Last Thursday, 13th July, we had another meeting of the UK Dynamics 365 / CRM user group at Microsoft’s offices in Paddington, London. I’m on the organising committee for the user group so I thought I’d explain what CRMUG is and why I think anyone using Dynamics 365 or Dynamics CRM should get involved.
OK, so what is CRMUG?
The Dynamics 365 / Dynamics CRM User Group – or CRMUG, as it is more affectionately known – is a worldwide user group for Dynamics 365 and CRM users. There are over 70 chapters all over the world; the US, South Africa, China, Norway, Australia, and the UK, with more being set up every year. Each chapter holds regular meetings for local users where they discuss every CRM topic under the sun: customisation best practices, licensing, user adoption, the Dynamics 365 roadmap, third party add-ons, data migration – to name but a few.
Note the emphasis on users. CRMUG is not an exclusive group for CRM experts, it’s for every single user of CRM, whether they are experienced or just starting out, end users or power users, admins or consultants, trainers or software vendors; basically anyone who uses Dynamics 365 or Dynamics CRM can attend.
CRMUG is run by a not-for-profit organisation in the US called Dynamics Communities. They runs user groups for most of the Dynamics product range including Dynamics 365 / CRM, AX, GP, SL, NAV, and recently, Power BI.
If you’d like to find out more about CRMUG, have a look at the FAQ on the CRMUG website.
What about CRMUG UK?
The UK chapter of CRMUG runs meetings in London, Reading and Birmingham, with more locations hopefully coming soon. All meetings are FREE to attend. Have a look at the UK community page on the CRMUG website to see what’s going on in our chapter – and don’t forget to join our community!
The Birmingham meeting runs every few months in the evening at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce offices. The meetings typically have two sessions showcasing features of Dynamics 365 / CRM or products that integrate with Dynamics followed by an ‘Ask the Experts’ session.
The London/Reading meetings follow a similar format but are larger. They are a full day meeting at Microsoft’s offices in Reading or London (we alternate between the two) with several sessions running at once. That means we have up to 15 sessions on the day, giving you the choice of what you want to attend: business-focused, technical, or both. The day also includes time to meet your peers in the UK CRM industry, ask questions of our experts and of course eat lunch courtesy of Microsoft!
Have a look at the agenda for the meeting we held in London last week to get a flavour of the topics we cover:
What’s in it for me?
So why attend? I started attending the CRMUG meetings about four years ago, initially because I saw that there were some interesting sessions and speakers on the agenda. I was really struck by the quality of the content of the day and the people that I met.
Several years on, I still get that feedback from people at every meeting: the people speaking are great, the people you meet are great, and the content is first class. I always come away from the day really energised and enthused by what I’ve learned and the experience that I’ve had.
Who should attend?
Anyone who uses Dynamics CRM or Dynamics 365 is welcome! Whether you’re completely new to CRM or you’re an old hand with many years’ experience under your belt, come along! Everyone can learn something new and contribute.
So, if you’ve ever thought about coming to a CRMUG event, come along to our next one to see what we’re about!
Great, where do I sign up?
Our next meeting in Birmingham is on 13th September 2017 and you can register now on the crmug.com website. We also use Meetup for our Birmingham events, so sign up there if you prefer.
The next full-day event will be at Microsoft Thames Valley Park in Reading on 14th November 2017. Registration is not open yet for this meeting but we publicise the events widely on social media, so keep an eye on the @crmuguk Twitter account for updates, or our Facebook page or LinkedIn.
In order to attend one of the meetings (did I mention they’re completely free?) you have to sign up on the CRMUG membership page. You can sign up to CRMUG as a basic member for no cost. Obviously, if you get value from the meetings, the idea is that you (or your company) joins up as a paid member, but there is no obligation.
One of the benefits of being a paid member is that it gives you access to hours and hours of excellent pre-recorded educational content, not just from previous meetings but also from some of the best in the business: the Dynamics 365 MVPs. The value of this content is worth the subscription cost alone, but there are other benefits as well. Again, see the CRMUG membership page for further details on membership benefits.
Can I get involved?
I was so inspired by the people running CRMUG UK those years ago when I started attending (including Dynamics CRM veterans Adam Vero and Scott ‘Mr Ribbon Workbench’ Durow) that I decided to get involved. I started by organising the social evenings which happen the night before the main event (see here for our latest one) and progressed to helping run the events and speaking at the last few. I’m now on the UK organising committee led by the inimitable Sarah Critchley and help to organise the London and Reading events. I also regularly attend our Birmingham events.
If you’ve ever thought about speaking at a CRMUG event or want to get involved with the organisation of the meetings, please get in touch. Everyone has a journey that they’ve been on with CRM and we welcome anyone who wants to share that experience with others.
If you’ve never done any presenting before, I think CRMUG is an extremely welcoming environment in which to start. Audiences are friendly and respectful to all speakers. The CRMUG committee would also be pleased to help you prepare a talk. So if you’re interested in doing a presentation, again, please get in touch.
What’s that? You want more?
Finally, if you want an immersive few days of non-stop Dynamics 365 / CRM, consider attending one of the CRMUG Summit events. These are proper conferences, one in the US and one in Europe each year. Thousands of delegates attend dozens of sessions on all of the various topics I’ve mentioned above, and more. The next CRMUG Summit in the US is not far off; from the 10th to 13th October 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.
In Europe, Summit EMEA launched this year in Amsterdam. I attended and presented sessions there and had a fantastic time. See my previous post for further details. The next Summit EMEA will be in Dublin on 24th to 26th April 2018. Keep a close eye on the Summit EMEA website for information and to book your place when registration opens. I’ll be going so I’ll see you there!
So, have I inspired you to give CRMUG a try? I hope so. It really has been one of the most worthwhile things I’ve done in my Dynamics career to date. OK, don’t just take my word for it, here are a few comments from people who attended our last meeting:
Have you been to a CRMUG meeting, in the UK or around the world? What did you think? We’re always open to feedback and new ideas, so please let me know your thoughts or questions below.
I’ll see you at the next meeting!