XRM Factor is back!

XRM Factor logo small

Back in March 2014 we had a session at CRMUG UK called “X(RM) Factor”, in which several speakers gave a short “audition” presentation about a tool or add-on that they find very useful in their day-to-day work with CRM. The audience then voted on which one they most wanted to hear more about. The top two speakers went through the the “finals” where they gave a short demonstration to showcase their chosen solution. The audience voted again, and we had our “XRM Factor” winner.

The first one was won by John Grace of North52 with a presentation about Sonoma’s Universal Search add-on. We had another great XRM Factor contest at the European Congress earlier this year, chaired by Sarah Critchley, this time the overall winner was Adam Vero with a showcase of XRM Toolbox.

We are planning two more of these sessions, one at CRMUG Summit 2016 in Tampa (on Thursday 13th at 4:30 pm), one at the next UK user group meeting on November 23rd.

XRM tools could be anything that helps make your CRM system better for users, or makes it easier to build or troubleshoot.  Free tools are always popular with the audience, but if you have a favourite paid-for add-on then feel free to tell us about that too. In previous sessions we had  a great range of tools on show, such as:

  • Sonoma’s Universal Search (this was before 2015 made that an OOB feature)
  • Fiddler2 – a great tool for troubleshooting, testing and development
  • XRM Toolbox, a favourite of CRM customisers everywhere
  • Azuqua – connecting cloud apps to CRM without MSE
  • Boomerang – an add-on for sending SMS messages from CRM, and processing replies
  • LinqPad, PowerBI, Ribbon Workbench, and several other tools and solutions

XRM Factor Rules

To keep things as fair as possible, we have a few rules:

  1. Speakers can choose anything to talk about, except any tool they (or their company) have been involved in creating, even if it is free.
  2. First come, first served. If someone else is already talking about the tool you want to cover, you need to talk them out of it or choose something else.
  3. All speakers will have the same amount of time for their first presentation. Depending on numbers participating, this is between 3 and 5 minutes (decided in advance).
  4. All speakers will use the same slides for the start of their presentation to make sure the audience get the same basic facts – what is it, where to get it, how much it costs. After those, they can use any slides, screenshots etc. (Demo is not really practical in the time available). These slides MUST be sent to the chairperson at least 3 days in advance so they can be collected into a single slide deck in a pre-selected random order.
  5. The two finalists will have the same amount of time as each other, probably 15 to 20 minutes (again, decided before the day).
  6. The two final presentations can be in any format. Demos are ideal, but some supporting information in slides can be helpful.
  7. In the event of a tie, the chair will make a final decision.

Do you have a tool you could not live without? Something you use every day when working on CRM? Or something you have installed to give your users some feature they really need?

Could you present a 5-minute pitch to the audience about why your tool is worth them knowing more about?

Please get in touch at CRMUG-at-meteorit.co.uk and tell us what tool you would like to share with the community.

Why XRM Factor?

Why have multiple presenters talking for only a short time, rather than just giving everyone 30 minutes to talk about their favourite tool?

When we first did this in the UK, it came out of several things we were trying to address to give our members the maximum value out of every meeting. We have limited time in a day, so we simply can’t cover many tools if they have 20 minutes each, we could maybe do 2 or three at a given meeting. Our audience will also be giving up their time, so it is only fair that they get some say in what that time is spent on. But finding a way to generate an agenda by voting or a survey was difficult. In a brainstorming session (in the pub after a meeting, naturally), one member came up with the idea of something like “speed dating” – you spend a short time with lots of people, then get to write down who you might like to spend more time with later. We switched the metaphor from speed dating to a talent show to avoid any unwanted overtones, and “X(RM) Factor” was born.

Some tools will always be a little bit “niche” and only apply to a small number of customers, and probably not get onto any shortlist for a whole session. With the XRM Factor format, we could give them some “air time” and even if they did not get through to the final, people perhaps had awareness of something they had not previously heard of, and could also approach the speaker to ask them more about it (especially with the rule that you can’t present something you helped to write, so our mantra of “by users, for users” means no-one is going to get a hard sell if they ask more questions).

It was also good for some of our speakers – we were asking a lot less of them than if they had to prepare a 30 minute talk about something. It also meant some of them who were speaking for the first time could do this with less nervousness, and just get through the 4 minutes they were given. Several of them have come back at a later date to present longer talks on a range of subjects.

CRMUG Meeting in Reading November 23rd 2016

Save the date!

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday November 23rd, in Reading. More details to follow.

This page will serve as a placeholder for all links to the event registration, updated agendas, related social events etc.

