New Zealand Microsoft Communities (NZ MS Communities) this week launched a fresh and improved website for its user groups to create an enhanced community atmosphere with greater interaction and ease of use.
The site, developed by Provoke Solutions and Magnetism and hosted by OneNet, was designed to improve communication while building the online community at local and national levels. The MS Communities is made up of 34 User Groups focusing on Microsoft based technologies such as SharePoint, .Net, Dynamics and SQL Server.
The website is the first stage in recently elected President, Brendon Fords, vision to make NZ MS Communities the most vibrant and well respected Microsoft community in the world.
Over the last 12 months User Groups in New Zealand have held nearly 250 events and seen more than 3,800 attendees. These numbers are a great start, but as a new committee we have set ourselves some aggressive growth targets which will require us to be smart about our resources. This is an exciting time for NZ MS Communities, one that we are looking forward to tackling head on, says Brendon.
The new committee has focused on five key areas:
Growing the size of the community
Broadening the audience
Increasing activity and participation
Increasing value delivered to sponsors
Further improving the professionalism of the community and its administration
The new website represents a significant step towards achieving many of these objectives with the introduction of some new web functionality.
The website boasts a strong social media component, introducing blogs,
forums and online profiles, encouraging users to create and build their NZ MS Communities user group profile to help them connect with other like-minded users.
In addition, the events calendar has been improved to ensure members are well informed of upcoming events, and also offers members the opportunity to tailor their online experience, ensuring they can access the information most relevant to them.
The new online forums are a great way for our members to share their ideas and knowledge, help each other out and generally build a community atmosphere, says Brendon.
It also means individual user groups can keep conversations going between regular events, increasing the overall vibrancy of the community and the value its members gain. It really is a case of the more you put in, the more you get out.
The launch of the site is just the beginning in the NZ MS Communities makeover, with plans to introduce mailing list functionality on the website to enable people to keep in touch and access information more easily.
Current User Groups in New Zealand focus on the following Microsoft based technologies
Visual Studio Team Systems
These User Groups offer a range of local, national and international speakers, appealing to developers, business users, administrators and IT managers alike.