LinkedIn Sales Navigator & Dynamics 365

LinkedIn & Dynamics 365

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has brought new and exciting integration and opportunities for the Sales users within Dynamics 365 via Sales Navigator.  Finding the people/firms that you want to do business with and effectively managing those opportunities within Dynamics 365 is more powerful than ever.  In this article, we will look at the features of LinkedIn Sales Navigator, how to find and manage your lead lists, integration to Dynamics 365 and the companion features such as PointDrive. Continue reading “LinkedIn Sales Navigator & Dynamics 365”


Product Team provides Interactive Roadmap for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Team has released an interactive roadmap to provide deeper insight to the future of the development of the product.  The roadmap is segmented into product areas for Dynamics Marketing, Microsoft Social Engagement, Dynamics CRM On-Premise and Online.  Each product area has sub categories to provide additional detail within its respective roadmap.  For example, in the screenshot below, Dynamics CRM Online is the product area, with sub categories of Sales, Service, Social, Mobile, Intelligence, and App Platform.

Items within each of these sub categories are segmented by Release Stage as follows:

  • What’s New
    • Items recently completed and released within the product, such as CRM App for Outlook for Dynamics CRM Online
  • In Preview
    • Items which are available within the product, but under a public preview term and not fully supported by Microsoft as a result, such as Cortana Integration for Dynamics CRM Online
  • In Development
    • Items currently underway which will either move next to “In Preview” or “What’s New”
  • Postponed
    • Items which were previously planned for development, but were postponed and possibly no longer to be developed by the product team.
  • Previously Released
    • Summary of items completed within the roadmap, such as Embedded OneNote for Dynamics CRM Online


It is my hope that this will provide greater insight to customers and partners alike for the future of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform.  Download the Release Preview Guide to review all of the details of the most recent release.

SQL query provides CRM 2011 Security Role privilege options in Excel

Have you ever been in a situation where you need an Excel based method of presenting to a client what out of the box Security Roles and permissions are available within Dynamics CRM?  Luckily, this can be accomplished with a SQL query and some pivot table magic. Continue reading “SQL query provides CRM 2011 Security Role privilege options in Excel”

Extending CRM 2011: The Two Towers (actually there are quite a few more…) of Application Event Programming

In my previous post, I discussed the preparation for taking the Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 certification exam.  More specifically, how I leveraged the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) to prepare for the information covered in Chapter 5: Plug-ins.  In this post, I will review my preparation for Chapter 6: Application Event Programming.

Continue reading “Extending CRM 2011: The Two Towers (actually there are quite a few more…) of Application Event Programming”

Extending CRM 2011: Fellowship of the Plugin

Our story continues with our diminutive hero exploring the world of Plugins and their place in extending CRM 2011.  As mentioned in my previous post, I am not a developer…but am pursuing the Extending CRM 2011 (MB2-786) certification to improve my abilities to consult, write design documents and in general be a greater asset to my team.  In this post, I will discuss my review of concepts related to CRM Plugin development, the tools that I used and my thoughts on the topic. Continue reading “Extending CRM 2011: Fellowship of the Plugin”

Extending CRM 2011…the CRMHobbit attempts to get his first certification

I have been studying for the Extending CRM 2011 certification (MB2-876) on and off for the past 3 months.  Between work, home and other commitments…making time where I can to get ready.  Before I go any further, let me make a declarative statement.  I am NOT, nor do I pretend to be a developer.  Did I take C++ and C# in college?  Sure.  Did I pass the classes?  Sure…got an A and a B, respectively.  Was that 15 years ago?  You bet.  So why am I attempting Extending CRM 2011 as my first certification?  Great question…and I feel that I have a great answer.

I have been working with Dynamics CRM since version 3.0 and in various roles.  Currently, I am a CRM Architect and am sometimes finding my lack of development (slinging code) skills can be frustrating for me at times.  Not that it has affected my ability to execute during a project, just that I have to do some more homework than if I had that skill set.  Further, I think that having the knowledge that the Extending CRM certification would provide would benefit my development team in better design documents, my client in a higher level of consultation and my implementation team in a more knowledgeable team member.

So how does one who is admittedly NOT a developer tackle a certification which is mainly for those who are EXTENDING CRM through code development?  Well, there are many avenues to pursue.  However, personal history had automatically removed one of those options for me…the crash course.

Back in the Winter of 1998, I so desperately wanted to break into the IT field and my perceived path to do so was the Windows NT MSCE certification.  Not having much experience at the time, and now admittedly not doing much research on the topic, I thought that my only way to ensure success was through an in class certification program.  I got a student loan for a mere $8000 and enrolled at the University of Phoenix to take their 12 week MSCE program.  I thought things were going well and was about to start the TCP/IP portion of the program when it was announced that the Windows NT MSCE certification was being retired.  At the time, I didn’t realize that Windows 2000 would not be the standard within the Enterprise space for about two years.  I thought that it was all for naught.  I never sat for the exam, never got my certs…but will have that loan paid off middle of next year. 🙂

So, I was determined for this go around to use the training tools that were available to me on PartnerSource (e-learning and MOC documentation).  Side note, a short time after I began studying for the exam, Microsoft announced retirement of the CRM 2011 certifications as a result of the impending release of CRM 2013 later this year.  I know now that this is not a lost cause and the knowledge will still benefit me in the ways that I described earlier.

