A week later, we’re finally starting to decompress from the whirlwind week we spent in Atlanta for Convergence 2015. It was jam-packed with learning opportunities, getting fresh insights on the future of Dynamics, and meeting with hundreds of people at our booth in the Expo. Here are some of the things we took away from our experience.
This year at Convergence, we really saw the culmination of Satya’s cloud-first, mobile-first vision and what that means for the Dynamics channel. We’re starting to see more of a definitive story around the cloud business process layer, and that includes Office 365 and Azure as well as the Dynamics products. Office 365 and Azure had a much bigger presence at Convergence at this year’s event.
Major presence from Satya and co.
Microsoft brought the right people to Convergence 2015, including CEO Satya Nadella and Kirill Tatarinov. Historically, this is the biggest year for Microsoft leadership representation yet, and it was great to see that kind of support. Check out the opening keynote with Satya and Kirill to get sense of their vision around Microsoft’s suite of business solutions.
More strategic business content
The content at Convergence seems to have evolved into more of a strategic business perspective rather than the technical focus in previous years. It was pretty well received. You can see many of these sessions in the Convergence video library. Our own Gretchen Opferkew presented a well-attended session: PowerObjects CRM University: Strategies for CRM Rollout, Training, and User Adoption.
We also saw a noticeable focus and interest in the customer care part of the channel, including Unified Service Desk (USD) Online, Parature, and the suite of tools for customer care. Our own customer care practice director, Greg Moser, talked at a couple of sessions that had high attendance and interest.
Greg working the crowd
Thoughts on the Convergence Expo
PowerObjects has always put on a big show in the Expo, the tradeshow piece of Convergence. We noticed that despite the other broad changes at Convergence 2015, the Expo was still very heavily focused on the same ISVs and partners we’ve seen in the past. So, while we heard a lot about Microsoft’s cloud story in the keynotes and general sessions, that wasn’t necessarily reflected in the tradeshow. Our guess is we’re going to see a much broader set of partners involved there moving forward. This will probably mean more of an Office 365 or Azure presence.
From a customer perspective, this means that there will be a broader base of people to talk to at Convergence. For instance, in the past the only people that would attend the conference would be those using ERP, CRM, or other products in the Dynamics product set. Now we may see customers coming in to the Microsoft ecosystem from an Azure or Office 365 stance, and we can talk to them about CRM Online.
From our own perspective, we took our technology to another level this year at our Expo booth. Instead of scanning visitor badges, the PowerObjects team designed a system to leverage and demonstrate the power of our Dynamics CRM add-ons, including PowerSMS and PowerWebForm. Visitors texted “CRM” to a number, which then kicked off a workflow sent them a link to fill out a web form so they could be eligible to pick up their free tech jacket and be entered to win a Microsoft Band. This “SMS game” was a great way to get people involved, show off the power of Dynamics CRM and our PowerPack add-ons, and drive real-time data into our own CRM system. We gave away 3,000 tech jackets to those who participated in the game.
Drawing to win a Microsoft Band
PowerObjects customers highlighted
We were very proud to have several customers be invited to speak at Convergence 2015. Here’s the list of speakers and presentations:
- Your Sales Data: Seeing it in a Whole New Way – David Peterson, Trek Bicycle Corporation
- Service by Microsoft Dynamics: CIO’s Strategy, Design, and Implementation Best Practices – Darla Sebastian, MonoPrice and Ben Edgren, Trek Bicycle Corporation
- Sales Productivity Best Practices – David Peterson, Trek Bicycle Corporation
- See Your Sales Data in a Whole New Way – David Peterson, Trek Bicycle Corporation
- SMB Success in a Mobile-first, Cloud-first World – Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Re-imagining Manufacturing and Distribution in a Connected World” – David Peterson, Trek Bicycle
Ken Kelly of Kelly Roofing was also recognized with the prestigious Visionary Award in the Modern Small or Medium Business category. You can see him speak with Wayne Morris about the award at Convergence 2015 on the main stage in the Philips Arena.
Gearing up for next year
True, we just finished up Convergence 2015. That won’t stop us from starting to plan for next year’s event. We’re excited to be going to New Orleans for Convergence 2016. Plan on being there with us!