2011 in review
December 31, 2011
It was a good year.
It was a good year.
Sure I have some more specific requests (like it’s ok to tax the middle class and stop punishing small business owners) but this list gives some blanket generalizations. This is not complete, but just off the top of my head. I understand not everyone will agree with what seems logical to me, that’s ok.
I love and hate reading and making lists like this. There will always be someone left off, someone who gets their feelings hurt, and so on. Here’s my list, I hope you’d reply with your own blogs to follow!
1. www.julieyack.com- you’re already here
2. http://crm.davidyack.com- CRM guru, Silverlight MVP, Microsoft Regional Director
3. http://blogs.msdn.com/crm- official MS team blog, great roll up from bunches of blogs
4. http://customereffective.com/- this company boasts a couple of my favorite MVPs
5. http://blog.sonomapartners.com/- this company also boasts a couple of my favorite MVPs and they publish a few of the more popular CRM books
6. http://www.tekoppele.com/- product team guy that loves the community
7. http://edwardsdna.wordpress.com/- great MVP, helps a ton on the product forums too
8. www.elblogdedynamicscrm.com- CRM blog in Spanish, from an MVP
9. http://www.dynamicscrmtrickbag.com/- Another MVP, all around smart guy
10. http://leontribe.blogspot.com/- MVP from OZ, good expert on things CRM (Microsoft and competitors)
11. http://www.powerobjects.com/blog/- At least one MVP contributes here, rest of the team’s not too shabby either
12. http://blogs.infinite-x.net/- MVP blog here too, great developer guy that doesn’t always talk like a developer, so non-devs get value here too
Preview for tomorrow…there’s only 12 days here folks, go enjoy your weekend
The list from the Microsoft site has ten industries. I added the last one. With the virtually never-ending possibilities of taking CRM to xRM, there is no list that could be inclusive of all the opportunities.
Professionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to work to some degree on projects from almost all of these industries. As a consumer, I’ve written in my head software to solve all the problems I’ve had with poor service that could have been solved with good CRM
Preview for tomorrow…On the 12th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…12 blogs to follow
Some of these are obvious (I think) but others deserve more time. The list is not in any order I made, it’s straight from the UI itself. A bunch of this content is direct from those that make CRM.
Web resources are simply a mechanism of extending CRM to meet your specific needs. AS you can see from the list, this can be anything from an icon file to some pretty swanky custom Silverlight business apps. The items for images are the same list, but I copied/pasted so you don’t have scroll up/down a bunch.
An XML Web resource does not represent a robust solution for data that is frequently updated by multiple users. While one user is updating an XML Web resource, another user (or automated process) could update the Web resource and that data would be lost when the first user saves their changes.
All XML files must use the .xml file name extension. Files that use XML data but do not use the .xml file name extension cannot be uploaded as Web resources unless the file name extension is changed.
Preview for tomorrow…On the 11th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…11 industries to serve
As part of the new and improved release cycle, we got a bucket of cool new features.
Preview for tomorrow…On the 10th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…10 web resource types
In the early 2000’s we had a client in commercial real estate (ok, several clients in commercial real estate). We had worked with them on an enterprise project that held their property listings, custom property websites, commissions, marketing materials, etc. They wanted to add a CRM to the mix and asked our help with deciding on one to use. We investigated and came back with a recommendation for Dynamics CRM 3.0. We had not ever worked with it, but it looked like the best fit and since all the other stuff we’d done for them was Microsoft based technology, future integration would be possible if they went the Microsoft route.
We helped them find a CRM partner to work with, and moved back to our projects. I don’t know what happened but somewhere along the way the relationship between our client and their CRM partner went sour. We were their trusted technology providers. We were asked if we could figure out this CRM stuff and help them get their implementation to their users somewhere near their schedule that was now gone. Ummm, sure we can.
We jumped right in. With our industry expertise in commercial real estate and background in Microsoft technology it was such a natural fit. Before much time at all we had implemented mapping integration (before Mr. Ballmer showed it onstage at a conference) and had CRM talking to our solution we’d been working on for a while. We started with xRM, blew right past the CRM.
Since then we’ve done pure CRM implementations, you know CRM for the sake of CRM. But where we excel is the X, it’s what we started doing from the first CRM job.
Preview for tomorrow…On the 9th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…9 new features
Yea, CRM holds data. CRM holds the relationships between that data. Here’s some great ways to analyze and consume this in CRM.
Charts- you’ve got built in charts. You’ve got custom charts using a designer. You’ve got custom charts that you can import into your org. Pretty, multi-series charts.
Dashboards- Command central. Take charts, custom views, toss in an iframe, maybe a xap web resource and this page can hold about anything you’d want it to. There’s always someone who wants to SEE the data, all rolled up into a pretty dashboard, their title usually begins with the letter C.
