Monday, November 7, 2011

GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 1

Today marks the beginning of optional training classes at the GPUG Summit (twitter: #gpsummit) in Las Vegas, Nevada. My class in particular runs from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM - more on that later.

The morning began pretty early for me (3:30 AM PT, 6:30 AM ET) due to the change of timezone, so I figured instead of wasting time rolling in bed, I would get up and do a final review of my slides to make sure I had incorporated the last minute updates that went out this past Friday and even yesterday. By 6:30 AM I was ready to get in the shower and go grab some breakfast.

Partners having breakfast and getting ready for the Conference

Over at the Octavius Ballroom in the Conference Center, I decided to crash the GP Partner Connections (twitter: #gppc) keynote session, with Mark Rockwell opening for Microsoft's Anders Spatzek, Director of Customer & Partner Services and Programs.

Mark Rockwell (Rockton Software) getting ready to introduce Anders Spatzek
Anders explained all the different changes in the Solution Provider Agreement (SPA) and the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program and  and how they affect partners currently doing business with Microsoft. The picture is clear: if you did not meet your SPA requirements (directives issued since 2009) by the end of October you are at risk of no longer being able to place orders with Microsoft - SPA requirements included a certification component, plus a revenue target component.

MPN requirements revolve around achieving Silver or Gold competencies in ERP and/or CRM - the same applies to other Microsoft product families - and maintaining the right number of certified individuals and customer references to satisfy the program requirements.

Anders went into the details of the Master VAR program and how it can be seen as a way for partners who are not going to make the cut after the SPA requirements go into effect, to continue doing business with Microsoft. At the end of the presentation, ISVs and VARs had a number of pointy questions for Anders, a clear reminder that not everyone comulgates with the concept.

After the session, I met up with John Lowther to catch up on a number of items, while getting acquainted with the classroom for my upcoming training session. I did all the necessary projector testing and made sure the VPC image was working properly. Once all the testing was completed, John and I headed downstairs for some lunch.

The main event's room is almost ready for Wednesday
Back to the classroom, I sat back and waited for the time to wind down and began training at 1:30 PM PT as scheduled. Things went pretty smoothly with the class and the attendees, with no issues experienced by any of my students. Congrats to the GPUG team for making the experience enjoyable for everyone! Training ran its course until 4:45 PM, then we floor was opened to questions.

Drill-Down Builder and Navigation List Builder class attendees. From left to right, Bill Crabble (CS&S Consulting), Bruce Wilkins (Flagstone Management Services), Margie Newton (Great Plains College), and John Lowther (STA Home) 
It was then time to go get some food after a long day of activities and find a space to just decompress. GPPC (twitter: #gppc) was hosting a little buffet, so once again, I decided to crash the event with John.

GP Partner Connections (GPPC) Buffet
The afternoon got a bit busy and I ran across Kevin Racer and Brian Roney, both Senior Development Engineers at Microsoft. Kevin is one the engineers working on the Web Client project and Brian is a lead developer on the Dexterity team and the Web Client as of late. The good thing about talking to much smarter people than one appears to be, is the ability to be listened attentively, so I took the chance to run some Silverlight initiatives of mine to both of them and get some feedback in return on the things I can try out.

Kevin Racer and Brian Roney
On my way out, I came across Sheila Jefferson-Russ and MVP Leslie Vail. A few conversations later, and I was ready to get back to my room to get ready for my next day training session on Data Migration and Integration Techniques.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC
http://www.IntellPartners.com/

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