Association of Dynamics Professionals to revive Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, SL certification standards

March 16 2015

Microsoft's decision to end professional certifications for Microsoft Dynamics GP, NAV, and SL professionals in 2014 was received with disappointment by many and confusion by some, but few in the partner channel found any real good news in the change. At best, some felt it was the end of a system that wasn't providing much value any longer as tests lagged the latest product releases and failed to measure or reflect a Dynamics ERP professional's true qualifications.

As soon as the news of the tests' demise landed in the Dynamics ERP community, there were also whispers that an independent certifying authority could replace Microsoft's system. A group of field experts could better reflect the standards that professionals should live up to, the thinking went.

The Association of Dynamics Professionals 

On Sunday at the Dynamics Connections PreGame event, a new organization was announced to fulfill that role of testing and certification authority for the Dynamics SMB ERP products. The Association of Dynamics Professionals, as it is called, has been spearheaded by Dynamic Communities, the company that runs the AXUG, GPUG, NAVUG, and CRMUG user groups, but will operate independently as a non-profit organization.

Hal Howard, executive director of Dynamic Communities and former R&D chief for Microsoft Dynamics ERP, told partners at the event that Microsoft had been considering ending Dynamics ERP SMB certifications for several years before it took action in 2014. Howard recalled a constant struggle inside Microsoft to design certification tests for GP, NAV, and SL that were challenging enough to be respected but that enough people could pass to build credibility. As Microsoft's test became easier and less reflective of real world standards, the MBS team apparently lost its taste for the program in general and started planning its end. They had even reached out to outside groups like Dynamic Communities y while Microsoft's program was still active to promote the idea of taking up the effort externally.

The Association will offer a variety of benefits to members, according to its new executive director Brian Deming. Deming was previously the president and co-founder of Microsoft partner Tribridge and has worked in the non-profit world for the last few years.

The most anticipated offering of the association will be the revival of independent certification programs for Dynamics GP, NAV and SL professionals. Many details are still to be announced, but the organization plans to offer in person and online testing, with multiple levels of certification that take into account both test results and professional experience. The working model includes a series of Core, Advanced, and Masters level certifications. The first Core level tests are planned for September 2015.

Microsoft is not officially involved, but has offered its support for the effort.

"Microsoft is very happy to support the launch of the Association of Dynamics Professionals," said Paul White, Microsoft Senior Director of ERP Management. "Certification is an important way for individuals to develop their skills and enhance the value they are able to add to their clients/employers."

Jeff Edwards, Microsoft Director of ERP Channel Strategy adds, "The demand for Dynamics NAV and GP professionals continues to expand worldwide, and this Association will help to ensure that there are qualified resources available to meet that demand." The Association is an independent organization, but will rely on strategic involvement from members throughout the ecosystem, including partners/VARs, user groups, conference organizers and other industry organizations.

The association is launching through the efforts of Dynamic Communities and its Dynamics Partner Connections association, but Deming clarified that the organization will be independent. Training opportunities associated with certifications will be offered by external groups like Dynamic Communities, but others as well. "The association will support and encourage training through DPC Academy as it will through any other ‘Preferred Providers'," according to an FAQ document on the Association of Dynamics Professionals web site.

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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jpages's picture

I think is a good decision. Needless Dynamics ERP professionals can demonstrate their knowledge.