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Submitted by Suzanne Scanlan on 14 October 2020

The First-Ever Virtual User Group Community Summit: A Recap of the Good…What Could Have Been Better…and Opportunities for Next Year

This year, the User Group Community Summit, hosted by Dynamics Communities, Inc. (DCI) went virtual, as did so many other trade shows and conferences this year. While we all hope that we’ll be back together in person next October, here’s a recap of what went well…and what we learned about hosting—and attending—a virtual event.

The Good

In addition to 500+ Dynamics and Power Platform-centered sessions, the theme of the conference steered towards promoting creativity—critical to surviving and thriving in a tumultuous business climate. John Siefert, who very recently joined DCI as CEO, took the stage for the kick-off keynote. He announced the launch of the Decision Acceleration Community (DAC). He also discussed DCI’s new website and how it will facilitate users’ ability to create personalized content, including their own “feed”, that is curated based on their interests and needs. The interface will be cleaner, easier to navigate, focused on facilitating the areas users love about the user group, including networking, but in a virtual environment. 


Figure 1 – the Decision Acceleration Community, as presented by DCI’s CEO John Siefert.

Other key speakers included Daymond John, author, star of TV’s Shark Tank, and CEO of FUBU clothing, a leader in understanding how to create a brand for a specific community. He discussed being creative in a different way (spurred on by the fact that he and the majority of the “Sharks” are dyslexic) and the critical role innovation and goal setting play today in keeping businesses moving forward. On day 2, Adam Grant, Organizational Psychologist with the Wharton School, was delightful and engaging, bringing creativity into collaboration in his session based on his book, “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World”.

Finally, the Microsoft Executive Q&A panel showcased the roadmap for Business Applications. This is what we can expect in Dynamics 365 2020 Wave 2:

Overall:

  • Improved service and performance
  • Better security, privacy, and compliance standards
  • Enhanced User Experience
  • Tighter integration with Microsoft (Office) 365, Teams, Power Platform

Register for the Dynamics 365 Business Central launch event next week on October 21 for more details on what’s new in BC.

The “Could Have Been a Better”

Again, understanding that this was a first-time effort, the conference went well. However, it’s important to provide honest, constructive feedback for future events. Summit had a few struggles around providing session times and information. There could be some improvement made in searching, viewing what’s being presented at the present time, removing cancelled sessions from the list you can filter, and integration with the show scheduler. 

On the topic of real-time interaction, there was no video chat—only text chat, and the user interface seemed a little flat/2D. Finally, it was difficult to share hotlinks to specific areas or content. All in all, a very short list of areas to be improved upon…and all easily fixable. The important thing was that the content was there and that the attendees with full access can retrieve all session recordings.

Summit 2021 Is Already on the Schedule

This is no surprise, but DCI did indeed announce that the 2021 Community Summit will be held in person in Houston, TX if possible. They also announced they will host a global community virtual event at the end of the first quarter of 2021…more details to come.

That’s great news, and we hope (for so many reasons) that we’ll be together next year. While we agree that the conference was a valuable experience—and we very much appreciate all the effort it took to make such a big transition in such a short amount of time—there’s just nothing quite like the opportunity to be face to face with fellow Dynamics community members. Maybe we’re old school, but we missed sharing ideas over a sandwich or a cup of coffee. 

To stay in the loop about Community Summit next year, sign up for the Summit 2021 mailing list and in the meantime, subscribe to the ArcherPoint newsletter to ensure you are in the loop on all things Business Central.
 

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