The conference officially starts today with a breakfast hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn. Mariano and I went down for breakfast and as fairly typical found ourselves chatting with many of the other attendees as well as catching up with the Microsoft people from the Fargo campus who had come over for the opening session.
The Opening Session started with a welcome from Joe Carrol and Pam Misialek. Joe discussed Association of Dynamics Professionals and new exams and certifications offered by the association. This is an important step for the community since Microsoft stopped offering certifications for Dynamics GP and NAV. This provides the entire community a way to measure a professional’s skillset so that you will know that they have reached a certain level of knowledge.
Pam Misialek discussed how Dynamics Partners need to be trusted advisor for Dynamics products as well as for other Microsoft products, or they should at least work with non-Dynamics Microsoft Partners. This way they can be part of the process for the implementation of all Microsoft products and not just Dynamics.
Wayne Morris is the Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS) Marketing. He discussed Microsoft’s direction and strategy and reaffirmed that Microsoft Dynamics both ERP and CRM are a large part of the overall Microsoft plan. He also highlighted that the midmarket solutions such as Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV are still very important to meet the future goals of Microsoft, especially in making the mission statement a reality:
Empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.
He mentioned that it was important to continue building rich and deep relationships with customers and then bring in products that cater to the needs of small and medium businesses. In summary, Dynamics is core to Microsoft success. SMB (Small and Medium Businesses) is critical to where Microsoft is heading and they will continue investing.
The next speaker was Chad Sogge and he discussed where we are at this moment in time with “GP Now”. GP Now is the terminology for the current releases and what we can do with the system already.
He spoke about how the current system started as desktop client with a data server and how it is becoming more cloud and service based, including Office 365 and Dynamics CRM integration. As time goes on, more services and more Apps are coming, such as Business Analyser and self service apps.
Chad then discussed how the Web Client with Silverlight was introduced for Dynamics GP 2013 and how that empowered many companies to have a decentralised system that could be accessed from anywhere. Then we heard from Diamond Solutions on how there was minimal work required to take their local government solution and make it Web Client ready. We also heard from Martin and Andrew from eOne Solutions on their latest “Builder” offering. The Service Builder which can wrap any table from any product in Dynamics GP and make it accessible from a web service… without writing any code.
Then it was Jeff Trosen’s turn to discuss “GP Next” and the future plans. Jeff explained the roadmap and explained how the biggest technical advance for GP 2016 would be the HTML 5 based Web Client. Using objects coded in HTML 5 to reproduce the GP windows without a reliance on the now deprecated Silverlight, will open the Web Client up to work on all devices and browsers.
Below is the latest Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap (thanks Sheila JR for the photos):
Dynamics GP 2016 is planned for release in April 2016 and will have 30-35 new features as well as the HTML 5 Web Client. The cool thing is that there is nothing extra needed from developers to make their code ready for the HTML 5 version of the Web Client if they are already working on the Silverlight client. You can even have both Silverlight client for GP 2013 and GP 2015 installed on the same servers as the HTML 5 client for GP 2016.
We then were treated to some demonstrations of upcoming new features by Brian Meier and Jodi Christiansen. Followed by a demonstration of the HTML 5 Web Client by Jeff Trosen and Jennifer Ranz. After the demos, the opening session finished and the attendees split into groups based on their streams. The Developer and Consultant tracks headed or to the Microsoft campus for the breakout sessions.
I had planned to attend a couple of sessions, but after checking out the Microsoft Company Store, socialising and finally doing some preparation with Mariano for our first session, it did not happen.
So then Mariano and I presented our session: 25 Development Tricks and Hacks in 50 Minutes. This was a completely new session that was based on the 50 tips in 50 minutes format started by Mark Polino MVP. However as development is more technical and we did want to show and explain some code, we cut it down to 25 tips. The tips ranged from best practices and tricks for beginners to some seriously complex hacks to solve limitations in Dexterity. It was well received and I was happy as my friend Patrice Bremond-Gregoire said I taught him a thing or two. One of my aims when I present development sessions is to teach even the most experienced developers at least one thing they did not know.
It is very difficult to present when they is such a range of skill and experience levels in the attendees, and make everyone happy. But it helps when you give away yummy chocolates from Australia, like Caramello Koalas.
After our session Mariano and I relaxed for a while in the “Commons” area as the reIMAGINE 2015 Welcome Reception was being set up. The Welcome Reception was enjoyable with lots of socialising and catching up with my “conference” friends (people I only get to see at Microsoft Dynamics GP conferences).
It also had fun see how people reacted after eating some Cadbury Chocolate with “salted” caramel filling, only to find that the salted bit was Vegemite. While this might sound awful, it is surprisingly good and was liked by all who tried it.
We eventually got kicked out of the Microsoft office as the reception drew to a close and headed by coach back to the hotel. Time to get some sleep before day 2.
This article was originally posted on http://www.winthropdc.com/blog.