MS Dynamics CRM 2011 MOC training courses

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Update Feb 2012: I’ve written a much newer article bring up to date all the information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training courses and exams in one place here: CRM 2011 Training Update 2012

As a follow-up to my previous post about the new Dynamics CRM 2011 exams and certification tracks, this article describes the official courses available to help prepare you for gaining CRM 2011 certification, or upgrading your skills from a previous version, or simply to find out more about the software to help you do your job without actually taking any exams.

All the courses described below are available now on the courseware download library (for MCTs) and on PartnerSource (for suitably certified MS Partners), except where stated.

Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC) courses for CRM 2011

Although there are four main exams (Applications, Customization, Installation, Extending) there are many more courses, some of which are already released, others around the corner. All of these are discussed in this article.

What’s New in CRM 2011

The “What’s New in Dynamics CRM 2011” course 80289A is a one-day introduction to lots of the new features, and as with many Microsoft applications this was the first to be released in order to be able to give people a first taste of what was to come. Expect lots of shiny new features to be demonstrated without a great deal of technical depth to the content.

Dare I say it? – like many “What’s new” courses this is more about marketing than training. For partners who have access to the course material for free, this is a good way to make sure everyone knows what has changed since 4.0, so that they can go off and investigate those in more detail in their own time or through other training courses. Internal project managers working for organisations who want to use CRM but will get a partner to do the actual heavy lifting may benefit from this overview. For people that actually need to get on and use CRM 2011, your time would be better invested in one (or all) of the courses below.

Installation and Customization

Both these courses are fairly similar to their CRM 4.0 equivalents.

80296A: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment is two-days of instructor-led material, during which you will actually install CRM 2011 from scratch (in a Virtual Machine environment). This course gives you the core information you need to take exam MB2-867 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment.

80294A: Customization and Configuration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a three-day classroom based course which is designed to prepare you for exam MB2-866 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration.

Given the timing of these, I expect most Learning Partners (CPLS) to offer these in the same week, back-to-back, hoping that people will do 5 straight days of training and leave with loads of knowledge stuffed into their heads. While this suits the training provider and the trainer (on staff or freelance) to fill up a whole week rather than having two or three days they can’t necessarily charge for, it may result in delegates trying to cram too much information in a short space of time. If you have the choice, I would suggest taking these separately with a couple of weeks in between to let it all soak in.

For anyone already qualified in CRM 4.0, it might be perfectly justifiable to blitz this in one go as you won’t be trying to learn so much new material. There are definitely more new things on the Customization course than on Installation, so much so that some subjects only get very sketchy coverage compared to their 4.0 equivalent (workflow being the example that stands out most).

Applications Courses

The first big difference from CRM 4.0 is the splitting up of Applications into four separate parts (déjà vu for anyone who remembers learning CRM 3). Each of these is a one day instructor-led course:

80290A: Marketing Automation in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

80291A: Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

80292A: Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

80293A: Service Scheduling in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

For those of you wondering, the difference between the last two is broadly 80292A covers Cases, Contracts, Queues, Knowledge Base and dashboards / reporting; 80293A is concerned with Services and Service Activities. At first glance, 80292A has a reasonable amount to cover in a one-day course for people totally new to Dynamics CRM, while 80293A looks a bit thin (less than half the page-count of 80292A). In reality a lot of training providers will try to sell these bundled together so the boundaries between whole days may be a little blurred anyway.

I would expect anyone already qualified on CRM 4 to be able to cover the service material quite quickly – the biggest changes really are around the fact that teams can properly own records now, have security roles associated with them to provide access to records across business unit boundaries, and using queues associated to teams makes all this a much more seamless administration job than with CRM 4.0.

Across all of the Applications courses there are new elements to consider: the new layout and Ribbon, integration of charts, dashboards, SharePoint grids, goals and targets and so on. The hardest part of this course design must have been deciding which items to include in which modules. Unfortunately the end result is that if you want to know how to use queues for sales management, you really need the service management course, and some features are given minor coverage on more than one course in context of different parts of the CRM platform (goals, for example is covered on Sales and Service). That said, I expect lots of people will do these back to back anyway, and possibly in an accelerated or “boot camp” training programme (especially for upgraders).

These four courses, plus some real-world experience, should provide you with the necessary knowledge to pass exam MB2-868 – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications.

Extending CRM 2011

Course 80295A “Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011” is planned for release on August 4th and aimed at Developers who need to write custom code, plugins and workflow assemblies to provide functionality which is outside the capabilities of the core application itself.

(The link provided above does not work at the moment, but should go will now take you to the right page once that goes live with details about the course.)

It seems likely is now confirmed that this will be a three day instructor-led course like it’s predecessor for CRM 4.0, 8969B.

Workflows in CRM 2011

There’s no real detail about this course yet, not even a course number, other than Microsoft saying that a Workflow course for CRM 2011 is planned for the coming year to replace 80003A “Workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0”.

This is one of the areas with some new functionality, providing interactive workflow “dialogs” as well as “processes” (like CRM 4.0 workflows). It will be interesting to see if this will remain a one-day course or whether they will produce two days of slightly deeper coverage to cover the new features and make up for workflow being almost completely dropped from the other courses (the CRM 4.0 Applications and Customization courses both used to cover this, albeit not in great depth).

Administration in CRM 2011

I have not seen any announcements regarding an updated Administration course to match the previous 80002A “Administration in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0”. If I find out anything about plans for this, I’ll update this post.

6 Responses to MS Dynamics CRM 2011 MOC training courses

  1. Hi Adam,

    I thought those were very perceptive reviews of the courses. Especially the Applications courses, of which I was the principle author. We had to strike a balance between a number of things, most of which you got spot-on. Probably the biggest challenge was the requirement that each one be deliverable as a standalone 1-day course. For example, Service Scheduling just doesn’t have as much to it as Sales Management, but it still needed the 1-day treatment. The other big challenge was the brand-new (Goal Management) or dramatically improved (Queues) features. These are inherently NOT limited to one of the functional areas…but the way the courses are structured, they had to be in one of the 4 buckets. Like I said, it was a balancing act, but I think (hope!) we got pretty close.


    • Adam Vero says:

      Thanks for the feedback Richard. Glad to see my interpretation of how the courses seem to us MCTs is fairly close to the challenges of writing them.
      I must admit, the most puzzling thing is the decision (by MSL I assume, rather than you) to return to the 4 x 1 day format anyway. As I mentioned above, I think many people will end up doing these back to back, so the boundaries do seem to place unnecessary limitations on the structure and timings of the courses. I can see some people might only want to do the sales or marketing bits, but that would mean they miss out on some goodness covered on other days.

      80294 is getting a bit of a kicking from many MCTs, the errata list is really long, lots of minor annoying errors and typos as well as some more major problems with the order and flow (such as using skills in early labs which are not taught until later ones). Looks like an “upgrade” of the 4.0 material without enough time being spent on the QA and technical make sure everything was working smoothly.

  2. Pingback: Know your application: the MB2-868 exam for CRM 2011 | Surviving CRM

  3. jason says:

    Is it possible to access the course text books without taking the course – i.e. does microsoft sell them?

    • Adam Vero says:

      Hi Jason
      It is possible to get access to the course materials in a couple of different ways, either as online learning or the actual MOC course documents as pdfs.
      Your comment has prompted me to finish a post I was working on to highlight some of the ways to access CRM training, which you can now read here: CRM 2011 Training Options

  4. Pingback: CRM 2011 Training courses update 2012

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