Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process


Data Masons Software

Upping the Ante on “Community” for the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem with Social Media

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When I first joined the community nearly 7 years ago, “community” mostly revolved around the major Microsoft-hosted events.  But as Microsoft has expanded its commitment to the Dynamics space, so has the idea of “community” within this vast, yet oddly close-knit professional network.

While Microsoft’s conferences will always hold value in the unique face-to-face experiences they provide, I think we’re able to build stronger professional relationships largely due to the additional opportunities social media has afforded us. We no longer have to rely solely on seasonal events to gain access to the latest announcements and product discussions, or network with other professionals.  Now thanks to the growing use of Linkedin, Twitter, blogs, etc., we can take advantage of what I call a “continuous community” – built from a combination of face-to-face and online relationship building.

With continuous community, we have the opportunity to participate in discussions, frequently and instantly, staying in-the-know of the latest community news and keeping tabs on our peers’ goings-on.  Anya Ciecierski of CAL Business Solutions and ERP/CRM SoftwareBlog Co-Founder notes, “Social media was slow to take off within the Dynamics community but now it has become very mainstream. Those who started early have been very successful, but it is not too late for others to get involved. I applaud the early adopters who had vision and knew this channel was the new way to connect with resources.”

So how do you take advantage of this continuous community?

1. Forget the Calendar, Connect Socially
Whether or not you plan to attend certain events, don’t wait to participate in the group, get involved now. Just before Convergence 2011 I wrote a post, “It’s not just the Tweet, but how it’s Tweeted” and although the post focused on how #hashtags help build a library of categorized content, #hashtags also give insight into what your colleagues, competition and Microsoft investments are up to. Anya adds, “I’m a firm believer in using the power of a group. When a group can come together outside of an event to share information, resources, and talent, everyone benefits.”

Many of the more popular fall events are gearing up and you can follow the discussions on Twitter just by using a few #hashtags:
#DIRECTIONS2011 (NAV Partner Conference)
#GPSUMMIT (GP User Group Conference)
#NAVUGFORUM (NAV User Group Conference)
#AXUGSUMMIT (AX User Group Conference)
#GPPC2011 (GP Partner Connections)

2. Grab a Name Badge
Nothing can replace a good ol’ face-to-face encounter. “Attending events and meeting people face-to-face is truly the best way to solidify socially-based relationships. Making strong social connections prior to an event gives you an entire network you can automatically connect with onsite starting day one,” commented Anya.  Checkout some of the upcoming events:

Directions 2011:   October 12-15 in Orlando, FL
AXUG Summit: November 7-11 in Las Vegas
NAVUG Forum: November 7-10 in Las Vegas
GPUG Summit: November 7-11 in Las Vegas
GP Partner Connections: November 6-8 in Las Vegas

3. Befriend a Blog
Industry blogs and websites don’t just push information out, but they also provide you with an opportunity to share your thoughts and connect with other professionals.  Anya shared her own blog experience: “On ERP/ CRM Software blog, we have over 17,000 visitors a month, including prospects that have been matched up with partners to purchase a Dynamics ERP solution. I really feel that a strong online presence, including social media, is the best way to connect prospects in the buying cycle with partners.”

In addition to blogs, you can also take a lead role on sites such as @ArcherPointLLC created this Community Forum to crowd source product suggestions from partners, ISVs and end users back to Microsoft. ArcherPoint’s hope is that by creating this new forum, everyone involved with Microsoft Dynamics NAV will contribute product suggestions to help the NAV community find its collective voice. By contributing to the discussions on blogs and industry websites such as you can do your part in keeping the community vibrant and innovative. Where to start with the blogging community:

General Dynamics:
ERP SoftwareBlog: Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process.
Microsoft Community Blogs: Connect with Dynamics experts and other users within the community to gain technology insights, share best practices and network with other Microsoft professionals.

GP Community:
Mark Polino, Microsoft MVP – Dynamics GP, Senior Consultant with I.B.I.S.:
Developing for Dynamics GP
The Dynamics GP Blogster

AX Community:
Brandon George, Senior Technical Architect, Sunrise Technologies:
Joris de Gruyter’s Dynamics AX Musings

NAV Community:
Navigate into Success
Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog
Waldo’s Blog: Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Don’t let your calendar stand in the way of your ability to actively participate in the community.  No matter which way you choose to jump in, the options are there and the discussions are happening. What are you missing if you are not a part of them?

by Data Masons

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