CRMUG UK Scotland and North of England Inaugural Meeting

This post has been moved to the official CRMUG UK blog at: CRMUG.UK/20141120 (this page uses the meeting date in YYYYMMDD format as a permanent short URL).

Happy Birthday to me – 2 years as a CRMUG member

Today I am at the first CRMUG event in the UK “North of the border”. Yes, we have our first chapter meeting in Edinburgh, for members from Scotland and the north of England, on November 20th.

I travelled up here by train yesterday and took the opportunity to go through my slides for a quick intro session telling people all the great reasons to become full members of CRMUG (rather than Basic members, or “Subscribers” as they are now called). I wanted to mention how long I had been involved with CRMUG, and a quick look back in my Outlook calendar revealed the strange coincidence that it has been exactly two years to the day!

Back in the mists of time…

On 20th November 2012 I attended my first CRM User Group meeting at Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading. I had been meaning to go for a while but something (usually work) always got in the way. The meeting included a roadmap presentation from Microsoft – I think there must have been some stuff about the Polaris release in that one. There were also a couple of customer showcases, including a particularly memorable one from Mersey Travel who were using CRM with a portal built on ADX Studio to manage HR and training for about 4,500 employees of the various transport companies that come under their umbrella in the Liverpool metropolitan area and surroundings.

I won’t mention the name of the other customer showcase, but what stood out in my mind was they had loads of custom entities (many dozens, possibly over 100) – and none of them had a custom icon. A very complex system with some very clever automation and difficult reporting, but it must have been a nightmare for users to navigate.

We even got to meet the amazingly energetic and inimitable CRMUG Director Tony Stein, who flew in specially – he wrote about his take on the event on the CRMUG UK Community forum. When he asked if anyone could pitch in to help out with organising future events, I put up my hand – I don’t know if it was just Tony’s infectious enthusiasm for building a community or some kind of Jedi mind trick, but it worked!

Read about all the things I have had the opportunity to do in two years as a CRMUG member »

CRM User Group Social Evening November 2014

CRMUG LogoThe next UK CRM User Group meeting is on November 13th in Reading. Because so many attendees travel down the night before, it makes sense for us to get together for a social evening of networking, chit-chat and generally getting to know one another a bit better..

November 12th from 18:30 onwards, Pitcher and Piano, Reading

This will take place at the same venue as last March, the Pitcher and Piano, 18 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DB which is in central Reading within easy walking distance from railway station, TVP shuttle routes and plenty of hotels.

Join us from 18:30 onwards for a few drinks and maybe a bite to eat (especially for those of you staying overnight in Reading). Try to get there before 8pm to take advantage of various 2 for 1 offers on cocktails and selected bottled beers, or glasses of house wine and pints of beer or cider for £2.50.

Add to calendar  Click to add the social event to your Outlook calendar

Sponsorship opportunity

If any partners who are attending the CRMUG meeting with their customer(s) would like to fund a light buffet to keep people from starving, or a few drinks to get the evening started that would be greatly appreciated. We would make sure people knew who to thank the next day! If you are interested, please get in touch with me directly CRMUG@meteorit.co.uk.

CRMUG UK User Group – TWO Meetings in Reading and Edinburgh

CRMUG LogoThis post has been moved to the official CRMUG UK blog at crmug.uk/2014/11/03/crmug-uk-user-group-two-meetings-in-reading-and-edinburgh

CRMUG UK Social Evening July 16th

The next CRMUG UK Meeting will be at Microsoft’s Customer Centre in Cardinal Place in London on July 17th. We have ten sessions across three tracks for a day packed with content for everyone involved in Dynamics CRM from project owners, business managers, administrators and consultants through to customisers and developers.

Full details of the agenda and session outlines are in my previous article CRM User Group CRMUG UK meeting in July 2014 which also includes links to the registration page.

As we have done before, we will be having a social evening the night before the main event, very kindly organised by Andrew Bibby on our behalf this time.

