By Donna Edwards, Microsoft Certified Business Solutions Specialist

On a dark winter's night, when the sky hung low like a great gray sheet across the land, the Clan of CRM MVP huddled in a cave around the blazing fire to once again hear the story of how the CRM Field Guide came to be.  As was the annual tradition, the Clan's designated story teller began the tale from the beginning. 

In a time long ago, there was a great realm named Microsoft.   Within Microsoft were many tribes and within each tribe many clans.  The CRM MVP clan began with just a few people from several tribes who shared the common interest of helping all Clans and Tribes understand Microsoft's Dynamics CRM tool.  As it is today, this tool's power brought great riches to those who could control it skillfully. 

The learned in the CRM MVP clan desired to spread their wisdom and knowledge throughout the realm as they knew the knowledge they had to impart would help release the true power of the tool.  They heard and shared many stories of people's struggle with CRM.  They knew that people struggled to master the many facets of the tool including: Server and Client Installation, Systems Integration, Sales Automation, Processes, Solution Management, Development Strategies, Data Management, Reports Development, SharePoint, User Adoption and the many others. 

They devised and initiated many plans to share their CRM knowledge with others in the Realm.  Some plans met with success and others failed yet the desire to impart wisdom continued to burn strong.  This need to share information burned fiercely within one member.  This member was newer to the Clan than the others but the vision she had was strong and she knew it was her destiny to help the clan spread their knowledge across the Realm.  She allowed the vision to unfold within her and when the time was right, whispered it to each member who would participate.  As she whispered her vision, the quiet ember within each began to grow and the desire to unlock the secrets of the tool became began to rise from the flames like a phoenix taking flight. 

Understanding that each MVP had powers of magic in certain aspects of the tool and according to her vision she let each member know what she wanted.  To some she requested sharing their knowledge of Sales, Marketing, and Service Management.  To others she asked for Solution Management, Implementation Techniques, Optimization, User Strategies and Automation.  In the end she had more than 15 members who agreed to impart their wisdom, experience and skill to others. 

Over the next few moons, the vision became a reality as the MVPs began submitting pages filled with their CRM insight and wisdom.  Some of the first submissions included:

  • Optimization & Troubleshoot the CRM Outlook Client
  • Effectively Install the E-mail Router & Troubleshoot Issues
  • Install & Configure the CRM Server like an Expert

In the end, after all submissions arrived there were more than 800 pages of wisdom, knowledge, and secrets shared.  Those pages included great insight into:

  • Mastering the CRM Upgrade
  • Understand Security & Configure for Success
  • Uncover the Power of the CRM Outlook Client
  • Learn to Leverage Goal Management
  • Automate with Workflows & Dialogs
  • Unleash the Power of Reports
  • Control & Manage Data
  • Discover the Magic of SharePoint Integration
  • Explore the Power of Customizing & Configuring CRM
  • Become the Master of Solution Management
  • Understand the Wizardry of Server Optimization & Monitoring
  • Brandish the Power of Integration
  • Unearth Hidden Development Resources
  • Inspire User Adoption
  • Connect with Community Resources
  • Marketing Magic
  • Leverage the Power of the Service Module
  • Transform Sales Management Practices

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Field GuideBefore the break of spring in the year of 2012, she delivered all the pages of wisdom and knowledge to the Great Winged Bird, known in the land as the Publisher, for final review, editing, and distribution.  The Publisher added some additional pages of insight, organized, edited, and bound the manuscript, resulting in more than 900 pages of amazing CRM magic intended to empower all those who are brave enough to become explorers of CRM.  This was the only manuscript of its kind for CRM in the Realm.  In the end, there was a great celebration among the CRM MVP Clan and the naming of the book began.

Now this is the true story of how the CRM Field Guide came to be.  So, if you ever find yourself in the land of CRM, you will surely want to seek out the CRM Field Guide (or visit its home) as it will light the way to a remarkable journey on which you will discover weapons for arming yourself against the dreaded pit of failed projects and frustrated users, gems of wisdom that will help you navigate through the canyon of the lost, and tools to dig for treasure that will remain with you beyond your exploration.