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Microsoft is launching a new user group program for Dynamics 365
and Power Platform that includes new technology investments and
plans to get more new customers involved in local user group
As part of the new approach, will be Microsoft providing the
structure and guidelines for forming and managing groups while
continuing to rely on the community to run the individual
Some of the major independently run user group organizations
like Dynamic Communities, Inc (DCI) and Dynamics User Group have
already agreed to wind down some of their own local user group
efforts and encourage local leaders to align with Microsoft's
Microsoft's Alysa Taylor and James Phillips
at MBAS 2020
Microsoft employees involved in launching the local user
group platform include recent hire and former Microsoft MVP Heather
Newman and company veteran Gordon Macdonald. Executive support for
the initiative comes from the leaders of the business applications
group, James Phillips and Alysa Taylor, Macdonald explained in a
briefing to the DynamicsCon advisory committee. The presentation
was one of several meetings Macdonald and Newman have held in
the community in advance of the public preview. (Note: I am a
member of the DynamicsCon advisory committee.)
Macdonald and Newman said their team will take an approach that
empowers and supports community-led groups. Microsoft estimates
there are approximately 700 local user groups globally
"We are happy to engage with user groups regardless of what
platform they are organized on … but we’ve heard loud and clear
from customers that they would prefer a more complete community
experience with more connection to Microsoft," Macdonald told MSDW.
"We’ve heard from UG leaders that they want more support to grow
The initiative to centralize leadership of user groups should
align Microsoft and its business applications group more closely
with the community programs of other major enterprise software
providers like SAP, Salesforce, and Oracle. Those vendors all
provide a level of centralized visibility and support for user
groups that has been a challenge for Microsoft with its network of
independent and often overlapping community associations and
With the new model, user groups that align with Microsoft will
get access to online tools that includea new web-based platform and
the option to add Teams as a component of their local user group
experience. Teams tenants will be assigned specifically for group
events, which will keep activities separate activities from
customer or partner tenants.
Users can expect to see a public preview in April of the new
platform. General availability is planned for summer 2021.
Business Applications communities