As you all (hopefully) knows, then we are currently running the "Dynamics User Group Member Survey 2009". This is the first time we are doing this on http://dynamicsuser.net and we do it to try to get feed back from other users than the ones who posts in the normal forums.
The way DUG has evolved since 1995 has always been based upon user input. When I started it was my wish to run this site and user group as a "real" democratic organization. In 1998-99 (or there around) we tried to change to this. We were setting up by-laws and arranging for a online election to the board of directors. But in general no-one was interested in this. The users was happy enough about how it was running and didn't really want to change it. So that's the way it's been ever since.
But in my mind I'm still just the administrator of the user group. And what the users want, that's what they get. More or less. So with the survey I really hope to hear replies/requests from some of the members we usually don't hear too much from. And so far (about 30 days after we started the survey) 300 people have completed the survey. I'm not quite satisfied with this as I have sent out invitation to the 1000 newest members who have been active (either posting and/or signed up). Besides it has been posted to the site for every one to take the survey. So the survey will run at least until the end of March.
To make a "mid-term" status, then we are getting a lot of great feedback from the members and users. Especially the open ended text answers are great, as it's here we are getting the input we didn't think about ourselves.
Some of the "interesting" feedback we've been getting so far are:
Well these could really look like they are going in other directions. More Dynamics AX and more of everything. I think I understand the AX users on the site. They are more or less drowning in Dynamics NAV questions and answers. And it has been something we have discussed over the last 5-6 years.
According to the survey then over 50% of the respondents are focused on Dynamics NAV. About 15% on Dynamics AX, 10% on CRM and the rest on the other Dynamics applications and other applications like SQL and SAP. So do you think that DUG should be the Navision Online User Group again? And we should say goodbye to the AX, CRM and other members?
Or how should we make a community site where everyone feel at home?
I would really love to hear what you think about this.
The forum "groups" would be kind of the foundation for these zones. But then we added functionality for each zone, with special interests blogs, files etc.
Well this is a tricky question : -)
Most users on this community are related to NAV without many questions.
Should we focus only in NAV? I think no. We should not forget other users, for example CRM it’s an application that probably it’s deployed in 10% of NAV installations. In a near future more external applications from Microsoft should be part of NAV. Those forums are less active that NAV but should exists a place for other Dynamics family applications.
NAV doesn’t live alone has an application. At least for me, in most implementations it connects to external systems: SAP, EDI, web, etc. In these forums I already answered questions related to .NET (one of my focus) and other applications because they were related to NAV. So I think we should focus in Dynamics family with a core based in NAV.
We should diverse to much because we don’t have so many members answer questions outside NAV.
Where then will go "Break space" etc? :))
Already now we have here Forum "groups" (I mean CC, NAV, AX.... ...Adds, Intl etc) which can be collapsed/expanded. Of course, I can't speak in the name of all users, but personally I feel comfortable enough with current layout. IMO the only one which could be a separate "site" is MVP (& Admins) due to very limited access to these parts of forum.
I'm actually pretty much in line with you. I think DUG should be for everyone. I just wanted to hear what the other members actually thinks about this.
But what I'm considering is to do something more in line with what they do on Experts-Exchange.com - where they have their "Zones", which really is the same database, but where you have "Zones" where the information for each area is keept together. In that way we could have a different zone for NAV, AX, CRM and GP etc. were that basically would be a different homepage for each area. It needs quite a lot of work to do it, so I think it will not be until the next upgrade of Community Server (next quarter).
Maybe the reason is simple - there are much more NAV users than AX (and CRM) out there.
Besides, professionals in both NAV and AX are rare, too. We of course have some them here in forum, too, but the two systems differ enough for this to be an exeption rather than a rule.
Some time ago I wanted just for educational/comparative/curiosity reasons look closer to AX, and what I found out? One simply can't get a demo version of AX to play with in comparison to NAV and it's Cronus, which can be set up & running for evaluation in minutes... (except 2009 3-tier) - one more reason why AX pros are less than NAV ones.
And finally - AX users (as all others) can use topic filtering not to "drawn" in much bigger NAV content here:) So Erik, leave the DUG as it is - frequent (cardinal) changes are of no good. All systems are from the same family, which may(?) in far future even consolidate in one, so I can't agree that DUG "is trying to be everything to everyone".