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"Never Again" More Than 40% of CRM /Sales Force Automation (SFA) Users Would Not Buy Their current SFA System Again

Ouch, that one hurts.  But let’s take a step back and figure it out so we can then learn from it.  ‘Cause sitting around rendering first aide to our wounded egos won’t solve any problems.

Two quotes from the press release stand out for me:

"We thought we made a good decision based on our needs and what our consultants recommended. We came to find out later our consultants and the research company we paid, make the same vendor recommendation to everyone," said one VP of Sales.


Technology vendors pay analyst firms to write supposedly "objective" white papers.


Ok, the first one.  I’m not sure how others do this, but I make no secret of the fact that I am a Microsoft Dynamics CRM advocate.  It is very versatile, never-ending, extensible, user-friendly, and on and on.  Is is a perfect fit for everyone?  Nope, probably not.  BUT my job is to take in the needs of the customer, process it thru the maze of CRM knowledge in my head and available to me and then come back out on the other side with recommendations using the CRM product I prefer. Do I know a ton about the “competition”?  Nope.  I don’t think it’s my job to do that, clients come to me and my firm for its Dynamics CRM expertise.  There are plenty of others around that are totally hung up on the competition, that I don’t need to be.  Competition truly makes us all strive for higher standards and I am one of those odd folks that really (really, seriously) like the challenge of it all.  Would be boring if everyone did the same thing that I did.  So I guess my takeaway from this one is own your specialty, make it your own, make it better than anyone else.

Now the whitepaper comment.  I am addressing this one because my firm has participated in several of these on behalf of the Dynamics team.  Is there really anyone out there that believes a whitepaper is much different than an extended marketing piece?  Think about it…. overview, technical specs, use cases…..sounds like a bucket full of marketing to me.

The link below is a press release (a much shorter marketing tool than a whitepaper) about the study.  Near the bottom is a link to the full report.  Well, not actually a link to the report, a link to the page where you can purchase the report for $695. 

"Never Again" More Than 40% of CRM /Sales Force Automation (SFA) Users Would Not Buy Their current SFA System Again

Court says strip search of Arizona teenager illegal

Well, duh people.

Did this REALLY need to go to the Supreme Court?  The vote was a strong 8-1, with Clarence Thomas the only dissenter. 

From the article linked below:

“Thomas warned that the majority's decision could backfire. "Redding would not have been the first person to conceal pills in her undergarments," he said. "Nor will she be the last after today's decision, which announces the safest place to secrete contraband in school."

Seriously Justice Thomas?  Really, a non-violent “good kid” should expect to have her underwear searched at school, by non-police personnel just so some other non-violent suspect can be searched there as well?  There was no imminent danger from this ibuprofen, EVEN IF THEY FOUND SOME.  Which, they did not.  If it is THAT important, call the cops, let them do their job and then you go back to yours and teach our children.

I am torn on the other part of the Court’s decision, that the school personnel that did the actual search should have immunity.  Yes, they were following the instructions of their superior, so not doing it would have risked their jobs.  HOWEVER, if the same boss came up to them to perform any other illegal task, would they stand up and tell him no?  Just because you have a boss, does not give you the right to lose all common sense and participate in what is essentially the sexual assault of a 13 year old child in the name of following orders.  Grow a pair already, k?

Court says strip search of Ariz. teenager illegal - Yahoo! News

Happy Father’s Day Dad, I miss you

Happy Father’s Day Dad I miss you. I know it was time for you to go, we talked about it. Those last few days we had together were good. You had some pretty lucid moments, but then would immediately go back to your dementia moments. You knew exactly what your DNR bracelet meant and wanted me to know it, then you were worried about the puppies that were playing under your hospital bed the very next moment. I told you that you had done a good job and it was ok to be tired and done, you’d been sick for as long as I can remember. That doesn’t mean I was ready for you to be gone, but I knew you were.

You chose to be my Dad when you adopted all of us. How wonderful a man you were to take us all in, you were only in your twenties! We were all so little, I was just a toddler. I do not know of any other 20-something man that would take on such a huge obligation. FOUR DAUGHTERS! We were all loud giggly boy crazy teenagers at the same time. Having my own two teenagers now, I have no idea how you survived that.

