Every Convergence brings two competing thoughts for a seasoned partner; the familiarity of an old friend (I have been attending for a long time) and the anticipation of the unknown (what new technologies are going to be presented). Here are my top five takeaways for 2013:
- Opening keynote by Kirill Tatarinov, President of Microsoft Business Solutions Division, who spoke about (and gestured with his arms and hands, he must have some Italian in his blood) that Dynamics is finally the unifying factor for business processes, technology, IT and clients. We have been hearing this ever since Microsoft bought Great Plains, (remember “The Stack”?) but I think Kirill actually has made it happen. A shout out to Karill, as I actually now can show clients how this all works together.
- The massive social focus throughout the conference that extended the conference to those who are not on-site, even though we had 11,500 attendees, with 25% coming from outside of the US. This means that the conference footprint (impact) is multiplied through the use of social media and not limited by geography. Although the experience is diminished, overall conference footprint is massive.
- Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006) keynote address conflict resolution to 9,000+ in attendance, absolutely enthralled by the inspiring message. This demonstrates to me, a techie, how rounded and concerned our group is around conflict and international issues. Henry Kissinger, the architect of US policy for decades, initially spoke about the “interconnectivity” of issues and Mr. Annan’s address demonstrated that for conflict resolution. Great linkage of technology and foreign policy.
- The acquisition of Netbreeze – as a CRM person, I am biased toward CRM, but this is HUGE; with the proliferation of social media and web metrics, how to manage all that data is a concern that Netbreeze addresses eloquently.
- The continuation of a dominate Converged Business Intelligence path; Dynamics Business Analyzer uses SSRS to get financial information out of ERP and into line-of-business users. All without any licensing and using a browser. The BI story at Microsoft is compelling and this just accelerates the BI story for Dynamics.
Convergence is fun, but fatiguing, and that is the idea. I think I’ll go next year, hope to see you there!