Simaranjit Singh Bhalla is a CRM Architect and Manager working in Australia.
He is one of the best technical and hard working professional I have seen in Dynamics 365 ecosystem.
His introduction in his own words:
Myself Simaranjit Singh Bhalla, have close to 10 years of experience in IT Industry. I did my Btech in IT from IIIT-Allahabad. I have also done a certification course in Data Analytics from IIM Calcutta.
I have been working in Dynamics since 2011 and also have worked on the related technologies of Azure, SSRS, SSIS, .Net, SharePoint.
I am an introvert nature and like making friends. I consider myself as a self-motivated, optimistic and hardworking person. I like spending time with both friends and family doing relaxing activities like playing poker, watching movies, watching football matches etc.
- Name, current job title and social media links please
Simaranjit Singh Bhalla. I am currently working as a Manager – Technical Architect in KPMG.
- What does an average day at work look like
I start my day with a Coffee and some fruits. Travel to office in Sydney Metro. Start my office schedule by looking at the emails of the last day and looking at my schedule for the current day.
Then comes the project work which generally starts with an “All Hands” meeting. This is followed by some 1:1 with members of my project delivery team. Sometimes there are some out of project meetings as well. I enjoy architectural related meetings as I relate to it the most.
- What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
I started working in Dynamics CRM in 2011 when I joined Microsoft Global Delivery. I was working as an Associate Consultant back then. After that I worked as a Technical lead in Accenture Hyderabad India. When I moved to Dublin Ireland back in 2015, I was working as a Consultant in Storm Technologies. I moved to Australia in 2018 when I joined ASG Group which at that time used to be SMS Technologies. My designation in ASG Group was Solution Architect.
I am currently working as a Manager – Technical Architect in KPMG.
- What job did you did before you starting using CRM
When I first started my IT career, I was working as an Application Programmer in AS400 / COBOL. It was a lot different from .Net let alone Dynamics CRM.
I wanted to explore object oriented programming and found interest in C# programming. So after two years I moved to a product based company which designed products for Hedge fund industries. It was a very challenging work from which I feel I learned a lot.
- What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
I first worked in Dynamics CRM 4.0. It was an upgrade project to Dynamics CRM 2011 onpremise. Being a novice in Dynamics, it was extremely difficult at first to understand how Dynamics SDK works. Thus the upgrade project was quite difficult for me. However with due time, when I became more familiar with Dynamics things became a little easier.
I have been working in Dynamics CRM since 8 years now and have executed I think more than 15 implementations.
- How do you stay up to date with the CRM
With Dynamics things have been pretty fast in the last 3-4 years. There have been so many new realises, new features, new related technologies like Flow, Powerapps, CDS, it’s honestly been difficult to keep up.
However the best way to do this is to go through various blogs such as yourself, Nishant’s , Debajit’s and trying to understand and grasp as much as possible. Then there is also Microsoft official website, and Dynamics community which can help us in sharing new stuff.
- What one feature would you add to CRM Product.
I feel, Microsoft have really invested a lot in last 3-4 years and the list of things which users absolutely required have been reduced a lot.
However based upon my experience in the last few engagements, User configurable alerts in Dynamics (not business rules), and a field to capture document type in both Notes and out of box SharePoint integration is desirable.
- What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
Dynamics has a big community and we are quite lucky that there are so many people who constantly come up with plugins /tools which makes working in Dynamics easier.
However if I really need to point out the best tool which I have recently used in Dynamics and which I really found useful, it will Ribbon workbench and data model visio diagram tool.
- What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I try to upgrade myself with the latest Dynamics certifications however owning to other commitments it’s not possible in all cases.
In Dynamics 365, I have the mentioned below certifications
DAT227x – Developing Business Applications with Microsoft PowerApps, CDS and FlowMB2 – 715 – Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement Online Deployment
MB2- 716 – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration
- How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
I feel it’s very important. Dynamics is all about Customer Relationship Management and without the business knowledge we will not be able to provide the best result for the customer.
- How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
I feel it’s beneficial but not essential. It depends upon a lot on what profile in Dynamics we are most interested in. For example in Dynamics 365, configuration is the flavour of the game which does not require any extensive knowledge or expertise in programming.
It definitely helps you understand better how dynamics works but it’s definitely not a must have.
- How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
I feel it depends a lot on many circumstances such as the nature of the project, the execution stage of the project, the team size, delivery model etc.
In some cases I tend to travel to client location and work from their offices on a daily basis and on other occasions I tend to work from KPMG office itself.
- Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
I enjoy working in Dynamics CRM but nowadays the direction in which the product is going we need to learn a lot of things like Azure, SharePoint, Flow, CDS, PowerApps etc.
I also like to upgrade myself and learn new things like programming in C#. I am even writing a book on it. So I believe we should constantly upgrade ourselves as we really don’t know what holds in future.
- What are your hobbies outside of CRM
I like spending time with my family. Unfortunately as I am far from them, I tend to spend more time with my friends. I recently had a Baby Girl, so looking forward to devote much of my free time to her once she is back in Australia.
Other than that I like play poker, listening songs, and watching football games of Manchester United.
- What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
The last book I read was “The Monk who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma. I found it to be an excellent read and really left a good impression on me.
The last film I watched was last week itself and it was URI, a bollywood movie.
- Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
On some occasions I feel it did put me in trouble. It was not just CRM but the office work in general. I do have a bad habit of bringing my office workload to home which I am trying to correct.
- Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
No, I try to blog but unfortunately it’s not on the same level as the blogs of some people like Deepesh, Nishant and Debojit. It’s difficult to come articles with the same debt in these three blogs.
However my family always encourages me to do in whichever thing I find happiness and peace. They just think of CRM as my Office work. They are my rock who have always motivated me even in the worst of times.
- Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
I am an introvert kind of a person who likes making new friends.
I have also taken part in a live poker tournament which was a very interesting experience for me.
- Who is the first CRM Expert you remember reading/seeing
Deepesh Somani, as he was my flat mate when we both worked in Microsoft.
- Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM Expert
Prepare to learn new things constantly. Don’t forget to go through Community blogs to upgrade yourselves and refresh your knowledge about the newly released features.
Hope it helps and happy 365ing!
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