Did you know that the boys in high school that came around were all terrified of you? You were this quiet man, didn’t chat with them, you had all these daughters and you never (never) spoke with them. They had no idea that you were shy because of your stutter, but whatever the cause, it worked, they were scared. All of us made it thru high school not dead and all of us went on to college.

People say that girls marry their dads. They marry a man that reminds them of their dad. For better or worse, I didn’t do that the first time. I have my great kids from that experience and we both know I would never trade that. I am who I am today based on my past, and that includes good and bad. I was lucky enough to marry a man like you the second time. I wish you had gotten to know Dave better. I know you loved him and approved of him, but he is such a great husband and father, you would have both enjoyed more time together.

I wish we had the time to take that trip to Las Vegas that you always wanted to take. I wish that you had more time to be Grandpa to Drew and Jack. I wish you could be there in a few months when I graduate with my Masters.

Thanks Dad for all you did. I miss you and love you.

XRM user group in Poland

So my new friend Kuba from Poland shared with me some info on his Dynamics xRM group in Poland.  

The group’s site is here.

The blog is here.

When I was wandering around his sites I discovered that Polish is not a language one can fake knowing, so I asked him for a write up on his group, one in English, one in Polish.

Good job Kuba!  If you have a group, let me know, we will publicize you as well!

In English:

Dynamics xRM Polish User Group is a community for all polish Dynamics CRM professionals. The group was launched in January 2009 to help gather all of us in one community. The principal aim of the group is to share the knowledge about Dynamics xRM platform and to help those who hesitate whether Dynamics CRM is the way to go J. During our meetings, we discuss technical issues as well as the ways Dynamics xRM platform may help businesses in their daily work. During our first two meetings we have more than 25 attendees who work or want to work with Dynamics CRM.

Kuba Skalbania, the group’s leader, has been dealing with Dynamics CRM since 2004 (MBS CRM 1.0) and since then he has been gaining experience on various projects, e.g. while working at Microsoft Consulting Services CRM Team.

Po Polsku:

Dynamics xRM Polish Group to spolecznosc profesjonalistow zajmujacyh sie systemem Dynamics CRM. Grupa powstala w styczniu 2009 roku, aby zebrac nas wszystkich w jednym miejscu. Glownym celem grupy jest szerzenie wiedzy o platformie Dynamics xRM i pomoc tym, którzy ciagle się wahaja czy Dynamics CRM to właściwy wybor J. Podczas spotkan omawiamy zarówno tematy bardzo techniczne, jak i te bardziej biznesowe – jak platforma Dynamics xRM może pomoc firmom w codziennej pracy. W dwoch pierwszych spotkaniach grupy uczestnilo powyżej 25 osob, które pracuja albo chciałyby pracowac z Dynamics CRM.

Kuba Skalbania, lider grupy, zajmuje się Dynamics CRM od 2004 roku (od wersji MBS CRM 1.0) i od tego czasu zdobywal doświadczenie w roznych projektach, pracując w zespole CRM w Microsoft.

My long weekend girlfriend’s trip to the Bahamas

So several months back my good friend Tammy Batman (yes, her real name, get past it) asked me to take a trip with her, somewhere. She had a travel certificate with an airline and knew that I travel a bunch, figured we could go somewhere fun. We had talked about going to Vegas then just before we started booking flights and hotels my husband suggested we look into taking a cruise instead. I love that man! We planned a girls’ only cruise to the Bahamas.

I have cruised several times before, Tammy had once, but forever ago. My cruise line of choice is Norwegian. I have cruised a few other of the popular lines, NCL is just better. So, we got a good deal on a balcony room (ONLY way to go). We were booked on the Norwegian Sky. I had an upgrade certificate from a prior trip and sent it in, looking to upgrade to a better cabin. Got an email back that an upgrade was not available, but here, have a $75 room credit instead. Nice, I can work with that.

