Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference

I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the first ever Microsoft MVP Virtual Conference.  For those of you not able to attend, we had a panel of four Microsoft MVP’s to include Alex Fagundes, Chris Cognetta, Shan McArthur and me.  Of course, the topic was the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The panel provided a strong mix of both functional and technical areas of expertise.  We discussed and provided clarity regarding things like the new CRM naming convention, update navigation menus, ability to update themes, email tracking flexibility, mobile, transactions at the SDK level, upsert capability, plug-in logging, Microsoft update rollup strategy and how to leverage it to your advantage, and more.

For those of you that missed the session but want to hear what the MVP’s have to share about the new CRM 2015 features, take some time to view the video on Channel 9 and hear what the MVP’s have to say about the 2015 Spring release.

Dynamics CRM MVP’s – Ask the Experts

Check it out and leave comments to let us know what you would like to learn more about in the coming months.  We love your feedback and will take it into consideration for future plans.

Cheers

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Inspire the Next

At Hitachi Solutions one of our logos displays the phrase, Inspire the Next.  

Hitachi corporate logo

The Merriam Webster’s definition of inspire is, “to fill with courage or strength of purpose”.  I personally love the phrase because it points to inspiring whatever is next; in life, in work, in play… and applies to every day, hour and minute.   

It’s not always easy to inspire ourselves or others because life can be challenging at times.  That is why I think it is important to share our inspiration with others whenever we can and celebrate those times when we’ve been able to achieve positive results. 

I recently had an opportunity to do just that and shared my story on the Microsoft MVP Mentor Blog site. I hope you take a few minutes to read the story and you are inspired by how we can work together to support one another to achieve our life aspirations and dreams. 

When life or work gets tough, you can always bring yourself back to this simple yet vibrant and full of promise, affirmation; “Inspire the Next”.  I hope it helps to lift you to a better place during challenging times and keeps you there when things are good. 

I look forward to hearing your stories about how you inspired yourself and others along life’s journey.

Who’s Going to Microsoft Convergence 2014?

In the tradition of Waldo, the Dynamics CRM MVP’s love traveling the world and hanging out with the community.  One of our favorite spots to travel to each year is Microsoft Convergence.  The two primary reasons are because Microsoft Convergence is all about product and community and we are passionate about both.  We love working in the product and we love sharing our knowledge with you, our community.  That means we Love Microsoft Convergence!!   

If you’ve attended Convergence then you know it is a big place with lots of sessions, places to hang out, things to do, and people to see.  Several of the MVP’s are planning to attend and we thought you might like to know where you can find us.  To help with that, below is a a table with our schedule.  The table doesn’t include all of the MVP’s who will be in attendance so I’ve no doubt you will bump into others throughout the week.

If you see us, stop and say hi.  We’d love to chat with you and catch up with old friends.  Have a great Convergence everyone and we look forward to seeing you in Atlanta!

Safe travels all!

Name

Day

Time

Session / Activity

Room / Area

Donna Edwards

       
 

Various

Various

General Sessions & Key Notes

Check Schedule

 

Thursday

9 – 10 am

CRMUG Roundtable – BI/Reporting/Dashboard

B207/208

 

All Days

Various

Convergence Social Team

Convergence Social Media Command Center

         

Chris Cognetta

Monday

12:00pm

CRMPC Pre-game Welcome

International Ball Room A-C

 

Monday

3:15pm

Dissecting Dynamics CRM 2013 Upgrades

International Ball Room A-C

 

Monday

4:05pm

Customer Panel – Partners Listen UP

International Ball Room A-C

 

Monday

5:00pm

CRMPC Wrap-Up

International Ball Room A-C

 

Tuesday

1:00pm

CRMUG Speaker Meet & Greet

A308A

 

Wednesday

3:30pm

CRMUG Roundtable – Role Based Topic

B207/208

 

Thursday

9:00am

CRMUG Roundtable – Specialty Topic

B207/208

 

Friday

9:00am

Dissecting Dynamics CRM 2013 Upgrades

B207/208

 

All Days

Various

Convergence Social Team

Convergence Social Media Command Center

         

Mark Smith (nzCRMguy)

Week

All

All CRM Sessions and MVP Sessions

Various

         

Jason Lattimer

Monday

1:00-5:00

CRMPC PreGAME

Omni Hotel

 

Tuesday

1:00-:200

GENCRM001 – Delivering amazing customer experiences with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Philips Arena  

 

Tuesday

3:30-4:30

IDCRM621 – Ask the MVPs

B201

 

Tuesday

5:00-6:00

CSCRM202-R1 – Unified Service Desk: Enabling a super agent!

