CRM MVP Question and Answer – Andre Kristanto Margono

After a week off I am back blogging and it’s Wednesday so it’s time for the CRM MVP Q&A and this weeks guest answerer is Andre Kristanto Margono who is based in Melbourne Australia.  Andre is another one of the newly crowned CRM MVP’s

Here he is

 

ANDRE KRISTANTO MARGONO’S

HIGHLIGHTS

Andre Kristanto holds the Australia record for the most number of Visual Studio 2012 exams in the country

Thanks for Andre for answering my questions, greatly appreciated

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

Andre Kristanto Margono

Technical Consultant

https://twitter.com/andz_88

http://andz88.wordpress.com

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=63805344

http://rockstar365.com/andremargono

What does an average day at work look like

Team discussion, meeting with client(s), analyse project requirements, build the solutions, Sometimes self-paced study

.

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

Software Developer, Technical Consultant

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

Waiter at a sushi shop

 

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

4.0, since January 2011.

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Study the training material from PartnerSource. Get hands-on with the system and start working with it. Read CRM community blogs. Study for the latest CRM certification.

 

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

During commute time from home to office, write blog post/answer questions from forum. Sometimes during weekend when I have nothing to do, write some sample codes/tool.

 

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

Don’t be afraid to start something new and never stop learning

 

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

First impression, cool new UI. Now, the navigation on the new UI sometimes annoying.

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Built-in PowerView Reports

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The intro lady that keep appearing and the new navigation menu that quite hard to navigate

 

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

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog – Really helpful when I was transitioning from CRM 4.0 to 2011.

Surviving CRM (http://niiranen.eu/crm/) – Jukka Niiranen’s Blog

 

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

I hope next year (2015)

 

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

At this moment, most of the clients that I’m working with are using on-premise deployment. I reckon until the data-ownership myth has been demystified, on-premise deployment will always be there.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

KingswaySoft SSIS connector, XrmToolbox, Ribbon Workbench

 

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

CRM 2011 Customization & Configuration, CRM 2013 Customization & Configuration

Yes, to get the most of the latest updates, certifications will “force” me to learn.

 

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

I think it is really important to understand the business needs and translate them into solution.

 

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

I believe it will be beneficial if we know the programming knowledge to understand which “weapon” that will be the most efficient to solve the business requirements. (especially in the selection of javascript, Plugin, Workflow, Business Rules).

 

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

I have some basic hands-on with SharePoint App Development, SQL Server SSIS & SSRS.

 

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

So far, I travelled interstate once. Not sure in future.

 

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

Maybe not. But if CRM is no longer important, I might go back to the web development world

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Getting know to the brightest people in the community

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

Playing music, watching movie, cycling

 

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

Book: Bible.

Film: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

 

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

I think work in general (not only CRM). I need to stay back late for a couple days due to the deployment

 

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

Nope, on the contrary they are quite supportive. My wife is working in a digital marketing company as web developer, so it is quite related with CRM (especially with marketing module in CRM).

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I got the MVP letter on the 1st of April and I thought it was April Mop day prank.

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Andrii Butenko, Leon Tribe, Daniel Cai

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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

 

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 à never heard of them, I only ever heard about Jamie Miley.

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant à both

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Blake Scarlavai

This weeks MVP is Blake Scarlavai from Chicago and this is what Wikipedia tells me about Chicago (Wiki doesn’t tell us anything about Blake!)

Chicago (Listeni/ʃɪˈkɑːɡ/ or /ʃɪˈkɔːɡ/) is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles. With 2.7 million residents,[1] it is the most populous city in both the U.S. state of Illinois and the American Midwest. Its metropolitan area, sometimes called Chicagoland, is home to 9.5 million people and is the third-largest in the United States.[2] Chicago is the seat of Cook County.[a]

The name “Chicago” is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, translated as “wild onion” or “wild garlic”

 

Blake is one of the brand new shiny CRM MVP’s, he only burst out of the MVP egg on April 1st 2014.  So in MVP terms he is merely a new born baby and here he is

 

His MVP bio is rather short

About bscarlavai

CRM developer for 6 years since CRM 3.0 working at Sonoma Partners

I can’t find much on Blake  so lets just move onto the Q&A

 

Thanks for Blake for answering my questions, greatly appreciated

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

Blake Scarlavai

Senior Developer / Manager at Sonoma Partners

Blog: http://blog.sonomapartners.com

Twitter: @bscarlav

 

What does an average day at work look like

85% developing or designing for clients and 15% internal (management, meetings, blogging)

 

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

Started as a Developer and moved into a Senior Developer / Manager role

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

None.  Almost 6 and a half years ago I graduated college and came straight to Sonoma Partners to develop for CRM 3.0/4.0 at the time.

