Highlights of Convergence 2012

The anticipation of my first Convergence had been building up since January.  Convergence is a gathering of Microsoft Dynamics users, partners and ISV’s who come from around the world to crash a city for a few days to learn more about the Microsoft Dynamics family of products and network with fellow business product users.  As a first timer, I was warned that I would be going nonstop from early morning to early morning with a few hours of sleep in between.  That was not far off from the truth and after coming home and having some time to finally sit and reflect on the past five days, I want to share some of my experiences and takeaways from Convergence 2012. 

After an already solid two days of GPUG events, meeting up with customers and networking put behind me, Microsoft opened with their keynote Monday morning.  Upon entering the arena, it became clear how big the event was with a record attendance of over 10,000 users, partners and vendors.  The other surprising fact was that out of the Dynamics family of solutions, nearly 75% of the attendees were there for Dynamics GP as users, partners and ISV’s.  We were shown GP 2013 scheduled to release Q4 of 2012 and the improvements Microsoft has made to version GP2013 including flexibility of deployment into the Cloud.  I recently read an article put out by NetSuite titled “Time to Put GP Out to Pasture.”  Companies like NetSuite will be going on the offensive big time as GP is moving into their arena with even more deployment flexibility.  Trust me when I say this, Dynamics GP is not going out to pasture; it is going out to capture more market share.

It was also nice to hear the direction Microsoft is headed from Kirill Tatarinov, President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division and B. Kevin Turner, Chief Operations Officer.  The main theme of the morning was simplifying Business Intelligence through connectivity and mobility creating a “World of Opportunity” for everyone, not just Microsoft.  It was clear to see Microsoft’s focus was on complete business solutions that can be taken anywhere and shared with anyone.  Among the featured product releases were Windows 8, Dynamics GP 2013, SharePoint and Office 365.  It was demonstrated how you can use any of these products on any device, anywhere and the value that is created being able to connect personal and professional environments.  

Between sessions, there was plenty of time to visit the expo hall to wander and look at all of the solutions available for Dynamics products.  There were a few that I was very impressed with for both Dynamics GP and CRM.  Here is a little insight into my top two ISV’s. 

Click Dimensions is the top rated email marketing and marketing automation solution for Dynamics CRM. Click Dimensions is able to build a database of information in CRM about your prospects so your sales team can market proactively and determine the best way to approach prospects and leads.  They are a solution that I recently became familiar with and immediately saw the value they add to CRM.  It was already simple to create automated workflows and campaigns within CRM, however, at the show, they were showing me how they have simplified that process even more into a very user friendly drag and drop solution.  It is truly a product I would like to see more CRM customers using to grow their business because of the value it adds to CRM.  http://clickdimensions.com/

BI360 is a business intelligence solution for Dynamics as well as many other ERP platforms that is very impressive as well.  Recently, I have been hearing business professionals talk about the need for more insight into their business.  With all the technology available, they want a real time, simple diagnostic tool that they can use to answer the “why is this number like this” and “how do we fix it” questions.  Out of all the BI solutions I personally saw at Convergence, BI360 seems to have the best functionality and ability to provide answers by drilling down into data and information real time.  This immediate insight is extremely important for business professionals in the world we live in.  Even better, they demonstrated how easy it was to build reports in less than a minute and dashboards in less than two minutes.  http://www.solverusa.com/products/bi360

My takeaway from Microsoft and their supporting ISV’s is that technology is there to provide businesses the complete solutions they require to help their teams capture more market share and react quickly to the obstacles and challenges they face, no matter where they are in the world.  Through collaborative products and the freedom to work from anywhere, Microsoft proved their point that we are living in “A World of Opportunity.”