B212

 

Wednesday

9:00-10:00

IDCRM623-R1 – Data quality best practices

B204

 

Wednesday

2:00-3:00

IDCRM622 – Ask the MVPs

B201

 

Wednesday

3:30-4:30

CRMUG Roundtable Session

B207/208

 

Thursday

9:00-10:30

DDCRM419-R2 – Developer’s guide to integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

B216-B217

 

Thursday

11:00-12:00

IDCRM444-R2 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: Upgrade discussion

B204

 

Thursday

2:00-3:00

CSCP010-R2 – Supercharging performance with Performance Analyzer for Microsoft Dynamics

B401-402

 

Thursday

3:30-4:30

CSCRM412 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Integration opportunities

Thomas Murphy Ballroom 1/2

 

Thursday

5:00-6:00

CSCP008 – Using the Connector SDK

B312-313

 

Friday

9:00-10:30

UBCRM004 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Scripting for administrators

B204

 

Friday

11:00-12:30

UBCRM007 – xRM as a superpower

B204

         

Gus Gonzalez

Monday

12:00 PM

Partner PreGAME

International Ballroom A – C

 

Monday

2:00 PM

Embracing New Features in BPM within Dynamics CRM 2013

Juniper

 

Monday

3:00 PM

Dissecting Dynamics CRM 2013 Upgrades – Best Practices & Lessons Learned

International Ballroom A – C

 

Monday

4:00 PM

Customer Panel – Partners Listen Up! (International Ballroom A – C)

International Ballroom A – C

 

Monday

5:00 PM

Microsoft Partner Presentation – Presented by Hal Howard & Mike Ehrenberg

International Ballroom A – C

 

Tuesday

12:00 PM

Expo Floor – Dynamics Community and CRMUG Booths

Convergence Expo Floor

 

Tuesday

2:00 PM

Delivering amazing customer experiences with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Phillips Arena

 

Tuesday

3:30 PM

Ask the MVPs: Q&A discussion with Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVPs (administrative edition)

B201

 

Tuesday

5:00 PM

Multi-channel/campaign management best practices

B201

 

Tuesday

6:00 PM

Experience Center Reception

Building B, Hall I

 

Wednesday

9:00 AM

Data quality best practices

B204

 

Wednesday

10:00 AM

Expo Floor – Dynamics Community and CRMUG Booths

Convergence Expo Floor

 

Wednesday

11:00 AM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Product roadmap and future vision

Thomas Murphy Ballroom 1/2

 

Wednesday

12:30 PM

Presenting CRMUG: Your one stop shop for all things Microsoft Dynamics CRM

B310

 

Wednesday

2:00 PM

Ask the MVPs: Q&A discussion with Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVPs (developer edition)

B201

 

Wednesday

3:30 PM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Impacting your business with Business Process Management – an introduction

Thomas Murphy Ballroom 1/2

 

Wednesday

5:00 PM

Experience is the new currency

Phillips Arena

 

Thursday

9:00 AM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: roundtable discussion

B207-208

 

Thursday

10:00 AM

Expo Floor – Dynamics Community and CRMUG Booths

Convergence Expo Floor

 

Thursday

11:00 AM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: Web client enhancements

B401-402

 

Thursday

2:00 PM

Leo: Transform your Customer Service with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

B216-B217

 

Thursday

3:30 PM

Customer service analytics with Leo & Parature

B206

 

Thursday

5:00 PM

Better Together: Connecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Parature

B206

 

Thursday

7:30 PM

Convergence Celebration

GWCC & Philips Arena

 

Friday

9:00 AM

Deploying a mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM experience

B203

 

Friday

11:00 AM

Functional use and customization of BPM in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

B206

Virtual Convergence EMEA 2013

Barcelona is one of the places in the world that is definitely on my travel list.  Unfortunately, this year was not the year for me so I wasn’t able to attend Microsoft Convergence EMEA in person. 

