Not my typical technical post but something I wanted to write about. I’ve been going to the CRMUG’s for a couple of years now and on October 11th I had the opportunity to attend an event I helped organise. I thought a post explain what the CRMUG/D365UG is, why you should join the CRMUG/D365UG and details of our event; would be extremely useful.
What is the CRMUG/D365UG?
The CRM User Group is a collection of users all wanting to connect, discuss, help and join together as a community for the betterment of everyone. At least that’s how I see it.
From a community driven forum, to educational materials, webinars, live streams and local, regional/global conferences; there are plenty of reasons to join.
The official description on the website is:
“By Users, For Users
The idea for the User Groups grew from the vision of a few Microsoft Dynamics® AX (then, Axapta) users - to connect with other users and learn firsthand the best way to leverage the software they used every day. From that initial vision to the official founding of the Dynamics User Groups and continuing today to include all versions of Dynamics 365, AX, and CRM our mission has never wavered: to maximize the value to individuals and companies using Dynamics software.”
What are the benefits of membership?
There are lots of benefits to membership, first and most importantly it’s a community of like minded people. When I first started working with Dynamics, I was by myself, I didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t really anyone I could talk to. For the majority of things I either had to figure it out by myself or turn to google and find random blogs or articles to solve my problem, but even those were mostly static or years old. It’s also one of the reasons why I decided to create this Blog.
I wish I’d known about the CRMUG back then because the community is FANTASTIC! There is a forum dedicated to helping people. You can post any sort of question and you will nearly always get an answer or a push in the right direction. I’ve even seen people take issues outside of the forum to just help their fellow CRM-er. It’s great and it’s a place where you don’t need to feel like you are asking a stupid question because we’ve all been there before. I’ve not seen anything other than helpfulness and kindness on the forum.
But the forum is just the beginning. There are webinars which feature an array of topics which you can sign up for and watch after they have finished. These can be used as helpful tutorials to get started learning things like PowerBi, while not a direct link to D365, it’s part of the Power Platform and a valuable thing to learn.
The event’s are where I’ve come to see the CRMUG/D365UG’s fullest potential. Events are held locally, regional/global. For example, in the UK, we have events in London, Cambridge, Birmingham and Manchester. Then you have Summit for European region, Summit North American and plenty of other conferences/events in other places around the world. These events range from an evening, to day events or even multi day event.
The events allow you to meet other people working in the industry, connect, chat, ask questions and listen to guest speakers on a variety of topics. The speakers and presentations are the main draw for these events, the topics vary from Customer Service in D365 to Social Engagement, going further onto PowerApps and Flow all the way up to IoT but it’s all still in the same ecosystem.
I’ve personally seen or listened to presentations at these events and gone off to research, tinker and/or implement something I either hadn’t seen before or I didn’t know could be done. This empowers the people attending so that they know that anything is possible with the right research and determination. While i’m not saying you can easily become a developer or a consultant or other role by just attending a presentation, most of the topics are aimed at demystifying topics so that they are not as scary.
CRMUG/D365UG UK North West October 18
I want to talk a little about the event in Manchester in October. This was the 2nd event for the newly created CRMUG UK North West Chapter and it was jam packed with great content. This was the first event where I was blessed to be able to join the UK NW committee and help organise and run the event, this means it was quite important to me that it was a success.
The event took place at the RSM offices who were amazing hosts and really friendly to talk to as well. There were two speakers, up first we David Reid Solutions Architect at Microsoft who presented an amazing October Roadmap. The presentation went through some of the best and coolest nuggets of information about what we could expect in the upcoming updates. I was particularly fascinated with the idea of AI and how it can help customer service and sales become more efficient.
We had a break after the talk to have some food, which was delicious! It gave everyone a chance to chat, discuss how things were going and get to know their fellow CRM/D365-er.
Then we had Megan Walker (if you haven't checked out her blog yet, it's a must!!) who gave a fantastic talk about using CSS to optimise your Portals, Voice of the Customer Surveys and emails. The presentation took us through Megan's journey to understand how the pieces could be put together by someone who isn’t a website creator or a developer. It was easy to follow and look at aspects from some complicated areas (anyone who has ever tried to customise a portal can understand my pain) and made it so that anyone could do it.
The night ended with a quick drink in the pub as a way to unwind after the meeting and everyone was invited. It was nice to relax after the event and have a chat to find out what people thought as well as getting to know people.
Overall the event was a success, there were no major issues, people showed up and we even live streamed it to members of the CRMUG and recorded it. I’m extremely proud of what my fellow committee members Ann Munro and Joe Griffin did at this event.
I urge anyone reading this to at least check out the CRMUG/D365UG to check out the benefits. There are multiple pricing structures designed for different people/organisations, for instance there is a free membership and there is a partner membership which is paid for. Also, there is not only CRM, there is SharePoint User groups, PowerBI, AX, NAV etc so whatever your job role, there’s a user group for you. If you attended the event and want to provide feedback please click here or if you want to watch the event and are a member of the CRMUG, you can click here. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.
Ciao for now!