Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog

Thousands of new relationships, one big community—thank you

To all communities, we’d like to say thank you. Over the last 12 months, whether you participated, helped, or cheered us on our amazing, community-owned, Microsoft-empowered user group experience, Microsoft Power Platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Communities celebrates a year of new connections and collaboration.

As social beings, it’s important for each of us to have the opportunity to connect emotionally with each other—even when we’re working with such impersonal-feeling things as databases, software apps, or business goals. In the big picture, it’s all about the people. That’s why we’re a community. We need each other to feel empowered, to achieve more, and to be part of something bigger. So beyond getting an additional place to turn when you’re looking for answers or help with challenges, you have a world of support for when you feel overwhelmed, or want to commiserate about the work you’re doing.

There are many user group experiences available to you, but no other gives you such direct connection to the heart of Microsoft and to fellow members of the Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 Communities. You’re key to making those connections happen and we really appreciate you for participating in this place to create, nurture, and grow your user groups with Microsoft.

We launched this cooperative global effort in April of 2021 to give all those who work with Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 a place to connect with each other and to connect directly with Microsoft. After all, as the biggest fans of the products, you deserve a great experience.

The connections you’ve made

Why did we launch these communities? There are almost as many reasons as there are members of the community itself. But it boils down to connections. Each of us needs different kinds of links to each other. The Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 Communities provides a free platform for bringing community members closer, as well as supporting independent user groups and users worldwide. We also provide advocacy across the globe for our leaders, members, and users. The community imparts a sense of continuity and a seamless experience across all the Microsoft community sites.

It’s been quite a year. Since launching we’ve grown to welcome and include:

  • Over 400 User Groups worldwide.
  • Groups in 90 different countries.
  • Representation from over 300 cities.

Most of the credit for all this growth goes to you, the members of our lively and supportive community. People are finding what they need in the groups, the connection to Microsoft and—most delightfully—to other community members.

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Making connections with Microsoft—and each other

Our community is a great way for both leaders and group members to connect to the vast wealth of Microsoft resources, guidance, and information. Leaders can grow and manage user groups with easy-to-use tools. Through your groups you can also connect with the Microsoft product team for support with products, on Microsoft community sites, and at Microsoft events, and team speakers as well as connecting directly with Microsoft.

Matt Collins-Jones has gone from individual assistance to global connections with user groups. He started back when Dynamics 365 was called Dynamics CRM. Now he’s working with the entire Microsoft Power Platform stack. But he started by assisting others through help desk. By starting a small firm consulting on customer relationship management (CRM), he quickly jumped into managing and maintaining systems on a global scale for a multinational organization. And now, he works with TSG, a Microsoft partner in the United Kingdom, as a solution architect for their Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 team building the solutions on which he started with the help desk.

Matt now makes thousands of connections through his YouTube channel. With over 3,000 subscribers, it’s a great source of connection through technical assistance. Building on the community he’s found through his channel, Matt has become a leader in the UK Power Platform User Group. His philosophy? “I try and inspire and help those people become the next user group members and user group leaders. That’s really what this is all about. You just have to have a passion for it.” 

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More than personalized—our community is personal

Community connections may only begin as technical support or looking for guidance from Microsoft. From there, they often take it further. That personal experience of support can naturally transform into lasting relationships with a worldwide group of like-minded people. It’s a great recipe for building friendships that go beyond professional connections.

Like many of our community members, Malin Martnes was looking for more than technical support. She found a community that welcomed her and helped her feel that she fit in. Originally from a small town in Norway, Malin grew up feeling alone and isolated. From the beginning, an online community has helped her find herself and realize she’s not different or alone because of her taste in music or interest in tech. Now as a single mom, she has found encouragement and strength from the user group community, in everything from COVID-19 to her personal life. She is a Microsoft MVP and a sought-after expert for other groups, conferences, and more.

“No matter who you are,” she says, “what gender you are, what type of color you are, what your ideas are; if you are a good person and you want to share your knowledge and you want to help other people, then you are welcome and included in the community. And that is just what I absolutely love about the community and why I do everything that I do.”

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Success at work is great—making friends can be life-changing

When you build your network and community recognition in a diverse and inclusive environment you’re so much more likely to succeed and do more at work. And beyond that. Through the supportive network of peers in the community you can learn from experts and leaders, build your own community status, and as we’ve seen, make lifelong friendships you’ll value forever.

When Andrew Rogers of Queensland, Australia moved from working with Office 365 support to consulting on Office, SharePoint, and Dynamics 365, he discovered that he needed more assistance to be able to help more of his colleagues. This led him to seek out like-minded people who could help him grow professionally. He found they offered more than professional guidance. “I found [a group] here in Queensland with a number of people that I already had so much to do with, and I was welcomed very easily into that space.”

User Groups became a place where he could not only benefit himself professionally, but he could share that insight and what he learned with others. “People are more open to personal relationships, to sharing more than just talking about Microsoft products that we all love using and building for others,” says Andrew about the way User Groups have grown beyond just a professional networking tool. 

He smiles when he talks about the User Group. “I really love doing this and I really love helping people connect to what they need.” He loves the satisfaction he finds in helping people find these connections. “Just seeing the joy on their faces or getting an email that says thanks so much. This makes my day.”

Introducing Project Connect: Your local Microsoft contact for your community

Project Connect is a new program that supports leaders and members who participate in our Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 community user group experience. It’s comprised of dedicated Microsoft volunteers, called Community Citizens, who engage directly with their local user group. 

Community citizens participate in these ways:

  • Support virtual and in-person user group meetings.
  • Explore customer needs, challenges, and aspirations.
  • Become the local face of our group and our products.

If you are part of the Microsoft experience, this is an added benefit for group leaders and members. To learn more and find out who your local Microsoft contact is, drop us a line at projconnect1@microsoft.com.

And again, whether you’re an active user group member, a leader, or just an outside supporter who sees the value of these deeper connections, thank you for helping, motivating, and inspiring us through this exciting first year of growth. We look forward to many more.

Join the Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Communities today.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!