Jugged Hare, Victoria, July 16th 7pm onwards

The Jugged Hare is a Fullers’ pub at 172 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, Victoria, Greater London SW1V 1DX (map).

Join us from about 7pm in the upstairs gallery area for a few drinks and some food if you want to (served until 10pm so OK for later arrivals).

Add to calendar  Click to add the social event to your Outlook calendar

There are loads of options for accommodation in the local area, all only a short walk to get to Cardinal Place for the actual CRMUG meeting in the morning. Or you could easily commute there and back via Victoria or Pimlico tube stations.

CRM Masters Spring Special Offer

CRM Masters logo small

 

We have a limited time special offer discount on our Dynamics CRM training at CRM Masters.

Book on one of our June or July courses now and get £45 off

Register for any of our scheduled Dynamics CRM training courses before the end of May for the special early bird price of only £350 per person per course.

You can book as many people on as many courses as you want, and get the discount for each person.

In order to give you the best possible training, seats on our custom CRM training courses are strictly limited, so hurry to book your place while they are still available.

This offer applies to four of our courses: Update Your Skills to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Managing Business Processes with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Visualizing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data and What’s New in the Leo Release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

CRM User Group CRMUG UK meeting in July 2014

CRMUG LogoThe next UK CRM User Group is in London in less than two months, on Thursday 17th July, and we will be focussing on using Dynamics CRM for managing services.

These might be traditional customer support services, fulfilment or project services, local government services to residents and businesses, or internal process management. The meeting is free to attend for all CRMUG members – and you can sign up for a Basic membership at no cost.

CRMUG UK Q2 Meeting Thursday 17th July 2014, London

Join 100 or more fellow CRM users for the next UK CRM User Group Meeting at Microsoft Customer Centre at Cardinal Place, London (Victoria). Coffee and Reception start at 9:00 am. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!

Registration is now open for this event. Click here to register for this event for FREE

Add to calendar Click to add the CRMUG UK July 2014 meeting to your Outlook calendar

Agenda

We will have multiple tracks for the middle part of the day, so you can choose the session that is of most interest and relevance. We will have a wide range of topics for everyone from business managers and project owners through administrators and functional consultants to the most technical system customisers and developers.

This agenda is subject to change (edit: updated 24th June with latest information), and we do expect to add one or two additional optional sessions to those described below. Also note our CRMUG UK Social Evening on July 16th.

09:30 Welcome & CRMUG News
09:45 What’s New in CRM 2013 Spring’14 release
(aka Service Pack 1, formerly "Leo").
Microsoft UK
11:00 Coffee and Networking
11:15
3 Tracks

Supporting a Changing Business
Skills Development Scotland is Scotland’s national skills body, combining careers, skills, training and funding services. SDS has over 800 CRM users across 50 sites providing services to in excess of 185,000 customers per annum.
SDS has undergone significant changes to its service offering in the last 2 years. This session will describe how a small internal team has supported the changes to the CRM system to support this.
Martin O’Neill, Skills Development Scotland

One-Click Dynamics CRM Deployments
Find out how you can automate the build and deployment processes for your CRM solutions. The session will demonstrate how the latest tools from the CRM SDK, TFS 2013, Visual Studio Release Management & xRM CI Framework can work together to implement end to end one-click deployments of your enterprise Dynamics CRM Solutions across all your environments. This will allow you to deliver CRM more frequently in a consistent and reliable way.
Wael Hamze, CRM Centre of Excellence, Barclays Investment Bank

Round Table – Using CRM for Public Sector services
Local and regional Government, Councils, Social Housing, healthcare, QUANGOs, and many other organisations use CRM in a similar way to provide services to a huge audience of citizens, residents, or businesses. These might be free at the point of use, so the sales module might be entirely ignored, but the service area is likely to be highly customised to suit this type of work. Often there are significant considerations about record security and segmenting access according to type, particularly around data considered "sensitive" under DPA such as physical or mental health, or criminal offences.
Please join your peers to share you experiences of using CRM to meet these challenges and manage public services in a cost effective manner.
Chair TBC

