Back at the beginning of the year I attended the GPUG Washington DC User Group Chapter inaugural event where around 70+ people attended. Then recently I ventured less than an hour outside of Washington DC to the inaugural event for the GPUG Baltimore User Group Chapter and once again, I was blown away when I walked in to the room. All the seats were taken and it was standing room only as more people arrived. I would say there were around 45+ people in attendance with most of them being end users of GP and running various versions.
The event had been organized by Lisa Armstrong, a Senior GP Consultant for SSI with the help of various GP Partners in the locale (I think it was around 7 or 8, but it could’ve been more.) At GPUG’s request, the main task at hand was to find some willing end users to accept the job of running this regional chapter. While you’ll always find us partners in attendance, we’re usually only there to provide support, whether requested by an attending client or by GPUG.
After the meeting, I reached out to Kim Peterson, GPUG Program Director, and asked her thoughts on the growth she’s seeing within the community and here’s what she had to say:
Jon: This year I’ve attended two new GPUG Local Chapter Meetings in my locale, Washington DC & Baltimore, and both have drawn big crowds on their inaugural events, 70+ DC & 45+ Baltimore. Why do you think this is?
Kim: We have partners in the area who are committed and dedicated to GPUG and the greater GP community. It would not have happened without them. They have extensive user lists and they did an outstanding job in marketing our event. Also the local leaders have been involved in the planning and making the meeting value desirable by local users.
Jon: Are you seeing this same growth in other regions?
Kim: It’s hit and miss. Again, a lot depending on partner support.
Jon: For anyone looking to start a local chapter within their locale who would they contact and where could they find more information on it?
Kim: Mary Berens, our Regional Chapter Coordinator. First start by going to our website, www.gpug.com, for information and contact information.
Jon: And what's the responsibility? Schedule? Communications, etc.?
Kim: We help coordinate all of this with local leaders.
Jon: Can you share any feedback on what the users have said after they’ve either setup or attended an event?
Kim: Very positive. The meeting is up to them on its success. That comes from picking topics that are top of mind, providing education and networking on the local level is always one of the greatest benefits. They usually are asking about the next meeting!
Jon: I’ve seen recently that GPUG is getting more active within Social Media. Why is that and are you seeing an increase of traffic because of it?
Kim: It’s because social media is a medium that everyone is using. GPUG is about networking – social networking is a great tool, that’s never ending, in growing our awareness.
Jon: Where do you hope to see the growth go?
Kim: Everywhere there are Dynamics GP customers who want to gather and learn.
Jon: How does GPUG plan to expand the use of Social Media during the Summit?
Kim: We are going to publicize it during the conference. So wait and see what happens! We’ll also be very active during our Town Hall Meeting.
Jon: I see that the fall issue of the GPUG magazine, your first separate publication, is on its way to mailboxes. Is there anything we can tease them on what to expect within the publication? Is there anything you can you share about the future edition?
Kim: The next edition planned is about GPUG Summit and it’s already in the works!
Jon: The GPUG Summit is only a week away. What would you say are the top 3 reasons for attending if someone is still on the fence thinking about it?
Kim: 1. To learn more about their investment in Dynamics GP from fellow users and subject matter experts. 2. To have intimate conversations with other users who are facing the same challenges - user exchanges are key. 3. To form a closer relationship with Microsoft, ISVs, VARs and the GPUG team. We’ll have our ears open to what is needed within the community. Then we’ll come back and act on it!
Jon: Is it true I hear that the number of attendees for the Summit is up over 25% from last year?
Kim: Actually already over 40% larger! We’ve doubled the number of users!
Thank you Kim and that is amazing to hear that the number of attendees is up over 40% on last year. And then being a social media geek I can’t wait to hear what you have in store for us with regards to social media.
So see you in Vegas and remember this time what happens in Vegas can be shared back at the office.