Interesting post by Joe on Azure with Dynamics 365

When it comes to technology learning, it can often feel as if you are fighting against a constant wave of change, as studying is outpaced by the introduction of new technical innovations. Fighting the tide is often the most desirous outcome to work towards, but it can be understandable why individuals choose to specialise in…

via 4 Reasons Why Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement Professionals Should Increase Their Microsoft Azure Knowledge — The CRM Chap

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Exam Brain Dumps

I am regularly contacted through LinkedIn about Dynamics CRM exams.

I am happy to help where possible to the extent of my MCT certification and NDAs allow. However I will not assist where brain dumps are involved.

<rant>Especially, please don’t send me questions and ask me to give the answers</rant>

To be clear, brain dumps are cheating. If caught, you will be prevented from ever taking a Microsoft exam and all your certifications will be voided.

Please refer to:

Are brain dumps legal

Why should I be concerned about brain dump sites and material


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MCSA and MCSE Certifications for Dynamics 365

Finally we are getting MCSE and MCSA for Dynamics


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Microsoft Online Proctored Exams

In the UK we can now take exams without having to travel to a test centre through Online proctored exams.

I took the Marketing exam last month this way and wanted to share my experiences.

The requirements are quite onerous and it takes some time to prepare so plan ahead.

The main physical requirement is that you need a room with nothing on the walls, no other screens or devices accessible, clear desk, no distractions, basically nothing visible or audible that might assist you in the exam.

Now not many people will have a room where you can do this for instance my offices at work and at home are not viable. You could use a meeting room but you need to make sure no one enters as then your exam will be void.

I used a spare bedroom at home but it still took me a few hours to get the desk and PC setup to my liking.

The main technical requirement is that you need to install software including Adobe Air on your computer and you mustn’t have anything else running. Now my main computer has took much running on it to be safe, so I used a spare desktop that I had used to trial Windows 10 on.

I installed the Proctoring app and completed the test. I recommend you do this well before the exam it took an hour or two to get web cam and microphone working and then I realised the web cam I had was just not good enough. You need to take pictures of your ID using the web cam and they weren’t readable. So I purchased a Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 and tested again successfully.

Login to the exam well before your time. I had a problem in that the web cam which worked in the Windows Camera app, was just showing black screen in the Proctoring app. A reboot sorted it but you can do without the stress before an exam.

Once you have logged in you are placed in a queue (you can see where you are in the queue). You need to provide a phone number for the proctor to contact you.

The proctor will call and ask you to pick up the web cam and show all around the room. This took around 5 minutes and was very thorough. I was impressed at what they spotted as potential issues and asked for closer looks, for instance there was a shadow on my desk that the proctor thought might be a pen.

You then need to take pictures of your ID. I had a problem with lighting which meant that the name on my passport could not be read clearly. So I was asked to take a picture of my passport with my phone and upload it via a link they sent me. I had a further problem as I had my phone set to access desktop not mobile web sites and the URL refused to work. Once I realised this and switched it over I was able to upload the picture of my ID quickly.

So  my advice is to test taking picture of your ID via web cam and make sure it is readable; next time I will adjust the lighting (I had lamp effectively next to the web cam).

Unlike exams at testing centres you are not allowed to have bathroom breaks as you must be visible at all times. Your web cam and microphone feeds are recorded and I guess are monitored throughout the exam.

As for the exam itself the experience is pretty much the same as in a test centre with the same user interface.

At the end when you have passed Smile just end the exam and exit the app.

The only thing I disliked was not having laminated card and pen. I like to write and sketch out when I take exams and you are not allowed any paper or pens.

I did like the experience on taking an exam at home. Not having a stressful drive and the saving of time (1.5 hours in my case to nearest test centre) makes it well worthwhile if you have the capability.

My only worry when taking the exam was my cat who does not like doors being closed to him and stands outside shouting. This would count as a distraction and potentially would cause the exam to be voided.