12:15 5 minutes to swap rooms
12:20
3 Tracks

Data Visualisation – Art or Science?
Best practices for designing charts to help people understand their business data effortlessly.
This will cover the "what should I do?" and "why?" rather than the technical ins-and-outs of how to achieve this with a specific piece of software. The main focus will be on Dynamics CRM charts and dashboards, but the approaches are just as valid using Excel, PowerPivot, SSRS or big analytics products.
Adam Vero, CRM Masters

CRM & BPM – Better Together!

Dynamics CRM 2013 is fuelling interest in the potential to deliver new and innovative customer services from CRM.  But without resorting to complex and costly XRM based coding projects, the scope is often limited. Business Process Management (BPM) tools such as PNMsoft Sequence, organisations can realise the full potential of CRM. 
When South West Water migrated to Dynamics CRM, a requirement to deliver critical Service Management functionality in short time was achieved through a BPM approach.
In this session, you will see how to quickly and easily create powerful workflow-driven CRM functionality with zero coding; connect your CRM activities with your existing ERP, SharePoint and other platforms and easily adapt, change and deploy CRM processes in line with changing business needs.
James Luxford, CTO PNMsoft (CRMUG Partner Member)

Round Table – Charity Management using Dynamics CRM
Many charities use CRM for similar things, such as tracking private and corporate donations; organising events, volunteers and regional groups of supporters; and managing services to the community. Are you also using CRM to manage your digital marketing, using built in functionality or third party solutions? If you are using or considering Microsoft Dynamics CRM to manage a charity, come and share your experiences with your peers.
Chaired by Seemant Rajvanshi, Macmillan Cancer Support

13:20 Lunch and Networking
14:00
2 tracks

Stop, Collaborate and Listen!
How to get support from your peers through various online channels
Joel Abbott, XRM Consultant

Demystifying CTI for the common good.
Have you thought about Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) but saw it as black magic? Do the words VOIP, PSDN, IVR, PBX, CLI mean anything?
What about Preview dialling, predictive dialling, power dialling, screen popping…  and now Microsoft has added USD!
This session aims to demystify the area of integrating CRM with telephony. CTI is not just for call centres and can improve any telephone-based customer interactions, so CTI can be a key factor in improving customer service in any organisation.
Rowland Dexter, QGate

15:00 Ask the Experts
A chance for more Q&A with today’s speakers and MVPs
16:00 Close

Location

This meeting will be at Microsoft’s Customer Centre in London

Cardinal Place
80-100 Victoria Street
London
SW1E 5JL

That’s a 2 minute walk from Victoria tube station, serviced by the Victoria, Circle and District Lines.

Who should attend?

All Dynamics CRM users are welcome. We also encourage you to invite your colleagues and other users – email to colleagues, tweet about it, mention it in your LinkedIn groups and other sites..

Partners are welcome to attend provided they are accompanied by a customer. Partners please bear in mind that the objective of regional events such as this is to exchange knowledge and Dynamics CRM experience. Partner personnel should possess deep CRM expertise and refrain from sales activities.

Hope to see you there!

Save the Date – November Meeting

Planning ahead, our next meeting will be on Thursday November 13th, at Microsoft’s UK HQ in Thames Valley Park, Reading.

Add to calendar Click to add the CRMUG UK November 2014 meeting to your Outlook calendar

We hope to have some more great content to share, including some possible encore sessions from CRMUG Summit 2014 which takes place in St Louis, Missouri. Members get $200 discount per person on their Summit passes, and staggered Early Bird rates also apply – for the best prices, register before the end of June.

CRMUG UK Social Evening March 19th

CRMUG LogoThe next UK CRM User Group meeting is on March 20th in Reading. Because so many attendees travel down the night before, it makes sense for us to get together for a social evening of networking, chit-chat and generally getting to know one another a bit better..

