Every year I look forward to attending the Microsoft Convergence event with our Dynamics GP clients. Until now…
Before Convergence 2015, when I wrote the post “Has Convergence Expanded Too Far Beyond Microsoft Dynamics This Year?”, I knew that change was coming. But I was not prepared for the level of change at Convergence 2015 and especially not for the changes announced for Convergence 2016.
Convergence started out in 1997 as a Great Plains user event with 167 people. It then expanded into a Dynamics user event including GP, AX, NAV, SL, and eventually CRM. Then we saw some Microsoft products start to show up. Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM got the spotlight, but Dynamics GP was still there.
This year, there were 12,000 people at Convergence, but Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains) was never even mentioned in the keynote. (Actually, none of the Dynamics ERP products were mentioned)
Instead, it focused on Dynamics CRM, Office 365, Skype for Business, Cortana, Delve, and other Microsoft applications – all running in Azure of course. Admittedly some cool technology, but not an integrated system I see any of our Dynamics GP clients installing anytime soon. (In fact, my colleague Amber Bell said the demo reminded her of a sci-fi thriller movie where the machines take over…..)
And next year, reliable rumors have it that there will not be any Dynamics GP content or concurrent sessions at all. (UPDATE: an even more reliable source, Pam Misialek, says there will be Dynamics GP content at Convergence 2016…so we will have to wait for details on that.)
Convergence has now changed into Microsoft’s “Premier Event for Business”. No mention of Dynamics.
I spoke with Bob McAdam (sometimes called the Mayor of Convergence) who tweeted “Goodbye Convergence” not referring to Atlanta in 2015 but referring to the whole spirit of the event. Bob discusses his thoughts in Episode 19 of the Enterprise Software Podcast.
Another industry veteran, Mark Polino expresses his thoughts at Why 2015 may have been my last Convergence conference.
So what are our Microsoft Dynamics GP users to do?
In the future, I will recommend that our Microsoft Dynamics GP users attend the GPUG Summit event. For the first time, Microsoft even promoted these user events from the main stage as the place to go for Dynamics product information. This year GPUG Summit is in Reno Nevada September 13-16.
In an interview with Kim Peterson, she described Convergence as a night club and Summit as a coffee shop. My guess is that that “coffee shop” will get getting a whole lot bigger this year.
I do think that a few of our clients might attend Convergence 2016, especially since it is in New Orleans, just for the experience of it, but anyone interested in Microsoft Dynamics GP content will now go to the GPUG Summit.
The Convergence world as we know it may have ended, “but I feel fine”.
By Anya Ciecierski, CAL Business Solutions, Connecticut Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner, www.calszone.com