CRM MCC Question and Answer – Guido Preite

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

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

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

 

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

Guido Preite

Dynamics CRM Developer

Twitter: https://twitter.com/crmanswers

Blog: http://www.crmanswers.net

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

 

2.    What does an average day at work look like

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

 

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

Developer/Trainer/Consultant

 

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

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

 

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

CRM 4.0 – I use Dynamics CRM since 2010

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

The obvious one: to use the product every day

 

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

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

 

10.  What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

OOB read audit (who read what and when)

 

11.  Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

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

 

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

1.  Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Role Updater (it’s inside XrmToolbox)

 

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

CRM 2011: Customization & Configuration, Extending

CRM 2013: Customization & Configuration

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

22.  What is favourite part of being a CRM MCC

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

 

23.  What are your hobbies outside of CRM

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

 

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

Book: “Unions” written by Robert Musil

Movie: “The Hunt” directed by Thomas Vinterberg

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

28.  Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Bill Gates

 

Javascript or .NET

.NET

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Soft Drink

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use CRM

 

twerking or tweeting

tweeting

 

books or ebooks

ebooks

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

On Premise

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Mac

 

work from home or work from office

work from home

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

No thanks, I am European

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Amazon AutoRip

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Zero Inbox

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night Owl

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do Tomorrow

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Developer

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

How Weather

 

Half Full/Half Empty

Half Empty

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Donna Edwards

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

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

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

That was a topical football joke.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Here are the highlights from the excellent Rockstar 365

 

donna edwards 0

donna edwards 1

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

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

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

 

Donna has a youtube channel

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

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

The last one was about CRM 2013 SP1

 

 

Thanks for Donna for answering my questions

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

 

QUESTIONS and ANSWERS

Name, current job title and social media links please

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

Blog 

 Twitter 

LinkedIn 

Microsoft CRM MVP 

Rockstar 365

 

What does an average day at work look like

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

 

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

Just about everything with the exception of developer.

 

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

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

 

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

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

 

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

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

 

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

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

 

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

 

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

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

 

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

No, they understand and are supportive.

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

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

 

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

 

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

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

 

Javascript or .NET

.Net

 

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Chrome

 

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink

Water, Tea, Coffee

 

Certifications or Use CRM

Use

 

twerking or tweeting

I like a little twerk in the tweet

 

books or ebooks

ebooks

 

save or autosave

save

 

OnLine or On Premise

OnLine

 

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

Win 8

 

work from home or work from office

Home

 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus

Cyrus plant

 

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

Subscribe

 

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Zero

 

Early Bird/Night Owl

Early

 

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Today

 

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Consultant

 

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Hot

 

Half Full/Half Empty

Full

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 – 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 – Gustaf Westerlund

I love the fact when I’m not sure what, where or who I am going to find when I come to do the wednesday CRM MVP Q&A.  The CRM MVP’s come from all parts of the word and all have very different skills and experience, which makes their answers different and interesting each week.

This week we are off to Stockholm in Sweden, I once visited Stockholm and stayed in a prison they had converted into a hotel.  The things I remember about Stockholm is it was quite cold, the price of beer was astronomical (the taxi driver tried to sell us some home made booze!) and there was some rather fruity TV on But I digress.

Thanks to Gustaf and all the CRM MVP’s who have answered my questions, I have really enjoyed reading your answers

I would definitely recommend subscribing to Gustaf’s CRM blog, it’s full of great posts

here are the highlights from his rockstar profile

Gustaf 1

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

Gustaf Westerlund, CEO of CRM-Konsulterna, a small consultancy specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Stockholm, Sweden.

What does an average day at work look like

Don’t know if there is an average day. I have a huge variety in my work, some of the stuff I do:

Running my company, administration, legals and all the other stuff nobody else does… J

Sales. I am the only one responsible for generating business for our company. I have tried to focus a lot on pull marketing so that I don’t have to work the phone, but I still have to visit quite a lot of potential customers and get them to understand that Microsoft Dyn CRM just is the best CRM system in the world, hands down.

Implementing CRM for large and small companies. I used to code a bit but not so much anymore. In larger projects I usually have the role of Solution Architect. In smaller projects I sometimes just do it all.

Training. I do some teaching in both end user training and classroom MOC courses. I like this as it requires you to keep sharp and I get to hear my own voice quite a lot which my wife tells me I like to hear.

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

Programmer, Architect, Solution Architect, Project Manager, Trainer, Application Consultant/specialist.

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

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

CRM 1.2, since 2005.

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I eat, breath, work, play, blog, twitter, joke, love, hate read and write about CRM.

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

Do I? I find it a constant struggle. I view myself as a bipolar community escapist with a tendency to project inner struggles through the CRM system in Social Media. I leave the interpretation to someone with a degree in psychology.

