When I was in school, research was a word that burned my ears. From research papers to research presentations, they all were the devil. In college, I was provided with a special website that archived scholarly articles. That was the only website we were allowed to use. If it was even remotely possible, I hated anything to do with research that much more. When I graduated, I may have celebrated that fact that all things research lived in the past. But now that I am an AX consultant, I research more than ever.
As a young consultant, your age can really scare some clients. Being only 22 and advising clients who are twice, or sometimes three times my age is also intimidating. For me, being the most knowledgeable about what I am consulting on is the best way to battle both being intimidated and intimidating. The best way to be knowledgeable about anything is to research and study and then maybe more research. Clients can see past your age when you speak like an expert. Your age no longer seems that big and scary when you can answer a client’s questions professionally and proficiently.
When it comes to actually doing research no research is bad research. Sorry my college showed a little bit there… but its true! In the professional world there is nothing holding you back from learning from that Wiki page. Dig deep into those blogs and threads. I can’t even count how many solutions to client questions and problems I have found from reading people’s suggestions on blogs and random threads. Many applications and programs have guide books or forums to help you even learn more.
Dynamics AX is a ginormous program. When I first started consulting, I felt so overwhelmed by how big it was and how much information I had to know to feel proficient in front of a client. I dove head first into my training classes. I mean, I have OneNote files for days on my training. Even now I reference them on subjects that I don’t see every day. Microsoft does a great job of hosting a community website where users and consultants can post questions and have Microsoft professionals respond. I also may have a love affair with Technet. They have great articles about what each item does on a page or form as well as navigation. When I come across an article that is life changing I put in my research OneNote to save for later. I also recommend Technet to all of my clients. It is easy to navigate and understand also it keeps my inbox pretty clean.
My research on AX has made me sound like higher-level consultant when I speak with clients. More than once, it has saved my butt when I am blindsided by a client question. My colleagues appreciate the effort I am putting in which gains me respect within my organization. All of these are great things but they don’t come without effort. When you have downtime you spend it researching something that confuses you or that you would like to learn. Put in the extra hours to put that knowledge into a document that you can use time and time again. Don’t throw links onto a page without some explanation on why they’re important, what you’re learned, or what problem is solves. My advice is that if you can’t share your research document with a colleague and have them understand it, then your document needs more organization and explanation. You want to be able to reference that document and find what you are looking for when a client comes to you panicked or looks to you for expertise. I have learned so much through my research and it has made me a more powerful consultant. Little grade school me would never believe how much I now appreciate research and how important it is. Conquer those demons and befriend research! Wield the power of expertise!!