URL for this page will be easy to remember as CRMUG.UK/20161123 (simply this site/event date as yyyymmdd), and we will use this format so that each event has a placeholder page you can easily find.

Registration

Registration is not yet open for this event.

You can add this to your calendar now in order to make sure you are reminded nearer the time to come back to this page:

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CRMUG UK July 2016 Meeting Agenda

The next UK CRM User Group is in London on Tuesday 5th July. We have some great educational, informative and entertaining sessions for you from peers and industry experts.

Who can attend?

This meeting is free to attend for all CRMUG members and subscribers, thanks to Microsoft’s kind and continued support of the events, providing venues and refreshments for us. You can sign up for a Basic membership of CRMUG at no cost. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!

Registration

Registration is now closed for this event. Because of the location in the heart of the financial district, we will not be able to allow unregistered “walk-ins”. If you have not registered for this event then make sure to save the date for our next meeting on Wednesday November 23rd and register in plenty of time. See CRMUG.UK/20161123 for details.

Agenda

Feel free to arrive at any time from about 8:45 to enjoy coffee and breakfast pastries and get a bit of extra networking time before we start the day. Maybe reach out in advance to people you have met at previous events, and arrange to meet and catch up on what you are doing with your CRM projects at the moment over a hot drink.

The agenda below is of course subject to change, so don’t forget to follow @CRMUGUK on twitter for updates.

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CRMUG Meeting in London Canary Wharf on July 5th 2016

Our next meeting will be on Tuesday July 5th 2016, in London.

This page will serve as a placeholder for all links to the event registration, updated agendas, related social events etc.

URL for this page will be easy to remember as CRMUG.UK/20160705 (simply this site/event date as yyyymmdd), and we will use this format so that each event has a placeholder page you can easily find.

Registration

Registration is now closed for this event. Because of the location in the heart of the financial district, we will not be able to allow unregistered “walk-ins”. If you have not registered for this event then make sure to save the date for our next meeting on Wednesday November 23rd and register in plenty of time. See CRMUG.UK/20161123 for details.

You can add this to your calendar as well in order to make sure you are reminded nearer the time to come back to this page:

CRMUG Event  Click to add the CRMUG UK July 2016 London meeting to your calendar

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CRM User Group Social Evening March 2016 in Reading

If you are coming to our event in March (or even if you are not), you might like to come along to the social evening as well, to meet up with others who are also fans of Dynamics CRM.

A less formal environment than the events themselves can make it easier to break the ice and get to know people a bit better, so you feel able to reach out to them when you need help with something later on.

March 15th in Reading

Our unofficial Social Secretary Andrew Bibby has booked a table in a buffet restaurant in the centre of Reading at 7:30 on Tuesday March 15th.

The restaurant is called Cosmo and is part of a chain across the UK. They do a fixed price, self service buffet with a real cross section of pan-Asian food from Indian curries, through Thai and Singaporean dishes to Japanese sushi and Chinese favourites, as well as Italian food, a range of salads – basically something for everyone. There are also menus for made to order items if you really can’t find something on the buffet, and restaurants are fully licensed with a range of world beers, wines and soft drinks.

Location / address details are here: Cosmo Reading, and you will see it is only a short walk from the train station or from many of the central hotels.

Please sign up in advance through the Eventbrite page for the CRMUG Reading dinner where you can pay for your meal in advance in order for us to book a table for everyone. We have a fixed-priced all-you-can-eat menu that at £13.99 per head. You will be responsible for paying for your drinks on the night and contributing to a tip if you wish to.

Eventbrite - CRMUG UK March Meeting - Dinner & Social Evening in Reading

We hope to see a great turn out of CRMers like you who want to mix with their peers in a less formal atmosphere than the main meeting the next day. As people will be re-filling their plates periodically, this also gives you an opportunity to move around and meet new people after each course (maybe we should make it mandatory?). If people want to continue longer into the evening we might stick around in the restaurant or move along to another venue.

Announcing CRMUG UK Superstar Awards 2016

CRMUG UK Superstar Award Logo small

CRMUG is an organisation that is fundamentally run by users, for users. We wanted to recognise the efforts of some of our many volunteers who provide such great content at our meetings, sharing their experiences and expertise for the benefit of other members. And it seems to be “awards season” at the moment, so what better time to announce our inaugural CRMUG UK Superstar Awards!

We have been asking our audiences to provide feedback at every meeting, and for the last couple of years we have been collecting feedback data for each individual session too. Based on these scores we have drawn up a shortlist of finalists in various categories, and now we need YOUR help to vote for the overall winners. The 2016 awards will be based on feedback “since records began”, which basically boils down to presentations from 2014 and 2015.

