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We interviewed Programming Committee Member, Mary Ronnei to share an inside look on how content is carefully selected and crafted for DSLUG Conference. Mary Ronnei is first and foremost a Business Process Analyst at Grain Millers, Inc. and has worked with Dynamics SL for three years. Ronnei attended DSLUG Conference for the first-time last year and took her role in DSLUG Conference one step further. Ronnei is a Dynamics SL user volunteer on the Distribution and Service Content Committee and sat down with us to share her experience on the committee.
Hannah Horning (HH): Before we jump in, what does the Programming Committee do?
Mary Ronnei (MR): The Programming Committee meets to plan conference content for a designated track and assists in reviewing conference presentations. We also participate through the online discussion forum, write blogs, and present webinars to help promote the conference. The Distribution and Service Content group that I am a part of, plans sessions for the topics of purchasing, order management, inventory, inventory replenishment, work orders, bill of material and service series.
HH: You mentioned designated [content] tracks and committees. Why are there individual committees?
MR: Committees are divided by session tracks and grouping of topics. This way, everyone has their area of expertise and can be more valuable on their individual committee.
HH: How do you select sessions and speakers?
MR: The committee chairs tracks conference topics from the past several years. They also track overall percentage of topics offered by knowledge level and by session track to ensures there are a variety of topics offered.
HH: Why should someone attend the Academy classes?
MR: I'll have to defer to my colleague, Steve Smith, ERP Application Manager, at Grain Millers, on this question. I've never attended the Academy classes being so new to DSLUG Conference, however, he attended last year.
Steve Smith (SS): Academy classes are beneficial for advanced training or more knowledge on a subject. They provide a hands-on training experience that you will not get from a standard breakout session.
HH: How is the Academy different from the breakout sessions? What's the value?
SS: A breakout session is a general discussion and focuses on best practices and general tips. Academy classes are longer in duration and are much more detailed than a breakout session. You can look at one as a discussion and one as a training. The Academy classes are hands-on, where you are required to complete during the class. There is an additional fee for the class but having the ability to perform some of the maintenance yourself, will more than put you ahead of the cost.
HH: What makes this conference different from any other conference? Why would someone choose to spend their budget on this conference?
SS: This conference is specific to Dynamics SL, so being smaller in scale, it's not too overwhelming. Lunches and breakout sessions provide you an opportunity to network with other SL users. The vendor showcase [expo hall] area is smaller and more laid-back. It's not as aggressive as what you may have seen other places, so it's a good experience.
HH: I've heard about SDK program. Can you tell me more about that?
MR: The SDK (Software Development Kit) program is part of the Academy classes. The SDK program is a 3-day class for programmers. A laptop is provided, and the class is highly interactive. There is an additional fee for this program but it's well worth it if you want to advance your development skills for Dynamics SL.
HH: You said last year was your first DSLUG Conference, what was your impression?
MR: I really liked that there was a large variety of topics in the breakout sessions. I enjoyed the signs on lunch tables [indicator to promote networking within your industry] to talk with people that have similar problems.
HH: What would you tell someone who has never attended or is on the fence about attending?
MR: This is a great opportunity to learn some new tips for Dynamics SL. Also, the networking opportunities with others in a similar job or industry add a lot of value to the conference. There are also fun and entertaining events planned for the evenings and I would encourage new attendees to attend those as well.
HH: Can you provide a few tips for a new attendee to get the most out of the conference?
MR: Look at the list of breakout and academy sessions online. Register in advance for any paid sessions. You might decide to attend different sessions once you get to the conference, but it's a good idea to have a general plan on which sessions you want to attend. If you are attending the conference with co-workers, plan who is attending each session. This way you can cover as many topics as possible. Also, if you have an industry or system related topic that you have been struggling with, make a few notes on the issues. This will be helpful when you are networking and speaking with others at the conference.
Now that you have insight into how DSLUG does content differently, you can make an informed decision about attending DSLUG Conference in 2019. DSLUG Conference is the only place to learn from and meet with other Dynamics SL users and experts. Don't miss this opportunity to expand your knowledge and gain a valuable network. Mark your calendar for April 15-18, 2019 and register today!