15 Favorites Dynamics CRM Solutions

I get many emails asking for my opinion on things; some even asking me to publicly give my opinion without first knowing what it is.  Not sure that even I am that brave.  If it is an individual, a well-meaning individual, and my opinion is unfavorable, I will often just reply privately with my opinion; though I have been known to share an unfavorable public opinion, I always try to be fair.

Last week Lauren Carlson asked me just that.  Here’s a link to something I wrote, could you share your opinion on your blog?

She’s worked hard on compiling a list of industry vertical solutions based on Dynamics CRM.  First off, I admire the undertaking, it is not a small one.  Second, though I don’t agree with all her choices, I agree with the path she took to get there, it makes sense (and no I won’t publicly or privately comment on the solutions individually, so please don’t ask).

My public suggestion to Lauren is that her list is a little limited, that there are more industries that could have (should have) been addressed and that it is possible that in the same industry more than one solution could be the “best” because their functions are really different.  My challenge to her is to expand that, if only in her own mind.

Thank you Lauren.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Industry Solutions: Our 15 Favorites

What makes an employable CRMy person?

This keeps coming up in many places, so I decided to write up my thoughts in one place.  I read a lot of resumes, I hire people for our company, I know a lot of people in this industry.  Today, regardless of industry, you need to be more than a one-trick pony.

From what I’ve seen the economy is heading up and on a path to recovery.  Firms are ready to invest, but maybe still a little gun-shy.  So it’s important for them to make good decisions about technology choices, so what better than a fast to market Dynamics CRM solution?

For any CRM solution/customization implementation you have a few primary roles needed.  Keep in mind not each implementation will have an individual associated with each of these, however the skills are needed in some form.  The key to employability is to be able to fill more than one of these roles with your own professional skill set.

Data analyst- this person needs to have a grasp of the needs of the client and the ability to translate that to CRM functionality.  The deeper the level of customizations the more involved of a business analyst you need on the project. It is important to be able to know the difference between what the client asks for and what they really need, all in the realm of CRM capabilities.

CRM customizer- this can be as simple at the label changes, but can also extend to custom entities, attributes, views, reports and workflows.  This person doesn’t have to know code, they have to know CRM.

CRM coder- you know where, when and how to place custom code in CRM.  You know WHAT code to place.

CRM architect- not only do you know the moving parts, you know how they move together, when and where you can and should interfere with the defaults to make your solution better.

CRM report writer- this person picks up where the built-in wizard ends.  I’ve had projects that this person is the busiest of all, and has the most extensive project knowledge, this person cannot be under-rated.

External webmaster- when your CRM grows and has the external component, your portals, etc.  Someone needs to manage this, implement this.

(I forgot project manager and QA folks, added them in edit)

Each of these roles has a different level of technical skills required.  The more of these roles that YOU can do (and do well) the more employable you are AND the higher pay you can demand  (one biz analyst with customization skills at $125k is cheaper than 2 people at $75k, no?).  The one of these that I think is the most difficult is the business analyst, with the architect a close second.

I’m sure I don’t have all the roles needed, just the ones I see most often.  At some level for every CRM project we do, I play the role of each of these to some degree except for the coder.

xRMVirtual members are making a difference, webinar scheduled

I received an email from xRMVirtual member Robert Ezekiel after our forms customization session with Larry Lentz.  He was letting me know about a webinar about more forms customizations and encouraging folks to think outside the box.  That’s what xRM is all about, thinking of new ways to use the same tools. 

Link below for details and registration.  The event is on Thursday the 19th.  I won’t be able to attend due to a conflict, but please let me know if you attend and what you learned.


Details and registration links

Pay-What-You-Can Training, I am constantly amazed by this community

I am humbled to be considered a part of such a great and generous group of people.  Our professional .NET community always seems to find a way to outdo the last big thing.

As if user groups that are already full of volunteers efforts for organizing, presenting, sponsoring weren’t enough, we now have Pay what you can training.  It is exactly like it sounds, pay what you can, even if that happens to be $0.

The training normally goes for $500 and if you are on your company’s dime, that’s what you should be paying.  And only YOU will know what you pay unless you make I known otherwise.

(the fact that this one happens to cover test driven development is a bonus to me!)

So your directive??  A few things… Spread the word.  Find places where you too could give back and then DO IT.  Tell me about it, I’ll spread the word too.

October 26th in Waltham MA.  Details below.

Pay-What-You-Can Training | hearthealthyscrum.com

I started working out today, even sweated a little

So many friends that go way back will be astonished to read that, Julie actually sweating?!!  GASP.  Any most that know me know that I am not overweight, not even close.  I just calculated my BMI and I am smack dab in the middle of normal at 22.7 (normal goes from 18.5-24.9).

I know I am very lucky.  I pretty much eat what I want when I want.  I sit all day at a desk.  And my doctor is pretty happy with me after she does my annual labs. 

So why workout?  And why announce it?  To be held publicly accountable of course.

I had pictures done last week (needed head shots for book cover) and I actually paid for a digital tummy tuck on two of my pictures.  That was a bit of a wake-up call.

My daughter had been begging for a membership to the Y, so we did that on Sunday.  The whole family joined.

So my plan…

  • No soda (I am drinking an occasional cup of coffee, lots of water and orange juice in the morning, grape juice (1 glass of wine) in the evening)
  • Continue with the fresh fruits and veggies.  I love them anyway, just need to keep up and maybe eat more of them.
  • I started walking, a fast walk, today.  I walked about 2.5 miles.  Running won’t work since the whole compound fracture/metal ankle debacle a few years ago.  I will increase this on a regular basis.  I have a playlist on my zune, I walk ‘til it’s run its course.  I will just add songs to the list regularly to increase this one.
  • After my walk I go into the equipment room and workout.  I am starting a zone at a time, trying to be realistic.  I have started and stopped this before, so maybe taking baby steps will be better.  So, walking then abs.  Then walking, abs and arms.  Then walking, abs, arms, legs.

So hopefully I will stop feeling as many of these aches and pains I’ve been blaming on aging.  If I drop a few pounds or a size or two, that’s ok too.