Please vote for your favourite session of the last couple of years from the finalists in the different categories, as well as for the best overall speaker at our survey page.

Vote NOW!

If you want to know how we chose the finalists then scroll down for the boring bit, but if you just want to know who they are before you vote, read on…

Category Finalists

The finalists in each category are listed below, with profile links to help you remember who these speakers are if you are at all unsure. All listings are alphabetical by surname (the survey responses for voting are presented in a random order). The first five categories are based on the feedback score for overall satisfaction for each session.

Best Educational Session

Best Partner Session

  • Rowland Dexter (QGate) – Better Data > Better CRM
  • Martin Doyle (DQ Global) – Mantra for High Quality CRM Data
  • Tim Fowler (Cincom) – Enhancing Sales and Marketing by Using a Sales Configurator

Best Customer Showcase

  • Jamie Barker (Town and Country Housing) – To Infinity and Beyond!
  • Martin O’Neill (Skills Development Scotland) – Supporting a Changing Business at SDS
  • Chris Roberts (Amicus Horizon) – Becoming the Pied Piper

Best Session for Developers

Best Round Table Discussion

Best Speaker

We also have one group of finalists drawn from all session types, based on the feedback scores for how well the speaker or session chairperson performed. The finalist are listed below, along with the session that qualified them for this category, although you may have seen some of the speakers involved in more than one session over the last few years. This award is intended to be given to the person who has performed best overall:

Vote NOW!

Finalist Qualification Criteria

We have lots of different track sessions that address the needs of different groups of members, so we wanted to make sure these were fairly represented. No short documentary or animation is ever likely to win the Oscar for Best Picture, so the Academy have special categories for those films so they can be compared fairly with similar movies. We have used different categories to make sure things are being compared on a like for like basis, and to try and counter any bias that would be caused by sheer weight of numbers. If we did not do this, then even the most exceptional developer-oriented session would be likely to attract fewer votes than a session with a much more general “middle of the road” appeal.

We also wanted to make sure that our volunteers had a fair chance of being recognised for their contributions, while acknowledging that our Premium Partner members also provide very valuable information for audiences at every meeting.

So we have used 5 categories for sessions, as follows:

  • Best Educational Session (not including partner-led sessions, and not “pure developer” sessions or Customer Showcases, all of which have their own category)
  • Best Partner Session (self explanatory)
  • Best Customer Showcase
  • Best Developer Session (includes round table, interactive, or presentation-led sessions)
  • Best Round Table (including MS Conduit sessions, but not dev content, covered above)

The finalists for the above categories were selected and filtered on the following basis:

  • In each category, all sessions were ranked by the “overall” feedback score (not an average of all scores, partly because we sometimes asked different questions)
  • Anyone appearing in the list more than once was excluded for all but the first entry
  • The top 3 sessions were then selected, or the top 4 for Best Educational simply because of the number of entries in that category and how closely the scores were grouped.

We also have a completely open category for “Best Speaker” to include volunteers from all areas of our membership, including customers, partners and MVPs (but not Microsoft). This was worked out in a similar fashion to the main categories above:

  • All sessions were ranked by the “speaker” feedback score only
  • Anyone appearing in the list more than once was excluded for all but the first entry
  • The top 5 sessions were then selected to give the best chance of including speakers from a wide range of categories.

CRMUG UK March 2016 Meeting Agenda

The next UK CRM User Group is in Reading on Wednesday 16th March. We have some great educational, informative and entertaining sessions for you from peers and industry experts.

Who can attend?

This meeting is free to attend for all CRMUG members and subscribers, thanks to Microsoft’s kind and continued support of the events, providing venues and refreshments for us. You can sign up for a Basic membership of CRMUG at no cost. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience what the CRMUG has to offer you and other Dynamics CRM users!

Registration

Registration is open for this event at the CRMUG UK March 2016 meeting page at CRMUG.com. Although the agenda is not completely finalised yet, you can sign up today to make sure you get reminders nearer the time. If you have any difficulty getting registered for the event, please don’t just give up. Either contact the CRMUG support team or email “CRMUG <at> meteorit.co.uk”.

Agenda

Feel free to arrive at any time from about 8:30 to enjoy coffee and breakfast pastries and get a bit of extra networking time before we start the day. Maybe reach out in advance to people you have met at previous events, and arrange to meet and catch up on what you are doing with your CRM projects at the moment over a hot drink.

The agenda below is of course subject to change, so don’t forget to follow @CRMUGUK on twitter for updates.

CRMUG Event Click to add the CRMUG UK March 2016 March meeting to your Outlook calendar

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