Thursday, April 2, 2015

Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) - Day 4


Phew! How about that OneRepublic concert?

Day 4 is finally here and with it, all good things must come to an end. For a change, today David and I managed to make it down to the GWCC on time and had a fairly relaxed breakfast at the Meal Hall to then move over to the Phillips Arena for one very interesting closing keynote.

As customary, an energetic Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America welcomed the crowd to the event and proceeded to recap the week and what will be seen from Microsoft in the coming months.

Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America
The first thing in his opening was to remind the audience how Convergence is becoming the premier event for business and that Microsoft, at its core, is "the productivity and platform company for the mobile first, cloud first world" and how the company is thinking about innovation and technology.

Althoff then introduced the upcoming events, Microsoft Ignite which is geared to showcase innovations for IT professionals, the Dynamics User Group Summits hosted by Dynamic Communities.

Microsoft Ignite

Dynamics User Group Summits
Althoff then zeroed in on the upcoming Convergence events and announced the dates and locations for Convergence 2015 EMEA and Convergence 2016 New Orleans. The latter received a round of shouts from the audience.

Convergence next stops
Then came the topic of the day: Cyber-security and the work being conducted by Microsoft and its Digital Crime Unit to counter the effects of online criminal activity.


After a short intro video (above), David Finn, Executive Director Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit who then introduced the work of the new division opened just 16 months ago and located in Redmond, Washington. The unit fights two types of crimes: Technology-facilitated crimes which targets vulnerable population such as children and the elderly, and Malware and reduction of digital risk.

David Finn, Executive Director Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
Finn then presented a number of grim statistics around the children victimization and introduced Microsoft PhotoDNA, a new cloud based solution that can be licensed by anyone to detect awful images and report them to law enforcement organizations around the world.

Microsoft PhotoDNA
David Finn then addressed the topic of malware and cyber criminal activity using botnets and how Microsoft assisted with the Citadel Malware case, which involved the infection of over 91 million PCs and the hijack of close to half a billion dollars ($500M). The case had a particular focus on using visualization and big data to analyze infection patterns across the world.

The Citadel Case

Citadel Infection Pattern
As a result of these efforts, Microsoft is experimenting with new visualization and sonification techniques to understand infection patterns. One such technique is dubbed the Specimen Box and was presented during the session.




After the closing session, we returned to the GWCC to do some walk around the Expo. I stopped at the booth of my friends and partners at FieldOne to congratulate them for their new achievement. Microsoft has named them a Dynamics CRM Global ISV which shows their commitment to developing the channel and producing quality products.

The FieldOne team

From the Expo, I went to Mark Polino's session CS15G003-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP: New 50 tips in 50 minutes, a jammed pack session filled with bite size tips on Microsoft Dynamics GP functionality. Mark had a full room and as the rock star he is, he commands quite the attention from the attendees. I have to admit I picked up a few good tips for my toolbox.

Up next, I had to complete the repeat of my upgrade session, CS15G002-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Upgrading and deploying. I had been assigned the last slot on the last day of the event, which I have been doing for the past 6 years now. While I did not have the same amount of attendees as with my first bout at this session, 85 people were still pretty good, considering that a lot of people left to catch their flights early in the morning.

After my repeat session, it was time for some relaxation and the famous Tim Tam Slams. Earlier, I had sent out a tweet to a number of people to meet up at the Omni Hotel bar for what has become a tradition among a select few of us. Before the slams though, I managed to meet with a group of friends from Colombia to explain some good ol' fashioned Microsoft Dynamics GP architecture and deployment options for their company and how the web client and Microsoft Azure have revolutionized the way Microsoft Dynamics GP is deployed.

I then moved over to the bar with my friends Olga Acosta and Eddie Yepes to grab a drink before sitting down for Tim Tam Slams.


Olga Acosta does the Tim Tam Slam



Eddie Yepes does the Tim Tam Slam (and fails miserably!)

The final stretch of the evening would have me doing dinner with my good friends and fellow MVPs Belinda Allen, John Lowther, and of course David Musgrave at Dantanna's Downtown location, inside the CNN Center. We spent the evening chit-chatting from one thing to another and enjoying John's vicious appetite for Thousand Island dressing on his salad.

After a wonderful meal and excellent service we proceed to leave, not without running into the Njvity folks.

Chris Dobkins, Mariano Gomez, Emily Roen, and David Musgrave
The event was now over for good and it was time to leave. I really could use some sleep... but wait, still more to come.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP

Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) - Day 3


Ok, I'm officially tired! Day 2 did not leave much room to sleep with a presentation, expo, dinner, and Rock-n-Rave (even though I did not stay long).

However, today I had to gut it out for our repeat session, CS15G024-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Customizing the user interface, which was scheduled for 11:00 AM.

CS15G024-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Customizing the user interface
Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave
We had 64 people in our session and really had an enthusiastic crowd despite the Rock-n-Rave precedent. The session went on as planned and we feel we had a bit more organization in our delivery.

Once our session finished, I ran off to Kevin and Dan's session, CS15G014 - Leveraging Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Service Based Architecture for better integrations.

Kevin Racer and Dan Lothspeich
This session was truly informative as Kevin and Dan walked through the evolution of the work environment and how it has been impacted by the ever increasing hours we spend working, the ever decreasing workforce age, our own understanding of the Internet, the increasing workload many of us are challenged with, and the endless ways to communicate. This all has led companies to seek increased computing resources to process massive amounts of data which cloud computing seems to deliver well via a service oriented architecture model. This service model has driven the appification of software functionality, a technique by which software functions are exposed as services to be consumed by other software applications.

This brings us to the Microsoft Dynamics GP Service Based Architecture model, which seeks to expose parts of Dynamics GP as services to be consumed by other applications, also allowing Dynamics GP to consume services.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Service Based Architecture
The key to this technology evolution has been the enhanced interoperability with Microsoft .NET built within the Microsoft Dexterity toolset and leveraged via the Dynamics GP application. Kevin then went on to conduct a short demo on the endpoint URI structure and patterns to access the Dynamics GP services and showed off some of the cool discovery tools available, while detailing the security flow and authentication mechanisms required to access the Dynamics GP services.



Then we had eOne demoing their latest product, Service Builder which allows users and developers to expose any part of GP as a service, similar to how SmartList Builder exposes GP data. In fact, the idea is to also allow users to expose smart lists as services. Other applications include being able to expose Microsoft Dynamics GP windows and the underlying Dexterity scripts as services, conceivably allowing any function within GP to be consumed by other applications.

Well, I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point. Kevin and Dan's session is available on the Virtual Convergence site, here.



I returned to the Expo to try and catch up with David who had attended another session, but decided to go visit some folks I hadn't seen yet. After saying hi and catching up with David, we returned to the Omni Hotel in preparation for the OneRepublic concert and to decompress from the day. I had invited a good friend of mine and I left to pick her up and return to the Phillips Arena.

The OneRepublic concert motto: "One Believable Convergence Celebration"
Once inside the arena, we quickly head to the floor area to get a good view of the group for the opening. In the meantime, we were enjoying some of the cool music being played. The group came on stage with their song Light it Up to open the concert.


The concert got progressively better with the group artists hitting some solos.



Well, the night was really a good one, but it was time to wrap up and get home.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
Intelligent Partnerships, LLC
http://www.intelligentpartnerships.com/