The state of the Dynamics communities 2015

It’s a very long time since I last wrote one of these “Status of the Dynamics community” updates here in my blog. In fact last time was on July 1st. 2009! And in October 2015 the Dynamics User Group can celebrate it’s 20 years anniversary! Smile

Compared to 2009, not that much has really changed, except I feel that it’s now even more difficult to find your way around in the Dynamics communities. In 2009 Microsoft’s own Dynamics Communities was still in its beginning. There were a lot of activity in especially their CRM and GP forums, but not that much going on in AX and NAV. Here users were still using mostly DUG and Mibuso.

Today the Dynamics Communities is were new users typically asks their first question. Only if they don’t get a reply within a very short time, then they post on either DUG or Mibuso (when it comes to NAV and AX). Less and less users posts in the old “3rd party” forums.

When Microsoft first acquired Navision Software with AX and NAV in 2002, the community was separate from the products. There were no direct communication between the community and the people developing the systems. Only between Navision Software and it’s partners.

Microsoft changed that! They introduced the MVP awards to the Dynamics world, and now started actively working with the community. For all those of us, who had been active in the Dynamics community this was great. Finally we felt that we were appreciated for our work. An although we do it because we love it, then it’s always nice to receive a thank you!

In the first years the old AX and NAV product groups at the old “Navision Software” was struggling to find out how to work with us. Later I feel that they also have come to appreciate the community, and not only see us as someone who always complains.

Now there’s a high level communication from the product groups at Microsoft and the community (primary MVP’s). We participate in online meetings with the product group and in all the activity connected with the new releases.

That’s all great, and we appreciate it a lot!

But what happens in the part of the community not dominated by MVP’s and the superstar bloggers? What about the normal Dynamics developers, consultants and end-users?

As I see it, then basically all of the old “3rd party” communities, a becoming less and less popular.  Most new users start by using Microsoft’s own Dynamics Communities ( Quite natural, if you think about.. If you went out to buy a new expensive Audi car, then you would normally take it to the authorized dealer, not the local “no-name” car shop on the corner. Not that the local car shop could not do the same job. But just to be sure, then you go the the Audi dealer. Same thing with Microsoft Dynamics. If the users know that they can get the help they are looking for within Microsoft, then they really have no reason to go else where!

So we can ask the question: Do we still need to have the 3rd party Microsoft Dynamics forums or is our time over?

Comment List
  • hi, i disagree luc van vugt completely. i do like participating in more than one forums, sometimes more in this one, sometimes more in that one. the character of the forums is quite different and i do like that. dug is for so many beginners THE starting point. they get often good and clear answers for typical beginner questions. as a beginner i would never start e.g. with mibuso. in general the character of dug is familial and open minded. in other forums "silly" questions often get harsh answers. if you only have one forum you loose so many users at all. is more and more the blog platform of the mvps, blogging mostly about high level topics and the newest nav releases. more and more i see most of them do not participate in the forums answering questions of "normal" users and devs. also needed are the national platforms, because many users prefer to communicate in their own language. but at the other hand that is a reason why the number of users in the international forums decrease and also the number of postings. what i miss in all forums are high level search opportunities. its quite hard to find relevant postings. better choice in most cases is searching with google. thats the next reason for decreasing user and posting numbers. there is too much information. hard to sort it out. regards

  • This blog post was really written in a different time. Although it's only a little more than 2 weeks ago, then the fact that I now know that I'm going to be able to upgrade to Telligent Community 9.0 will make up for it. And the ability to combine the information from blogs, forums, files, wiki's, tags etc. is part of TC. It will be looking much like today, but much different also. And search works perfectly, as opposed to today. :)

  • at the end we need a new platform.

    in our global world with 365d/y online and mobile first 20h/d

    "one Dynamics family " Dev, MVP, MS Support .. i think we need more a gobal ticket help desk system instead  of forums and a modern art of Blogging

    all together on one platform = come together and no need to have 50 rss feeds or more

  • Luc, so you would also prefer if there was only one newspaper, one tv channel, etc.? Wink.

    And did you ever think about the fact that your blog (and the others hosted by DUG) is benefitting from the "Google Juice" of the 100000's of existing links into Your Google PageRank (important SEO factor), would be the same. See i.e. Waldo's blog. He used to have it here, and like many others then he's blog still appears here, even though only a small part of the post is displayed. If you search for some of his posts, then I have seen many times that the small text in the mirrored view on DUG ranks several places above in Google.

    I love all the blogs, they add great value to the community in that way. But most of the blogs are like islands. Yes they might be in the blog roll on Dynamics Communities and here, or linked to by other bloggers. But they are small islands in the "information ocean". If you like me often uses Google for searching about Dynamics answers to this or that, then you may also have noticed that the results when searching for anything on NAV at least, more often points to the forums, than to the blogs. Unless you search very specific for something which a blogger happens to have written exactly like that, then blogs are not prioritized as much on Google as the communities. Right now we still rank very high, but that's because a lot of the old posts are still just as valid. But when more new versions are released, then because we don't get as many new posts, then we will begin to rank lower. Unless we try to do something.

    The next question is then, is there anything we can do to stop it. What would we need to turn around the trend, that more and more goes to the Dynamics Communities? (Writing this , well aware that they most likely are reading this, and could copy any good ideas). What else does the Microsoft Dynamics Community really need? Is information, despite all the great sources in forums, MSDN, partnersource, customersource, blogs, conferences and many other websites about Microsoft Dynamics, really easily available to the users and professionals, when we need them?

    I think not! I just don't know exactly how that media would look like?

  • Hi Joerg, remembers your well! :) But see you haven't posted anything for five years either. A trend I sadly have seen more and more. But we had a good time back then. From when the mailing grew to over 100 emails a day, some days. The terrible Frontpage-page that followed, until the first access database based ASP forum in 1999. And then when that got to small, the current platform in 2006, that didn't really run well until 2008. But miss that time too. It was like suddenly we were too big, and then bang.