Thursday, September 29, 2016

Microsoft reIMAGINE 2016 - Day 1 (Part 1)

Microsoft reIMAGINE 2016 hosted by Dynamic Communities is now over, but I did not want to let this week go by without giving you an account of my experiences at the conference, which sure brought a lot of surprises to all the partners in attendance.

Monday, September 19, 2016 - Part 1

After having an adventurous Sunday, where I had the opportunity to prep my sessions with David, attend a car show, mingle with friends and coworkers, and dine at Passage to India, I was now prepared to get the real conference schedule going.

The day started out with the traditional partner breakfast at the Hilton Garden in. I believe there was confusion with breakfast locations, because it (breakfast) was also being served at the Microsoft campus, with the starting time there being the only caveat as security restrictions there had us showing up only after 8:00 AM.

At the Hilton Garden, tables were setup by company, so I had a chance to have breakfast with some of my Mekorma coworkers in attendance and a few folks from a different company who did not have a table tag assigned, but decided to join us anyways.

Breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn
After breakfast, David and I hopped the bus over to the Microsoft campus and quickly found a spot up front in the Morton conference room. Given our tendency to take pictures, David and I conspired with Bob McAdam (twitter: @4mcadam) and Pam Misialek (twitter: @PamMisialek), hosts of the General Session, to get a picture of the over 400 partners in attendance, prior to the beginning of the session. Now, one thing is to get a picture, but getting all partners to wave for the camera? That's a whole different ball game. It worked!

General Session in the Morton Room at Microsoft 
The session began just after our camera stunt and things would get downright interesting from there on. The welcome pleasantries were up and over in a few minutes and gave way to Joe Carroll, introducing new Microsoft Dynamics GP Advanced Distribution and Advanced HR/P exams and the new Microsoft Dynamics GP Advanced Credentialed Professional certification. Having been a council member of the Association of Dynamics Professionals for a bit over a year, I cannot stress the importance of these exams to the Dynamics GP community at large. If you haven't signed up to take any of the exams, please do so. You are missing out on a really significant opportunity to distinguish yourself from the rest.

Association of Dynamics Professionals: new GP exams and credential

Next up was Errol Schoenfish (twitter: @ifErrolCanDoIt). Errol's presentation centered on the current cloud momentum, presenting some statistics predicting 6 times faster growth in SMB spending on business apps in the cloud versus on premises over the next three years (2015–2018).

Errol also presented Microsoft's SMB offerings corresponding to the 3 major cloud models, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service), demonstrating where each product fits within the scope of those models.

SMB cloud offerings

More importantly, the discussion went in the direction of Microsoft's roadmap for the SMB products. I have to say, this is the first time I have seen a side-by-side roadmap for all the SMB offerings and it was a beauty to watch.
Microsoft SMB offerings roadmap

The key message delivered to the Microsoft Dynamics GP partners in attendance centered around two premises: a) Dynamics GP will only go away if partners are not selling it, and b) Microsoft Dynamics GP development will continue beyond the next 3 years at the very least. Errol reiterated Microsoft's support behind the current market offerings. It's also important to note that Dynamics 365, formerly Project Madeira, roadmap was introduced as part of the stack.

Microsoft then presented its US Dynamics SMB sales team org chart and in particular, introduced Anjali Justus (twitter: @AnjaliJustus), who is the new GP Sales Manager. This was well received news by all partners as it shows Microsoft's renewed commitment to the channel. A major point here is, Microsoft recruited all these folks from competitors like NetSuite and Infor.

US Dynamics SMB Org Chart

Next on stage were the awesome quartet of Chad Sogge (twitter: @csogge), Jennifer Ranz (twitter: @jenniferranz1), Jodi Christiansen (twitter: @JodiChrist), and Brian Mayer (can someone please get this guy a Twitter account?) to talk about and demonstrate GP 2016 and GP 2016 R2 features. Needless to say, they are always flawless and delivered an excellent presentation. To note, some of the features presented for GP 2016 R2 (subject to change) are as follow:

SystemSmartList favorite protection
SystemSmartList Designer SmartLists available in Advanced
DistributionDisplay Tax Percent for Historical Transactions
DistributionCancel PO when linked to a Requisition
DistributionPA Timesheet Status Report
FinancialsGL Distribution Line Display Expanded
FinancialsCredit Limit Warning Calculation for unposted Credit Documents
FinancialsSafePay file displays Check Name from the Check
FinancialsPOP to FA Link to Include Taxes
FinancialsSave Fixed Asset ID with suffix
ServicesPower BI on Web Client Home page

Sponsoring partners also had their spotlight at the event, with Greenshades Software, eOne Solutions, and Binary Stream delivering the interludes. Greenshades provided the kicker laugh with their Captain Compliance skit.

Special mention: Martin Olsen delivered a really cool skit to promote SmartConnect, but I don't have a video of it, so I will try to incorporate the slides and the text in a future article.

As this was a jam packed morning, I have decided to split day one into couple articles as it will be easier to follow. Please stay put for the conclusion of Day 1.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP

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