Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Ask the Hosk - What CRM 2013 Certification should I take?

I received a question about one of my favourite subjects, CRM Certification.  I always encourage people to get certified because I think it gives them an in depth and broad knowledge of CRM.   It gives the person something to take into their yearly review.  On with the question



I have been working in CRM about 3 to 4 years. (customization and development) Now I want to have certifications of CRM. 

Can you please let me know for which papers should I go first. MB2-703 or there is any other also..

Also can you please share what type of questions are most frequent in paper or in which pattern should a prepare for paper??




I would recommend you study the MB2-703 Customization and configuration certification.  If you have been working in this area for the last 3/4 years you should have a good knowledge of most of the content on the exam.

You will still need to study for the exam because it will require you to know exactly the right option because there are a lot of questions where the answers are all quite similar with only small differences, so you have to know how the functionality works precisely.

The best material to study for the exams is the Microsoft MOC's, these are free to people who work for Microsoft Partners.  You can get it here 

I would also recommend the resources I have made 

There are blog posts, videos and some test questions for you to practice.

I'm not sure what questions appear most frequently and this could change, so my advice would be study for the certification.


Thursday, 2 October 2014

CRM 2013 - Quick Guide to Business Rules

What is it
A new feature in CRM 2013 called Business Rules or Portable Logic

What can it do

Business rules allows you to write logic on CRM forms without writing Javascript.  It can hide fields, calculations, display error messages. 

Business can

Hide/show fields
Make a field businsess required
calculate a fields value based on values in other fields
validate a field, showing an error message if an invalid value is input
disable a field

Why do you need to know it

It's a way to do form validation and form manipulation that previously only people with Javascript knowledge could do, now end users and CRM consultants can do form manipulation.

Business rules also run on the Tablet and mobile apps

Why is it important

It allows non developers to add validation and functionality (hide/show/disable fields) to a CRM form.

Business rules will also work on the tablet application, hence why business rules are also known as portable business logic

Why's it good for customers

Reduces the dependancy on developers to add form validation, field calculations and hiding/showing/disabling fields.  This will allow customers to create business rules

Why's it good developers/consultants

Consultants can add functionality which was only available using Javascript in CRM 2011. 


one down side is it's another place validation can run, which means you can have conflicting validation from Javascript and business rules.

Business rules have to be created in pairs, e.g. one rule to hide a field and another rule to show the field.  Most first time users of business rules forget to add the second rule.

Business rules and Javascript can conflict.  Business rules are triggered before Javascript

Business rules and Javascript means there are two different areas to check, which can create some unexpected behaviour

Will it change in the future

Yes, its going to get even better with IF/Else conditional statements in CRM 2015.  

CRM 2015 will also add improved calculations and rollup fields

Where Can I find out more

Microsoft SDK

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Ask the Hosk - I have passed MB2-703 should I take the equivalent CRM 2011 certification

The Question

I have passed MB2-703 (CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification), should I take the CRM 2011 certification

Hosk Answer

This conundrum is puzzled by many people and is a common question. Once you have passed one certification, you are buzzing and ready to pass another, it would seem logical to pass an exam which would be very similar in subject matter.

But personally I wouldn't bother taking the CRM 2011.  

CRM 2011 and CRM 2013 customization exams are very similar.  In CRM 2013 there are some different questions on the new CRM 2013 functionality but the core of the exam is the same.

I would say it would be more beneficial to study for another CRM 2013 exam - applications or extending (if you are a developer) rather than studying for the CRM 2011 customization certification.

Studying for other CRM 2013 certifications will be valuable to employers and will show you have knowledge of more areas in CRM 2013.

It might be beneficial to get more CRM 2013 experience, using the new features in CRM 201.  I would target the CRM 2013 functionality I had no/little experience using rather than focus on certifications.

Certifications and theoretical knowledge are extremely useful and recommend everyone obtain certifications relevant to your role, but practical experience is vital when you need to use the functionality on a customer project.

Do you have a question

If you have a question, please email me

Friday, 19 September 2014

Video from CRM MVP Mitch Milam - Becoming a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Architect

This is a blog about careers in the Microsoft Dynamics so I feel I should definitely share this excellent video from CRM MVP Mitch Milam

Mitch is a CRM MVP (multi year)

Mitch has a great blog, which is his main technical blog

Mitch is running a course on Becoming a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Artchitect, so this is a bit of a free sample for people who can then sign up for the course if they wish.