March 19th from 18:30 onwards, Pitcher and Piano, Reading

This will take place at the same venue as last May, the Pitcher and Piano, 18 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DB which is in central Reading within easy walking distance from railway station, TVP shuttle routes and plenty of hotels.

Join us from 18:30 onwards for a few drinks and maybe a bite to eat (especially for those of you staying overnight in Reading). Try to get there before 8pm to take advantage of various 2 for 1 offers on cocktails and selected bottled beers, or glasses of house wine and pints of beer or cider for £2.50.

Add to calendar  Click to add the social event to your Outlook calendar

Sponsorship opportunity

If any partners who are attending the CRMUG meeting with their customer(s) would like to fund a light buffet to keep people from starving, or a few drinks to get the evening started that would be greatly appreciated. We would make sure people knew who to thank the next day! If you are interested, please get in touch with me directly CRMUG@meteorit.co.uk.

CRM User Group meeting and social event in March 2014

CRMUG LogoThe next UK CRM User Group is in Reading in less than two months, on Thursday 20th March. We’re also getting together for a social evening on Wednesday March 19th.

CRMUG UK Social Evening Wednesday March 19th

We are getting together for an informal social and networking gathering on the evening before the main event . This will probably take place at the Pitcher and Piano, 18 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DB which is in central Reading within easy walking distance from railway station, TVP shuttle routes and plenty of hotels. Join us from 18:30 onwards for a few drinks, maybe a bite to eat (especially for those of you staying overnight in Reading), some networking, chit-chat and generally getting to know one another a bit better.

Try to get there before 8pm to take advantage of various 2 for 1 offers on cocktails and selected bottled beers, or glasses of house wine and pints of beer or cider for £2.50.

CRMUG UK Q1 Meeting Thursday 20th March 2014, Microsoft HQ

Join 100 or more fellow CRM users for the next UK CRM User Group Meeting at the Microsoft headquarters at Thames Valley Park in Reading. Coffee and Reception start at 8:30 am. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!

Registration is still open but places are filling up fast! Click here to register for this event for FREE

Add to calendar Click to add the CRMUG UK March 2014 meeting to your Outlook calendar

Agenda

Based on feedback from previous events, we have made a few changes Most notably we will have two tracks for the middle part of the day, so you can choose the session that is of most interest and relevance. We will also officially finish at 3pm, slightly earlier than before, and then have an optional session to meet (some of) the speakers afterwards and ask questions (rather than the expert panel we used to have before the close).

09:15 Introduction & CRMUG News
09:30 The X(RM) Factor – 5 tools and add-ons you might like to know more about
10:35 Track 1: Customer Showcase: CEGA Air Ambulance
Track 2: Round Table – Share your tips or ask questions of your fellow CRM System Admins
11:20 Coffee and networking
11:40 Track 1: Managing Email with CRM – Top tips from MVP Feridun Kadir
Track 2: Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Social Listening – Cassandra Whobrey, Microsoft
12:40 Lunch
13:25 Customer Showcase: NCFE – Going Mobile
14:25 Microsoft Roadmap with Marco Amoedo
14:55 Close
15:00 Break
15:05 Meet the Speakers (optional Q&A session for those who want to stick around a little longer)
15:35 End

 

Location

This meeting will be at Microsoft’s UK HQ in Reading.

Microsoft Campus
Thames Valley Park
Reading
RG6 1WG

Who should attend? All Dynamics CRM users are welcome. We also encourage you to invite your colleagues and other users – email to colleagues, tweet about it, mention it in your LinkedIn groups and other sites..

Partners are welcome to attend provided they are accompanied by a customer. Partners please bear in mind that the objective of regional events such as this is to exchange knowledge and Dynamics CRM experience. Partner personnel should possess deep CRM expertise and refrain from sales activities.

Hope to see you there!