A couple of days before we were supposed to leave, I get a call from the cruise line, offering an upgrade. TO A PENTHOUSE. Totally sweet. For $75 each (total, not per day) we got upgraded. Remember, I got the cabin credit already, so the net was really just the $75 ‘cause I got to keep that. This made us both totally excited, and we didn’t even fully understand what we were going to experience.

We head to Ft Lauderdale and stay the night, hotel was no big deal, we cashed in points and got a free night from a Hilton property. Now, this was weird. The driver from the hotel picked us up at the airport. He started out as friendly, but by the time he gave us his buddy’s phone number to give us a ride to the ship and his extensive advice on how to smuggle liquor onto the boat, he had crossed over to creepy. We check in, go to our room and there’s a huge fan on the floor drying to carpet. Ok, we try again, and get a new room. This room was fine, except we had a haunted microwave. I tried to set the clock, push buttons, etc, but nothing would make the random lights and noises stop. So I unplugged it. We had to call maintenance 4 times (maybe 5) to fix the toilet because apparently a previous guest had shoved soap into the toilet. What the heck?

Ok, we head to the Port of Miami. We get dropped off, get bags dropped off and head inside to check in. Lines were reasonable, not rushed. Very organized and everyone in a good mood, happy to be there, guests and employees.

We get to the place where you get your cabin keys, and are directed to the place for penthouse guests. We are starting to feel special. We get our room keys, and give our credit cards to handle on board purchases and we have our first snag. My reservation is under my correct last name. My credit card has my correct last name. My passport was issued under my former last name, but officially changed to the correct name and is properly documented and all that official stuff. The guy that checked me in apparently had a hard time with that and issued me a credit slip to sign with the wrong name on it. I tell him it’s wrong, he says my key is right, so it must just be some glitch, not to worry. It was the answer I wanted to hear.

We go to the VIP waiting area and expect to be summoned by Virginia. We had not yet met her, but assumed she must be someone special. There are a few of us waiting, chatting a little.

Ok, go ahead, we will take you on the ship now. We go right onto the boat to meet Virginia, the concierge. She is the sweetest lady. So not stressed. We will appreciate this later. She offers to take us to Cagney’s (posh restaurant on the boat that until now I had only been there for dinner, it was never open for lunch (or breakfast) before for me). We go to Cagney’s, champagne in hand. Eat a yummy lunch. Then head down to our penthouse.

Oh. My. Goodness.

Our deck was bigger than most of the cabins I had previously stayed in, we had surround sound to go with our flat screen in the living room and with the flat screen in the bedroom. Three closets. Jacuzzi tub. Espresso machine. Rogin. Rogin was our butler. He delivers fresh flowers. He made sure our champagne was chilled. He delivered complementary afternoon snacks. He fixed my glasses when the screw came out.

We ate that night in the main dining room, yummy of course. The entertainment that night was a catch all/preview for the rest of the cruise. The cruise director is so full of energy. Matt was the cruise director on my last cruise as well, just as fun then too. The comedian gave a fun little skit, loads of audience participation. Just fun. We met Oswald, our cabin steward. Nice but quiet man.

Next day we woke up in the Bahamas. At breakfast, at Cagney’s, Virginia was there to tell us good morning. She had another credit slip for me to sign, name still wrong, looks like there was a problem with the last one (umm, maybe cause you had my name wrong?!!). I tell her about it, sign the new slip and forget about it, again assuming it was taken care of. Wandered around Nassau, did some shopping, went to Senior Frogs. That night was the Newlywed/Not so Newlywed game. It is pretty much exactly what you’d think. Fun show, only audience participation is the three couples that wind up on stage. Usually. Let’s just say we sat in the front row (it should have been safe) and one of the husbands pointed at me in reference to his wife’s bra size and now the people on the ship all know what size bra I wear. Rest of the cruise I was officially “the boob lady” and several different people approached me at the most random times to call me that.

