Meet Laurent Germes, Dynamics AX & CRM Functional Lead
Experience: 13 years with almost 10 years of Dynamics AX and CRM experience. Has run more than 25 projects
Projects sought: Very flexible – full-time or part-time; onsite or remote
Markets: France, Paris area, but happy to travel
Other interests: interested in photography, web design and ceramic arts, or more generally handmade luxury objects.
- Elena from 365 Freelance: Laurent, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. What is your ideal role?
Laurent: Ideally, I’d like to be hired as a project coordinator, as I am able to drive several business areas and discuss with more technical profiles.
My background is functional: I come from the field and have good business acumen from a functional point of view. But over the last 10 years, I developed good abilities to discuss with more technical profiles as I have been working with several kind of technical experts (BI, Edi, Cashiers, Emailing solutions) and coordinating projects to provide global solutions.
As you might know, the accuracy in the specifications and the quality of expression of need are vital for a good delivery: in every project there is a danger that there could be a gap between what the customer wants and what is finally delivered. To avoid that you need to be able to involve the end users in a detailed expression of need and provide the technical teams with specifications that enables them to deliver the right solution with a limited number of iterations. This requires a “true care” for the business expectations, a deep understanding of the system you build the solution on, regular updates of your knowledge, and the ability to propose alternative solutions when you identify a more standard way to answer the need. This is where I see my role: I like being the link between the business and the technical experts and keep a clear communication channel to build a successful solution.
I’ve spent most of my career working for partners (or directly for Microsoft) so I would like the chance to work for end-users, but of course I am also happy to work with partners as they will have a wide range of interesting opportunities.
- Elena: You are very unusual in that you focus on both Dynamics AX and CRM. This is a sought after combination so how come you work with both?
Laurent: I started my career as a Sales Engineer in 2001 where I was focussing on sales, indirect sales, account management for 3 years. I know what it is to manage prospection calls, marketing events, identify sales cycles, pipelines, closing deals or reporting dashboards…
I was hired by Columbus to work on some AX CRM v3 deployments because I had insight into the business side of the sales processes…but I was given a number of other projects to manage and very quickly I extended my skills to AX Trade& Logistics, HR, Project modules etc. At the same time, Columbus wanted to use Dynamics CRM internally so they asked me to manage the internal Dynamics CRM 3.0 implementation. I did the same for two other employers and developed a good knowledge of the solution.
I certified myself and developed the skills to build a CRM practice, before I get hired by Microsoft.
When I joined Microsoft I was certified on both solutions. They hired me because I knew both AX and CRM, and I would therefore be able to help in several situations. I was mainly focused on leading Design or Performance Audits and Reviews on critical engagements where Microsoft was involved, or support Partners and Microsoft business teams on presales processes. At Microsoft I learnt also a lot about other technologies like Lync, SharePoint, Yammer, Office 365 and one of my roles was to build a platform demonstrating what the integration of these various technologies all together could achieve compared to competition (like Salesforce.com for example) – integration that Microsoft are now starting to push even more as part of the ‘Power of 3’ campaign.
- Elena: You have worked for a number of Dynamics partners, Microsoft and now you’ve set up your own business. How do you compare working full time for a partner, and for a vendor with life as an independent consultant?
Laurent: I liked working for partners because of the experience you meet there. Partners are often specialized in vertical solutions and are providing a lot of the expertise in each of their field of competencies. This is what I appreciated about working for Dynamics partners –good ones have some skilled people with deep vertical and you can build great solutions with them.
But when you work for a partner, you get involved only on the projects they win.
Microsoft was interesting because of the nature of engagements and because of the exposure I had to the cross-technology mix. I learned about the benefits of combined solutions, and the challenges in integrating them well. I really enjoyed the range of services, liaising with teams that were traditionally not used to working together (SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics, Yammer, etc.). It was great education – learning all the components and the skills required for the projects.
Now I have my own business I want to be able to start from my clients’ needs and use my background experience to devise the most suitable solution, should it be based on one technology or a combination of several. Too often, consultants implement certain technology or develop customized solution just because the customer says they want it, or because they ignore the potential use they could do of an existing tool.
My goal is to bring visibility one the system that is being built, as well as some acceleration/catalysis in the decision process, in order to help shorten the delivery cycle and produce really usable systems.
4. Elena: What do you like about the 365 Freelance service?
Laurent: 365 Freelance is great because it provides a Dynamics–focussed, specialised website. One good thing about it is that it’s a place for consultants to find lots of new projects. For hiring clients, this means that they can also search for specialised consultants by using keywords, availability, dates and skills in order to find the right talent and get in touch directly.
Elena: Thank you, Laurent! You bring so much experience – we really appreciate your thoughts!
About us: 365 Freelance is the first online platform that gives Dynamics partners and end-users instant access to hundreds of contractors. With a network spanning 75 countries, it allows companies to search for freelancers based on their skills, rates and available dates, enabling them to find the best person for their projects without incurring the hefty fees typical of recruitment agencies. Register here – www.365freelance.com
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