Saturday, March 8, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Atlanta 2014 - Day 1

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 - Day 1

Convergence Atlanta 2014 Day 1 is marked by keynotes and product General Sessions. At the keynote session and in the best of Convergence traditions, we had a chance to see the volunteering work by attendees who signed up to make the lives of the least fortunate among us a bit better.

Convergence Community Outreach

The entertainment was provided by the Spirit of Atlanta Drum and Bugle Corps nonprofit organization. The Spirit of Atlanta is been around since the mid 70s and has traveled the world delivering numerous presentations.

The Keynote session highlighted a number of Microsoft accomplishments and how the company has been delivering innovation through its various platforms and applications.

Delivering Innovation

It was time to present the Customer Excellence Awards and was good to see that Chobani and Weight Watchers were brought in a year later to talk about their implementations and the benefits they are currently getting from them.

Maureen Hurley (Chobani) and Mark Olsen  (Weight Watchers)
Wayne Morris then addressed the various Dynamics Innovation Roadmap objectives along with numerous investments in features and integration with Azure's Infrastructure as a Service and when new product updates can be expected.

Wayne Morris on Dynamics Innovation Roadmap

Kirill Tatarinov, Executive VP of Microsoft Business Solutions, then came on stage to talk about the Interconnected World and the role of Microsoft played during the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia and the future of Microsoft in enabling and expanding interconnection.

Continuing with the Customer Excellence award, Microsoft brought on stage Lotus F1 Team's CEO Matthew Carter to talk about the importance of up to the second cost control and analytics for the team and how the Microsoft Dynamics platform has helped in measuring those costs.

Lotus F1 Team's CEO Matthew Carter being interviewed by Kirill Tatarinov
After Matthew left the stage, Microsoft demonstrated how they are using some of the tools and technologies within the organization to get immediate access to information to make decisions. Some of the scenarios involved marketing, demonstrated by Wayne Morris; sales, demonstrated by Judson Althoff, president Microsoft North America, and customer service, demonstrated by Fred Studer.

We were once reminded how real customers use Microsoft platforms and applications to run their business with the introduction of Customer Excellence Award winner New Belgium Brewery. While it was still a little early for beers, it was still good to see how diverse industries use Microsoft Dynamics products to solve very complex and challenging business requirements.

Travis Morrison and Kaitlyn Peot with New Belgium Brewery

Kirill then recognized the full list of 2014 Excellence Award winners.

Customer Excellence Award winners
Next up was Delta Airlines talking about the adoption of mobile technology in the air to maximize revenue and deliver quality customer service.

Theresa Wise, SVP & CIO and Meleia Jordan, Flight Attendant with Delta Airlines
Following the opening keynote session, it was time for the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session, where I would be partaking with MVP Mark Polino on stage. This time, Mark and I would be presenting 14 upcoming features in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 R2. We had quite a bit of fun and thought that at next year's Convergence we would just do the whole General Session instead.

Mark and I on stage presenting at the General Session
It was now time for lunch and you could tell that Microsoft was very conscious of the 12,000 in attendance at the event: what was once 3 years ago and area dedicated to Expo and Meals was now a single massive restaurant that could hold just about everyone there.

The Meals Hall
I have to say, I was impressed with the meals this time around. With a full stomach, I went up to room A314 to check in as a speaker at the event. It is customary to be greeted year after year by Ace Martin and Tracy Stenhjam who are always coordinating and making sure that us speakers get all the support we need in a comfortable environment. Ace and Tracy are also quick to kick us out if we are running close to our presentation time.

Ace Martin and Tracey Stenhjem
After catching up with emails and working on some final details for tomorrow's presentations, I went to the Expo Hall to see how things were progressing with the ISV community. The first day of Expo is always a bit slow to catch on, but you could sense that this would be different.

Expo Hall getting ready for the crowd
On the way out of the Expo Hall, I had a chance to catch up with the Lotus F1 Team's 2013 car. I was made aware that $30M goes into R&D for each of these vehicles and this is before they even hit the tracks.

Last Years Lotus F1 car (no engine)
Well, while today I had no sessions, it sure feels like it was time to drive home to get some rest. Just wished I could take this baby out for a ride.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

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