Trying Blogsy on an iPad Mini

Trying Blogsy on an iPad Mini

I have used Blogsy before when I used an iPad, I moved away from the iPad and now ready to Rays back to it! A big part reason is the apps that are available for the iPad and Blogsy is one that I have really liked in the past so I installed it on my daughter’s iPad Mini.

I am using this post to try out Blogsy again, it’s been about a year since I used it and to try it on a Mini. Currently I have a Surface 2 RT 64G, I chose the RT version for the battery life and regret that decision. Shortly after I purchased Surface 2 the Surface 3 Pro came out, of course enough time passed that I couldn’t return it. ūüôĀ

The value retention of the Surface is horrible in comparison to the iPads, so I am waiting more before I bite he bullet and take the lose. I leaning to the iPad Mini 3 with plans on eliminating my Kindle Paperwhite. Luckily my daughter wanted a Mini and received one so I have more time to play and make sure it fits my needs. More on this later…..

So , I am using an original iPad Mini with Blogsy and no external keyboard. Looks like Blogsy has keep up with this amazing product and usage is great. Typing without an external keyboard for a post like this is not great but that is NOT the fault if Blogsy.


Dragging a picture from my Flickr stream is still easier and fluid like on a full size iPad.

So is dragging from my Instagram. Great work to everyone at Blogsy

I really miss an external keyboard, I had one my iPad when I used it and could make due without one for mini.

My First Try at Speaking

My First Try at Speaking

Well, not really my first try, but my first really public speaking. I find it funny and like to bring it up that when I was in school I would NOT speak in front of the class, I would take a failing grade instead of speaking. Now, I am facilitating meetings and talking in front of groups all of the time.

But, this past week was something completely new and I was very excited about it. I had the opportunity to speak for Baldwin-Whitehall School District’s Personal Development day which was focused on technology.¬†¬†Then the¬†very next day I spoke at a #PittAgile meetup. I was very excited about both and had very little nervousness, which in retrospective may have been one of the problems.

Below is a list of the talks:

The first two talks where for Baldwin-Whitehall School District, the third talk was for the PittAgile community group. I started by preparing for these talks as speeches which I had some experience with over the past year. My “speeches” where limited to 3 minutes during the year; this time I had a full 50 minutes to talk and present to an audience, which is vastly different. I found that starting as a speech was very helping, I just open up and starting typing like I was going to talk. First, I needed to have a short paragraph to be used for a description of my talks, this would be taken from my writing.

I followed typically writing practices with a 1st draft, editing, 2nd draft, and final draft. After I had my words ready, I then started to look for how I can present this information in the form of slides. I searched for images using¬†Flickr, filtering for creative commons. I took my words from the speech document and placed them in the corresponding notes for each slide. There, I had my finished presentation completed and ready. I wish it was that simple, the process is simple,¬†but doing this took time. A lot of time to think and process my thoughts. To edit and research. I like to research what I am going to talk about and also get feedback from others. I did not intend to read the notes, I just want to practice the “speech” so that I could have my content ready and be ready to adapt when in front of the audience.

Following a standard concept for Agile, I wanted to get feedback to learn and adapt. One of my mentors used a technique that I really liked so I used that for collecting feedback.

I handed out PostIts and pens so that I could collect feedback. Before even starting my talk I explained that I wanted to get feedback on my talk and that I wanted to learn. I also told my audience that I am not looking for bashing, to please keep that in mind and help me learn more.

On flip chart paper I made four quadrants as you can see to the left, with the following text.

  1. Good talk
  2. Good but could improve
  3. Not very good
  4. Come talk to my team

I told the audience to write on the PostIts their feedback for me to learn from. Agile is about adapting and a key to adapting is learning to accept feedback from others. So, I asked them to please help me improve by writing their thoughts and place the PostIt on the appropriate section on the flip chart.


I did this during my first two talks and failed to do this at my final talk;  when really I needed the most feedback. My first two received a lot of good feedback. I heard that I should have provided more hands on work during my talk about Evernote. Also, I learned that I should have requested more time for both of those sessions. Great information and this feedback will help me do better next time.

My final session was my lessons learned on facilitating my first innovation week for my team. This was a difficult one to prepare for, I started the talk with the value of innovation weeks and also some examples of other organizations that have innovation time.

My biggest problem was I didn’t go into enough detail on the concrete examples of how we performed¬†our innovation time¬†and the exact outcomes of our innovation week. This time was very valuable and our team was able to help our projects out a lot. I could have went into more detail about that.

What happened was my time fell short and I went through my material a lot faster than I had expected. The audiences between the talks where different and resulting in different timings that I needed. Where the first two I could have used more time the third I had trouble filling my required time. I ended up adapting though and changing the talk into an open dialog with the audience, since I had a small audience, about 10 people this worked out well. Had I had a larger audience this would have not been possible.

