Community Summit North America: Legend Interview with Crystal Ahrens

While on-site at Community Summit North America 2023, Dynamics Communities Editor Cam Sessinger interviewed Crystal Ahrens, Community Summit Legend, UG Expert, Programming Committee Member, and Director of Systems Architecture, Heico Companies. In this discussion, Crystal explains how she became involved in the Microsoft Business Applications space and shares her perspective on Community Summit 2023.


00:50 — Crystal naturally fell into the role of a solution architect being that she was raised by parents who were project managers and always felt she had the “hybrid, technical mind.” She went to school for programming, fell into a role as a project manager, and shifted to a solution architect.

“But then, ERP came into play,” she notes. She attended Convergence early on and realized she wanted to learn more. There, she had the experience of learning from her community, asking questions, and getting answers.

03:35 — She shares a piece of advice for those who are looking to become more involved in this community: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to offer advice, and just be very open-minded.”

04:10 — Crystal reflects on trends within the ecosystem, specifically noting those with the Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations product. The product has made leaps and bounds, she explains, but largely due to user requests. AI is continuing to impact all Microsoft products, Power Platform plays a huge influence in automated solutions, and data warehouse capabilities are elevated with Microsoft Fabric.

05:17 — Finally, Crystal shares her thoughts on the impact of artificial intelligence.

“I think that AI is going to be a tremendous tool for us and is going to be more prominent when it comes to productivity boosters. It’s going to help us enable our user community to fill in the gaps where we still are not streamlining the processes.”

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