CRMUG Summit – Early Bird Discount runs out in 10 days

CRMUG_Summit2013_webtampaCRMUG Summit is only four months away now, so it’s time to get yourself a place before the early bird discount period runs out on June 31st.

If you are not already a Premium Member, join today to save $200 then get a further $200 off by registering before the end of June.

If you have fewer than 10 users, these saving pay for Premium membership on their own, if you have 10-99 users and send two attendees, you will save more than the membership costs you! If you miss the June cut-off date, prices go up, but is then steady until September 15th.

What is there to do at Summit?

The Summit schedule from Tuesday October 22nd to Thursday 24th, and will be jam packed with loads of great sessions led by people from other organisations just like yours, using CRM to run their businesses, manage their processes and measure their outcomes.

There will of course be plenty of discussion and content around the new “Orion” release (whether it has actually taken place by then, if on schedule, or if not then the air will be even more buzzing in anticipation!), both from Microsoft themselves and from your colleagues and industry experts.

If you are not sure if there will be something for you, read “Why should I attend CRMUG Summit 2013?

In addition, why not use this as an opportunity to top up your skills at one of the CRMUG Academy training sessions on Monday 21st October (additional fees apply).

Have you signed up yet? Let me know in the comments below

Save the Date CRMUG UK Meeting 28th November

Registration is not open yet, but as advance warning, the next CRM User Group meeting for the UK is planned for:

28th November 2013 at Microsoft’s London Victoria Offices.

Add to calendar  Click to add the next CRMUG meeting to your Outlook calendar

Agenda

Agenda is yet to be confirmed, but loosely speaking will be a 9:15 registration and coffee for a 9:45 start.

After a mid-morning coffee break we plan to have two parallel speaker sessions for people to choose the topic of most interest to them. At least one of these will be followed by a related “round table” discussion of Q&A and audience participation.

After lunch we will all get back together for a further general session before “The Marco and Cass Show™” – also known as the Microsoft CRM Roadmap presentation. Given the planned release time frame for “Orion” this session alone is probably enough reason to travel all the way to London for this CRMUG meeting.

We will round the day off with an Experts Panel to try and answer any questions which have occurred to you during the earlier sessions, before closing at approximately 4pm.

Where is that again?

Microsoft UK
Cardinal Place
80-100 Victoria Street
London
SW1E 5JL

That’s a 2 minute walk from Victoria tube station, serviced by the Victoria, Circle and District Lines.

Of course I will post once the official page for registrations goes live.

What do you want from CRMUG?

Following our recent CRMUG UK committee meeting, I took on the role of “Vice Chair for Programme” so I need to figure out what things our members want to get out of our events, what sessions will be of most interest, general applicability and so on.

What do you want to “share and learn” at the CRM User Group? Are there any topics you particularly want to hear about?

Do you have a great customer story to tell, with some inspiration or ideas for others to take away and use to get more out of their CRM system? Could you / would you speak for 30 – 45 minutes about your CRM deployment project and what you got out of it?

If you have something to share, or want to find out about a particular aspect of using Dynamics CRM, please let me know in the comments so I can start to assimilate ideas to put together another great event, for users, by users!

CRM User Group meeting and social event in May

CRMUG LogoThe UK CRM User Group is meeting up in Reading in just over two week’s time. We’re getting together for a social evening on Wednesday May 15th, followed on 16th May by the main event with a packed agenda full of shared experiences and tips from your fellow Dynamics CRM users across a range of different industries and roles.

CRMUG UK Social Evening Wednesday May 15th

We are getting together for an informal social and networking event on the evening before the main event . This will take place at the Pitcher and Piano, 18 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DB which is in central Reading within easy walking distance from railway station, TVP shuttle routes and plenty of hotels. Join us from 18:30 onwards for a few drinks, maybe a bite to eat (especially for those of you staying overnight in Reading), some networking, chit-chat and generally getting to know one another a bit better.