It's  52 minutes and gives you a good value

The video is hosted at msDynamicsWorld

or on youtube

It's a great video for people who are interested in becoming a CRM technical architect and it will let you know the road ahead is a long one.

His first rule is YOU SHOULD HAVE A BLOG, which is great advice.

The other advice the video and find out

Friday, 12 September 2014

CRM 2013 Interview Question - What things should you consider when choosing between CRM online or on Premise

An interesting question which can crop up in a CRM interview

Things to consider for choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

The answer which pops into my head instantly is CRM online doesn't allow to use custom workflows or call other DLL's from your plugins.  I'm sure this the first thing which CRM developers will think of.

You cannot view the SQL database or do anything with it

great article on the limitations of CRM Online

One good point is CRM online rollups are automatically applied, so companies have to quickly regression test.

What hardware has the user currently got?

The big advantage of CRM Online is the customer doesn't need to buy any servers or software licenses.  An on premise installation will need at least one server (assuming the customer has active directory setup) with SQL Server installed.

Users (e.g. how many)

CRM On premise uses active directory for the security authentication (CRM doesn't do the authenticating itself, it lets other software do it, a bit like CRM doesn't have any email capabilities but gets Outlook to do it).

If the company has a lot of users, this will mean a big process to migrate all these users to have windows live accounts, which are needed to use CRM online.


If you choose CRM, online then all your data will be stored in the cloud, on Microsoft's servers somewhere.  Some companies do not want their data beyond their control like this which means CRM Online is not a viable option.

You also need to think about backups.  CRM On premise will allow you to back up databases whenever you want, but because you do not have any access to the CRM Database or anything in the SQL Server you cannot backup your DB.   If you needed to restore a database with CRM, online you need to liaise with Microsoft support and it's probably going to be a restore of a daily backup


There are some limitations to plugin development with online CRM because the plugins need to live in the sandbox (it breaks when the plugin tries to climb out of the sandbox).  The plugins have to be one dll and cannot call any other dll's.

There is a limit of the number of workflows and entities you can with CRM Online.  200 workflows and 300 entities.  As limits go this is pretty big and I have personally not seen a project which got near the limits.   This limitation was true in CRM 2011, I assume it hasn't changed in CRM 2013 but I could be wrong.

For detailed list of the differences between CRM online and CRM on premise, these blogs offer a detailed description of the differences

Quick Compare: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online vs. On Premise

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 – Limitations of Dynamics CRM Online Vs On Premises

Picture from

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Quick Guide - What are Rollups in CRM 2013

What is it
Rollups are updates to CRM 2013 which usually contain bugfixes, hotfixes and sometimes enhancements.  Here is a definition

RollupDefinition: An update rollup is a tested, cumulative set of hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates that are packaged together for easy deployment. A rollup generally targets a specific area, such as security, or a component of a product, such as Internet Information Services (IIS).

Are they the same as service packs
Nope.  Service packs usually contain enhancements, rollups usually bugfixes.  To add to the confusion they can sometimes not both be installed

Check this article to understand how recently you could install a rollup if you had installed the latest service pack

definition of a Service Pack
Definition: A service pack is a tested, cumulative set of all hotfixes, security updates, critical updates, and updates. Service packs may also contain additional fixes for problems that are found internally since the release of the product and a limited number of customer-requested design changes or features.

What can it do
Rollup's usually contain lots of bugfixes and sometimes they contain enhancements/performance improvements but mostly you won't notice any difference

Should I install it straight away
No, sometimes the rollups contain worse bugs than the bugs they are fixing.  That's an exaggeration but rollups do sometimes contain bugs, so it's best to wait a while and let other people find those bugs rather than your CRM users

What if I installed a rollup with a bug in
Tricky, you should be able to uninstall a rollup by going to 
control panel->programs

but some rollups cannot be rolled back once you install them!

Why do you need to know it
Rollup's can often contain fixes to bugs which might be affecting your users

Why is it important
Rollups contain fixes and can contains bugs/break your customization's

Why's it good for customers
potential fixes for only the cost of installing a rollup

Why should developers/consultants care
It's good for developers because rollups can contains fixes to the core CRM functionality.

Rollups can also break developers code, so you will need to do some regression tests on all the core functionality to test your fixes still work and Microsoft hasn't put in a bug

Rollups can sometimes contain fundamental code changes (CRM 2011 rollup 11 - core Javascript changes)

CRM Online automatically install rollups! You cannot stop them.

