New Year’s Eve – 2018

This post is about Brexit, Dynamics 365, leopards and my 2018!

Its New Year’s Eve so we’re about to launch into 2019 …. what better time to reflect on the year that has just gone??

They say a week in politics is a long time! Therefore in political terms this year has been 52 very very long weeks. (At least for anyone connected with UK politics!!) I’m not about to try to make a political statement about Brexit and if the remain / leave camps will ever agree on anything. But there is something we can all agree on …. 2018 feels like a transitional year. We have witnessed many commons debates and votes which have essentially been building towards something big happening in 2019. I say “something” as right now whether that’s the UK actually leaving the EU, a second referendum, a general election or something else is probably still anyone’s guess.

In many ways 2018 has also felt like a transitional year in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 community. This is certainly the case when we consider the Unified Client Interface. We have seen multiple releases and improvements to UCI this year. Many companies are yet to adopt UCI but I would expect to see many transitioning in 2019. A transition that will be much more than just a move from an old interface into newer “shinier” one …. it will be a pivotal step towards adopting the entire PowerApps platform.

We’ve seen the Power Platform go from strength to strength in 2018. PowerApps (both canvas and model-driven) supported by the underlying common data service have really taken leaps and bounds this year. A trend I expect to see continue next year. We can really sense the Microsoft mojo working overtime on the Power Platform making the direction of travel really exciting.

Keeping pace with political events this year has been a struggle. A concept anyone connected with Dynamics 365 might identify with, the pace of change has been rapid and relentless. And like our continuing political turmoil the changes look likely to continue into 2019 and beyond. But this is where my political comparison must end …. as enhancements to Dynamics 365 don’t represent turmoil. Quite the opposite, they represent an opportunity for all of us to use the product in new and exciting ways. I am really looking forward to 2019.

And just to make things extra exciting I suspect 2019 will bring an even faster pace of change! During 2019 Microsoft will be moving the Dynamics 365 release cadence away from the current bi-annual customer driven updates. A new continuous deployment model will emerge, something that is likely to bring new opportunities (and some challenges) for anyone administering Dynamics 365.

So some exciting times ahead for UK politics and Dynamics 365 ….

But enough about politics …. what about me??? (See how I’ve seamlessly moved from my least favourite topic to my most favourite one!!)

At the end of 2015 I said I would start to blog less, I failed. Then in 2016 I repeated my intention to blog less, I failed again! At the end of 2017 my New Year’s resolution was again to blog less. I’m “very happy” to report I’ve finally achieved a resolution. In 2018 I’ve completed 144 blog posts, 3 less than in 2017.

I have continued to “talk” about Unified Service Desk. But I’ve also focused on exams, a shift that has been motivated by feedback from people who read my blog. This year I’ve created revision guides for the MB2-718 (Service) and MB2-717 (Sales) exams. Plus I have almost finished my MB2-719 (Marketing) exam guide. Microsoft look set to refresh some of the exam in 2019, so I guess they’ll help keep me busy again next year!

My intent to blog less is driven by a desire to created additional free time for other Dynamics community activities. Such as being a chapter leader for Birmingham D365UG or presenting at 365 Saturday events. Despite not shrinking my blogging commitments I’ve still managed to attend “quite a few” events. Including presenting in Birmingham, London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Brussels and even Johannesburg.

“Meeting” the leopards in South Africa remains my stand out moment of 2018. In one weekend Razwan and I flew to Johannesburg, did a few presentations for 365 Saturday, petted some leopards and flew home. A typical weekend in the life of a Microsoft MVP …. NOT!

I do have a strategy to reduce my efforts in 2019. Honest!!

I don’t consider myself a “proper” developer, I’m more of a functional consultant. But regardless this year saw me launch my USD Accelerator, a solution designed to help people get up and running with Unified Service Desk quicker. Releasing The USD Accelerator has been a valuable personal learning experience. Plus I hope a few USD fans have benefited along the way. If you aren’t aware of my USD Accelerator and have an interest in Unified Service Desk you can check it out here.

I think awards are great. No not just great …. amazing, fantastic, brilliant!! (You get the idea..)

In 2018 I retained my Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award. Originally becoming an MVP in 2016 remains a high spot of my career.

Additionally this year I’ve been a very proud recipient of the D365UG All-Star award. (The highest award given by the D365UG/CRMUG community, the All Star Award recognizes members who have a passion for Dynamics 365 and have made significant contributions of their time and expertise to the D365UG/CRMUG community. )

I would like to express a big thank you to anyone who voted for me in the All-Star award nomination process.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I had a fantastic “Brucie Bonus” that I’d additionally managed to gain a D365UG Ruby Gem Stone Award for contributions to the Dynamics Community.

2018 also saw me take a change of direction in my career. One I hope will thrive in 2019 and beyond. After decades of being a permanent employee I decided to take the leap into freelancing, so I formed my own business. (NP Dynamics Ltd.) I’m now available to help organisations with Dynamics 365 training or consultancy activities.

Short sales pitch (sorry) …. If you happen to have any “CRM” requirements coming up in 2019 please reach out to me at

My year of Brexit, Dynamics 365, leopards, awards and a small career change has been an outstanding ride. If 2019 brings half as much excitement it looks set to be another memorable year.

I would sincerely like to thank everyone that reads my blog or has attended events I’ve presented at. I’ve met many fantastic people this year and the positive feedback has been truly special to me.

Happy New Year.

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