First Timer’s perspective on GPUG Summit 2014 in St Louis

Thanks to GPUG for posting this picture!

As an active member of GPUG, I have made GPUG Summit my mandatory Dynamics GP conference every year for the past 3, and plan to continue that going forward. As a fairly outgoing person, I have presented at every Summit I’ve been to – with varying levels of success. Like many Dynamics bloggers out there, I spent at least part my time at GPUG Summit in St Louis trying to figure out how I could best summarize my experiences this year without repeating much of what you’ve already read.

The blog post in my head changed completely when I bumped into one of my customers at the airport on the way home from St. Louis. Unlike me, this user does not travel very much at all. Not only was this her first GPUG Summit, this was her first user conference of any kind. She told me that coming from a fairly small company in a very small town, she’d had no idea what to expect from Summit and had been more than a little apprehensive about going.

She was very, very excited by the experience she had at Summit. Here’s a summary of what she shared with me about the event over the course of our dinner:

– It doesn’t matter how much you know about GP. Whether it’s a little or a lot there are other people at your level. You don’t feel isolated or spoken down to. Your experience is just as valuable as anyone else at the event.

– Sharing your experience is a great way to learn something new as well as help someone else learn something. Everyone has a different piece of the puzzle. While some folks will know things you don’t others will be able to teach you something new. There is a high level of mutual respect within the GPUG community.

– Go to as many sessions as you can. If you can’t find a session you really want to go to then find one outside your experience or immediate needs, it’s a great way to learn something unexpected. While you are in your sessions take notes while everything is fresh.

– Even if you are shy, try to be open in social settings. Think of Summit as a small town full of people that share your interests. There are thousands of people at Summit with their own unique perspective. Summit is a great opportunity to make business relationships that might help you now and in the future. No one likes to feel lonely. When you can make introductions for people that don’t know each other. It breaks the ice and strengthens their relationship with you.

Business travel isn’t for everyone. It takes you away from home and everything that is comfortable for you. That being said, even if you hate to travel you should attend at least one GPUG Summit. You will learn a lot and will likely have some fun doing it. Over and above the sessions and events, though, my favourite part of this conference is the great people I always meet. Let me know if you plan on going to Summit next year in Reno and I’ll be sure and make an introduction or two for you!