read a lot of blogs and articles about Dynamics CRM and do some proof of concept/training when I have free time

7.  How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
Again, lunch break ! 30 minutes to eat, 1 hour for the community

8.  What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
As a technical guy, my answer might be weird but Dynamics CRM is not just about customization and development. It’s first about understanding your customer business rules and needs. If you understand that, being able to understand and master the technical parts is easy. If you understand what your customer needs, you win.

9.  What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
First impression : wow ! Really nice new UI, but not so many new features as expected.
Now : New UI seems to be sometime a disadvantage to win projects since it misses enough contrast. And I can leave with existing features, it makes my job as a technical guy more interesting than just customizing the platform.

10.  What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Polymorphinc relationships ! It’s kind of MVP’s private joke during summits but being able to define a lookup to target multiple entities types will help a lot in many projects.

11.  Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
UI style. Microsoft, give us ability to add colors in a supported way

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

I dont’t have favorite blogs. I use feedly to aggregate more than 80 blogs related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and so, I don’t focus specificaly on one (or three) blogs. And yes, your blog is part of the 80 

13.  What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
Can’t tell. Or if I could, I certainly would be able to predict Euromillions result (kind of european lottery, for people who don’t know it) and I will be rich.

14.  Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future
Most of project I do are with OnPremise. Most of leads are talking about CRM Online.

15.  What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
Should I say the XrmToolBox ? Well, apart of my tools, Ribbon Workbench just rocks !

16.  What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I have all CRM 4.0 certicifications, only one in CRM 2011 (customization) and plan to get all CRM 2013.

17.  How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
A lot ! If you don’t have these skills, don’t do projects with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

18.  How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
A lot (again) ! Even if Microsoft Dynamics CRM is more and more capable to be extended with just customization, there will always be specific needs that require custom code.

19.  What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
I am capable to install/configure quite all softwares around Dynamics CRM (Windows Server, AD, IIS, SQL, RS, SharePoint) but I’m not a specialist. As I am curious, I enjoy understanding how they work and what I can do with them.

20.  How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Never.

21.  Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
For the moment, no. But I’m sure somedays I will surely have to work with different softwares.

22.  What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
Having access to the product team, be able to meet other MVP and I’m honest, there are a lot of cool advantages that come with the award (MSDN subscription, MVP Summit, free softwares for MVP’s)

23.  What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Cinema and reading. Spending time with my 4 month old baby boy

24.   What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
I’m currently reading Game of throne, which is excellent !
Last movie was « The Island »

25.  Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Never.

26.  Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
No

27.  Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
Don’t know… I have my black belt in Judo

28.  Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
I think it was Ronal Lemmen

29.  Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
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.

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET

.Net

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

IE

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Wine

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

Tweeting

books or ebooks

ebooks

save or autosave

save

OnLine or On Premise

OnPremise

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Windows 8

work from home or work from office

Office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Miley

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

MP3

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Middle

Early Bird/Night Owl

Early Bird

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Both

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Hot Weather

Half Full/Half Empty

Half Full

 

Previous CRM MVP  Q&A

 

here are the previous CRM Q&A

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Mark Smith (nzCRMguy)

This weeks CRM MVP Q&A is Mark Smith who is better known as nzCRMguy.  If you want to keep up to date with the latest CRM news then you should follow him on twitter – https://twitter.com/nzCRMguy, not only are the links good quality but you will get more links than you can probably read.

Here are the highlights from his Dynamics Community profile – https://community.dynamics.com/members/nzcrmguy/default.aspx

Mark has been working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 1.2 (2003) and has extensive knowledge of the product, as a Microsoft Certified Trainer in Dynamics CRM and founder of Magnetism a Microsoft Partner with a Gold Customer Relationship Management Competency as well as a ISV and Learning Competencies; a CRM practice in New Zealand where he was the CEO for 6 years.

He was also part of the team that implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Eagle Technology, one of the first companies to implement Dynamics CRM in New Zealand.

In 2009 he led the company to win the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution of the Year at the Microsoft Partner Awards.   In 2011 Mark was awarded Microsoft MVP for Dynamics CRM and has it to this day.  Recently he was also awarded v-TSP for Dynamics CRM in New Zealand.

 

As always I’m very appreciative for Mark taking the time to answer my questions, he is very busy and no doubt busy (like many of the CRM MVP’s) and getting ready for convergence 2014.

I usually look at the great blog post from Donna Edwards to see what the CRM MVP’s are up to at convergence but for Mark’s section it just he will be at all CRM and MVP sessions (well it isn’t a holiday now is it!)

