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The DFW SharePoint & Office 365 User Group is Moving to the Web!

For the past thirteen years the DFW SharePoint User Group has met regularly in-person at the Microsoft campus in Las Colinas. It’s been a good run but times are changing and we must change along with them. The results of our recent survey show that three quarters of our members drive more than ten miles to attend meetings, with more than a third driving twenty miles or more. In D/FW traffic, that’s a long way to go right after work. With the vast majority of members attending primarily for the purpose of education or career advancement, it makes sense to focus on delivering valuable content in a more convenient package.

Having already received a good deal of traffic-related feedback over the years, we had this in mind when we created the latest survey so we also asked if members would be interested virtual meetings held during regular business hours. The response was unequivocal – seventy percent of members would be more or just as likely to attend meetings online earlier in the day.

This confirms what we’ve been hearing for quite some time – members are still interested in the content we provide but it has become too inconvenient to attend meetings in person on a regular basis. But we also know that the networking element of the meetings is valuable, as 59% of our members indicated an interest in attending networking-only events outside of the regular meetings. So it seems that folks want online meetings with a chance to get together in person from time to time.

We can do that!

Starting in May, we will discontinue the physical meetings and switch to virtual meetings in a webinar type of format. As everyone has become accustomed to meeting on the third Tuesday of each month, we’ll keep that schedule but switch to a 2:00pm time slot. Email invitations will go out as usual with a link to the webinar registration. Registered attendees will have the ability to ask questions during the meeting, participate in breakout discussions, and for the most part interact with the group leaders, community all-stars and speakers as they always have. Folks who just want to view the broadcast without interaction will be able to do so via Facebook and YouTube.  In addition, all meetings will be recorded and posted to our channel a few weeks after the initial meeting, so you can always go back and catch up on anything you missed.

A majority of members also expressed an interest in live events from major conferences and we are going to deliver in a big way for our first virtual meeting, which will take place from The SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas on May 21st, 2019 at 2:00pm. We will bring you all the latest news and announcements just after the big keynote, as well as guest appearances from Microsoft product team members, MVP’s and community members.  It’s a great way to kick things off as we roll into our fourteenth year.

Thanks to our great sponsors like K2, Sparkhound, Sundown Solutions, TrippLite and BinaryWave, we will also host networking events around the metroplex at various locations. These will  move around to allow people who live in, say, North Dallas, Arlington or Fort Worth to get together without a long commute in rush hour traffic. Keep an eye on the Special Events section of our web site for more information as we work on getting these going.

In all, we think this will be a positive move that will deliver more quality content from a wider range of speakers while involving a larger portion of the community on a regular basis. Sure, we’ll miss seeing some of you every month but we hope that will encourage everyone to attend the networking events and the annual holiday party (you didn’t think we were going to give up on that, did you?).  So stay tuned as we move forward.  Things are changing for the better!

Update: Webinar recordings are now available on our channel: https://www.bigmarker.com/communities/dfw-sharepoint-and-office-36/conferences

– Eric, Paul, Jennifer, Corey, Chris and Miguel