Some rollups can contain bugs or break your customizations

Some rollups cannot be uninstalled

Rollup best Practise

As a general rule, stay one rollup behind

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Career Question - How to move from CRM administrator to technical consultant?

Today's question is about moving from CRM Administrator to a technical consultant


Dear Hosk, 

How are you mate? I actually follow your blog and I had a couple questions for you regarding the crm field. I am currently working for a healthcare firm where I have transitioned to a crm administrator position and have implemented CRM 2011 and 2013. 

I want to move into a technical implementation consultancy position. Yesterday I pass crm 2011 certification for implementation. I also have a SQL certification. What do you recommend as a good path to consultancy? Should I take other crm certs or do you think I would be good to apply for positions? 

Thank you for your assistance! 


btw...I am originally from Solihull, B'ham living in the states.



I will give you my opinion but take into account I am a technical consultant and not a infrastructure/administrator type role. 

Certifications are always good, you learn about CRM and employers really like them. Certified people on average earn more money. 

You can't beat experience. If I were you I would study for another certification and apply for crm jobs. Look to get more experience using crm. 

If you are really keen you should start a blog and wrote articles on things you would be doing in a tech consultant role, you will learn and showcase your skills to potential employers. 



Thanks for your input. I am thinking of following your videos on developing CRM.

How would you start a technical blog without much technical/dev experience. I can write about challenges and fixes that I have come across while installing CRM and IFD. 


There are lots of things you can blog about but 

New functionality in CRM 2013. It's a good way for you to learn and document it for yourself and others. 

You can start a CRM 2013 trial - free for 30 days. 


Monday, 21 July 2014

Can I pass the MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration exam using just the Microsoft MOC's

The Hosk career blog is here to help people with all sorts of questions they have in moving their Microsoft Dynamics Careers forward and today I got emailed a question about studying for the MB2-703 - CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration certification.

This is a common question, so I thought I would feature the questions and answers here for people to read and comment on.  (if you have a question for the Hosk please email me  If you would like to contribute a blog post also email me.

Hosk's Quick Answer

The quick answer is Yes.  For the  CRM 4 and CRM 2011 customization and configuration certifications I used just the MOC's (Microsoft Official Curriculum) to study for the exams.  I made notes from the MOC's and tried out the functionality in CRM and that was enough to pass the exam.

I have created some great content to help you study for the exam, which I think is easier to read/understand and also has exam cram notes/test questions section, not to mention YouTube videos

but I haven't finished yet so it only covers a few areas of the exam, so I would suggest you use the MOC's to study for the exam..

Hosk's Full Answer


Hi Hosk

I have following your Customization videos and I am preparing for the mb2-703 exam.
I am very new into CRM and actually its very confusing for me to understand what I need to know before taking the exam.
Your videos are good, but it didn't give me the total overview for me.

My question is: If stick to Microsoft’s course book for 80542A and follow their online learning course, is it enough? Or do I need more to pass the exam?

Best regards



Glad you found my videos and content useful but you are correct it's not finished and it takes time for me to create it

All the information I have created (so far) for the exam can be found here

I would recommend the study notes and sample questions as being the most useful sources of information

I created a page with useful information to help people study for the MB2-703 certification

The study notes from Dynamics CRM Chat study notes for CRM 2011 but most of it still relevant

Using the official MOC will teach you all the information you will need to know of the exam, once you have learnt that you just need to make notes and use the functionality in CRM to prepare for the exam.  For the previous exams (CRM 4 and CRM 2011) I used the MOC as my main tool for passing the exam

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Average wages for Dynamics Professionals in CRM 2013 and why you should know them

Nigel Frank are one of the larger CRM recruitment agencies in the Dynamics market place.  They do a yearly survey for people working the Microsoft Dynamics industry.  The survey is created from  17636 Dynamics Professionals in 130 countries and does go into more detail than just salaries so I would recommend downloading the survey results from the link below

Wages in 2013

Below the average wages in 2013 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  I like the way it has been split the data into Junior, Mid and Senior.
crm wages 4
crm wages 5

Why knowing average wages is important

The information above is important because it will firstly see how much you are paid in comparison to the average wages for someone doing a similar role, you need to make sure you are not being underpaid for your hard work.   If you are below the current average then you can take this information into your next review and raise it with your manager.
If you feel you are underpaid  then you could look to move to a company which pays better wages and and get paid more for doing the same job.
Knowing the average wage for your job is if/when you move  jobs, you want to make sure you  get a good wage for the job you are doing, using the list above you will at least know the average wages and what you should be aiming for.  
This point is important if you decide to find a new job using your network or by approaching companies directly.  When you approach companies directly they will ask how much you are currently being paid and what wages you are looking for, if you know the average wages then you know if the wages offered for a new role are reasonable.  

