Microsoft Convergence 2015: Five Takeaways and a Brave New World

Microsoft Dynamics’s Convergence, a gathering of 12,000 customers, partners, and Microsoft employees, was great this year.  Almost transformative, and as an experienced Convergence attendee, here are my five takeaways that make me think this was a great Convergence:

1. The president of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, attended and was the keynote speaker.  Ballmer was absent the last two years, which for me, was not an issue, as his messaging was stale and confirmed in my mind he did not understand business applications.   See number five below for more detail about why the keynote was so transformative.

2. Dynamics CRM is exploding, sell your stock now.  (Just like SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff, he sells blocks of 12,500, 25,000 or 37,500 shares every second or third trading day, maybe he knows something).  From the ISV’s to the social to the predictive analytics to marketing, WOW, CRM is great.

3. The Convergence social scene was awesome, as usual, and the Rock and Rave were held in the Steve Polk Plaza with a Zombie theme, thanks, guys, great night of fun and music!

4. We always have a client gathering, and in speaking to our clients there at this gathering, as well as at meals, sessions and in the vast honeycomb of escalators, stairs, landing, hallways and open space that makes up the World Congress Center (LOL, you have to experience it), our clients understand the value and depth of their Dynamics solutions better than ever.  Our clients are becoming more sophisticated and aware of their software and related systems/technology.  This is absolutely great, as Dynamics is often underutilized by clients.  The end result is gained in productivity for these companies/organizations.

5. Satya’s keynote, far and away most compelling takeaway from Convergence.  I’ll attempt to summarize below, see number one above for my opinion of the yin and yang of Convergence messaging from past and Convergence 2015’s message.

The keynote talked about the Evolution of Computing, from “Systems of Record” that were the ERP systems composed of mainframes that brought great strides to companies in Accounting, Finance, and Backoffice.  These were the ERP systems that drove the economic efficiencies that allowed businesses to provide so much more for much less cost.   These became the Systems of Record, the “de-siloing” of large organizations.  Business computing became ubiquitous, but still, the information remained within an organization.

The next phase of evolution that Satya spoke about is the “Systems of Engagement”, and we are in the latent part of this stage.   Mobile, websites, information workers working the way they want to work, as opposed to the systems of record where the worker worked the way the system did.   Now, organizational information and systems can extend beyond the brick and mortar so that workers are engaging collaboratively with other systems and data from other systems is being utilized to create better information.  Bringing in weather data for a trucking company to offer predictive analytics on routing efficiencies is an example.

However, the cloud and the convergence of systems are now allowing “Systems of Intelligence” for business.  Because there are common platforms (AWS, Azure), now making systems speak to each other is much easier.  Combine that with the Machine Learning (think of Seri, Cortana, and predictive lead scoring based on prior information as examples) we are on the cusp of a brave new world of interoperability and intelligence.

Systems of record, systems of engagement, they create efficiencies, allowing production of things and services to become less expensive while increasing productivity – but these systems and related information was still basically siloed – from Facebook to Wikipedia to General Electric to US Department of Commerce – all independent systems that worked well for those stakeholders associated with the internal and external technology.   Systems of Intelligence rely on the advance of technology that created machine learning AND now the aggregation of systems/data on the cloud, the individual systems of are now on standardized platforms – instead of hundreds of thousands of integration points (think ADP to your company, think CC e-commerce merchant services) the cloud allows for a few standardized platforms for all these systems and data.

So now, with the convergence of systems/data onto standardized platforms, the clue to utilizing this is to separate the signal from all the data noise.  This is where the Machine Learning comes in, from profiling using social media, to allowing machines to predict for us, information is becoming intelligent.

Great summation of the evolution of technology from Satya Nadella, and it is exciting to understand what awaits us.

STEVE HAMMETT | Senior Sales Executive

Steve graduated from University of Maryland, Baltimore, with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.),  in Economics and a few years later, a Master of Science (M.S.), in Information Technology. He has helped organizations for over fifteen years to solve business problems using technology. He is well informed with all Microsoft Business Solutions and is a Solutions Certified Sales Representative. For fun, he looks to the outdoors, whether water, where he is a sailor (Coast Guard certified in Costal Piloting and Navigation), a PADI certified scuba diver, and a certified Red Cross Water Safety Instructor, or land, where he is a skier, hiker and mountain biker.

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