User Review
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Stephan Smith is an Ex-Microsoft employee and always been a great supporter of Dynamics community and shares great passion for the product. Currently he works as Principal Architect/Managing partner at Dynamics Mechanics.

Here is his experience shared in form of questions. It did inspire me. Hope it inspires you as well:

1. Name, current job title and social media links please

Stephan Smith, Principle Architect




2. What does an average day at work look like
Wake up, work out, eat breakfast, day planning, study, write code, attend meetings

3. What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

Software Engineer, Technical Architect, Delivery Architect, Senior Architect

4. What job did you did before you started using CRM
I was a freelance .NET consultant.

5. What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I started working with CRM 4.0. I’ve been using Dynamics for the past 8 years.

6. How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Constant study and research. It was a little easier when the platform wasn’t changing every 6 months and integrated with everything else.

7. What one feature would you add to CRM Product.

Professional grade development tools

8. What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

XRM Toolkit

9. What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications

I have the following CRM certifications

· CRM 2016 Online Deployment

· CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration

· CRM 2011 Extending

· CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment

· CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration

The necessity of certifications as an expert indicator for me has diminished over time. The last set of certifications in CRM 2016 were a mandate when I was working for Microsoft Consulting. As an up and coming consultant, they had their value in either working towards promotion or when looking for a new job. I don’t rely on them anymore to prove my knowledge.

9. How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

I believe the best kind of project resources are ones that have a degree of cross-functional skills. At Microsoft we were expected to have breadth of knowledge across with a chosen area of depth. This allows for the team to at least have conversational level comprehension while also have a degree of empathy when working with functional or technical teammates. Every technical consultant should have a degree of business analysis skills because the day will come when they will need to perform that duty alone on a project.

10 How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
It depends on what role you intend to play on a Dynamics project. As Microsoft continues to push the boundaries of configuration-based system development the necessity of developers is decreasing. The role of the functional consultant will become even more powerful in the coming years. Development skills tend to be more useful in advanced scenarios, but that is beginning to change.

11. How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

In my previous role at Microsoft I had a 100% travel schedule. My current travel schedule is less than 5%.

12. Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

When I was a .NET developer, I felt that it was difficult to compete against other .NET developers because I didn’t have a focus niche technology. I decided to make Dynamics my niche and it’s worked out very well. I will probably always have something to do with Dynamics.

13. What are your hobbies outside of CRM

My hobbies include flying my drone and working on my businesses.

14. What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched

The last book I read was Million Dollar Consulting by Allen Weiss. The last movie I watched was Aquaman.

15. Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

CRM hasn’t got me in trouble directly but studying for it has at times.

16. Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM

No one knows what I’m talking about so CRM doesn’t usually come up. I started sitting next to Joel Lindstrom at Hitachi and he talks about CRM just as much as me.

17. Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I don’t like to walk into rooms with manikins because they look like people.

18. Who is the first CRM Expert you remember reading/seeing

The first CRM expert I saw was David Yack followed by Matthew Wittemann who I worked with at a previous company.

19. Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM Expert

Create a training routine where you study weekly at least an hour a day. Utilize your white space time such as driving or riding to and from work, waiting in airports or sitting on planes. If you’re not reading, or watching video listen to business related audio books. For maximum results allocate time before work for study, eat lunch and study at your desk and study and study after work. This was the routine I used before I was hired by Microsoft.

Thanks Stephan, there was a lot to learn from your experience.

Here is a certification of appreciation from our end:

Certificate of Appreciation

Hope it helps and happy 365ing!

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