Internal Promotion

When someone gets promoted internally in a company they will often get a pay rise to go with the promotion and the person is very happy.  They have been recognized as doing a great job and promoted to a more senior/different position.
A common scenario is internal pay rises are not as much as external pay rises and after a year of working in the new position they may find they are being underpaid and another company would be willing to pay the industry average wage which could be a big bump.  
If the person wasn't aware of the industry average wages they wouldn't realize they could raise this with their employer or move to a different company

Knowing how much the senior positions is a great way to motivate yourself to working towards a senior position and the senior wages which accompany it.

Money not the key motivator

Money is important but it shouldn't be the driving force for moving jobs because after a few months working in your new role you will be then used to getting paid that amount of money, it will be normal and no longer a motivating factor.  The other factors in the job which will influence your happiness in the role e.g.

Company culture
Career progression\opportunities
Will you be learning/gaining experience in your new role
quality of your work colleges
Company size (Gold Partner)
Project size

Don't become obsessed with salary
If you do a great job, learn more skills and keep building up your experience then you will get better jobs and a bigger salary.

Remember salary is a by product of doing well at work and doing a good job.  There are other factors in moving jobs like networking, profile, reputation/brand, CV's and most importantly have a career goal/plan.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Welcome to Hosk's Dynamic Career blog

Who is the Hosk

I'm the marvelous Hosk, I love Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I enjoy creating CRM content for the CRM Community via my CRM blog and Youtube channel.  I regularly tweet interesting CRM articles.

So if you want to read technical CRM content then please go to my other blog or youtube channel shown below.

Many CRM users will have come across my CRM social media offerings

CRM Blog
Hosk's Dynamic CRM Blog


YouTube CRM Developer channel
Hosk’s Microsoft Dynamic CRM Development 

LinkedIn Posts

Why has the Hosk created this blog

This blog is to help myself and other people who are looking to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

There are steps everyone can take to have a successful career from learning plans, technical knowledge, career paths, LinkedIn Profiles, practicing exam questions etc etc.

I enjoy writing about Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Hosk's Dynamic CRM Blog), I also enjoy writing about career stuff (LinkedIn Posts) so I thought I would put them together and offer people to ask for some advice and I and the other readers of the blog can offer advice.

The blog will be provide useful information to help people going for CRM interviews by having a brief understanding about new features and CRM functionality, e.g. if you need to quickly get an idea of what the new functionality does.

I believe people benefit from having a career goal/dream job, the next step is too make a plan to try and achieve that goal.  If you don't have a career aim or are are not constantly trying to move your career forward then you will amble along and maybe get a better job/promotion or maybe not.

I think you can make things happen at work and be proactive

The goal of the blog

The goal of the blog is to encourage people to think about their career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  I will offer free advice to anyone who asks and will also write articles which will help people in their career in Dynamics CRM

Who is this blog for

The blog is for anyone who is interesting in reading about Microsoft Dynamics Career related information.   A lot of the information will be for my own benefit because it will help me consider my career aims and by explaining

What will be featured on the blog

Information to help people have an understanding of new CRM features and CRM industry news, as well

  • Summary information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 features
  • Major industry news in Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry
  • Articles on career e.g. LinkedIn Profiles, using LinkedIn,
  • Interview questions and understanding what the interview is asking
  • Career advice, discussing what you should learn for different careers e.g. Developer, Consultant, Solution Architect.
  • Answers to readers questions questions from readers of the blog about Microsoft Dynamics CRM Careers
  • Thoughts on career paths
  • Ideas on being productive
  • Things to consider when moving jobs/positions

Why should I listen to career advice from the Hosk

That's a good question and by reading the blog you will be helping yourself and just use it as inspiration to help motivate yourself.

I have experience in working in various different CRM roles (Helpdesk, Developer, Consultant, Technical lead) and I have my opinion on what I think people should do but its all just a way to point you in the right direction and get you to do the real work.

Please Ask Questions

I will give advice to anyone who wants to email me a career related CRM question.

Please email me

I will answer the question and put it on the blog, hopefully other people will add comments

I still don't get it

Why don't you read a few blog posts coming up and it will then become clear and you can decide if you want to keep reading.