Things aren’t always as they first appear

Nine years ago this week I slipped on an icy handicap ramp and wound up with a compound tib/fib fracture (yes, I can appreciate the irony).  It was a hell of a break, I pretty much slipped just right and shattered almost everything from knee to ankle, with a few bits of bone sticking through the skin for good measure.  The fun part of the story is that the sight of my leg actually made all the firemen say “ewww.”  Another good part is that Dave was out of town, little kids were getting dropped off at school and with me in an ambulance our back-up plan worked.  This person picked up kids from school, someone else took care of the dog, another friend picked up Dave from the airport and brought him to the hospital.  No one wants to use their “just in case” plan, but ours worked.  Surgery, days of hospitalization and six months with my ass in a chair cause I wasn’t allowed any weight-bearing.

I have loads more stories of that day and of my travel adventures as wheel-chair bound Julie, but that’s a whole other blog post.

But, a wise man told me that my breaking my leg was the best thing to happen to me professionally.

Once I was home and mostly free of narcotics hubby handed me a laptop and basically said “make software.”  I had been sitting in the lazy boy in the living room, really being an awful couch potato.  But I had been passively involved with CTC since its inception, but I hadn’t yet found my place.  Suddenly I found my place.  I loved this software thing.  And I was good at it.  And the rest his history. 

I have loved working with my husband.  He is by far the smartest man I know and I get to work with him everyday.  Collaborate on projects.  I don’t think I can ever work someplace else though, I am spoiled.  I try to be the kind of boss I always wanted to have and that includes to myself.  The chances of me being where I am now had I not broken my leg?  Nada. 

Hey @xRMVirtual- we’ve got SWAG from @INETA

This month marks INETA’s 10th anniversary and as a member of INETA they sent presents to us!  We get goodies all the time from different places, but how do we get it out to our global membership on our shoestring budget?  It’s nearly impossible.  The goodies we have now…they are all downloads, valuable downloads, tools, books, etc. 

In traditional on-ground user groups you have a drawing of attendees to give away stuff.  Our members can’t always attend a meeting as it happens, we’re pretty global, our recordings get more views than our live meetings.  I think we have a good plan to address this problem.

Thanks to INETA, ComponentOne, GrapeCity Power Tools, &  Infragistics, we’re giving away one ComponentOne Ultimate (full version, valued at $1995), one GrapeCity PowerSuite (valued at $1999) and one Infragistics NetAdvantage Ultimate (valued at $1800).

The heart of any user group is its members, and we would love more of you to be involved and can now bribe you with SWAG Smile. We want your ideas for speakers and topics for future meetings.  What do you want to learn about?  What do you want to present to the group?  Everyone who submits an entry will receive a free online cookbook from GrapeCity, written by their .net people (yes, the .net people can cook – some better than others). Everyone that submits an idea will be entered into a weekly drawing, winner of the weekly drawing picks from available items mentioned above.This will go in three week-long waves, your entry is valid for the week you submitted and won’t carry over.  So if you have three ideas, you might want to spread out the entries to get entered into each drawing.  Folks that submit AND offer to present it to the group get entered into that week’s drawing twice!

How to enter?  The Contact Us page on the group website, that gets it time stamped and into our CRM, where we already manage speakers/content.  The weeks run from Sunday to Saturday, mountain time (since that’s where I am and it makes it do-able for me to manage).

Oh, it you tweet about this and tag the user group (@xrmvirtual) you get an entry into that week’s drawing too. 

Winner chosen randomly from eligible entries for that week.  We will read your entry and if you submit total nonsense just for the chance at a prize, your entry will get thrown out.

Week One:  February 12-18
Week Two:  February 19-25
Week Three:  February 26-March 3


xRMVirtual User Group - Contact Us

My Colorado Caucus experience 2012

I love the idea of caucusing.  It brings decision-making down to an individual level, it helps you feel that your one vote is important.  There is so much more to a caucus than simply choosing the party’s candidate.  There are casual rules of order, motion for this, second that, all in favor say…  You elect your neighbors to represent you are the various levels of party-based voting.


Our precinct was new, like just about all of them in Colorado.  Ours is the combination of two former smaller groups.  I was both surprised and not surprised to see so few people I knew there.  This is supposed to be my neighbors, and there were maybe half a dozen people I knew there.  Our precinct has 1710 registered Republican voters, but only 97 were at the caucus.  That is frankly unacceptable.  Of those there about 25% of us were interested in moving forward representing the group at the various conventions and such, county, state, Congressional, national and so on.  That doesn’t surprise me.  If you are aware enough to be part of the less than 10% that showed up, you are aware enough to be involved.