For those like me, who were not able to make the trek to Spain this year, we do have Virtual Convergence.  Granted, it is not quite as good as being there because we don’t get to hang out will all our friends, meet new people, break bread and catch up, but at least we don’t miss out on any of the great Microsoft Dynamics content and information.  So, let’s see what we have for the lineup this year.

We get things started with the Keynote session given by Microsoft Business Solutions, Executive Vice President, Kirill Tatarinov who was joined by Microsoft International, President,  Jean-Philippe Courtois.

The Key note included discussion around the key drivers of change, Dynamics business momentum, value strategy, how the Dynamics line addresses and integrates to meet business needs, gets business connected, manages cost while growing revenue, compliance and more.

image

Following the keynote is a comprehensive list of sessions covering a variety of topics to include product deep dives, integration, social, and business leadership.  The speaker line-up is just as impressive and includes individuals like Reuben Krippner (Principal Program Manager), Eric Boocock (Sr Technical Product Manager), Matthew Barbour (Program Manager), John Straumann (Dynamics CRM Product Marketing Manager), Richard Dickinson (Program Manager), Param Kahlon, (Product Management, Enterprise Software), Stephanie Dart (Sr. Product Marketing Manager) and many more.

Below is a brief overview of the session categories and content:

Business Leadership included several Dale Carnegie sessions to include; Developing Personal Leadership, Effective Communications, How to create Employee Engagement, Leading Across Generations, Managing Organizational Changes and Talent Management.

Cross Product placed emphasis on using the Connector to integrate Dynamics CRM with the other Dynamics Product line like Dynamics AX, and Dynamics NAV.  There is also an overview of the Connector, using mobile with Dynamics AX and CRM and wraps up with strategies for managing complex Dynamics implementations.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes all things CRM:

  • Integrating CRM into your business eco-system to include Cloud and On-Premise
  • Business Process Management (Portable Business Logic, Business Process Flow) and a look at those in relationship to mobile CRM
  • Learn how to leverage the application to improve sales effectiveness
  • Tips & Tricks for out-of-the-box configuration that will help make your application powerful and effective and turn you into a CRM super hero
  • Building & customizing mobile applications
  • Understand social strategies, related best practices and tips and tricks for getting started
  • Dive deeper into social technologies like Yammer, Twitter, Facebook, NetBreeze and learn how to use them in the context of “social listening”
  • Get to know MarketingPilot
  • Workflows, Dialogs and Processes
  • Key Platform Enhancements
  • Bob Stutz and Fred Studer explore ways of delivering amazing customer experiences
  • First-hand experience of customers who are driving true business value from Dynamics CRM (operational efficiency and customer profitability)
  • Microsoft’s CRM cloud vision for building the most secure and reliable cloud service offering for European customers.
  • Mobility options
  • Learn about the tools available to plan, monitor, analyze and optimize your deployment
  • Understand the analytic options available like charting, dashboards, Power Pivot, Power View and others
  • All things CRM Online pricing
  • Server-side synchronization & the CRM Outlook Client
  • Web client enhancements, support matrix, new controls, editable grid and extensibility options
  • Top 10 solutions from the Dynamics CRM Marketplace
  • Upgrade considerations

Given the combination of the content and speaker knowledge, I can honestly say that there is not one of the above sessions that I want to miss.  I plan to carve out time over the next couple of weeks to view each one.  How about you?

Cheers

Getting Ready for CRM 2013

As we all know CRM 2013 is scheduled for release this year.  If you are a Dynamics CRM Online customer than you might have already received your upgrade notification.  I have a couple of online accounts and have received notification that both are scheduled for upgrade in October.  That tells me that Microsoft is tracking to a Fall release as they’ve been saying for some time now.

There has been much activity in the Partner and Customer channels regarding CRM 2013 to include information and materials to help you prepare for the upgrade.  Below is a list of some of the resources.

