Sunday, March 18, 2012

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Houston 2012 - GPUG PreGame

Yesterday was an exciting day! My day began with breakfast with my good fried David Musgrave (twitter: @Dev4DynamingGP) and his wife, Jennifer. It was a great moment since this is the first time I was seeing David since we both arrived in town. Also, it was an opportunity to meet Jennifer for the first time after so many years of back and forth with David.

Jennifer and David Musgrave
After fueling up with a good breakfast, David and I decided to go to the Registration area to officially check in for the event and claim our badges. On the way, we ran into Microsoft Dynamics GP MVP Mark Polino (twitter: @mpolino), who was coincidentally trying to find his way to the Registration area as well. Registration was being done over at Hall C at the George R. Brown Convention Center. The process was quick, however, and surprisingly no back packs were being given out to speakers :-(

David Musgrave, Mark Polino, Mariano Gomez
On the way back from the Registration area, around 11:00 AM CST, we walked up to the 4th floor of the Hilton Americas, where the GP Partner Connections PreGame event was about to take place. The event was scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM CST. PreGame provides an atmosphere for partners and ISVs to network, while learning about upcoming Microsoft product strategies and roadmaps.

Heather Williams, Event Director Dynamics Communities

Hanging around for a bit, I ran into Microsoft Dynamics GP MVP Ian Stewart, with who I am currently working on a project spanning 4 countries. Ian is based out of Ireland and was appropriately wearing his green shirt, as a good Irish celebrating St. Patrick's day.

Mariano Gomez, David Musgrave, and Ian Stewart
Ian wondered off to register and retrieve his badge, so David and I decided to sit down for a bit and review our DayONE session, "UBGP18: Ask the experts: Where do the experts turn for answers?", which we would be presenting on the following day, Sunday. Once we completed the session material review, we retreated to David's room to retrieve some of the stash of Australian products destined for my household - see Microsoft Convergence 2012 Houston - Getting There over at Developing for Dynamics GP for the full stash on display.

I then went up to my room to drop off the stash and my computer. After a few phone calls, I returned to the PreGame event area, which featured a Sales/Marketing track and a Consultant/Developers track. Of course, I would sit in the latter to absorb all the GP '12' goodness that was coming.

In trying to find a place to sit, David and I ran into the distinguished gentlemen who man up the teams and brains behind the Web Client.

Jay Manley, Brian Rooney, Kevin Racer, and Daryl Anderson

It was now time for the PreGame, with opening remarks from Bob McAdam (twitter: @4mcadam). Bob talked about his roots with GPUG and quickly opened the mics to the good folks of Microsoft who would be running the Web Client show.

Bob McAdam

Next up was the PreGame General Session, conducted by Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Manager, Pam Misialek (twitter: @PamMisialek).

Pam Misialek
Pam's began her session's intro with an account of how she got a black-eye attempting to shoot a gun, drawing laughter from the crowd. Shortly after, she featured some of the strategies being adopted by Microsoft to extend the use of business solutions beyond the desktop. She also touched on the economies of scale of GP '12' over its current counterpart, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010, presenting a compelling case study highlighting the hosting benefits and cost saving opportunities attained by 40 customers with 5 users each running Microsoft Dynamics GP '12'. Pam also introduced an updated Microsoft Dynamics GP product roadmap. It was very promising to see that GP '12' will also incorporate some Windows Azure enablement capabilities, moving the product closer to Microsoft's overall cloud strategy. Partners were encouraged to "get excited about GP '12'" and take note of key timeline leading up to the release of Microsoft Dynamics GP '12'.

I will begin releasing a series of articles covering key aspects of Pam's presentation.

Next up was Microsoft's Kevin Racer to present the Microsoft Dynamics GP '12' Web Client - Unplugged session.

Kevin Racer

Kevin's session touched on the "Hostability" capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics GP '12' and the different deployment options available for hosting partners and customers alike. In introducing these two theme topics, the session quickly turned into a deep dive architecture review of Microsoft Dynamics GP '12', which highlighted the multi-tenancy and named system database capabilities available with the upcoming release. It was great to see that Microsoft has now released the server and client requirements needed to support web client deployments during this session.

The session concluded with some guidance for partners and developers in preparation for the new brave world.

Kevin continued with an in-depth session featuring various architecture components of the Microsoft Dynamics GP '12' web client. Attending partners had an opportunity to dive into various topics, including the Runtime Architecture of the Web Client; the new Dexterity Object Model, which uses DexML to provide metadata to the Silverlight client, the Microsoft Extensibility Framework (MEF) and the Rendering Engine, and more Dexterity.

The session ended with some cool demos on functionality and macros.

The PreGame session was followed up by a Town Hall meeting, featuring Town Hall meeting, featuring Doug Kennedy and Hal Howard, both ranked executives with the Microsoft Business Solutions unit.

Doug Kennedy, VP Microsoft Dynamics Partners and Hal Howard, Corporate VP, Microsoft Dynamics ERP Research and Development

After an hour of enduring some really pointy questions, the town hall meeting was followed by the Partners Reception. To be honest, I think most partners were brain dead by then from all the content absorbed up to that point.

The partners reception was the occasion to meet up with friends from other organizations attending the conference. It's always a great time to exchange ideas about implementations currently in process and to ask how they are dealing with some of the problems I am facing. My stay at the reception was short, but very effective and off I went to meet with the Microsoft Dynamics Community team at Spencer's.

Community team members Larry Ressler and Andy Leapaldt
I had a chance to speak to various Microsoft Dynamics Community team members about the upcoming improvements in the Community site. You need to wait for the changes, they rock! After some appetizers and drinks, a few of us who were attending the social meeting decided to grab a table at Spencer's.

IntellPartners team: Ted Mauldin, Mariano Gomez, and Frank Hamelly at Spencer's

It was time to call it a night.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

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