The conference starts today with the partner only pre Convergence event, PreGame.
The PreGame is organised by Dynamic Partner Connections and is a partner focussed half day event. It is described as “Over 600 Microsoft Dynamics partners gathered in Atlanta, to hear from 70 expert speakers during 25 partner-centric sessions contributing to 1 Dynamics Partner Community”.
The day started with Mariano and I going to Georgia World Congress Center to register for Convergence 2015.
While at the main entrance between Buildings A and B, we met with some of the LATAM Microsoft team.
We then walked over to the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel for the start of the PreGame event. This was my first chance to meet up with some of the other Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs (other than Mariano) and with some of the GPUG team.
At this time I should point out a common misconception. I am not a Microsoft MVP and have never been one. As a Microsoft employee for 13.5 years I was not eligible and I have to be outside of Microsoft for 12 months before I can be eligible. So, even though the actual MVPs and many in the community treat me as an “Honorary MVP”, it is not official.
For my first session I went to the session “ISV Confidential: How to Work the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem and Get Results”. It was a great session with a number of experienced ISVs on the panel giving us the benefit of their experience. They explained how big flashy product launches are not as effective as the prolonged approach with reputation building and word of mouth marketing. A consistent and long term marketing presence is needed to build the client base. It was also a good opportunity for me to get some feedback on the pricing model I am planning for the rebadged Support Debugging Tool.
We then had a Dynamics GP general session: “Product Strategy and Roadmap”. This was a preview of the content we would see in the Convergence Dynamics GP general session, with a bit more depth. It allowed the partners to be ready for any questions their customers attending Convergence might have.
The usual suspects were there, including Errol Schoenfish, Pam Misialek, Chad Sogge and Jeff Trosen.
Not sure if Pam is telling me off for taking a photo, emphasizing a point or throwing down a rap tune.
The main take away points from this session where the latest product roadmap slide. The Roadmap now shows planned releases for GP 2015 R2 and GP 2015 R3 as well as the next version in the latter half of 2016 onwards.
We also got to see some more details of what is planned for the upcoming releases. Below is a summary slide of what is planned for the GP 2015 R2 release due mid 2015.
We had a demo of the All-in-One document viewer for Purchasing which allows you to see the entire flow of documents between Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Invoices and Receivings for a vendor. Very cool. This All-in-One view will be added to other series (Sales, Inventory, etc.) in future releases.
We also had a preview of the next generation of the Web client which will work on HTML5 rather than Silverlight. This will make the vision of any browser on any device a reality.
After the general session, I went to the “User Panel: What Do Customers Really Expect?” session. This was an interesting session which hopefully helped partners to understand how to best work with their customers. A great example that came out of that session shows how not to have good relations with a customer. Without mentioning any names: A customer who had not heard from their partner for a while, invites the partner to lunch to touch base and re-establish a working relationship. The partner sends three representatives who enjoyed a nice meal paid for by the customer. Shortly after, the customer receives an invoice for 6 hours consulting (3 consultants for 2 hours). An excellent example for relationship building… NOT.
The final session for the day was the PreGame Closing Keynote featuring the new Vice President Dynamics Partner Sales and Programs, Direct of ERP Partner Strategy, Victor Morales.
Before Victor spoke we had a presentation from Brian Deming who introduced us to the new independent, non-profit membership organisation which will service the professionals for all Dynamics products. Its initial focus will be on certifications for Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV and eventually for Dynamics SL. This organisation is The Association of Dynamics Professionals and its website can be found at http://dynamicspro.org/. Please go to the site to register your interest. They plan to officially launch the association in September 2015, however, if you are interested in helping with the development of the certification exams, please contact them now.
Hal Howard then spoke to us about Dynamic Communities (including the user groups, such as GPUG) and gave us some interesting statistics.
Finally, we heard from Victor Morales, who explained how he is still new and learning lots about Microsoft and his new role. He is very open to feedback and improving the working relationships between Microsoft and its Dynamics Partners.
Victor also provided us with some statistics of how both the Microsoft Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics ecosystems are growing.
The session finished with a quick question and answer session. The day ended with the Microsoft Partner Reception where partners could relax and have a drink and some nibbles and chat with other partners. The networking that occurs at these sorts of receptions can be some of the most valuable time spent at a conference.
One last stop: Mariano and I went to the MVP Mingle held at Stats Food & Drink. This event was sponsored by FastPath and Data Masons and allowed the MVPs for all the Dynamics products to socialise and relax together. I abused my “Honorary MVP” status and gate crashed. Well, Mariano was my transport home, so I was not going to lose him. I spent much of the night chatting with Beat Bucher (another Honorary MVP).
During the closing session, the upcoming events were highlighted, so here is a quick reminder to mark your calendars.
- reIMAGINE 2015 in Fargo, ND, USA on 21-23 September 2015
- GPUG Summit 2015 in Reno, NV, USA on 12-16 October 2015
- PreGame at Summit 2015 in Reno, NV, USA on 13 October 2015
Hope to see you at these events.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.