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Newsletter: Perspectives on Power Platform

Company: Niiranen Advisory Oy

Our New Book: CRM 2013 QuickStart

A few people have asked me for recommendations on what books they should get if they want to learn about the ins & outs of the current Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 version. Even though there’s a wealth of blog articles out there that study specific features and an ever growing library of content produced by Microsoft themselves, there’s not been a whole lot of material in traditional book format that would have covered the latest CRM 2013 functionality. Well, now there is a great title available that I can recommend: the CRM 2013 QuickStart.

CRM_2013_QuickStart_cover_smallHow do I know the book is any good? Because I wrote a part of it! Aside from shameless self promotion, I can honestly say that the writing team behind this book is quite an extraordinary league of CRM experts:

If that’s not a group of CRM MVP’s you’d trust for advice on how to work with the platform then I don’t know who you would!

What exactly does the book cover then? As the title suggests, it’s not a complete A-Z of each individual feature included in the Dynamics CRM 2013 platform. Neither is it meant to be “my first Dynamics CRM manual” for people who are unfamiliar with any version of the product. Let me borrow some of the official intro text for the book here to explain the reason for its existence:

The CRM 2013 Quick Start is a first look at Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and all the new features that have been included.

In the CRM 2013 Quick Start you will find details that can help administrators, customizers (functional consultants) and developers; not to mention power business users wanting to know all the details the admin never tells them. If you run CRM in the cloud or sitting in a server room at your office the information is useful.

This book is targeted to someone who has some CRM prior experience. By that we simply don’t spend any time explaining the basics of Microsoft Dynamics CRM from a beginner’s point of view. That said, the information in this book would still be useful on your journey to become proficient.

Imagine that you’re someone who’s started their Dynamics CRM journey with an earlier version like 4.0 or 2011 and you’re now faced with the upgrade project for moving the solutions onto the latest CRM 2013 version. Is this the right book for you to gain an understanding of what’s new & what has changed in the platform? Absolutely! How about if you’re a system administrator or a customizer that has some exposure to the new version (via CRM Online perhaps) but are looking to ramp up your knowledge about the platform for future projects, enhancements or admin tasks. Will the CRM 2013 QuickStart help you get up to speed faster than searching for random articles online? You bet!

Now, this is actually the first book that I have ever written content for and it makes me immensely proud to have managed to make my debut in such a prestigious crowd of co-authors. My personal contribution to this title focused on describing the founding principles of how to design a great user experience for the CRM solution that you wish to deliver to your end users. While some of the topics I covered in the book are specific to the latest CRM 2013 version, many of the solution design guidelines are actually universally applicable to any Dynamics CRM version, representing best practices that I’ve personally learned over the past decade of working with the product. I’m really glad to have been given the opportunity to present them in a format that allows for a different type of discussion than your typical blog post.

Being a newbie in authoring content for books, it was also a valuable learning experience for me. Although I’ve been writing down my thoughts  on all things Dynamics CRM on this blog for six years now, the project of producing close to 50 pages of content on a given topic to create a coherent book chapter that can stand on its own was still a very different kind of assignment. Let’s just say that I have new found respect for authors that have managed to create entire books for new software products on their own.

The great thing about my writing project was that it provided me a really concrete reason to dig into the details of the various new customization options that Dynamics CRM 2013 offers and experiment with different scenarios that I’m likely to encounter in real life customer projects. As they say, the best way to learn a new topic is to teach it to someone else. If this content that I’ve put together as a part of my own learning process then ends up helping also other members of the Dynamics CRM community to discover better ways to solve customers’ problems with the application, then I consider that a win-win result.

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