#reIMAGINE2014 – Day 1

David Meego - Click for blog homepagereIMAGINE2014

It starts…. reIMAGINE 2014 is the first conference I have attended since the Convergence 2012 in Houston, so after about two and half years it was great to be back in the madness that is a Microsoft Dynamics conference.

The day started with a breakfast for all attendees in the Great Hall at the Holiday Inn. I finally found Mariano as he was right by the door chatting to all his groupies.

We found a table front and centre of the stage so we would be able to heckle the Microsoft presenters once the General Keynote started. They expect nothing less from us. Pam Misialek was getting ready for the start of the opening session and saw me, so she came over to say hello and suddenly I was surrounded by many lovely ladies.

Pam Misialek, Belinda Allen, David Musgrave, Jennifer Kuntz, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Leslie Vail

As breakfast was finishing, Jesse Byam was walking around chatting with various attendees and when he asked who had travelled the furthest to get to Fargo, everyone yells out “That would be David”. So he came over and interviewed me for a little while until they were ready to start the General Keynote.  He did like my name badge with its pins, so for those of you who did not see it, here it is.

Pop quiz: What is the gold pin on the bottom right side for? Answer in the comments.

The General Keynote started with Pam Misialek (Microsoft) and Joe Carrol (Dynamics Communities) welcoming everyone to Fargo and discussing the importance of the community. One takeaway from the opening is that Dynamics Communities is looking to introduce its own Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics GP now that Microsoft has ceased its certifications for the product. This went down very well with the attendees.

Next up was Jeff Trosen and Errol Schoenfish who demoed the latest Business Analyzer application on an iPad, highlighting that as we move forward with the Service Based Architecture and the supporting Apps for Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft will be supporting all platforms (iOS, Andriod and Windows).

JeffandErrol Jeff Trosen and Errol Schoenfish

They also shared the Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap showing the change to a six monthly release cadence and an overview of what we can expect for the next couple of years. As the world of computing and financial applications is continuously innovating, it is difficult to build a roadmap much further than 18-24 months into the future as we reimagine what is possible and what we can do.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap

The next section of the session was a roleplaying presentation by Jennifer Ranz and her “husband” Chad Sogge. It showed how tools such as Apps connected via Service Based Architecture to Dynamics GP, Office 365 and Yammer can be used to run a business and communicate on both a business and personal level.

Jennifer Ranz and her “Demo Hubby” Chad Sogge

The next section was a demonstration of a number of upcoming features in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 by Jodi Christiansen and Brian Meier. Below are the summary screens for the various functional groups. For detailed information check out Pam Misialek’s Feature of The Day series on the Inside Microsoft Dynamics GP blog.

System System Features

Financials Financial Features

Distribution Distribution Features

Payroll Payroll & HR Features

The final section of the General Keynote was a demonstration of the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 Service Based Architecture which allows Dexterity procedures to be exposed as web services. Kevin Racer guided the least technical person on the Dynamics GP product team, Errol Schoenfish, through a demo using the Project Siena tool to create a Windows 8.1 modern UI App to consume a Dynamics GP web service. #IFERROLCANDOIT then anyone can!!!

Errol “Technical Wizz” Schoenfish and Kevin Racer

Below is a slide that discusses how the Service Based Architecture allows Microsoft Dynamics GP to both expose and consume services as well as provide closer integration with .Net development via the .Net Interop.

SBA Service Based Architecture

After the General Keynote we broke up for concurrent break out sessions with attendees split into two groups: The Sales & Marketing streams headed over to the Microsoft Campus and the Developer and Consultant steams stayed at the Holiday Inn.

I found my friend, Leslie Vail, and she showed off her blinged out walking cane. When we first met on Sunday, the cane was completely plain. After a shopping trip on Sunday afternoon to get the necessary supplies and an evening’s labour, the cane was so bright and shiny I needed sunglasses to look at it.

Leslie Leslie Vail with her blinged out walking cane (and plaid conference bag)

After investing a significant amount of money and time to get to the conference, I attended as many Service Based Architecture and App development sessions I could:

  • Service Based Architecture Overview: Success for Developers with Kevin Racer and Chris Rudolph
  • Service Based Architecture: Deliver More with Enhanced .Net Interop with Alice Newsam and Rob Anderson
  • Building a Mobile or Companion App including Multiple Devices: Best Practices and Expert Guidance with Michael Hammond and Yury Mikeev
  • Service Based Architecture: Deploying and Managing with Crash Collison and Chris Rudolph

I will have to admit that this was a “full on” introduction into the world of services and app development and while all the concepts are familiar, the specifics are outside the areas covered by my previous experience. I plan to use this blog to document what I learn as I work more with this technology and its associated tools.

After this last session, I had time to dump my bag in my room and head over to the Microsoft Campus for the Welcome Reception. Once at the Microsoft Campus, I took the opportunity to get some goodies from the Microsoft Company Store. As I am no longer a Microsoft Employee, I was limited to buying Microsoft Products up to the US$120 allowance voucher that conference attendees were given. It gave me the chance to get some games and accessories for the Xbox One at home at a great discounted price.

Then I joined the welcome reception in the Commons cafe area. What I found was that even getting a drink can be difficult as I would only walk a few steps before ending up in a new conversation with someone. I suppose that makes it a successful reception, but I put my bag at a table and did not get back to the table until it was time to leave. Apologies to those people at the table that expected me to return.

I did manage to have a chat with a number of partners and want to thank those who made a special effort to catch up with me. It is really heart warming to know that I have your support and that my work in the community is appreciated.

Below are a few photos from the night. You might recognise a few of the faces.

Leslie Vail, Richard Drezdon and David Musgrave

Two Champions: Smartlist Builder man and Mike Lupro

Bill Marshall and Doug Burgum. Bill’s already working on the first question for Doug’s Q&A

Doug Burgum and David Musgrave (see pics from 15 years ago)

Doug Burgum with Judy Thomas and Kim Peterson

As much as love teasing Leslie Vail about being a Dynamics GP dinosaur, I have to admit that it is Judy Thomas who took the prize for the partner who had worked with Great Plains the longest.

After a great night, the last few stragglers left the Microsoft Campus to head back to the Holiday Inn. While a number of the attendees (including Mariano) went to the Smartner Party (direct link) organised by eOne, Leslie and I geeked out by sitting in the hotel bar and going through the Support Debugging Tool session for Wednesday (Day three). Thanks Leslie, your input always makes my sessions better.

Finally it was time to crash and some sleep before day two.


This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.

4 thoughts on “#reIMAGINE2014 – Day 1

  1. Hi David,
    Thanks so much for posting the story of your trip to Fargo…I’m so sad not being able to attend that event anymore. Thanks also for the nice (and bombed) pictures.
    Looking forward to read more blog posts.
    Take care !


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