Mark Smith (nzCRMguy) Week All All CRM Sessions and MVP Sessions Various

Here are Mark’s answers (previous CRM MVP Q&A can be found at the bottom of this blog post)

1.    Name, current job title and social media links please
Mark Smith, National CRM Practice Lead, @nzCRMguy, www.nzCRMguy.com,

2.    What does an average day at work look like
Lots of business/technical meetings with a range of clients in different industries.  I work closely with Microsoft in Australia in PreSales as a vTSP on Dynamics CRM projects

3.    What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Architect, Functional Designer, Trainer, CEO, Marketing Manager, PreSales, Sales Manager, Practice Manager

4.    What job did you did before you starting using CRM
I was in IT training, and web design, I was a Marketing Manager for an IT company,

5.    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 1.2 and that from memory was in 2003.  I was implementing it as a customer.

6.    How do you stay up to date with the CRM
Certify in all certifications for Dynamics CRM expect Extending (developer), Teach Dynamics CRM to others, Read every white paper on Dynamics CRM, Own and read as many books on Dynamics CRM I can get my hands on, now expanding this into Power BI.  Read heaps of blogs, actively involved in User Groups.

7.    How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
I make time.  I set goals with myself on what I want to achieve in the community, they more people that increase their skills the better it is for this industry, I believe in the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”  As everyone’s skills increase we all benefit.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM? If you want to commit to a serious carrier in Dynamics CRM you must be prepared to go into serious training, just like anyone that want to excel in sport, you must do the daily grind, even when you don’t fell like it, train, train, train, always be learning, read everything you can get your hands on, books, blog posts, white papers, attend the Dynamics events, Convergence in the US is the best if you can only do one. Practice, practice, practice, and understand that the solutions you build are for people.  At the end of the day they are not users they are real people that you can make their daily experience better or worse by the solutions you create.  Teach others Dynamics CRM, it hones your knowledge, blog as it exposes your knowledge and puts it out there for peer review, so you can get better.  You never make it with Dynamics there is always more to learn J

9.    What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
From day one I have been excited about Dynamics CRM 2013.  I first saw what was coming at WPC 2012 in Toronto after the announcement that R8 was not going to ship.  It looked great then and the Dynamics Team have more than delivered on what they showed then.  The UI is fantastic and will only get better as the future release come.

10.  What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Office integration (Yes I know the Outlook connector is available but I think a lot more needs to be done on how Dynamics CRM works with Office.)

11.  Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
IE11 Support

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

            1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
            2.  http://markmargolis.wordpress.com/

13.  What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
Not sure as I have not followed the numbers and trends but if I was a betting man, I would say between 2015-2017 Microsoft Dynamics CRM will rate higher in Gartner Magic Quadrant that SF.

14.  Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future
Yes more and more projects are moving online and it is my preference.  In the short term I do not think CRM on Premise will go away until the data sovereignty fear is eliminated.

15.  What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
http://www.kingswaysoft.com
http://www.adxstudio.com
http://www.clickdimensions.com
http://www.develop1.net/public/page/Ribbon-Workbench-for-Dynamics-CRM-2011.aspx
http://mscrmtools.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.north52.com

16.  What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
CRM 4.0 certified
CRM 2011 certified
Will complete 3 exams on 2013 this year

17.  How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
It’s critical, it needs to be someone that works well with people and gets business and process first up.  That followed by a tougher understanding of Dynamics CRM.  As the BA writes up a lot of the requirements it important they understand what the business is about and the outcomes they seek.

18.  How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
I have little to none, well almost none, way way way back I did some work with PERL and I understand Javascript or and I can use mark-up language HTML and CSS, but as for C# no experience.  But if I was a full time BA/Functional designer, thing you need to know and understand HTML, JavaScript and CSS and have the ability to use it.

19.  What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
The first course I did in my IT carrier was NT4 and that was followed by Server 2000 training and certification.  I have a robust knowledge of Microsoft Servers and Networking.  I think it’s a pity that more people getting into IT do not have these basic skills. They are important.

20.  How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
National I travel weekly and International about 4 times a year as part of my Dynamics CRM carrier.

21.  Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
No

22.  What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
Access to the Dynamics CRM product team and the other MVP’s. This group of people is better than any specific skilled person as they embody the top skills of the CRM community that by sending one email/Yammer/Skype I have access to them.

23.  What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Family, Snowboarding, Reading, Movies, Parties

24.   What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Book = The 12 Week Year Movie = Blue Jasmine

25.  Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Yes spending too much time on it.