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

Come work for me! Get goat farm. – Maybe I have to explain that. We have a joke at our company, CRM-Konsulterna, that you have to sacrifice a goat to the almighty DEMO-god before ever daring to do a demo to a customer. As many animal rights activists dislike us doing this in our office, and we also dislike doing this in our office, and it does get a bit messy, we usually just talk about it, and there are actually some decent Youtube clips on goat sacrifice as well if you like to have a look. It might also be more in the nature of “recycling”.

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

I think the new UI with the process flows are really great. There are some things to fix but it is really like a redo of the entire UI so we have to think a bit like it is version 1.0.

I have shown CRM 2013 to customers that have been set on buying CRM 2011 and they have turned on a dime. That did it for me. If customers like it that much, I think we have to listen to that. There are some things that need to be tuned, as there always are, and we have to work with Microsoft on that, but that is nothing new or very specific for Dynamics CRM.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Ability to customize the Activity/Notes section in the middle of the forms.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The special pop-up forms that are so good looking but are so not-customizable… like the address-pop-up which is soooo USA-based. We don’t use Region in Sweden or Street 3.

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

I don’t know, and I am not sure it will matter. SalesForce will soon be bought by Oracle or some other company. It is not a well run company, as Leon Tribe, he has done his homework. I would rather have 10 good customers than 100 bad. I have turned down several customers and I think we more often should ask customers why we should have them as customers. Customers are not worth to be kept at any price and I think that all business should be built on a healthy win-win mentality. SalesForce obviously isn’t as they are not making money.

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

Small customers are online for us. Larger customers are not. We also have some SPLA customers despite the fact that Microsofts process for handling SPLA is a laugh and almost rude the CRM resellers. I almost think that they don’t want anyone to sell CRM that way.

I am a strong believer in the original story that Microsoft had that was “The Power of Choice” so which deployment is right depends on the customer. Banks will almost never be right for Online, small startups will almost always go for Online. We as Partners need to be good at understanding what is best for the customer and recommending this. Having the customers best as the first interest is important for long term win-win relationships which is what I build my business on I suggest all responsible Dyn CRM partners do as well as this will build a great customer!

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

XrmToolBox

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

CRM Customization/Application 2011/4.0

CRM Installation 4.0

SureStep

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

Very. Especially if working close to the customer. Understanding the customers’ business is essential. We have to be working primarily with the CEO’s, Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Customer Service Managers etc. and not the IT-Department. The latter is of course essential for a good implementation, but they are just the engine that makes the car move, the CEO is the one who is turning the wheel and pressing the buttons so he has to be in control.

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

It is very useful. I am of course colored by my background as a programmer, I started programming when I was 11 and started assembly programming when I was 15 so for me it is a part of life and essential for understanding computers. But I also think that you should study calculus, physics, philosophy and languages to be a good CRM professional.

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

Quite a lot. I have done quite a lot of integrations with CRM, both custom systems but also with iScala, QuickBix, SQL SSIS.

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

Public Transportation, Car, Train, Airplane.

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

Hard to say. I have put so much of my life into CRM, I have even started a company that does nothing but work with Dyn CRM. But you never know what happen, perhaps I decide to become prime minister, and then I might need a VoterRelationshipManagement System…

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

The CRM MVP Community. Getting to know the other CRM MVPs has been great! They are all really nice and helpful and I feel honored to be part of such a nice group of people which also happen to share my passion for CRM!

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I have two kids, Nora 6 years old and Adrian 3 years old who both love to play Super Mario with me. We (that means me) are currently struggling with beating the final Bowser on New Super Mario Wii. I have a beautiful wife Kathrine who works with Dyn AX.

I also really enjoy computer games, it was one of my planned occupations, that or business systems. Currently it is the fantastic Battlefield 4 on PC! A day or two ago I was proud to make a 686 m headshot with a 8x rifle scope. J We even have BF@CRMK events at our office when we get a lot of coke and play Battlefield at the office!

About once a week I play some tennis which is a family sport. I also used to practice quite a lot of martial arts, primarily Aikido but also Shorinji Kempo, but it is hard finding the time now days.

As for societies I am involved in Rotary, International Order of Odd Fellows, an old society called Par Bricole founded in the 18:th century and a society promoting proper Science called Vetenskap och Folkfolkbildning.

What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
I am currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and the last film was the “Battle in Seattle”.

 

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

Yes. End of story.

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
I cannot stop selling/trying to get people to love CRM which can be a bit annoying for some people… J

 

Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I write poetry sometimes and I really like philosophy.

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Mikael Höhne.

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

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

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 or SPLA

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/Bad Design