#GPUG Partners: Ignore User Groups at your own peril

David Meego - Click for blog homepageAfter attending the User Group Summit Australia conference in Melbourne in August 2019, I feel compelled to write another opinion article.

The conference was fantastic with over 600 attendees for the inaugural event with lots of great local and international presenters as well as many exhibitors and sponsors.

But the number of Microsoft Dynamics GP customer sites represented was extremely low and quite disappointing. After investing time and money to attend and exhibit at a conference, it feels like a missed opportunity when the target audience is barely represented.

As it is very difficult to get accurate numbers for the number of Microsoft Dynamics GP sites in Australia and New Zealand, I will have to work with some approximate figures from other sources. One major ISV has at least 1,000 GP Customer sites registered in their books, so even if that is not all of them, we know there at least that many. In Australia, I know that two major partners have about 500 customer sites between them.  So, to have about 5 customer sites represented at the conference was disappointing.

There are probably several causes for this low attendance number including that some smaller sites could not afford to have staff out of the office, or could not afford the travel costs. However, the biggest reasons is simply that many customers did not even know the event was happening.

When I chatted with the customers who were there, the majority found out about the conference from email newsletters from ISVs (WinthropDC & Key2Act) and not from their GP partner.

I also had a conversation with the GP partners who were at the conference and found that one had not notified their customers at all and another partner had sent an email, but the email did not clearly invite the customers to attend the conference.

Whatever the reasons, I believe a partner who does not actively promote the User Group community to their customers is doing them a disservice. Allowing a customer to become part of a greater community where they can share experiences and knowledge only helps the customer in the long term.

A partner who is providing a high level of service will have no risk of losing a customer that talks with other customers, in fact they are likely to pick up new customers from the recommendations. I think a partner who hides the User Group community from their customers is only going to get a negative response when the customer eventually learns how many resources are really “out there”.

I know first hand how partners don’t promote the User Groups after the failure of the Perth GPUG chapter even after all the local partners said they would tell their customers and encourage them to attend. I still have local customers contact me every now and then because they searched the internet for GP Partners in Perth and they tell me they have never heard of GPUG.

Below are the comments from Arthur Achilleos, an Australian customer who presented at the conference after hearing about the conference from me.

When I heard the Dynamics User Conference was going to be held in Australia for the first time I knew I had to attend. For me it was a chance to meet some of the people I have followed for many years on media such as blogs. Little did I know the invaluable tips and lessons I was going to learn attending the many Breakout sessions where some of the best in the industry shared their knowledge with valuable lessons in both new and old systems.

Attending was the best decision I could have made and the contacts and experience I gained will stay with me for a very long time.

Unfortunately I must complain, why did our partner not highlight the event (was invited to drinks as far I could tell) and various other GP partners not let their customers know about the conference? They might be fearful of the knowledge and contacts one may gain but the reality is they robbed their customers of the opportunity to learn what isn’t taught in courses and classes elsewhere and held back their customers from gaining insight into the many new technologies Microsoft and partners are working on such as Flow and Power BI.

To everyone reading, see you next year and hopefully every year the Dynamics User Conference is held in Australia.

What do you think? Has GPUG helped you? Has your partner been positive about the GPUG community?

Post your comments below.

David

This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

2 thoughts on “#GPUG Partners: Ignore User Groups at your own peril

  1. I’ll be bold and say that when we first started on GP, I didn’t have a CLUE about all the resources available to us. I also didn’t know about all the tools within our GP install that would’ve helped us greatly from day one. But, with the help of better partners and getting on board with GPUG, we’ve come a LONG way! I love being able to peruse the discussion forum, watch webinars, attend Summits and so on. The amount of information available to all of us users (and partners) is beyond amazing! I will always rely on a strong partner, such as the one we have now. But I like being self-sufficient too! If I can ask a simple question or find a post about how someone else overcame an issue or can watch a webinar on tips or how-to’s, I’m going to (for only the cost of our annual company membership). By being more self-sufficient and cross-trained within GP, we’ve saved on fees. I will admit that it has helped our budget by doing more ourselves, but that budget is still there for me to use! So when I see an add-on or a new feature in an update or when I have a big project or when I truly have a problem, we have the consulting budget available to utilize. A partner is SUPPOSED TO BE a partner for you, someone there to guide you and help you. Shout out to all the “real” partners that want nothing but to promote the community and the success and growth of each of our companies and the community!

    Liked by 1 person

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