As we roll into October, there are signs of the fall season everywhere you turn here in North Dakota. The change of seasons for many – including me – is a time for reflection. And it’s also a time to look forward to one of the more intense months of the year for our community.
In our early years, October meant Summit was finally here. For most folks back then, Summit in October embodied the entirety of their user group life. Thankfully, we are vibrant today because a core group of like-minded users of Microsoft’s myriad of enterprise business systems found value in connecting with each other to share. We’ve always cherished a core group that viewed this community as a year-round adventure. And we are forever grateful for the passion and vision to grow a relevant organization to support our user members.
Behind the scenes, we’ve been planting seeds for well over a decade to grow an abundance of member value for members year-round. Weekly webcasts were an early example. Chapters were intentionally formed and grown. As Microsoft’s enterprise solutions have changed, we’ve steadfastly helped users on older product versions continue to get their jobs done, while navigating a path to newer solution sets. The quality of our conference experiences is highly efficient and polished. Over the years, programming and gatherings in Europe proved our community was flourishing beyond geographical boundaries. And the organization that supports it has managed to keep pace with the demand.
Growth has happened organically due to investments of time and passion by many folks.
But growing an organization that supports 280,000 users with conferences, local chapters in 56 countries and UG Summits on 3 continents requires more than time and ambitious people to make things happen on the scale that our membership numbers and younger generations demand. New members come into the community with expectations that drive us to do more. Folks’ experience with our community has to stay on pace with mainstream online communities run by billion-dollar corporations.
The growth required to get us where you consistently tell us you want to see this community go requires financial investment in addition to time and passion. We are funded from member subscriptions / dues, conference registration fees. And, of course, it comes from an amazing sponsor community that is rooted in community-minded professionals, many of whom are just as passionate as any user member in their dedication to growing a stronger community for users of Microsoft Dynamics software solutions.
Over the past year, our organization got a financial boost to help us with our growth. Last summer we attracted new investment capital that has enabled progress on new systems and accelerated our ability to deliver high member value in virtually any time zone. More gears are turning in more places than ever to bring users together and build a tighter community.
To those of you who recall when October was the month that embodied our user community, I’m in kindred spirit with your nostalgic reflections. May we never lose our grassroots connections with our humble beginnings.
But now it’s time to move forward.
Next up, we’re asking folks: “What can you imagine for your future, and how can the user community help you get there?” I invite you to reach out to me and any Dynamic Communities staff member to share your ideas.