Dynamics CRM Resource Center

Get Ready for the next Release

http://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/Dynamics-CRM-Upcoming-Release-Information.aspx

MSDN & Microsoft Blogs

What’s Changing in the Next Release

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2013/06/17/what-s-changing-in-the-next-release.aspx

General Changes to Features & Functionality

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn281891.aspx

What’s New for Developers

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg309589.aspx

WPC 2013

http://www.youtube.com/user/DigitalWPC2013

TechNet

Planning Guide Changes – Think Deployment

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn265924.aspx

Partner Network Training – Requires PartnerSource Login

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Setup and Upgrade New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Sales and Marketing Track (Part 1 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Sales and Marketing Track (Part 2 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Sales and Marketing Track (Part 3 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Technical Track (Part 1 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Technical Track (Part 2 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Blitz Day – Technical Track (Part 3 of 3)

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SDK New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 User Interface New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Application New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Application Upgrade New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Application Control New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Processes New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Customization New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Tablets New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Server-Side Synchronization and Microsoft Office Outlook New Features

Stay Connected & Informed

Microsoft Dynamics Facebook

Microsoft Dynamics Twitter

Microsoft Dynamics LinkedIn

Microsoft Dynamics Community YouTube

Cheers

Microsoft Dynamics & the Gender Salary Gap

In 1963 the Equal Pay Act was enacted and other bills followed like the Equality Bill to address gender pay gaps.  Given the decades of attention this issue has received, why is the salary gap still alive and well in all industries to include Microsoft Dynamics.  I was reminded of this issue when I read an article yesterday on MSDynamicsworld.com

I’m sure many of you are familiar with and understand the concept of ‘rivers run deep’. When it comes to cultural and social issues as related to gender wage inequality, this analogy holds true. These issues run very deep and the root cause is not only cultural and generational but also complex.  There is no ‘one reason’ and there are mountains of research papers, statistics, books and articles written annually on the subject.

Although I believe that a couple of theories mentioned in the MSDynamicsworld article are contributors to the wage gap, with Trish Boccuti’s comments regarding negotiating being one that is founded on research and fact, I think others such as family vs. career are not as carefully thought through, don’t hold up under the light of research and unfortunately serve to blame women and create complacency; “well, it is what it is, therefore I must accept that this is a result of my choice” rather than encourage true and lasting change. 

Although I am a supporter of and contributor to MSDynamicsworld, I was disappointed with them for not taking more time to develop the article, call in some experts and post information that debunks the myths and brings to light some of the true causes and solutions regarding this subject.  The article falls flat and unfortunately does more harm than good so I hope that MSDynamicsworld regroups and take another run at it. 

While we are waiting for that, I thought I would take a few minutes to share my thoughts on the subject.  First, the disclaimer.  I am not an expert in the field and do not position myself as one.  I have three daughters, one granddaughter and one goddaughter.  I have many other women in my life that I care deeply about and am invested in seeing them excel.  I am also heavily invested from a coaching, mentoring and support perspective when it comes to helping women and men excel on their path and am always encouraging and recruiting women for the Technology field.  The thoughts I share are gleaned from personal experience, my work in coaching and mentoring women and studying issues like the gender pay gap.

I know there are major contributors to the gender pay gap that are not related to the choice of motherhood and family. I also know that you can have motherhood, family and a successful career.  I can show you many, many women who do it and do it well.  My daughter Cassie lives this everyday as a female entrepreneur and coaches other women in business to do the same. 

Myth number one debunked: You can’t have a healthy, happy family and a successful career life at the same time.  Why not?  Who says so?  Lots of women do it.  If that statement were true why is it that a man can walk away from a job, serve time in the military or reserves, come back to their job at the same pay and go forward like he was never absent.  Men have frequently and consistently been able to take time away from their careers to meet military obligations, deal with medical issues or care for family and return to work at the same pay and with the same opportunity as when the left or they close the salary gap significantly faster than women. 

So why is this happening for men and not women.  It is because companies, employers and cultural values support the concept of men taking time off for military duty and family related issues but do not support the same for women (taking time off or working part time to care for the family).  The blame should not lie at the feet of women and women should not be made to think they must choose or get their house in order or any other similar concept.  Instead we need to affect change with regard to societal values, deep seated gender biases and must empower women to expect more and not settle. 

Women bring incredible value to the workplace.  Their attention to detail, intuitive and creative talents, ability to multi-task while keeping things moving forward in an organized manner, achieving objectives, etc. are sometimes unmatched by their male counterparts.  We must help women to be aware of the value they bring and empower them to negotiate from a position of strength.