I think our group failed in one aspect, giving folks a chance to talk about their favorite candidate and try to influence other voters.  That’s part of the heart of a caucus.  This part made us look and feel naive and quite honestly makes the “votes” that came out of our precinct less valid (in my opinion, no idea the official call).  When you read the results below, you will know how I voted.  I had truly hoped for someone to be passionate and sway my vote.  I was totally ripe for it.  It didn’t happen.

The final outcome from our group:

Romney      41
Santorum   41
Gingrich     10
Paul            3
Bachman     1
Perry           0
Huntsman    0
And 1 write-in for none of the above.

The official results for the county:


I am an alternate for the conventions (I think all of them here in Colorado, voting went late and I’m not sure I got all the results).  I am happy (and proud) to go, but do find it odd that only 1 person asked me my view on anything before voting for me to represent them.  Interested in how many are out there googling/binging/yahooing me right now.

CRM Anywhere…and a whole lot more #MSDYNCRM

Don’t get me wrong, CRM anywhere is a HUGE deal.  This is by far the number one requested feature set I hear from everyone.  But the reason I am not focusing this blog post on it?  Everyone is focused on THAT and the pending R8 has so much more to offer than CRM on Smartphones, Tablets and non-MS browsers (you want details on that stuff, click the link at the bottom of the page for the official word from the team).

Great, so what else is new?  The list is from Microsoft, the opinions are mine Smile.

Rapid view forms- I think this is a by-product of some of the cross-browser functionality, but I will take it either way.  Think of the CRM user that really only reads data, not much, if any, data entry on those records.  This read-only form can really enhance their experience, make it more likely they will adopt CRM as it relates to them.  Assuming we don’t hit performance snags, this is a win.

Enhanced Social- Social CRM is an enigma, seriously.  No one can even define it, let alone build it.  With that said, Dynamics CRM is making slow strides in the right direction on this one.  Instead of jumping in with some huge all-encompassing attempt they are taking baby steps.  This is certainly a viable approach to this undefined solution.  This is still an inside/in view of CRM, not connecting it to external social providers like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  But for a business solution I’m ok with that, especially until we get some continuity of what social CRM should look like for a business.

Industry Templates- This is a cool concept, and might cost a few partners some business in the short term.  That is not a complaint, I think competition is great, it makes us all step up our game.  (The way partners can not take that potential hit?  Learn the templates and the ways that your value add can be enhancing them.)  But for businesses in Life Annuity Insurance Sales, Non-profits, Health Plan Sales and Wealth Management to have a fast to deployment solution really makes Dynamics CRM a stronger platform.

SQL 2012- I have heard many grumblings about the new licensing model form SQL 2012, but aside from that, I think it’s cool that Dynamics CRM is grabbing on to some new functionality.  Let’s face it, Microsoft hasn’t always been known for product families working together, so we’ll take this win now.    I wish that they weren’t splitting the on-premise and online versions so much to include this, but I understand why they did.  Yes, the MS data centers will be on  (or are already maybe?) this, but without exposing some new bells and whistles to the admins of CRM online customers, it loses some of its kapow (see the BI bit below).

Biz Intelligence- Everyone claims to know Business Intelligence.  Does anyone really know what that is?  Here it is bringing in Power View, an add-in for on-premise CRM customers.  It allows self-service interactive exploration of data and all that goes into making data valuable.  It sounds pretty cool.  For on-premise customers.  It sounds sad for online customers.  Don’t complain that I don’t understand and blah blah blah.  I understand, I get it.  I don’t have to like the limitation.  There is more data analysis on its way and since the core of CRM is DATA and the relationships of data, it is a good thing regardless of where it exists.

Certifications- No, we’re not getting new exams (phew!).  This is the MS cloud getting common industry and government certifications.  ISO 27001, SAS, HIPAA….and so on.  If these are important to you, you know what they mean and how it impacts your world.  Click thru below for the detailed list.

Portal Enhancements- I have always been a fan of the portals (yes, even after my awful awful session at Convergence last year where I bit off far more than I could chew).  We’ve got new identity enhancements which will help extend right into the multi-browser world mentioned above.  Sure the portals could be viewed like any standard website, but this extends into the non-MS world some more.

Custom Workflow Activities in CRM Online (!!!!)- Ok, I can’t believe this is not the headline making item, that it’s buried on page 13 of the 14 page PDF that gives details of this pending R8.  But, this is big news.  The built-in workflow capabilities in CRM Online have always been pretty powerful.  But now we are overcoming one very significant limitation between the online and on-premise world, custom .NET Workflow activities in CRM Online.  I will simple say thank you to the product team for this, I know many many developers that will be please.


CRM Anywhere - CRM Connection - CRM Non-Technical Blogs - Microsoft Dynamics Community