So far based on comments on the original blog post, twitter responses and emails we should have at least a couple of dozen people there, and of course there may be lots more who have not said anything yet. Get there early on if you want some free nibbles, and definitely try to get there before 8pm to take advantage of various 2 for 1 offers on cocktails and selected bottled beers, or glasses of house wine and pints of beer or cider for £2.50.

Add to calendar  Click to add the social event to your Outlook calendar

CRMUG UK Q2 Meeting Thursday 16th May 2013, Microsoft HQ

Join 140 or more fellow CRM users for the next UK CRM User Group Meeting at the Microsoft headquarters at Thames Valley Park in Reading. Coffee and Reception start at 9:30 am. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!

Registration is still open but places are filling up fast! Click here to register for this event for FREE

Add to calendar  Click to add the CRMUG meeting to your Outlook calendar

Agenda

  • Registration & Coffee
  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap & Demonstration
  • Member Showcase: Capita
  • Coffee Break
  • Best Practice Session: Reporting / Workflow – Scott Durow
  • Member Showcase: NCFE and User Adoption
  • Networking Lunch
  • Discussion Topic: – 20 Top CRM Tips to make the most of CRM – Adam Vero, MCT
  • Q & A Session
  • Close at approximately 4:00 pm

Who should attend? All Dynamics CRM users are welcome. We also encourage you to invite your colleagues and other users – email to colleagues, tweet about it, mention it in your LinkedIn groups and other sites..

Partners are welcome to attend provided they are accompanied by a customer. Partners please bear in mind that the objective of regional events such as this is to exchange knowledge and Dynamics CRM experience. Partner personnel should possess deep CRM expertise and refrain from sales activities.

Hope to see you there!

CRM User Group Social Evening May 15th in Reading

There’s so much buzz about “social CRM” I felt it was about time we made the CRM User Group more social too. So, the evening before the next CRM UG UK meeting (which is in 9 weeks time on 16th May at TVP) we’ll be getting together for a less formal gathering, a few drinks, maybe a bite to eat (especially for those of you staying overnight in Reading), some networking, chit-chat and generally getting to know one another a bit better.

Where: Pitcher and Piano, 18 Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DB

When: Wednesday 15th May, 18:30 onwards – get there early on if you want some free nibbles, and definitely try to get there before 8pm to take advantage of various 2 for 1 offers on cocktails and selected bottled beers, or glasses of house wine and pints of beer or cider for £2.50

Who: Anyone with an interest in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, users, administrators, techies, experts, trainers, partners – especially those attending the CRM UG Meeting, but of course also people who can’t actually make the main event for some reason.

How many will be there?

Great question! I need to give the venue a reasonable idea of numbers before the night so they can make sure to accommodate us comfortably. Please add a comment below if you think you will be there, or tweet me directly if you prefer (@AdamVero). Help us to get the word out to as many folk as possible by emailing your colleagues, tweeting about it (click for ready-to-tweet message), mentioning it to your LinkedIn groups and so on. Use hashtag #CRMUGUKSocial if you want to join the conversation.

Countdown to CRMUG UK Meeting in Reading on 16th May 2013

It’s now just 10 weeks to go until the next UK CRM User Group meeting. We have another great agenda full of shared experiences and tips from your fellow Dynamics CRM users across a range of different sectors.

Thursday 16th May 2013, Microsoft TVP, Reading

Join us for the next UK CRM User Group Meeting at the Microsoft headquarters in Reading. Coffee and Reception start at 9:30 am. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!
Registration is now open! Click here to register for this event for FREE

Agenda

    • Registration & Coffee
    • Welcome & Introduction
    • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap & Demonstration
    • Member Showcase: Capita
    • Coffee Break
    • Best Practice Session:  Reporting/Workflow
    • Member Showcase:  NCFE
    • Networking Lunch
    • Discussion Topic:  Dynamics CRM – 20 Top Tips from an MCT
    • Q & A Session
    • Close at approximately 4:00 pm
    Who should attend?