My appointment to sit for the exam is set…Friday, October 4th at 11:00 EST.  This week I will be doing my final review of the documentation and videos to prepare for the exam and cram as much knowledge into my little Hobbit head as possible.  I will be blogging every day this week with the topic that I covered, the media that I used and my thoughts on the topic.  I hope that for those of you that have considered pursuing certification will find my tale an inspiring one that motivates you to start your journey as I have done.

Shawn (CRMHobbit)

It’s Been a While…the journey to a healthier CRMHobbit

As the title of this blog post states, it has been quite a while since my last blog post. The mission of this blog has always been to share my experiences with Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the community. Unfortunately, a number of issues have prevented me from fulfilling that mission. First, like many of you, I was working well over 70 hours a week on a major CRM implementation. Second, I was not the most health conscious little Hobbit. I mean, it is customary for a Hobbit to have breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

However, that did not fare well on my health. Last November, I began getting short of breath when playing with my daughter or going up the stairs. My weight at that point was 206 lbs…and I was pretty much sedentary. I only ran if someone was chasing me! Soon later, the shortness of breath was accompanied by a tingling feeling in my shoulder, then arm, then jaw. It was at this point I went to the doctor. After months of tests and more tests, it was determined that I had over a 95% blockage of one of my arteries. I was headed for what my new cardiologist called “The Widowmaker”.

Obviously, at this point, I was MORE than willing to change my eating and exercise habits. Sadly, before I could exercise, I had to have a procedure to insert a coronary stent in that artery to remove the blockage. Immediately after the procedure, I could feel the difference. After about a week, I began the road back to better health. Several years ago, I had really enjoyed endurance running and seemed to actually be good at it. I made a goal for myself that I would once again run a half marathon distance and lose 50 pounds. My cardiologist recommended that I avoid eating meat for the first 30 days after my procedure and focus on a plant based diet. I read a book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann and started my 30 days without meat of any kind…a first for me. I didn’t really eat a lot of red meat historically, but I REALLY enjoyed chicken, turkey, pork and the occasional seafood.

As I looked at the calendar to map out when my 30 days would be over, I noticed that week two fell right on the week of Convergence 2013 in of all places…New Orleans. Fantastic, I thought. Bourbon Street, some of the best restaurants in the world, every possible Dynamics CRM partner having a party…and “stent boy” has to eat like a rabbit. Well, I vented about my plight to my colleague and best friend that a guy could have, Brian Balboni. Affirming my last statement, he volunteers to join me in being a vegetarian for the week and forego all of the wonderful food that N’awlins offers. We get to the hotel the day we arrive and wouldn’t you know it, we are right across the street from Luke…one of John Besh’s restaurants. It was killing me. I am a big fan of John Besh and his cooking and here I am in walking distance…and I can have salad. One of the tenants of Eat to Live is a 90/10 proportion of plant to animal based diet. I didn’t go the full 10%, but I did go to Luke…and I did have the Shrimp and Grits (which were AMAZING), but I also had a great spinach salad. Other than that, I was a strict vegetarian on that trip…well 90% of one. J

The last day of Convergence, I had noticed that my left hand was feeling a bit puffy…I didn’t really pay any attention to it until we were at dinner before the final night concert with Matchbox Twenty. During dinner, it started to swell even more…so I took some Benadryl, assuming it was an allergic reaction to the shellfish I had earlier in the trip. By the end of the concert, if you painted my hands white, they would have looked like Mickey Mouse gloves.

I paid a visit to the walk in clinic close to the hotel the next morning where a good ol’ country doctor gave me an epi shot and had to cut my wedding ring off my finger due to the swelling. The doctor also assumed that it was a shellfish allergy. Long story longer…after my face swelled up like a melon, the walk in clinic back home in Tampa told me it was an allergic reaction to my blood pressure medicine. Again…fantastic.

Now that all of that was behind me, I then began focusing on my health and my family. Something that I had neglected for far too long. I am happy to report that I have stayed with a vegetarian diet (well, occasionally pescetarian) and have lost a whopping 40 pounds. I have since run another half marathon and shaved a full 5 minutes off of my previous best time. I have also joined the Hitachi Solutions America CRM practice and could not be happier. I feel like I have finally found a work/life balance…and enjoy both. Actually, I don’t see my work as “work”. It has been enhanced by my new found health and happiness, enabling the pursuit of my passion in CRM.

I will be returning to more frequent blog posting and hope that you find that my posts are informative and entertaining!

Shawn…the CRMHobbit