Sunday we decided to just go to the regular buffet for breakfast, figured we’d go to one of the omelet stations, get some coffee, head over to NCL’s private island. I was just devastated. The omelet stations only offered 3 toppings, including mushrooms and cheese. Ew. Seriously? That’s a dumb little budget cut there. By this time we had missed the good breakfast at Cagney’s. Not very happy and still hungry. I had given a deposit for our next cruise and the receipt was in our cabin. IN THE WRONG NAME. You’re kidding, right? I go to find Virginia to get it fixed. She doesn’t miss a beat, gets it taken care of. Loving her. She reminds me to find her when we are ready to go to the island, she will make sure we don’t have to wait. We get ready, find Virginia, she takes us down a back staircase to the loading area to leave the boat. We don’t see the line of other guests, we were isolated. We were first onto the smaller boat that takes us all over. Soon, another 300 or more guests (that had been waiting for how long in line) join us to go to the island. The sun finally showed up, we had a couple of drinks, and then went back to the ship. That night we were invited to have drinks with the Captain, meet the cruise staff and mingle with other VIPs (teehee, OTHER VIPs!!).

We had asked for Virginia to arrange for our transportation to the airport when we returned. The tickets were at our cabin. Guess what, mine in the wrong name. Grr. I go to find Virginia to get the tickets re-issued. I am more than annoyed at this point.

Sunday night, last night of the cruise. The comedy show and the adult quest game. The theatre was close to capacity, Tammy and I sat in the second or third row, far side of the theatre. We had ordered and started on our evening’s bucket of beers. At the start of the show the comedian went into the audience, on the side opposite us, he grabbed a lady from the audience, put her on stage. Tammy looked at me and said “you’re going on stage”. Yea right. Umm, yea, right. He walks over, takes my beer, hands it to Tammy, takes me on the stage. I am now a prop on stage for the comedian. He has the two of us ladies on stage take turns being his victim. He puts us behind him, one at a time depending on the comedic needs, close, his hands behind our backs, our arms in front of him. We are supposed to be his hands, his gestures with our hands. He did the requisite mock flirting, asking about husbands and such. Was silly and fun. The one that got me stumped was ironically when he wanted me to show he was scared. All I had to do was shake my hands, you know quiver. That one escaped me, funny since my left hand does nothing BUT shake. The end of our stint on stage was completed by BOTH ladies behind him doing the Macarena. Cheesy but fun. The adult game was fun, but I won’t ruin it for anyone. If you go on a cruise with NCL, just go. Make sure when you go that you are not too intoxicated or you will be sorry when you become the star of the show. At the dance club that night they of course played the Macarena and some lady came up to me and offered to have my arms around her, performing like I had on stage. Cute.

Next morning we had to go. But again, Virginia had taken good care of us. Eat a good breakfast (at Cagney’s again), meet me here to get off the ship. Again, no line, just right where we needed to go. Very nice. Several times during the cruise Tammy and I were in awe of the treatment we were getting, it was just right. We felt well taken care of, never pressured or overwhelmed. Very well done NCL and the crew of the Sky (but please figure out how to keep my name right, it’s not really that complicated).

My boys leave for their cruise to Alaska on Friday, no Penthouse or upgrades. Trying hard to rub it in as much as I can before then.

patriotism, sorta, probably not what you think

So, I am not normally one that reads or forwards most of those emails that have the long sappy stories.  I hardly ever get them anymore.  I don’t fault those that send them, I just don’t usually participate.  Not my thing.

I got this email today from my friend Rick.  Not sure what prompted me to read it (maybe procrastinating the work I was supposed to be doing?), but since Rick had never sent anything like it before, I read it.

Before you read it, please know that I don’t see this as pushing any kind of agenda.  I think it shows how some perceptions are formed and how we really are a global society.

There are 4 quick stories.  Read them all.

When in England, at a fairly large conference, Condi Rice was asked by The Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by the Americans. She answered by saying, 'Over the years,the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.'

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt of the Americans? They have sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What do they intend to do, bomb them?' A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?'

A US. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included admirals from the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and French navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that,whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans, Aussies, and Brits learn only English.' He then asked, 'Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?' Without hesitating, the American admiral replied 'Maybe it's because the Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.'

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman, arrived in Paris by plane. At French customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carryon. 'You have been to France before, monsieur?' the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr.. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. ‘Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.' The American gentleman said, ''The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it. 'Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!' The American senior gave the Frenchman along hard Look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, When I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to.'