Friday, September 30, 2016

Microsoft reIMAGINE 2016 - Day 1 (Part 2)

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 2

Monday morning was sure a busy one and with the General Session over, it was time to go find a place to continue prepping for our sessions in the afternoon.

It was time for our first session, NEW Development Tricks & Hacks, which centered around Microsoft Dexterity development. David and I had done this session at GPUG Summit 2015 in Reno-Tahoe, where we presented 25 tricks and hacks. This time around, we would add 25 new tricks and hacks to the arsenal, so attendees could walk away with new stuff to try. To note, the slide deck for this session contains the original 25 tricks and hacks and can be downloaded from the reIMAGINE 2016 materials page.

New 25 Tricks and Hacks session
Following our NEW Development Tricks & Hacks session, David and I would be joined by Brian Roney, Principal Engineering Lead at Microsoft, and Rob Anderson, Sr. Software Engineer at Microsoft for our Dexterity Panel session. This session was meant to be a free form, ask-whatever-you-want-type session where all 4 of us panelist would address any development related inquiries from the attendees.

Dexterity Panel session
I must say, all conferences should have more of these type of sessions as you can get some really engaging questions.

It was the end of our presentations for the day and it was time to go mingle with partners and ISVs at the reception, which would be held downstairs in the lunch room. Walking around, I had a chance to say hello to the folks from Rose ASP who were giving away some really cool workout t-shirts promoting their cloud solution.

I also had the opportunity to say hi to a number of folks from Njevity, Jet Reports, and Vicinity Manufacturing.

Jonathan Oesch (Jet Reports), Belinda Allen (Njevity), Gayle Giguere (Vicinity), Randy Smith (Vicinity), Melissa Sandrovich (Njevity)

As the reception was winding down, I left to my hotel to put down my stuff and get ready to go hang out at Shotgun Sally's, where the folks from eOne Solutions would be hosting their now popular Smartner Party. Upon arrival, I had a drink and proceeded to mingle with the folks in attendance. A few minutes into my arrival, something special happened: my dear friend of many years, Mark Anderson announced that he would be shaving his beard and head in benefit of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Now, this would be a non-consequential, non-issue only if Mark was another person, but those of us who have known Mark for a long time (and in my particular case, for the better part of 20 years), have not seen him EVER without a beard - EVER! In fact, Mark made it public knowledge that his children had NEVER EVER seen him, in over 30 years, without a beard.

Mark and wife Donna
To make matters even more interesting, Mark's wife, Donna would be doing the honors of getting rid of his hair, both head and facial. Mark's only request was for the mustache to stay. In an effort to support the cause, Mark would be requesting donations from all partners in attendance with the goal of collecting $1,000.

Mark hadn't shaved for the last 30 years 
And there goes the first pass, with the Vikings wings on each side

A man must have a drink though

The deed is completed

Congrats to Mark, all for a good cause
After completing the shaving, Mark had collected over $3,000, putting him at the top of the funds raiser's list. To protect the identity of the innocent, this is where all accounts of the party ends.

Trouble makers: Sheila Jefferson-Ross and Tanya Henderson
Follow me on Monday for the accounts of Day 2.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Microsoft reIMAGINE 2016 - Pre-conference Day 2

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.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The previous day had me meeting up with a few of the guys and gals here in town. Today, David and I had plans to meet up early to begin reviewing our sessions and making sure we had our act together. After a quick breakfast at the Home2 Suites and around an hour of prep time, it was time for us to head over to the Hilton Garden Inn Fargo to complete our registration and to get our conference badges and goodies. The Hilton Garden is just a few short steps away from the Home2 Suites.

Upon arriving at the Hilton Garden, we caught a small crew putting up some posters signaling the beginning of the event. Posters were placed on the sliding doors and on the outside columns.

reIMAGINE 2016 posters on sliding door

reIMAGINE 2016 posters on columns (the mystery girl's name is Rachael Brancich)

Walking in, we came across MVP John Lowther who seemed excited to see David and I. After chit-chatting for a few minutes, we head over to the Dynamic Communities registration desk, where we would claim our badges.

Microsoft Business Solutions MVP John Lowther
We were greeted by Daisey Eck, Program Coordinator with Dynamic Communities, who began searching for our badges and preparing our conference goodies. Apparently, David's badge could not be located for quite a bit of time and it took the quick eyes and memory of Shanna Hensch, Events Manager at Dynamic Communities, to locate the badge which happened to be in the very front row of the pile close to the drawer where Daisey was standing.

David Musgrave receiving his conference goodies and guide
After registering, we walked around to see what was going on and crashed the class of fellow Microsoft Business Solutions MVP, Ian Grieve. Ian is the author of AzureCurve, a blog dedicated to all things Microsoft Dynamics GP. Ian lives in the United Kingdom and did his first trek to Fargo, ND to teach a Microsoft Dynamics GP Workflow pre-conference training session. He was also going to spend additional time after the conference, visiting friends and touring a few places.