So, for my next talk I will:

  1. Think more about who my audience is
  2. Provide more specific examples that focus on my message
  3. Provide hands on activities if I am talking on software and in a lab
  4. Continue to use the same feedback method discussed above
  5. Continue my approach of starting as a speech
Tight Integrations for CRM, SharePoint, Office and Yammer

Tight Integrations for CRM, SharePoint, Office and Yammer

I have built my career based on Microsoft technologies, I have furthered my career by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of other technologies and integrating them when needed.

Slide03 of 16

One session at the Hitachi conference that I was very excited about was¬†“How Successful Organizations are Using the Power of Microsoft CRM with Yammer, SharePoint, Lync and the rest of the Office Productivity Suite“. A very big topic based on the title of the session and something that I expected receive a lot of value from.

Personally, I would have liked to see this topic go deeper than it did, I don’t think it lived up to the title. But, I did enjoy the session and did learn a lot.

SharePoint is tightly integrated with Dynamics CRM and has been that way since CRM 2011. You could use Dynamics CRM Online and still integrate with an on premise SharePoint environment. Files that are uploaded would then be uploaded to SharePoint Document Libraries and allow you to make full use of FAST Search.

Also, you can use Yammer (Microsoft Enterprise Social Platform) to “follow” accounts. So, you have have people on Yammer follow accounts without using a CRM license. Information that is shared about an account is then available to others in the organization regarding that account.

CRM has to drive the organization as well as the workflow of the organization. This is key as I mentioned in previous posts, Microsoft has built the platform of tools that seamlessly connect together with the organization’s already familiar Office Suite.

Hitachi, then added some more powerful integration between CRM and SharePoint providing for external facing SharePoint sites. Hitachi also developed a tool that will transparently migrate attachments from Exchange into a Document Library lowering the size of Exchange and email. Provide a central location for email attachments that can be shared around the organization as well as taking advantage of FAST Search yet again.

I was impressed with everything I heard, I would have liked to see more a of demo of these features to seal the deal.

I am curious if you have integrated CRM, SharePoint, Yammer and Office. What was your experience like?


Image above from

CRM is a 360 Degree View of Clients

Center of Everything

Customer Relationship Management, that is what a CRM tool is. This tool’s¬†sole purpose is to be the full view of your clients, a 360 degree view. For any CRM to achieve this goal you must have the buy-in from high level stakeholders, everyone must understand the vision and users must use it.

It’s actually a little funny, users don’t want to use a CRM if there is nothing there useful, but to make it useful users must use it and populate data in it. This is why buy-in is so important, buy-in helps with user adoption, once there is useful data, user adoption will gain and the full value of the CRM is visible.

A CRM tool is NOT just for sales and marketing, it is for anyone who interacts with your customers. There is information for anyone in your organization that interacts with a customer in the CRM, there is also information for staff that is building products/service, they can see what how a customer feels about the product/service.

A tech support call comes in and the tech support person sees that this customer is in the process of a large purchase, what does this tell the support person.

A sales person is going on a call and sees that this customer has been having a lot of issues with something. The sales person can then contact the support and work out the issues and walk in with information about the issue at hand which is proactive.

Think of collections, collections is calling a customer that is overdue, but first they check and see there are some implementation problems. How would you react to this collection call with this information.

Using the CRM as the center of everything provides so much value to the organization and to the client. This helps keep communication open and clear. Social CRM features also helps with monitoring social media for issues or questions.

Keep your CRM as the center of everything and make it work for you and you can reap the rewards and return on your investment.


Photo credit:

Understand your business processes before you implement

This third installment of my reflections from Hitachi’s CRM 2014 Conference brings me to business processes. ¬†CRM products are NOT silver bullets, purchasing a CRM does NOT provide you with a fix to processes that have not been documented or shared.

Before implementing any CRM product, make sure you have a solid understand of the processes that you wish to automate with the CRM. There are many advanced functionalities available within most CRM products, but understanding and being able to communicate your business processes are a prerequisite to implementing the CRM to automate said processes.

A solid CRM product should provide a 360 degree view of your customers. Integrating to other systems may be required as well as workflows to enforce a business process.

The procesess should be documented in a “living” form to track changes to the process and to understand the reasons for a process. Later there may be questions and if the process is documented you can understand (or remember) the reasoning you or someone else made certain decisions.

Having clear documentation of business processes also help you build a return on investment report that can help you justify additional expenses by showing how the funds can be recouped.

Once the vision of the CRM is defined, processes should be documented and agreed upon. Ultimate these processes are already documented and available and may just need to be refined.