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CRM 2016 Sales and Pre-Sales Assessments

The Sales and Pre-Sales Assessments have been published. These assessments will be required for partners for the CRM and Cloud CRM competencies from September 2016.

The Pre-Sales Assessment is a good practice test for the CRM 2016 online deployment and customisation exams as they ask questions on some of the same topics.

You take these online from the new Microsoft Partner University.

Presales Technical Specialist Assessment for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 has 62 multiple choice questions.

Sales Specialist Assessment for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 has 48 multiple choice questions.

There are some questions duplicated on both assessments and some “interesting” questions.

You take the assessment online and it tells you what you got wrong and you can take it again and again.

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 exams released

Most of the exams for Dynamics CRM 2016 have been released. These are only listed on the US website Microsoft Dynamics Certifications. So you need to go there to find and book them.

Exam Title Available
MB2-709 Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Now
MB2-710 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online Deployment Now
MB2-711 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Installation February 2016
MB2-712 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customization and Configuration Now
MB2-713 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Sales Now
MB2-714 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Customer Service Now

The main change is that the applications exam has been split with separate exams focussing on Sales, Customer Service and Marketing.

The Online Deployment looks similar to the 2015 version but with all the on-premise questions taken out, thankfully.

The Customisation exam looks similar to the 2015 version but with processes added and I expect questions on the new solution management capabilities to feature strongly.

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New developer exam for CRM 2016 please

Please can we have a new extending exam for Dynamics CRM 2016.

The exam hasn’t been updated since CRM 2013 and whilst there was little change for CRM 2015 a lot of new developer options have been added in CRM 2015 Update 1 and CRM 2016 e.g., Upsert so Microsoft can we have a new exam please?

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MB2-709 Microsoft Dynamics Marketing exam passed

I had previously passed MB2-720 Functional Application in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing exam but that exam has been withdrawn and a new exam MB2-709 published.

I finally took this exam last week and passed. To pass this exam you need to be very familiar with the MDM user interface and functionality. You can use the online learning in the Dynamics Learning Portal but this won’t be enough as Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is a large application, perhaps larger than core CRM, with a broad range of functionality.

There are no exam centres near where I live so I tried the Online Proctoring option and took the exam at home. I will post more on this experience later.

I now have all the currently published Dynamics CRM exams. Now to prepare for the new CRM 2016 exams…..

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Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step

Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step is a methodology for implementing Microsoft Dynamics solutions.

Sure Step has been around for many years but appears now to have been forgotten about and has not had any updates with many of the templates at CRM 2011 (or even 4.0) and AX 2012.

I still like Sure Step as a methodology and I particularly like the principle that you deliver and test functionality as soon as possible so I will keep using Sure Step wherever appropriate.

I am hoping Microsoft will get around to updating Sure Step soon and improves the agile phases whilst they are at it.

In the meantime there is still an exam which is a qualifying exam for AX and CRM competencies MB5-705 Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations that Richard Major and I deliver the following course for at Firebrand Training.

More details about Sure Step on PartnerSource.

PS Cloud Sure Step has nothing to do with Dynamics Sure Step

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What have I been up to

This blog has been quiet for the past few years due to work I have been involved with has meant I have not had time to blog, nor have I been able to blog about what I was doing. This will change from now so expect more blogging.

For the past three years I have been working on a major project to implement Dynamics CRM for Ombudsman Services to handle consumer complaints. This has been very interesting as the organisation has undergone huge growth and change due to increased complaint numbers, adding further sectors and supporting the new EU ADR regulations.

A large part of the project has been around providing web portals for the parties involved to interact and progress their cases.

The solution was based on top of the leading legal case management platform from Peppermint. If you are a firm of lawyers or solicitors I recommend you check out the Peppermint platform.

I am now spending a couple of days a week at Ombudsman Services advising on future direction and performing skills transfer to the growing internal team.

Beside project work, I have spent about a third of my time training in UK, Sweden and Denmark, mainly for Firebrand Training. Along with my colleagues Richard Major and Adrian Shaw we deliver training on Dynamics CRM and SureStep.

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