I believe women have to stop thinking of the salary gap in relationship to a choice between family and work in order to begin effectively addressing the issue and making a change for themselves,  current and future generations.   Given that, what are some of the social and cultural issues that contribute to pay inequality (same pay for same work and skillset). 

Traditionally and generally speaking, men learn from the early years on that life is a team sport. You support your team while excelling in the position you’ve been designated. Women on the other hand, traditionally and generally speaking, learn to compete against other each other, vie for attention, etc. Team sports for women, really just started taking hold in the last generation or two and it will take many centuries to catch up to the levels men have achieved. Team sport for men has been around for centuries. In business many of the analogies used in the board room, meetings etc., come from the world of sports (hit a home run on that deal, knocked it out of the park….). In addition to sports men are trained to look out for one another on the battlefield.  Traditionally speaking, men are the ones who go off to war and have to look out for each other in the field. Things like, look out for your fellow soldier, wing man, etc., are common concepts drilled into men and terms we hear used frequently in society and business.

To add to the societal and cultural challenges, technology is a male dominated vocation.  Therefore, a high percentage of those in a position to make hiring decisions are men. Men often hire men for a variety of reasons. They speak the same language, have common interests, don’t have to be as concerned about what they say and how they say it, have learned to look out for each other, etc. 

I understand that wage discrimination remains a battle that we must fight.  Today I was reminded that in order to win the battle, we must educate and train women to think about, understand, and address the root cause of the issue as well as give them the tools needed to effectuate change for current and future generations of women.  We must work tirelessly to debunk the myths and support women in business.  In the end, it is going to be women supporting women and the work of people who want equal pay for their mothers, daughters, sisters, granddaughters, aunts, and nieces that will bring an end to the gender wage gap issue.

While we are working to bring an end to this illegal practice, lets not lose sight of what we are dealing with and the impact we can have on others.  There are a significant number of single parent households in the United States (not to mention the world), and of those, the custodial parent is a woman more than 80% of the time. There are multiple millions of children living in these households.  These women do not have the luxury of choice when it comes to work.  They must work to provide for their family and they deserve equal pay for equal work.  That 10, 15 or 20% difference in the paycheck means more to these households than one can imagine.  We owe it to these women and children as well as all women to eliminate this life impacting issue in our generation.

I ask those of us who care about this issue to stop blaming the victim and blame the perpetrator.  In the end, companies know what they are doing when they perpetuate this life impacting inequality.  We must use all the resources within our reach to empower women to negotiate competitive salaries, hold companies to higher standards, expose the practice of gender pay inequality, fine the perpetrators, and eliminate the practice in this generation. Our children and children’s children deserve it. We must fully embrace equal pay for equal skill.  If I am generating as much or more good work than my male counterpart, I deserve to be paid as much or more, period.

At the end of the day, women, in all company roles (entrepreneurs, Human Resources, Customer Facing, etc.) must go above and beyond when it comes to supporting women in the workplace. All women who are in a position to mentor women, coach women on salary and benefit negotiation, share salary information that they have, etc., must step out of their comfort zone and take the initiative to help each woman that crosses her path.  Men must also do the same because in the end this will benefit the women you care about in your life and the generations that follow. 

I encourage each of us to to ask those we’ve helped to find at least one or more women who they can encourage, coach and mentor. Let’s get this ball rolling and gain enough momentum to make it impossible to stop.

Women are strong.  We must celebrate, share and display our strength.  We must embrace and understand that empowered women who openly display and share their strength are inspiring.  We must continue to encourage, recruit and mentor more women into the Technology field, pay it forward and bring the insidious, gender wage gap to an end in this generation. 

Have You Visited the Dynamics Community Lately?

Not sure if you’ve had a chance to spend time on the Dynamics Community web site lately.  If not, you are probably not aware of the changes that have occurred.  I haven’t had much time either so I thought I would take a few minutes at Convergence to speak with Nick Hoban, the Dynamics Community, Project Manager. 

Let’s see what Nick has to say about what he has been working on.

 

If you haven’t visited the community site lately, get over there, create your profile and begin accessing all the great content.

Cheers