All Dynamics CRM users are welcome. We also encourage you to invite your colleagues and other users – email to colleagues, tweet about it, mention it in your LinkedIn groups and other sites..

Partners are welcome to attend provided they are accompanied by a customer. Partners please bear in mind that the objective of regional events such as this is to exchange knowledge and Dynamics CRM experience. Partner personnel should possess deep CRM expertise and refrain from sales activities.

Hope to see you there!

Social Evening

We are talking about getting together for an informal social and networking event on the evening of 15th May before the main event . This would be at a venue in central Reading within walking distance from railway station, TVP shuttle routes and plenty of hotels. Plans are coming together so we should be able to announce more details soon. Whatever we do it will definitely be free to come and join in, and we’ll be trying to get a deal wherever we go to try and keep your food and drinks bills as low as possible.

I’ll post an update once we get a plan together. <edit – see this post about the CRM User Group Social Evening May 15th in Reading />

CRM User Group Event Rome January 2013

Special Early Bird Pricing for the CRMUG Event in Rome 2013 ends on December 15th, so complete registration now for a great 20% discount.

The CRMUG Event in Rome on January 31st to February 1st is a great opportunity for Dynamics CRM users from loads of different countries to come together and share experiences and ideas that they can take back and use to get even more out of their own CRM projects.

There will be plenty of opportunity to mingle with your peers and discuss how you are getting value out of your system, share tips, suggestions, good practices and maybe recommendations for third party add-ons which have filled a gap you could not have built in-house.

The main sessions will be split into tracks to suit end users / business managers, system customisers and administrators, and developers. Formats will vary between sessions to use the most appropriate way to cover different topics, from workshops to round-tables to deep-dive presentations.

All for only €199 + VAT before December 15th, €249 thereafter.

Bonus – FREE CRMUG Premium Membership for 6 months

As an added bonus, your registration for the CRMUG Event also includes a free 6-month Premium CRMUG membership!
Not only will you get to take part in this great learning and networking event, but you’ll also have access to CRMUG’s full range of benefits, including webinars, CRMUG Collaborate (our online community), special interest groups, CRMUG Academy training courses, Global Branch meetings, and more!

What are you waiting for? Find out more and register now:

rome2013.crmug.com

Stephen Few Information Visualisation Workshops in London July 2011

If your job involves any kind of data visualisation from simple Excel charts to fully interactive management dashboards, you need to make sure that the way you display your data is as clear, unambiguous and effortless (to produce and to interpret) as possible.

Last year I attended three days of workshops by one of the foremost proponents of best practices in information visualisation, Stephen Few, founder of Perceptual Edge. Although I already had two of his books and had devoured their contents, there’s nothing like in-person training to highlight the most important ideas and make them stick. If you missed out last time around, Stephen is back in the UK from 6th to 8th July 2011, and in Vienna from 5th to 7th October.

In between interactive question and answer sessions, and some individual and group workshop time there was plenty of explanation of current understanding of how the human brain works to interpret visual displays of data. This combination of applicable, real-world best practice, backed by solid theory and research is a sound approach to take – you want to know that the ideas and principles under discussion are not just one person’s strongly-held viewpoint, but demonstrably better for interpreting, analysing, understanding and communicating your business or research data.

I already used many of the techniques which were discussed, and even teach others how to achieve these in practical situations, such as using workarounds to get Excel to do some pretty advanced chart displays, get better reports out of Dynamics CRM, and use clear visualisations when producing presentations. I still learned a great deal though, and came away from these workshops with a much clearer set of tools to explain to people how to better understand the information in your data (for analysis and decision making) and communicate this to others clearly (for reporting or dashboard style displays).

Stephen Few has many years of experience in this field, both in academic circles (he teaches in the MBA program at the University of California) and with businesses and corporations in many different industries. His mastery of the subject, leisurely delivery and down-to-earth style made these workshops as enjoyable as they were educational.

