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Community 2.0: In Final Shift from Newsgroups, Microsoft Dynamics Community Site Adds Customer Service, Upgrades Search, New Layout

by Jason Gumpert
October 07 2010

A revamped Dynamics Community site - dubbed "Community 2.0" by the team planning the upgrade -launched late Wednesay (Oct. 6).  The redesign includes both visible and invisible changes aimed at improving the user experience and bringing service plan customers back into the fold.

The site has taken a new and, hopefully for the Microsoft team, more engaging approach to asking questions by introducing a pervasive "Ask the community" widget to encourage users to pose a question from anywhere on the site without worrying about finding the right forum first.

"Forums were too intimidating in general," says community site manager Andy Leapaldt. "Asking the community is what it is really about, so it made sense to start calling it that."  The new approach brings in live results as users type and marks them with clear new icons to indicate the type of content that is returned and its relevancy.

"Ask the community" is also part of the final shift out of the older Dynamics newsgroups, which will be shut down officially this week, along with the information stored in them.   Some veteran Dynamics professionals initially had their doubts about this shift away from the newsgroups, but according to Leapaldt, the new forums are now growing organically in terms of questions and user participation. 

One major behind-the-scenes change that "managed" Dynamics customers (i.e., customers on a service plan) will experience, even if they don't realize it, is a service level agreement of sorts within the forums. Questions asked by managed customers will always be answered in 48 hours, according to Leapaldt - if the community doesn't answer the question organically, a member of the Dynamics support team will step ...

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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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