In this fourth and the last article of the series Desired Skill Set for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical Resources, I will describe what is expected of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Architect.
I would like to point out an obvious fact here. If you have followed these articles from the very beginning, the skill levels are additive i.e. as we climb the hierarchy, each level includes the skillset from the previous level and additional skills.
I strongly recommend that you read the other articles in the series as well in the order so that you can see
Ideal total years of experience – 10+ years
Desired technical skills
- ASP.Net (Level 400)
- C# (Level 400)
- Microsoft Azure (Level 300)
- Azure App Service
- Azure Active Directory
- Application Insights
- Azure SQL
- Internet of Things – Helpful with Connected Field Services
- … (This list can go and on and on and on and on… you get the picture, right?)
- Understanding of Enterprise Architecture Patterns and Practices (Level 300)
- Integration Tools and Practices (Level 300)
- Network and Infrastructure (Level 300)
- Common Data Service (Level 300) – This is yet another fresh (and bit confusing for some) face in Dynamics 365 family, which has not been in the limelight till just now. With the advent of Dynamics 365 9.0.2, many more people are now aware of this powerful data store + integration backend (Please feel free to enlighten me if I have misunderstood the CDS). Need to consume D365 using your own custom app? Fear not, use PowerApps along with CDS for Apps and you are up and running in no time. Need to merge data from, say 5 different data stores and generate a report? No issues. Use PowerQuery against CDS or surface the data in Microsoft Excel using Add-ins. And there is much more you can do with the CDS, just
Familiarity with Cloud-based services and solutions – Whether we like it or not (for some, whether we accept it or not) Cloud-based services and solutions are omni-present (and dare I say? Omni-potent). For an architect IT IS A MUST to know and have strong grasp on not just Microsoft Azure but other cloud-based services, solutions and offerings. For example, today if I have to enable SMS functionality for my Dynamics 365 implementation I will most probably check the feasibility with https://twilio.com. They have integration API enabled via Microsoft Flow so if my client already has Microsoft Flow then I will end up saving lot of time (not sure about the money part though) by simply creating the flows that can send SMS based on my requirements. Another great example, of cloud based (I am deliberately trying to use non-Microsoft Azure examples here) offering that can change your entire customer service offering is CafeX Live Assist for Microsoft Dynamics 365 (https://www.cafex.com/en/products/live-assist-dynamics-365/). Enable live chat/call/video communication with your customers, let your sales support help a customer to buy their latest laptop with co-browsing feature. Disclaimer: I am in no way getting paid for the references given above nor I have any association with any of the organizations I have mentioned. These are just examples and I take no responsibility whatsoever for their products/offerings.
- Knowledge of various offerings on AppSource – We are all very well aware on of the major challenge Dynamics 365 has faced for years. It does not offer vertical solutions. It answers to a broad category of business problems but when it comes to specifics it leaves a lot to be desired. While it is not just a repository of Vertical solutions, AppSource is another ace in the hole when it comes to Dynamics 365. It is an app marketplace for Microsoft products ecosystem, not just Dynamics 365. It integrates well with Dynamics 365 allowing you to import solutions directly in to your Dynamics 365 instance. It offers a great deal of try before you buy solutions. It also provides some tools which you wish were built in to the core app of Dynamics 365. Don’t believe me? Try searching for Microsoft labs. I believe eventually Microsoft labs offerings which generate enough momentum will be incorporate in the core apps but till then AppSource is the only way out.
- Deep understanding of Dynamics 365 and relevant Microsoft products Licensing – I cannot stress this anymore – If you are a Dynamics 365 Architect, you must understand the pricing and licensing. Trust me you will hit roadblocks down the road when you are half-way through your development (in worst case, deployment). Just navigate to https://dynamics.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/ and download Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide (They have removed Enterprise Edition branding since March 2018). Study it thoroughly and you should be fine. I am sure you will still need to take help from Microsoft Licensing specialists but at least you will know what you can and cannot do within the bounds of Dynamics 365.
Now with this article, we complete the entire series – Desired Skill Set for Dynamics CRM Technical Resources. If you have any feedback (Good or bad – Everything is appreciated) or have any questions, feel free to use the comments sections below.