The Power of ERP Software User Groups

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ERP Software users, we have a great tip for you! Take advantage of one of the user groups associated with your ERP software package. “UGs”, as they are affectionately referred to, can be highly organized and helpful to software users, developers and marketers. What is an “UG” and how can it apply to you? UG is an acronym for “user group”. Software user groups are comprised of anything from users with a common role or position using the ERP software to large organized collaborations of subject matter experts-users, developers, it professionals, ISVs even the ERP software company representatives themselves.

There’s power in numbers. We are very inspired by several of the “user groups” that we interact with here in the ERP business space. It’s a very simple concept; networking and sharing knowledge. Users who are active in the user groups can take their software product knowledge to another level, increased brand comfort and product loyalty. Ultimately your business benefits when you use an ERP software product properly and have ready access to tips and tricks.

ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems are complex accounting software solutions that touch many aspects of a company’s business i.e. planning, manufacturing, job costing, and marketing. Any company with an ERP system in place is making a large investment in the future of their company. These ERP software systems are robust sources of data and functionality. If you have invested in the software it is best to try to get the most out of the product, from basic to advanced use.

Some of the UG groups have organized “meet up” coffee talks. Others have active message boards, LinkedIn, or Facebook pages and groups. Some people take things to another level…The Microsoft Dynamics community, for example, has highly organized and supportive UG groups for each of their ERP Software products. They even have their own yearly user convention which offers opportunities to learn, get certified, interact with similar users, and network.

ERP solution IT managers can leverage the user group communities by visiting the product forums, meet up groups and conventions. On numerous occasions we have seen a database manager send out a random complex technical question on one of the open forums. Which then received a very high level and clear response. At UG meet up events and conventions some ERP solutions offer the opportunity to interface directly with product development engineers for your ERP solutions. What better way to get answers to technical questions or to offer product suggestions than in a face to face situation?

Marketers too can benefit from these User Groups. Working for an ISV company, we can attest to the power of the user groups both as a resource and a forum. If you market for an ISV you may have ways to access the user group attendees. For example, offer to sponsor their next group meeting that can be a great exposure opportunity for you. Some groups will even let you present at their meetings. At product conventions there will be opportunities to showcase your product and get involved in the product specific marketing community.

And most of all, everyday ERP software users can greatly benefit from joining an UG. Having the chance to bring functionality/process issues to your peers can reward you great advice! Offer up your own insight regarding your ERP software and workflows. Leverage the networking opportunities. Take advantage of an array of training opportunities and easily accessible certification programs. Curious about product functionality or want to start using a new module? Get out there and see a real time demo! Talk to fellow users about pros and cons and create new professional friendships with your peers.

By taking the simple concept of sharing knowledge, ERP Software user groups leverage the power of their product. Users, developers and marketers would be remiss to overlook this opportunity to get the most out of their ERP software. Give it a try!

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