Yesterday we ran across a unique problem while designing a Crystal Report for a customer.
The issues was that the traditional linking of two tables:
IM_13 and SO_ShipToAddress
Ordinarily this is a pretty easy link to make. We could have done it in three (left outer joins) and been done. Except there’s apparently an issue with one field — the most important one to our customer — not linking easily between the two files.
After spending two hours looking at the issue we decided to post this to our 90 Minds consulting group.
Many of you have heard me talk about the 90 Minds Group.
We are a simple group of vars (most with companies under 5 people in size) who met at Sage’s partner conference over the years. We’ve kept in touch and have formalized our group around providing each other with support. As of last month we were sharing over 1,000 messages.
On daily basis members login and share information online. This is pretty evenly broken down into:
Second opinions (such as our problem with Crystal0
- Urgent calls for technical assistance from group members who are on site with a customer
- Chit-chat about the industry
- Marketing initiatives (we’re presently focused on delivering reporting and scripting classes to our members).
We have 27 members (and growing) across North America. Our members include experts in Crystal Reports, Pivot Tables, Scripting (we have four experts), SageCRM, and Sage support (we were lucky to convince the smartest former Sage support tech to join our group).
I am a big believer that increasingly no single business partner of any size can know every aspect of their product.
What is of most value in today’s marketplace is:
- Being as much of an expert in your product as possible
- Knowing when to ask an expert if an issue is not in your field of expertise
- Having a well defined field of experts who you regularly share this type of information (this is where 90% of the consultants fail – because they wait until the last minute to cultivate these relationships and then wonder why nobody helps them to solve difficult problems).
Here’s an example below of the power of 90 Minds and how it helps us to deliver better support.
Notice the time that the question was posed. This happened at 3:08pm. The issue was largely resolved by 3:18 and specific code provided at 3:40.
The power of collaboration.