Local Microsoft Dynamics GP user groups (GPUG) are all the rage and now Connecticut companies can get involved.
There are 54 GPUG chapters in the United States and the average meeting attendance increased 14% in 2016. Eight new chapters were added in 2016, including the Connecticut GPUG chapter, which will have its very first meeting on Wednesday February 15, 2017 at the Hartford, CT Microsoft office.
I had the chance to interview Dan Troxell, the new Connecticut GPUG Chapter Leader, to learn more about his experience with GPUG and why Connecticut Dynamics GP users should make sure to attend the very first meeting.
What is your background with Microsoft Dynamics GP?
Dan: Milford, Connecticut is the world headquarters for the parent company of the Subway restaurant chain. I’ve been here a little over seven years as the Dynamics GP database and systems administrator. Prior to that I was at the Mohegan Sun Casino for 12 years as the tribal government uses Dynamics GP to run operations. In all, I have almost twenty years of experience with Dynamics GP as a system admin.
When did you get involved with GPUG?
Dan: Honestly, in the past I had never really paid attention to GPUG. I knew it was there but I attended the Microsoft Convergence event and like most people, I didn’t have the opportunity to go to multiple conferences per year. So I just picked the biggest one and felt that was our training for the year.
However, at the last Convergence before Microsoft retired the event, GPUG had a big presence. We found out about all the training benefits they offer and it seemed like an incredible bargain for a relatively small membership fee. We joined right away.
What do you like about being part of GPUG?
Dan: You get so much web based training and collaborative discussion groups. It’s a community of people that are helping each other solve problems. It makes you feel great when you have a problem and you can talk to a peer who really cares. Many times they have had the same problem and they don’t mind spending a few minutes answering you in a discussion group. That’s a completely different experience than picking up the phone, calling your Dynamics GP partner and paying for support. Even if you love your Dynamics GP partner.
What was your experience at your first GPUG Summit event?
Dan: We went to our first GPUG Summit last year in Tampa, Florida. Not only was it a beautiful location, the event really took me back to the good old days of Convergence when it was really all about the software. We were blown away with how valuable the sessions were for learning and for the connection with peers.
At that point there was not a local GPUG chapter in Connecticut. The two closest choices were Manhattan or Boston. I went to the GPUG booth at Summit and said, “I think there’s incredible value in this and I want to take this to the next level. What do I have to do to start a Connecticut GPUG chapter?”
How did the Connecticut GPUG chapter get started?
I found that GPUG really helps the chapter leaders to get things going, with a minimal investment of time. I have friends that are involved in volunteer committees and it takes up so much time it almost becomes like a second job for them. I don’t have time for another job. I’ve been surprised at how easy it was to just get the whole thing up and running. We have our Connecticut GPUG chapter web page up and running now, people are starting to join and our first meeting is scheduled.
What can people expect from the GPUG Connecticut Chapter meetings?
Dan: We will have four chapter meetings a year, once per quarter. Each meeting will be four hours long, including a “networking lunch”. The agenda will include a one hour training session on Microsoft Dynamics GP, or a related product. Then we will have a presentation from a Dynamics GP user. As opposed to the first session which is pure training, this one is more about, “this is how we use GP and this is how we solved problems.”
For example, I went to a New York GPUG Chapter meeting and a customer shared their story about having incredible challenges with 1099s and TIN matching and the inexpensive service he found to solve the problem. People asked questions and were really able to leverage his knowledge. It was fantastic.
Where and when will you hold the GPUG Connecticut Chapter meetings?
Dan: Our first Connecticut meeting is going to be February 15, 2017 from 10m to 2pm with a break in the middle for lunch. We are fortunate that we can hold them at the Microsoft office right in Hartford Connecticut, on Trumbull Street, which is a great facility.
People who attend the first meeting will have the chance to vote on the dates they prefer for the rest of the year. I picked the middle month of the quarter, the middle week. But then I found out some people actually like Friday events so they can start their weekend early when the event ends at 2pm. So we can be flexible.
Who can attend the Connecticut GPUG chapter?
Dan: The meeting is open to any Dynamics GP user, all the users in their company.
A Dynamics GP partner is only invited if they come with a Dynamics GP client. Although we may ask a Dynamics GP partner to present a training session, as they often have deep industry expertise we can benefit from.
There are about 120 Dynamics GP users in the GPUG database from Connecticut that I will personally invite. If I could get 20 people at this first meeting, I would be ecstatic.
Who will present the training at the first meeting?
Dan: We are lucky enough to have Amber Bell from Training Dynamo to do her “GP User to GP Superhero” training session at our first meeting. She is brilliant. A few of my colleagues saw her present at GPUG Summit and came running to me saying, “Oh my God, we have to get her…” And that was before we realized that she lives right here in Connecticut.
I also asked Bob Buresh from GPUG to do a 30 minute remote presentation on the value of GPUG because I think some people who attend might not have had the advantage of learning everything I’ve learned about all these benefits.
Then for this first meeting, I will do the customer presentation on behalf of Subway.
What do you want Dynamics users to know about the Connecticut GPUG chapter?
Dan: I guess I just want them to know that I am going to do everything I can to get really great speakers and really good content. At our first meeting, we will do introductions and I will ask the group what topics they want to focus on, and what speakers they want to hear from.
So people who come to the first meeting on Feb 15th are going to be able to help shape the future of the GPUG Connecticut chapter.
I really believe people should come because we can all help each other as a community to be better users of Dynamics GP. When they take their knowledge back to the other people they work with it will hopefully improve everybody’s happiness level.
GPUG Connecticut (Hartford) Chapter Meeting
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Microsoft Office: 280 Trumbull St. Hartford, CT 06103
- Welcome & Introductions
- Chapter Business, GPUG News & Events
- Presentation on GPUG Membership Benefits, Bob Buresh, GPUG Membership Manager
- Educational Session- Amber Bell, GP User to GP Superhero!
- Networking Lunch
- Member Showcase- Dan Troxell, Subway
By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions