September 22-24th, Clay and I attended the inaugural CRM Users Group Summit in Las Vegas! If you’ve never been to Vegas, it is quite the spectacle… You know what they say about Las Vegas:
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!”
Good thing that the CRMUG event actually took place in Henderson, Nevada, which is a suburb of Las Vegas, so we can safely tell you about all that happened. J
This was the 1st annual CRM Users Group Summit, with approximately ~110 attendees – a mixture of CRM Users and a select set of CRM ISVs and Partners, including Cincom Systems, Experlogix, Sales Centric, Ten Digits, Tectura, Tribridge, and Green Beacon Solutions among many others. By rough estimate, about half of the attendees were running CRM 3.0 and about half on CRM 4.0. The primary focus of the summit was to enable customers to learn more about the product, network with other users, network with the CRM team, and learn about various ISV solutions.
Keynote - Bryan Nielson, Director of CRM Product Management, delivered the keynote, imparting his perspective on the state of the business and what to expect between now and the release of CRM 5.0. In particular the Solution Accelerators program was highlighted, which generated a lot of customer interest and positive feedback.
Sessions - There were two and a half days of sessions organized around executive, infrastructure, IT/development, and sales/marketing/customer service tracks.
Microsoft Dynamics Communities Booth in the Expo Hall
Expo Hall - In addition to sessions, there was an Expo Hall featuring product booths from various CRM and GP partners and ISVs, as well as Dynamics Communities and “Ask the Experts” support booths.
In addition to leading and participating in sessions, Clay and I manned the CRM “ask the experts” booth with members of the CRM Support team.
Ask the Experts Booth. Nick Johnson (CRM Support), Mark Rhodes (CRMUG Program Coordinator), Jason Phillips (CRM Support)
Town Hall - Finally, we participated in a “town hall” panel discussion where we fielded questions from the audience along with John O’Donnell (ISV Evangelist), David Held (CRM Product Marketing), and Nick Johnson (CRM Support Lead).
In all, the summit was well received. One customer provided this feedback to the event organizers:
“Thank you for putting together such a terrific event. Not only did I learn a lot, but I left the conference feeling energized after being around like minded CRM people for 3 days!… Thanks again for putting together a terrific panel of speakers and vendors. I’m already looking forward to next year!”
The CRMUG was started in 2007 by Dynamic Communities Inc. – an administrative organization behind professional associations and software user groups, whose mission is to “foster the development and growth of User Groups that maximize value to individuals and companies using the products they are founded around.” This organization is independent of Microsoft, but is developed in conjunction with Microsoft. Dynamic Communities was formed initially for Dynamics AX as a grass-roots, volunteer-driven user group (Microsoft provided seed money). Eventually, GP and Nav user groups formed, making it a multi-group organization. Also of note, the CRMUG Pacific Northwest regional chapter met for the first time at this conference.
From my perspective, it is very good to see an independent user group forming around our product. It is a real marker of a maturing product and in addressing the need for a strong network of customers who act as a resource for each other.