Microsoft Business Solutions MVP Ian Grieve

Back at the registration desk, we caught up with the full conference reception team, so we decided to snap one more picture.

From left to right: Shanna Hensch, Sue Whitney, and Daisey Eck

Our day was just about to get much more interesting. A couple weeks aback, prior to arriving to the conference, my boss, Jay Manley, invited me to attend a car show even that was being held in Dilworth, Minnesota, just a few miles outside of Fargo, which I gladly accepted, given the fact that I am also a car nuts - BMW cars, but nonetheless a car nuts. The day before, I spent quite a bit of time trying to convince David to join in, until he finally gave in and decided to go. Jay happens to drive a 1972 Mustang Mach 1 which was originally equipped with a 351 cu CJ (Cobra Jet) engine. Jay has made some changes to this car to say the least and has acquired a Ford 351 cu in Cleveland engine stroked to 408 cu in, .631/.644 CAM lift, 240/244 duration and compression ratio of 13.5:1. This engine is fuel injected, burning 99.9% ethanol. These specs put the Mach 1 at nearly 600 hp at the crank.

'72 Mustang Mach 1

'72 Mustang Mach 1 Engine Bay

From left to right: Air Fuel Ratio (O2), Fuel Pressure, Trans Temp, Voltage gauges

From left to right: Water Temp, Oil Pressure, Oil Temp

Arriving at the event in Dilworth, Jay revved up a bit to call everyone's attention to the pony entering the lot. We found some really cool builds on the lot, although some others needed a lot of work. Here's the best of what I personally saw out there.

Following the car meet up, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings, around the Fargo Dome to get some lunch and then back to the hotel. David and I decided to give our presentation one more pass, but not without the help of our dear friend and fellow Microsoft Business Solutions MVP, Leslie Vail.

David Musgrave and Leslie Vail

Leslie helped us with refining the introductory problem descriptions for our GP Power Tools session, which aided us in selecting sample of demos to present during our session. Following our meet up, David and I went back to our rooms to drop off our stuff to join Sheila Jefferson-Ross and Leslie Vail in what have become a yearly conference tradition: meet and greet and dinner with friends at Passage to India, a local Indian food joint located in the Westfield Strip Mall on 45th street south.

Sheila Jefferson-Ross

The crew in Sheila's and Leslie's room
Front, left to right: Craig Clapman, Tanya Henderson, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Leslie Vail, David Musgrave, Ora Goldman, Angel Blum
Back, left to right: Lee Butenhoff, Jay Manley, Ian Grieve
At Passage to India

Well, after a heavy dinner, it was time to go back to the hotel as the real conference would begin bright and early on Monday morning.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP

Microsoft reIMAGINE 2016 - Pre-conference Day 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.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

I'll save you the full details, but my first stop to Fargo was Terminal B's Gate 31 at Atlanta's Hartfield-Jackson International Airport, known by it's IATA airport code as ATL. Before reaching the gate, I stopped at the Fly Burger Bar Boutique, a gourmet burger joint that opened shop couple years ago. If you ever transiting through ATL and happen to be in or around Terminal B, I highly recommend you stop at this place. I had a cheese burger with fries and a beer and needless to say, it was cooked to perfection. However, note that you have your choice of mixing and matching any of the offered toppings, cheeses, etc., til your heart contents. Fly Burger is located next to Gate 27.

After eating, I proceeded to Gate 31 from where my flight was originally scheduled to depart from. After waiting for about 30 minutes, an announcement came up to let us know that the flight would be departing from, well Gate 27. After waiting for a bit to board, I ran into Joe Carroll, Executive Director of the Association of Dynamics Professionals, who was also on his way to Fargo, North Dakota.

My first leg to Minneapolis-St. Paul International airport (MSP) was devoid of any incidents, with just a minor bump somewhere over the Midwest, I guess in anticipation of the stormy week ahead (more on that later in the week). After landing in MSP, I went to find my new departure gate, which would be in the C concourse. I quickly realized I had checked my phone charger in my bag, so I got a spare at one of the stores close to the gate.

The flight to Fargo was again, quick and without any incidents. Upon landing, Jay Manley, coworker and my boss at Mekorma, Inc. was waiting for me. Joe and I grabbed a ride with him over to the Home2 Suites Fargo extended stay.

Upon arrival, the check-in process was straight forward. I had called earlier to make arrangements to add one more night to my stay as I had really reserved the room starting the following night (Sunday), not the night of my arrival. The reservation staff at H2 were kind enough, with the help of David Musgrave, to ensure that I wouldn't have to be switching rooms in the morning.

After dropping off my stuff, I went back to the lobby to meet up with my friends who had already arrived.

From Left to Right: Mariano Gomez, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, Leslie Vail, John Lowther
In the back: David Musgrave (left) and Jay Manley (right)

From Left to Right: Mariano Gomez, Sheila Jefferson-Ross, David Musgrave, Leslie Vail, Jay Manley, John Lowther
I don't think we did anything much after that, so the night was easy enough to get some rest for the following morning would have David and I reviewing our presentations and working on our timing.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP