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Showing posts from May, 2013

Charities and Hackathons

Someone asked an interesting question at a charity-focused hackathon I was at last year - along the lines of "This is the third year we've held this event to help Charities, why aren't more of them here with projects?". From what I've seen of (medium to large) charities, the answer would be along the lines of "the technology problems that charities have to deal with can't easily be tackled by a hackathon". Technology problems in charities tend to be things like: Needing to modify existing systems to handle new initiatives Correctly piping data from one system to the other Bringing order to ad-hoc systems that have evolved in Excel Those sorts of problems are hard to take to a hackathon setting because so much knowledge of existing systems, processes and data is needed to handle them properly. Whereas a good hackathon project is generally one that mashes data from X with APIs from Y and Z to make a new self contained app. Hackathons

Salesforce and Dynamics CRM - Unwizzy Wizards

At the moment I am working for two different charity clients, both of whom are implementing CRM systems - one has gone for Dynamics CRM, and one has gone for Salesforce. I like both systems. Both of them present a programmable platform that you can build on, with tons of features ready to go. Both offer steep discounts for Charities. They are direct competitors so there is already lots of discussion around the web about which is better. I don't think I want to get into that debate - they are both very respectable systems with different strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps I'll try and write about the differences sometime. Whats suprising is how similar they are conceptually and architecturally. Presumably this has come about because they compete with each other for feature parity. They both have major entities called Contact, Account, Lead, Opportunity. They both have the concept of Tasks and Events. They both allow point-and-click field and entity customisation. They both hav