 

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, almost 6 and a half years

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Twitter, blogs, TAP program

 

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

Mainly after hours blogging about an interesting/unique topic I found during the day or working on a CRM tool as a side project. I will try to hop on the forums in the morning or at lunch as well to see if I can provide any help.

 

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

It is definitely helpful to take the time to learn the product first and the best way to learn is to take a certification or play around with CRM hands-on. As a developer, we typically want to solve everything with custom code but that can be very costly and inefficient.  It would be very valuable to your company or client if you know the capabilities of CRM as you should always try to go native and supported before trying to dive in with custom development.

 

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

First impressions were that it looked great.  I love the flat UI and it is less clicky.  After using it, I think the navigation could use a bit of help but what is always nice about CRM is that it is so flexible that developers can fill the gaps with custom code.  Some MVPs have already done that by providing different solutions to help enhance the navigation.  Convergence also got me excited for the future of CRM 2013.  Functionality like Unified Service Desk and Social Listening look great!

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

More flexibility for Custom Actions.  Custom Actions have a lot of potential but currently they can only be called from custom code. Allowing the ability to call them from workflows or even Portable Business Logic would greatly increase their usefulness.

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The navigation.  If you’re upgrading from 2011 and you have a lot of navigation items then you will most likely need to re-think them when upgrading to 2013 or build a web resource to help group the navigation items better.

 

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

1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

2.  Besides http://blog.sonomapartners.com of course, I enjoy Jukka Niiranen’s blog .  He provides some excellent and unique content and goes into great detail.

 

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

Yes, we have a nice varienty of both CRM online and on-premise projects.  I don’t think it can be all online in the future though, at least the near future.  We have a few clients that can’t be online due to their industry.

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

Scott Durrow’s Ribbon Workbench, it is excellent!

 

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

Currently only CRM 3.0 but I am looking forward to completing the 2013 exams.

 

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

Very important.  Either you or someone on your team needs to be able to understand the business and know how to design CRM to fit the needs.

 

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

I don’t think it is necessary to be a good CRM Professional but more than likely, someone on your team will need to have some development knowledge to have a successful CRM project.

 

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

I’ve done many SharePoint integrations and I have colleagues with expertise in SQL Server and Scribe to help me out in those areas.

 

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

Depends but usually only 15% of the year.

 

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

Sure, who knows what will happen in 20 or even 10 years but I do think CRM can keep me busy for a really long time.

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

I’m not sure yet, today’s my first day!  But I’m looking forward to getting to know the other MVPs better and getting closer to the product team.

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

Developing, video games, movies, and traveling

 

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

Book – A Storm of Swords

Movie – The Grand Budapest Hotel

 

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

Maybe a few times doing some late night hackathons while trying to release a CRM tool.

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

Sometimes but they are glad I am passionate about something.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

In this day and age, I think it is pretty unusual that I’ve been at one company for almost 6 and a half years!  That’s just how great Sonoma Partners is!

P.S. – we’re hiring!  🙂

 

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Besides my colleagues Mike Snyder and Jim Steger, I had the honor of meeting Shan McArthur at the BUILD conference in 2011.

 

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill Gates

 

Javascript or .NET

Javascript

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Beer

 

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

both

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

neither

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

subscribe

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

zero

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

early bird

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

do today

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

crm developer

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

hot weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

half full

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Demian Adolfo Raschkovan

Today we say Hola because this weeks CRM MVP is currently residing in Spain (although he is from Argentinian stock).

He supports an average football team Getafe (although they are better than Ipswich as most teams are) who are hovering above the relegation zone, so it will be a nervous weekend for Demian coming up.

Not only has Demian won to MCC awards (you get this for answering lots of forum questions), an MVP, he is also a MAP  (Microsoft Active Professional) 2014.   This is a local distinction in Spain, which rewards partners communities in Spain and other countries.

He also deserves respect because he used CRM version 1.2, which I believe was a notebook with a calculator sellotaped on to it.  CRM 1.2 is also known as evil CRM, which instead of helping you with CRM did everything it could to stop you 🙂

 

Here is Demian’s CRM MVP Biography

Microsoft Community Contributor (MCC) awarded in october 2012 and january 2013

Technical consultant with extensive experience in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft technologies. 
I am currently working at Development and Technical Solutions Architect for Infoavan Soluciones, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Gold Certified partner in Madrid, Spain.
I worked in more than 60 CRM implementations in different positions (as developer, project leader, etc) and different areas (banking, construction, telecommunications, engineers, services, etc.). I also worked in some international projects.
I am passionate about CRM and all the possibilities that Microsoft Dynamics delivers, and I have a CRM blog (in Spanish). I also collaborate in other blogs and forums in Spanish:http://www.elblogdedynamicscrm.com/ and http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/es-ES/crmspanish/threads (Microsoft Spanish CRM Forum).

