Friday, November 11, 2011

GPUG Summit: Day 2

Day 2 marks the day I get back on stage.

The morning started out very slowly, with most of the time spent at the Mekorma Connections Cafe, catching up on emails and projects I am currently working on back in Atlanta. On the way to the Cafe,  I couldn't help but realize how there was no one around. That's good, because it seems GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit, #GPUG) attendees are definitely getting the best out of the conference and maximizing their time. Also, it would suggest that a number of partners have already left town from the now defunct GP Partner Conference (twitter: #GPCC) event which wrapped up day before yesterday.

Upon arrival at the Cafe, there was a second round of book signing with our community authors - see GPUG Summit: Day 1 for a picture of the authors. Fellow MVP Mark Polino was as usual taking care of business and had some folks approaching him for his signature.

MVP and Author Mark Polino

Following the book signing, my wife and I headed outside of the Conference Center for some breakfast and were back to continue catching up on emails. I decided to give my slide deck a second pass just to make sure my timing was correct for the upcoming 3:00 PM session, GEN13: Where do the experts turn for answers?

I had the opportunity to attend Mark Polino and John Lowther's session, GEN12: The Worst Mistakes you can make with Microsoft Dynamics GP. This session was fun and clearly a reminder of the things you should not do, unlike all other sessions stressing the things you should be doing.

After Mark's session it was showtime. I headed over to my presentation room, got my computer setup and waited for attendees to show up. Surprisingly, I had some 20 attendees in the room with lots of questions on where to find resources on GP. Interestingly enough, most attendees were acquainted with the blogs, but are still slow to adopt other resources like Microsoft Dynamics Communities and the Partner Online Technical Community.

After my session, it was time to attend the Microsoft Town Hall meeting with members of the Product Management team and Microsoft Customer and Partner Management team.

Audience settling in for the Microsoft Town Hall meeting
During the session, attendees - Customers and Partners - asked the tough questions and at times put the panelists under the spotlight as it relates to features in upcoming releases, especially those related to Manufacturing and Project Accounting. The panelists reminded the attendees of the importance of Microsoft Connect as a tool to submit requests for product features.

Microsoft Town Hall meeting in course. Left to right: Bill Tattan, Pam Misialek, Chirs Lerum, Mark Albrecht, and Brian Meier, moderated by Kim Peterson
Things turned a little heated when the topic switched from product features to the panelists questioning the audience on their knowledge of the "Unleash your full Potential" program. This program was launched by Microsoft to help customers increase their utilization of their existing system functionality to help their business. Customers complained that partners did not inform them about the program and in some cases didn't make them aware of existing promotions.

In turn, partners fought back by letting customers know that communication is a two way street and that they need to reach out when in need of new functionality. Some partners reminded customers that there is a fine line between being perceived as always selling something, versus working with customers to understand what else they can implement to complement their initial implementation.

My personal take is this: if you are a customer, you must work with your partner beyond your initial implementation to assess the maturity of your organization as it relates to the Microsoft Dynamics GP features you are using today. In turn, partners should have an honest dialog with customers about their capabilities and how they can help effect the changes needed by their customers. Both customers and partners should recognize their limitations and seek assistance from other organizations who can help closing the gaps.
After the meeting, I went back to my room and headed out to dinner to the Stratosphere Hotel with my wife. We both had a great time looking down to the city from the Top of the World restaurant, located on the 107th floor.

View of Las Vegas from the Top of the World restaurant
The Summit is almost coming to an end, so stay tuned for more.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

1 comment:

Beat BUCHER said...

Hi Mariano,
I agree with you about the relationship a customer should have with his partner to ensure that the customer's needs and concerns are forwarded to Microsoft...Unfortunately not too often have I realized that past the implementation phase (Sale), there is sometime little effort put in by the partner to take care of the customers... Too many clients ? too much profits to generate ? who knows... I found out that I was often much better served by going directly to Microsoft.
Have a great time down in Vegas with your wife and a good flight back to Atlanta.