Advanced find- So it took a little convincing that this could be considered analyzing your data. But, here’s how I came around. First, build your query to see exactly what you want returned on the list, now save it, export the fetch and build a report out of it. This keeps data for you in a nice clean way, that is not in your face and cluttering your UX.
System reports- The team gave us several out of the box reports for system entities. Great stuff on sales pipelines, account demographics, and so on.
Report wizard custom reports- So the system reports are great, but they don’t cover everything. The report building wizard is great, you can make custom reports without using custom code. Nothing wrong with those code-writing folks, but this won’t require them.
SSRS reports- So the built in ones aren't enough AND you’re in an on-premise deployment? SSRS is the way to go. You get unions, more graphics and features that just aren't there in the built-in ways. You probably want a coder here, or at least someone with a bit deeper tech skills.
Fetch xml reports- this is a great answer from the product team for deeper custom reports than you can get with the wizard, but keeps the behind the scenes data (since it’s a hosted multi-tenant) of the CRM Online client secure. Not quite as robust as SSRS, but certainly more than in the wizard.
Preview for day 8…8 years of CRM experience
So this day is less about CRM itself, but more about great opportunities exist if you do things right. I work with my husband so often times when one of us gets asked to travel for work, the other one tags along. This is how we have had great chances to travel, see great things, meet great people.
North America-We have been able to travel across most of the US, seeing clients, delivering training sessions, speaking to user groups. I’ve only got a few states left on my to-do list, so anyone in ND,SD,WV,NC,SC or Alaska needs me, let me know!
South America- This one was for sure all Dave, but I did tag along and attend a day of CRM training he was delivering (I’d like to think I helped some in class). He has been able to go to Sao Paulo a couple of times to deliver training. It was great fun, good food, good people. We even got to stop by Buenos Aires on our way to Brazil, much yummier food and wine that I had expected. Would certainly go back!
Europe- I used to live in Europe, so CRM didn’t get me there at first, but it has brought us back for sure. There’s been CRM training in UK, France, Germany, Holland and Belgium. We are still in touch with folks we met there and it was fun to go back to Belgium as a bit of our tourist to see things a little differently than when I lived there. Still crave those Liege waffles.
Africa- So this was always top on my dream list of places to go. For this girl that grew up in Indiana, it could only ever be a dream, right? Well, in 2010 hubby was asked to go there to teach (Visual Studio actually) and I said yes on his behalf before he even knew he was invited. Then I spoke with some folks there that I knew and was honored to speak at the inaugural xRM user group meeting there in January 2010 and again just a couple weeks ago.
Australia- This was 100% hubby. He was in Sydney to teach and the kids and I met him after his event in Brisbane and went up and down the coast there. We held koalas, hugged (literally) kangaroos and snorkeled The Great Barrier Reef. For me going to Oz had nothing to do with CRM, but for hubby to get the chance and us to meet him there was.
Asia- So hubby has been there more than I. He’s been to India (twice) and China and then both of us to Japan. For me Japan was very (VERY) little to do with CRM, but he was delivering a course while there to an online audience in that general time zone, so it made it easier. We did spend an afternoon with a couple of folks from the CRM team in Japan and had great tour guides.
Antarctica- that’s what’s left. I’m pretty sure NSF uses CRM, but not sure how I get there. This one might have to be simply a pleasure trip. But, if anyone has the hook-up, let me know, I’d love to check off the box!
Preview for tomorrow…On the 7th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…7 ways to analyze data
I may be a bit biased, I know most of the authors of these books. BUT, when I tried to find awesome books on CRM, I kept coming back to these. These books all have MVPs and MVP alumni as primary contributors.
1. Silverlight + CRM- this book is great for CRM devs that want to learn more about using Silverlight and for Silverlight devs that want to learn about adding CRM to their skillset. Author David Yack.
2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Administration Bible- Great book for anyone that is running CRM. You’ll learn more about configuration and customization, integrating with Microsoft Office, and automating business processes. Authors Matthew Witteman and Geoff Ables.
3. Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011- Updated content from the very successful v4.0 release of the book. Great mixed content for admins, devs and sprinkles of good user ideas. Authors Mike Snyder, Jim Steger and Kristie Reid
4. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Unleashed- This end to end guide will get you up to speed on planning, customizing, deploying, integrating, managing, and securing your CRM. Authors Mark Wolenik, Damian Sinay and Rajya Vardhan Bhaiya.
5. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 New Features- Good intro to CRM features, both from a dev perspective and customizer perspective. If you are new to CRM dev, start here. Authors Darren Lui and Jim Wang
Preview for tomorrow…On the 6th day of CRM Dynamics gave to me…6 continents of CRM travel