A week off of Hal Howard announcing that he joined Dynamic Communities, Inc. as Executive Director, I had the opportunity to talk with him to get a more personal perspective on what this new journey means to him and to the Community. Read what Hal had to say during the discussion, including his idea of creating a Dynamics Professional Association:
Jon: This is a huge win for Dynamic Communities and its members to have such a supportive advocate join the team, but what does this new union bring to the table for you?
Hal: It allows me to get closer to users and partners in a way that wasn't possible when I worked for Microsoft. I love this community and I want to see people succeed in their businesses. I think a vibrant User Group is key to that success.
Jon: Most of us have memories about our first experience at a User Group (UG) event when they were first introduced. Since you have been involved with the community from the beginning, what's one area of the UGs that when you compare then and now, you can really see the growth?
Hal: I think Andy Hafer and the teams have done a fantastic job in making the User Groups vibrant and listening to the needs of the community. Each group’s needs are a little different and Dynamic Communities has created appropriate content and forums for each. Combine that with success of the products in market and Microsoft’s willingness to lean in and take feedback, and you have a vibrant community.
Jon: You had a significant role in modernizing the Dynamics solutions as we know them today. Are there areas of the UGs that you see an opportunity to modernize and/or transform to strengthen the member experience?
Hal: Largely it’s building on ideas and forums that already exist in the user groups. I see huge opportunities to expand the global community and to strengthen the partner connections organization specifically. I've been discussing the idea of a Dynamics Professional Association for some time and with Microsoft backing off on product certifications, I think that’s an idea that is right for the time. An association could provide certifications and ratings for all its members, whether they are end users or implementers.
Jon: Can you give us some insight as to how the Microsoft team looks at the value of these UGs and moving forward, any plans they have to increase their support and/or presence?
Hal: The AX and GP teams have always been highly supportive of the user groups and I believe this will continue. NAV is following suit and their support should grow. CRM is the newest group, but I know the leadership of that organization is highly-supportive and will be more so going forward.
Jon: When can we meet you?
Hal: We are still working on my travel schedule. Right now, The Partner Connections Event, Summit, Convergence Europe and reIMAGINE are consuming my available time. In the New Year, I expect to be able to get out to some of the regional events.
Welcome to your new role Hal! From talking with many of my peers in the community, I know that we’re all excited to see the momentum you bring to the table and the continued growth of the UGs as you strive to help Dynamics-based organizations succeed.