Last month (23rd – 25th April), Claus Lundstrøm and I took to the road and drove all the way from Vedbæk to Netherlands and Belgium to meet one of our would-be TAP Partners and attend the launch of Belgian Dynamics Community respectively. The camaraderie and dedication of Dynamics enthusiasts in Belgium was exemplary and compelled me to write a blog entry here in our team blog. You can read a lot more details about it on Waldo’s blog post but I wanted to highlight some of our takeaways from this highly successful event.
Firstly I am reminded of my first ever Microsoft Windows NT Developers’ Conference back in 1992(!) here in Brussels, Belgium – anyone remember that? Belgium is an amazingly convenient place to get to, it has friendly people who speak multiple languages and are really glad to help you, to work with you and fast forward to 2008 this event was no exception! The event organizers had worked tirelessly at their own expense to put together the event, agenda, logistics and gather sponsors and by any measure the event was a sellout success. They registered over 250 participants and had over 200 show up despite traffic delays and Microsoft members being invited to Steve Ballmer 1:1 session the very same evening.
The event location was a picture perfect castle with cooperative weather despite some rain showers earlier. We got there for lunch, discussed logistics and parted ways in search of our hotel for the night stay (good thing we did that, as it took us nearly all the spare time we had before the event late evening to sort out mix-up with our booking and find the new hotel). By the time we came back, venue was transformed for the launch event, people were already arriving in hoards. The organizers provided meals, beverages, snacks, champagne, wine throughout the evening and kept all the participants happy. The keynote was presented by Marc Charlier who recently moved from SAP to lead Dynamics Marketing in Benelux region. I followed up with a high-level MBS Strategy / Roadmap presentation. A Coffee break followed where most audience were interested in future direction of NAV in relation to Managed Platform. I was very interested in hearing their opinions and surely got plentiful of it. Claus followed then with a detailed hands on demos of NAV 2009 product with focus on Page and Report design, customization and personalization. His usage of image fields to demo pages (with fact boxes) and interactive reports was extremely effective and audience were clearly impressed with the power and ease of use of NAV 2009.
Everyone seemed to know everyone else! It was very nice to see people mingling with one another, catching up on their projects, place of work, and life. Majority of attendees were Dynamics NAV enthusiasts but Dynamics CRM, & Dynamics AX had their followings too. What followed was a raffle and party where we received over-attention (signing away NAV books as stars) and a fare share of wining, dining and dancing till wee hours of the morning. If you would like to see pictures from the event follow this link.
Dynamics Community in Belgium is a shining example of what communities are all about - they are for the people, by the people who share a common interest. We at Microsoft are very thankful for this community’s interest in Dynamics NAV, it is an integral part of the entire echo system around MBS products as it helps nurture growth of our business organically by bringing like minded people together to share their experiences, ideas, & opinions, voice their concerns, collaborate on projects & network with one another. The Belgium Dynamics Community is off to a great start and I wish them successful years ahead.