05 October 2007

Can We Get a Defibrillator for Dynamics Live?

The Dynamics Live community went, well live, at Convergence this year. That would be March 2007. There were splashy headlines around "MySpace for Finance Professionals". I complained in May that they were off to a slow start, averaging one post per month. Now six months later, it still feels like Microsoft is talking at us and often at the wrong level.

The experts columns are all focused on larger business issues that we can get in a dozen places. Articles about leveraging hardware, the importance of an MBA and accepting credit cards in your business are nice, but there's nothing unique here.

How about expert columns on how to use and leverage our existing system without buying new stuff and without focusing on the next upgrade? Maybe best practices on how to translate typical business practices or industry norms into a GP or an AX solution? That would be useful.

The forums are dead too. Customers aren't participating with customers despite a poll on the homepage indicating that more than a third of those who responded want to build an online network of peers. This was by far the largest response in the poll.

Somehow I don't think that MySpace looked like this, even 6 months in.

All the action is in the Newsgroup. But a Newsgroup is harder to use than some of the new forum tools available. You have to use Google Groups to follow via RSS and that just seems wrong. I think that ultimately, it's cheaper and less frustrating for the community to learn from each other. But it's harder for Microsoft to control the message. We even saw it at the road show with folks asking each other questions across the room.

The reality is that the community already exists. It needs two things, a better online home and lots of promotion from MS. Not a big splash then go away promotion. Just a regular, steady monthly push to get users to look for help from other users.

So how about it Microsoft? Can we revive the Dynamics Live patient and rebuild it?

Update: A member of the Dynamics Live team contacted me this weekend to assure me that the site is alive and well. A few things have just taken longer than expected. Fair enough. I assured him that MS is not doing enough to promote the site. We are hoping the patient pulls through.

New Update! The Dynamics Live site is going to be just fine. It has evolved into the Microsoft Dynamics Community site. My look at the sites ability to thrive, not just survive can be found on MSDynamicsWorld.