A Unique Opportunity for Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 Business Central Users – An Interview With Pam Misialek
Pam Misialek has been talking to Microsoft Dynamics users at events for decades. She identified a need. Now she has the power to try to address it.
“Year after year at user events, I meet people that attend all the sessions, take great notes, and are super excited to go back to the office and implement changes. But when I see them the next year and ask about the results, they usually tell me the project stalled, and they are not doing anything differently.”
These users need more than ideas, more than good intentions. They need a step-by-step plan and the accountability from a community to follow through.
This is the idea behind the new “Solve My ERP Problems” event for Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central/NAV users developed by Dynamics Communities. The inaugural event, taking place in San Francisco June 28-30, is a pilot and will be part of a bigger strategy in 2023.
In this interview, Pam tells us the details behind her vision for the Solve My ERP Problems event and beyond.
How is the Solve My ERP event different than any other user event?
Pam: What makes this event different from anything else that it really focuses on solving a specific problem that a Dynamics GP or Dynamics 365 Business Central user has in their individual business.
Come with a problem, leave with the answer. The event is not about ideas and vision; it is about an actionable plan.
There will be some educational classes, but those classes will directly relate to the problem the business is there to solve. It will stay small, just a few hundred attendees versus the several thousand attendees we see at Summit events.
A lot of times, users get personal skills from Summit and other events about how to do their individual jobs better. But what they don’t really ever tackle are the strategic problems of the business because those problems are hard! They take focus, and it takes more than one person. It takes individuals from multiple teams. It takes a community.
That’s the idea behind the “Solve” event. Bring a problem. Not just “I want to learn how to use Excel” but a real problem in your business. And leave with a plan to fix it.
How will this new Solve My ERP event be structured?
Pam: For our anaugural event in June, day one will focus on helping companies clearly pinpoint the problem they want to solve.
When I’ve asked users ‘What are your problems?’ the reply is usually something general such as, ‘I need better reporting. I need dashboards.’
Is it better financial reporting? Is it ad hoc reporting? Is it professional KPIs for the board? There is so much to it. “Better reporting” is not detailed enough to actually know what their problem is.
You can’t solve a problem until you can clearly identify it.
So day one will be about getting their ideas flowing on what is the most important. One exercise will include a whiteboard and sticky notes with a specific problem.
Then our experts will look at the problems, and day two of the event will be broken down into workshops led by an expert.
What topics will be covered in the workshop sessions?
In small groups of ten or less, attendees will be matched with other users that have the same problem. Then with an expert leading, the group will make a serious plan of how to solve it.
Of course, you are not going to solve the whole problem in an hour. It will take some time. But you need a plan.
This plan should include points such as:
- What is the solution?
- How do you get buy-in from your management?
- How do you get budget for that project?
- How do you get other people in your organization involved, whether it’s the accounting, IT or product teams, so you can all work together?
- What is the learning plan?
- What can you do yourself versus what you should pay a Partner to do for you?
- What ISVs could be included to make the process easier? Who are they? How much do they cost?
You will have a detailed step-by-step plan by the end of the Solve My ERP event, including where to start.
How does the community provide accountability after the event?
Pam: The event is the first step. Then what takes it to the next level is having access to those ten or so other users that are on the same journey you are on. They become your community. You’ve met them in person. You have a connection with them.
The idea is that you would stay in touch afterward to keep each other on track, support each other and hold each other accountable. You’re not doing it alone, and you can learn together to move that dial.
Then if you need to bring the workshop expert back in, you can contact them and ask, “You already know our issue. Can you help us get back on track?”
That’s what makes it super different from any other event. It is really, really focused on changing the biggest business problems that drive your business forward. That’s why it’s meant to be small and unique because it’s all a workshop-based agenda.
What are the future ideas for Solve My ERP?
Pam: As we progress with this idea, I think pre-work could be done online prior to the event to figure out the problems that need to be solved.
We will be evaluating the potential for an online experience for 2023 because I think most users are going to talk about symptoms. ‘I have these empty batches, and I don’t know where they came from, or my inventory doesn’t balance every month, and I don’t know why.’ You can’t make a plan to fix that unless you get to the actual core of the real problem and not the symptoms.
An online element could make a lot of sense. We are considering options. This first event in June is going to be that starting point to see what works.
My goal for 2023 is to figure out how to scale this model because I want to have “Solve” events per product in different regions around the USA, multiple times per year.
Should users attend Solve My ERP or Summit?
Pam: The Solve My ERP event complements Summit. At Summit, users get the big stuff, all the Microsoft messages, the education and sessions. It is a ton of valuable information shared throughout the week. What you don’t really get is that time to get laser-focused on the changes you want to make in the business.
I want you to attend Summit to get the vision and attend Solve My ERP to get the action plan and peer network you need to make it happen.
People think that using an ERP system should be just like clicking on the lights. It should just work and make you more productive. In my experience, that’s not the way it works for most companies. It takes a community to make it work. You can’t do it alone. You can’t do it with just you and a partner. You need other people.
What is the target size of the Solve My ERP event?
Pam: The goal is to have a couple hundred people at the event in June 2022. Perhaps it will get up to 500 attendees in the future, but not more than that. The intent is to keep it small and intimate. We want you to have the human connection and realize it is also a very vulnerable place where you will get the greatest benefit when you are willing to share problems in your business that you don’t want the whole world to know.
What role will sponsors play in the Solve My ERP event?
Pam: Right now, there are fifteen ISV companies that are sponsoring the first Solve My ERP event. There will be an expo with informal popup booths, and there will be times when attendees can casually talk to the sponsors and learn about what they do, like a traditional event. The ISVs will also be invited to be part of specific workshops where they can provide value. Often, these professionals are experts in their fields, and their tools and experience can be integral to the problems users are looking to solve.
Why do you think Dynamics GP and Dynamics 365 BC/NAV users should attend the Solve My ERP Problems Event?
Pam: It’s very important for businesses to figure out how to solve their ERP problems, so they can focus on running their business, not on running their ERP system. The ERP system is meant to support the business and make it better. Solve My ERP is going to evolve. It’s a journey that we are going through together to figure out how we can optimize the value for the community.
Register for the first Solve My ERP Problems event and be part of history.
By Anya Ciecierski, ERP Software Blog, www.erpsoftwareblog.com
The post The Vision Behind The First Solve My ERP Event appeared first on ERP Software Blog.