26.  Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
My wife gets it.  She was nzCRMgirl a few years back.
27.  Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I have long black hair J it just does not grow

28.  Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
Guy Riddle

29.  Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Follow everything that Gus Gonzalez says and writes about. He is the number one CRM Guru in all the US J
30.  Mark’s favourite colour hair  is purple

mark smith purple hair

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
 

here are the previous CRM Q&A

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Jason Lattimer

It’s MVP Question and Answer O’Clock and this week we have Jason Lattimer.  Firstly I will say thanks for Jason for answering the questions even though he is busy answering forum questions, doing his job and getting ready for convergence 2014.

I like to start with seeing what their description is on Dynamic CRM Community profile – https://community.dynamics.com/members/jlattimer/default.aspx

Jason Lattimer has been working with Dynamics CRM since v1.2 and has performed the full spectrum of technical duties from installation to custom development. In his current role he primarily focuses on extending Dynamics CRM to meet the unique needs of his customers. Jason is a Dynamics CRM MVP and you can often find him answering questions in the MSDN and Dynamics Community CRM forums, blogging, and occasionally putting out some helpful tools on CodePlex.

Any one who has used CRM 3 and below deserves respect and pity.

Jason can be found on the Dynamic Community Leader board with a very impressive 40 badges.

If you ever ask any questions on the CRM forum there is a good chance Jason will post an answer

Jason has posted more verified answer than any other CRM person (in fact more than the people at 2 and 3 put together)

419 verified answer

1216 total answer – 2nd position

578 Suggested answer – number 1

Donna Edwards created a great blog post on what her CRM MVP buddies will be up to at Convergence and I have borrowed Jason’s part and pasted it below. Here is what he looks like

JLatconvergence2014

Here are Jason’s CRM MVP Q&A’s and the previous weeks are below his if you missed them.

1.    Name, current job title and social media links please
Jason Lattimer
CRM Development Consultant
@JLattimer – https://twitter.com/jlattimer
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonlattimer
http://jlattimer.blogspot.com/

2.    What does an average day at work look like
My day typically is filled with project work with some support work intermixed. I try to work in some time for the company blog or other things that help develop internal processes/standards.

3.    What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Mostly development related functions but with some the smaller places I’ve worked I covered all the roles like design, customization, deployment and training.

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

5.    What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
v1.2, that came out in 2003 so around 10 years on and off.

6.    How do you stay up to date with the CRM
I read the various Microsoft and community member blogs, keep an eye on Twitter and am always looking at the forums.

7.    How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
If there is something I want to build to put out on CodePlex, off hours are when that happens. Otherwise during the day while I’m in between tasks or when I need a little break from what I’m working on I jump on the forums and see if there is a question I can answer.

8.    What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Know the strengths and weaknesses of the system. Try to leverage as many out of the box out of the box features as possible before getting crazy with customizations or custom development. Also if a customer/user wants the system to do something that requires major work, don’t be afraid to question (nicely) why. Sometimes by provoking a little thought you can eliminate a needless process or come up with a different solution that works alongside the system’s strengths.

9.    What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
I always liked the new look and feel and better use of screen real-estate. The tablet application shows a lot of promise and I’m looking forward to seeing that evolve.

10.  What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
More extensibility in the mobile spaces.

11.  Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Logical and Schema names for fields that are different.

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

            1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
            2.  The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog

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
Definitely doing more CRM Online deployments but there will always be the need to for On Premise deployments unfortunately.

15.  What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
Ribbon Workbench (Scott Durrow), XrmToolBox (Tanguy Touzard), and the XrmServiceToolkit (Jamie Ji, Tanguy Touzard, & David Berry)

16.  What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
All the v1.2 and 2011 exams and I just completed my first 2013 exam.

17.  How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Very important I think. It’s a good thing to ask questions and understand the business needs in a project or feature request. Not having a good handle of what needs to be accomplished will lead to a bad experience on someone’s part, either yours or the customers.

18.  How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
It can certainly help but you can accomplish a lot in Dynamics CRM with resorting to coding. Understanding basic program flow like if/else, and/or, and things like that can help make creating workflows or advanced finds easier.

19.  What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
I like working on projects that integrate with other systems, specifically the ones that require a little more than just pushing records back and forth.

20.  How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Not so much anymore with decent internet connections available almost anywhere but I still like to get out when I can.

21.  Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
Anything is possible, technology changes quickly in this day and age.

22.  What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
Without a doubt the other CRM MVPs, you couldn’t ask for a nicer or more helpful group of people.

23.  What are your hobbies outside of CRM
I’m a big fan of the UFC (MMA in general).

24.   What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Book: Ringworld         Movie: Ender’s Game

25.  Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
No.

26.  Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
No. My family is glad I’ve found something I like enjoy and can pay the bills
27.  Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I am not interesting L

28.  Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
Jamie Miley

29.  Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
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.