The three workshops (which map closely in content to three of Stephen’s books) are:

Show Me the Numbers: Table and Graph Design

Dashboard Design for at-a-Glance Monitoring

Now You See It: Visual Data Analysis

I highly recommend you to go on whichever of the three is most directly applicable to your role, or better still to do all three to get a fantastic all-round understanding of different aspects of this subject. You can find out more from marketingQED who organise these events over here:

Stephen Few: Information Visualisation Workshops 2011

If you can’t get to all three days, or want to do some prior reading, take a look at Stephen’s books here (note, the courses themselves each include a copy of the relevant book to take away, so you might not want to get them before attending unless you know someone who would love to take a copy of your hands afterwards!):

Amazon.co.uk – books by Stephen Few

Office 2010 launch failure update – working media stream

Tim posted a comment with a working link for the media stream of the Office and Sharepoint 2010 launch.

So far the demo is fast paced and pretty impressive, although resolution of the screen during demo is a bit poor. More thoughts later.

Office 2010 launch failure

Looks like Microsoft are too popular for once, and shot themselves in the foot. The Office 2010 launch which was supposed to be taking place today in 38 countries (or was it 60?) at 15:00 UCT is currently falling very flat as it struggles with the load of too many people trying to see what all the fuss is about.

I am sure Stephen Elop is giving a rousing speech to the several hundred people who have gathered in New York to hear him live, but the “virtual launch” is a big fail at the moment. The links to the live keynote speech media stream are not connecting, the main launch website returns a 503 or a custom “service not available” message.

As an aside, the launch site is running on Sharepoint 2010 – maybe that dog food does not taste so great today.

So far a great product looks like it is being let down by a launch which is going to be an unfortunate flop.

(Update: the main URLs all now seem to be delivering the same pages, but the link to the actual keynote speech still comes up as a dud. Media Player can’t connect to the stream, it seems.)

How Microsoft protects value of certifications against cheats and braindumps

Anyone who holds a Microsoft certificate or is thinking of taking one may sometimes wonder how much value there is in this piece of paper in terms of salary or expectation of finding a job in the first place. One way is to look at how many people share your qualifications although this does not tell you if any of those people are “paper MCSEs” who do not really have the depth of knowledge and experience it would normally require. People cheat in all kinds of ways to get some letters after their names, most notoriously using “braindumps” of genuine test questions and simply learning the correct answers rather than understanding why these are right. Even on exams with some simulations, this rote-learning technique buys a cheat more time to spend on the sims by answering the multiple choice questions in hardly any time at all. Microsoft claim to be working hard to eliminate cheating of all kinds as far as possible, and you can join in a Live Meeting to find out more about this here: MCP Live Meeting: Redmond CSI: Anti-piracy and Microsoft Certification

Certification fraud is big business and a serious threat to the value of Microsoft certification exams. Cheaters, braindumps, and sometimes even the actions of your well-intentioned peers can damage the reputation of your hard-earned Microsoft credential. Come to this session to learn what Microsoft is doing to protect your certifications from braindump providers, proxy test-takers, and score-report fakers. You’ll hear how technical innovations in the exams themselves, our piracy teams, and YOU are helping to reduce cheating in the world of Microsoft certification.

This meeting will be offered twice to accommodate worldwide calendars

This online event is on June 25th 2008 at 7:30 am Pacific time (What time is this in my region?) and later at 5:00 pm Pacific (What time is this where I am?) – use the online registration button at the top of the page to register for either of the two sessions.

Thanks to Trikah for the heads up.

Microsoft Exams free second chance offer

Soon you will be able to get a free second shot to pass a Microsoft exam. They have run this kind of offer before and it always seems really popular.

Basically, you register for the deal with Microsoft, which gets you a voucher number. You then use this voucher number when you register and pay for your exam on the Prometric site as usual. If you fail the exam when you take it you can re-register to take the same exam again in a fixed timeframe.

The offer should be available from September 15th until January 31st, though whether that end-date is for the first try or your second attempt is not clear yet.

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