Top Dynamics CRM Community Resources

This list is a revised version of the bit I did with Anne Stanton at Convergence DayONE General Session.  This list is far from complete, but hopefully thorough.

The most important resource is YOU.  Sure, on the surface that sounds cheesy, but hear me out.  All of the great resources won’t do you a bit of good unless you do something.  As giving as the community is, and they are great, you have to accept the help and go make CRM (or xRM) with it.

User groups are one of my personal favorite resources.  Imagine this…the best in your profession giving of themselves to teach you how to do what they do?  The best ones for CRM… xRMVirtual (developer nerds using CRM for other things) and CRMUG (some free things some paid memberships, more user/mgt side of things).

Microsoft team members.  Not sure there’s a link here for you, but the product team at Microsoft are a really great bunch.  They genuinely want your feedback to make a better product.  They want to help you succeed in what you do with the resources they’ve given us.  You need something?  Let me know, I’m happy to make an intro for you to anyone on the team.

Official blogs.  The high-level team one is here.  The posts come from MVPs, Microsofties, industry experts, etc.  You’ll get links about updates to the product, the newest documentation/SDK, events, etc.  From here there will be links to the author’s own site so you can then add them to your own resource list.

TechNet CRM Wiki.  A group of product team folks, MVPs and other experts manage this and aggregate info for you.  Look here for a collection of best practices, resources, etc.  The plan is to keep things here in perpetuity as a forever resource for you/us.

Social.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube.  All great places to learn stuff and meet people to learn more stuff from.  On Twitter you can search on key terms (with and without a hash#), you can then find the people posting those things, and follow them.  LinkedIn groups send you updates on discussions related to those group topics.  Facebook is an area of debate of its professional value, I find value there, you may not.  Whatever works for me works for me, whatever works for you works for you.  There is an official Dynamics CRM YouTube Channel too.

Channel 9.  This is a well-known resource in the overall .NET developer community, but notsomuch with CRM developers.  Channel 9 has great videos in digestible lengths on many topics that would help a CRM developer.  Go look at the site, search on CRM and tadah!  Loads of results.

Microsoft forums.  So, you have a huge problem overcoming this whatchamacallit and can’t see to locate the answer anywhere.  Go to the forums and interact directly with the experts.  Product team folks and CRM MVPs hang out there answering (and asking) questions.  I go there often when I hit a roadblock on something.

Dynamics CRM MVPs.  So we get this honor based in part on area of technical prowess, but more so for our commitment to giving back to our professional community.  There are many many specialties, but current count of CRM MVPs is 49.  We come from all over the globe and are really truly here to help.

Dear Mr. Ballmer…

The Convergence website had been soliciting questions to be asked of Steve Ballmer at his Convergence keynote.  For whatever reason, none of the submitted questions were ever asked of him at the keynote.  I had submitted a question that I really wanted answered.  So anyone out there that may be reading this AND have a ear to his office, my question to Steve Ballmer:

Question: With the release of Dynamics CRM 2011 and all that it offers developers (developers developers) it has become clear that xRM is here to stay (woohoo).  However, with little to no coverage for CRM at Microsoft technical and developer events how can we become a first class development option?

(There’s one “CRM” session on the books for Tech Ed North America out of 760 and most of my developer friends are spending this week in Las Vegas at MIX)



Prosecuting and legislating what they don’t understand

We’ve got phone apps being developed faster than you can say app-store and we have a distinct lack of rules/regulations that apply to this group of technology advances.  There are parent level laws that might apply, but were written by people that don’t understand technology and before technology like this was ever imagined. 

Technology moves fast.  Government moves slow.  This is a huge disconnect.  Legislators need to author and implement laws that not only fairly regulate technology and its advances but also leaves open the possibility of advances that they could not fathom.  (Hawaii’s distracted driving law is a great example, it covers phones, zunes, and any other device that has not yet been invented but distracts a driver)  With regulations and laws in place written by people without full understanding of the technology use and possibilities being enforced by  prosecutors that also don’t fully understand the use and possibilities of technology, we are ripe for a witch hunt. 

It looks like it may have started.  We’ve got them beginning already.  We’ve got a legislative request that would restrict location aware apps in general based on an app that offers user-provided and publicly available information in aggregated form (the app that prompted this discloses red-light cameras and DWI checkpoints).  RIM has already complied.  Taken as requested this would kill apps like FourSquare that report things based on location as well as the DWI app that started it all.

Then we have the subpoena-craze happening with federal prosecutors in New Jersey.  These prosecutors seem to be fishing for any information without knowing what they want, hoping to find something “dangerous.”  I’m all for being an informed consumer.  But I am also well aware that even if you put something in your terms of service, most people don’t read them and are unaware of what they may contain.  (I challenge you read the terms of service before you click “agree” next time you sign up for something online.)

How do we solve this problem?  A start could be adding more advisors that are actually currently involved in building technology, the innovators.  But then you also have to take their advice.  This is an evolving issue being regulated and enforced by well0intentioned public servants that don’t have a true understanding of the technology, the possibilities of technology to come or the intent of the regulations in place now.  (technology patents are a whole ‘nother topic; that one could be a multi-part series and still never be discussed effectively)

Will I ever cease to be amazed by the lack of understanding of our elected and appointed officials? 

Federal Grand Jury Investigating Apps, Pandora Says -

Apps warn of DWI checkpoints

New Dynamics xRM/CRM User Group!

Don’t you love being part of a technology revolution??!  We’ve got yet another on-ground (ok, we can call it on-prem) xRM/CRM user group, this time in New England.  Anne Stanton has started a new group that looks to be off to a great start.  If you’re in the area, stop by a meeting.  If you’re interested in your own on-prem group, drop me an email, I can help you get started.

Southern New England Dynamics xRM/CRM User Group