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

Previous CRM MVP Q&A

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-gus-gonzalez/

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Julie Yack

It’s time for another CRM MVP question and answer session and today we have one of the few female CRM MVP’s and not only that but Julie is also married to a CRM MVP, rumours of the Yack children being MVP’s are yet to be confirmed.

There is a great introduction about Julie on her Dynamics Community profile, which I have taken a bit of below

Julie Yack is one of the founding partners of Colorado Technology Consultants, Inc.  Julie has been named a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for her efforts in the CRM professional community. She is a Microsoft CRM Certified Professional, Microsoft Small Business Specialist and a Certified Scrum Master. Julie has a Masters of Business Administration degree. Julie is the current President for The International .NET Association, North America.  . Julie is a founder and leader of xRMVirtual (www.xrmvirtual.com) a fast growing online community for xRM developers.

Julie speaks at several events and conferences including Microsoft Convergence and Decisions.  She has been involved in publishing several books, from Dynamics CRM to Excel.

Julie will be there at convergence and she recently wrote a blog post about getting ready for convergence which you can read below

https://community.dynamics.com/crm/b/julieyack/archive/2014/02/17/getting-ready-for-convergence-conv14.aspx

I have also noticed there is a group on the Dynamic Community, so if you are going to convergence join up

https://community.dynamics.com/convergence/default.aspx

On with Julie’s questions and answers and thanks again for taking part.  If you missed last weeks CRM MVP with Gus Gonzalez there is a link at the bottom after Julie’s answers.

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

Julie Yack, Chief Operations Officer (though we never use titles around here)

Social

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=122578

2. What does an average day at work look like

There is no average day and that’s part of what I love about my work. Some days I’m learning about a new client, some days I’m teaching or writing, some days I am working the business aspect of our business and some days I play hooky.

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

Since starting with CRM it’s been essentially evolutionary for responsibilities, but not job titles. As I learn more and more, I can offer more and more. However, things fall off too, like I would get lost in CRM 3 or 4, though at one point I was considered an expert in both.

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

Custom software development projects

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

CRM 3.0 and not quite 10 years

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

You just do. If it’s something that interests you, you just find a way.

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

It’s not a struggle at all. I love love love our professional community. I love to watch the success of those around me and my community involvement allows that to happen.

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

Cool, it’s shiny. New is good, details sort themselves out.

10. What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Entity agnostic forms and processes

11. Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

Not enough control around autosave

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

CRMOnline for sure. And there will always be SOMEONE that just must have their stuff on their server in their closet or regulations specific to their industry, so no, not all in the cloud, ever. But, we’ve been in the cloud since the beginning of the internet, we just never told people they were.

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

We’re doing some fun cool things here, but can’t share details yet. J

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

I have a few for CRM 3, 4 and 2011. As an MCT certifications are part of the job. I have mixed feelings on their value. Totally love the learning aspect, not sure I’m so concerned with a piece of paper.

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

It’s make or break important.

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

There’s knowledge and there’s awareness. I have no interest in writing code. I could if I felt like it. I’m surrounded by really smart people that would be happy to mentor me. But, I know functionality, capabilities, architecture and so on, all the moving parts needed to make a good CRM.

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

Often. I am fortunate to be able to pick and choose most of my travel. Work has brought me to all the continents except Antarctica, and I am working on that one. Let me know if you have any ideas. J

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

Sure, would be very short-sighted to assume that was all there was waiting for me in my future. And boring.

22. What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

The family I acquired with the MVPs and the product team. I have interacted with many groups, CRM and otherwise. The CRM group simply feels different, more close knit, than the others.

23. What are your hobbies outside of CRM

Travel, reading, photography

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

Sycamore Row by John Grisham and Lone Survivor

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

No, I’m in business with my husband, and my kids each worked here in some capacity as their high school jobs.

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

See above.

27. Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

Last fall, as a reward for raising kids to adulthood, we traveled (literally) around the world, by cashing in miles.

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

I don’t know. My husband was an MVP for 5 years before my first award, they’ve just always been there.

29. Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Get a mentor.

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates  Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET meh

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari IE

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink wine

Certifications or Use CRM use CRM

twerking or tweeting tweeting

books or ebooks ebooks

save or autosave yes

OnLine or On Premise online

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other windows 8.1

work from home or work from office office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus deafness

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe subscribe

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox zero

Early Bird/Night Owl no

Do Today/Do Tomorrow today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather hot weather

Half Full/Half Empty full

 

 

Previous CRM MVP Q&A

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-gus-gonzalez/