Here are some Rockstar highlights

demian rockstar 1

 

demian rockstar 2

 

demian rockstar 3

Thanks for Demian for answering my questions, greatly appreciated

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
Demian Adolfo Raschkovan
Dynamics CRM Technical Specialist, Infoavan Soluciones
Blog: www.demianrasko.com
Twitter: @demian_rasko
Email: mvp@demianrasko.com

What does an average day at work look like
Prepare my children to school
Walking to work (4 minutes)
Working with CRM all day
Breakfast at 10:00 (at work)
Lunch at home
Every day I find a new cool stuff around Dynamics CRM and Microsoft stack and I think to implement in my next project, the problem is that I don’t start a new project every day, so I have to wait to finish the actual ones, to use this new cool stuff. If I cannot use it, I blog it to test and learn it.
When I finish, I get back to home, sleep my children and start blogging, tweeting and online training.

What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
Developer, Developer, Developer
Project manager
Trainer
Solution Architect
Presales

What job did you did before you starting using CRM
Developer in 3d Games, and with ASP.NET/SQL Server web sites and Windows forms solutions.

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 the 1.2 version (more than 8 years ago).

How do you stay up to date with the CRM
Tweeting, Bloging and participating in online communities like MSDN and Dynamics forums / ComunidadCRM.com Spanish community.
I also try to learn the lasts developing technologies.

How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
I just have time when my children are sleeping, so I need to take them to bed, and then I start my “Community” life.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Learn and share your knowledge. When you share knowledge, you also learn and grow as a professional. Always say the truth to all the customers, be open and try to explain everything to customers helps you to finish your projects successfully.

What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
I started with the 1.2 version, and if see the solution today, It’s just awesome! I think Microsoft made not only have the best CRM solution in the market, it’s also the one who makes the best changes in the solution. If I see to the future, I think Dynamics CRM will take advantage of other competitors. The big changes in CRM 2013 are in the User Interface, and I think it’s more clean, fast and nice.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Inline editing in all the subgrids, like in Qoutes.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Why I cannot add security roles to field level security profiles?

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

            1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
            2. http://mscrmtools.blogspot.com.es/ (Tanguy CRM Blog) – Best Tools for CRM
3. http://www.stunnware.com/ (this is an old one, not active right now)

What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
I’m not following the numbers but my background is Technical and I think Microsoft is winning in this part.

Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future
Right now, my customers select more OnPremise, but there is a movement to change this wave, and more and more customers want to go to the cloud. I think that the online option will increase, but the Onpremise implementations will stay there for a long time for some kind of customers.

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
XrmToolbox and RibbonWorkbench, kingswaysoft, and XrmServiceToolkit

What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
CRM 3.0, CRM 4.0, Dynamics CRM 2011 and 2013. I also passed Sure Step exams and presales assessment. I want to take this year the application and installation ones (in 2013 I have only the customization exam)

How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
It’s important to have profiles in the projects that have technical skills, but more important is to have someone that understand the customer needs, so you can focus your technical solution to that requirements. Sometimes the best technical solutions, doesn’t fits with customer needs, so the project fails.

How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
It’s important but it is not required at all. It is very useful because in almost all the CRM projects you need some kind of development, but you can be an excellent CRM professional with no programming knowledge at all.

What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
Each project is different, but almost all the project needs some integration. Depending on the volume, the time gap and the systems to integrate, I used a lot of different solutions. From custom development (mostly used) to kingswaysoft, online integration with web services, Dynamics Connector, etc.

How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
More or less twice a month.

Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
No way!

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP
MVP Summit!

What are your hobbies outside of CRM
Running, Tennis, watch Football and travel

 What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Toy Story and Toy Story, my daughter….

Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Every night…when I turns on my PC at home…

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
Yes, sometimes, but I really love it and if I find anybody with interest to talk about technology, I cannot stop. My 3 years old daughter already “played” with moca in her Surface 2 tablet.

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I lived in Madrid, Spain for the last 12 years. I really love football and I go every Sunday to the Stadium to watch my favorite team (Getafe).

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
Marco Amoedo (now in Microsoft UK)

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

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
BILL GATES

Javascript or .NET
Javascript

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari
Chrome

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink
Beer

Certifications or Use CRM
Use CRM

twerking or tweeting
Tweeting

books or ebooks
Ebooks

save or autosave
Save (I’m from the old school)

OnLine or On Premise
OnPrem
Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
Windows 8.1
work from home or work from office
From office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
….

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe
Youtube?

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox
Overflowing inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl
Early Bird

Do Today/Do Tomorrow
Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant
CRM Developer

Hot Weather/Cold Weather
Hot Weather

Half Full/Half Empty
Half Full

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