The focus of Convergence is changing. We have all seen it coming but now the changes are becoming more obvious.
The first Convergence held in 1997 in Orlando, FL with 164 attendees was focused on accounting software users only. (A Microsoft Dynamics Convergence Timeline Event Statistics 1997 to 2014) Then Microsoft entered the picture and the event expanded to include the four accounting software product lines and CRM too. Then some Microsoft Office products, a little SharePoint here and there…
Now, it is no longer “Microsoft Dynamics Convergence”, it is “Microsoft Convergence”. This year, I noticed that there are several new areas of focus, outside of the traditional Microsoft Dynamics area.
In the Convergence 2015 sessions catalog you can choose sessions for:
- Microsoft Dynamics AX
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Microsoft Dynamics GP
- Microsoft Dynamics NAV
- Microsoft Dynamics SL
- Microsoft Lync
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft SharePoint
Quite a large percentage of the sessions list is taken up by non-Dynamics products. I believe the goal is to showcase the bigger picture: how Microsoft Dynamics customers can use all of these solutions for one modern connected Microsoft business. There is a certain segment of Microsoft Dynamics users that will find value in this, but not all of them.
I have also heard a rumor that Convergence 2015 will not have one large general session for each of the Dynamics products as they have done in the past. And I have also heard rumors that changes in the ISV expo pricing will exclude some of the “regulars” we normally see there.
As a team, we will be evaluating Convergence 2015 closely this year, to determine the value it brings to our customers. We will also be recommending that our clients consider attending the GPUG Summit event.
In an interview with Kim Peterson, I liked the way she described Convergence as the place to see what is coming in the future and GPUG Summit as the place to see how to use what you have right now. She uses a night club versus a coffee shop analogy to compare the two events. There is a place for both, but they are very different and appeal to different audiences.
I know that one thing I love about Convergence is the scale and energy. You can’t help but come away feeling pumped up with possibilities. I love the celebrity keynote speakers and yes, the entertainment. But something I loved about GPUG Summit was the sense of community. In this smaller event, I knew every single person I crossed paths with was connected with Microsoft Dynamics GP and we had that in common. It was very easy to network and share. It is quite possible that someone I meet in the hallway at Convergence this year will never have heard of Microsoft Dynamics GP (and certainly not Great Plains).
I am looking forward to Convergence 2015 and I feel confident that our clients who are attending will have a fantastic event. But I also think that this will be the year to evaluate the changes made to the event with a keen eye.
Convergence 2015 Website – Atlanta, GA March 16-19
GPUG Summit 2015 Website – Reno, NV October 12-16
By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions, Connecticut Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner