Archive for the ‘Convergence 2011’ Category

Tribridge Tapped as Third Master VAR for Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft has confirmed that US-based Dynamics reselling partner (and valued Data Masons partner), Tribridge will be the third Master VAR in the new program that recently rolled out in the US. Tribridge has invested heavily in their private cloud offering for Dynamics ERP and CRM, Concerto, in the past year with expanded visibility. At Convergence 2011, Tribridge managing director of cloud computing Greg Pierce, estimated that as many as 80% of new clients are at least considering a cloud option for their Dynamics ERP or CRM solutions. You can tune into the Dynamics AX Day of Decisions Fall 2011 on December 5th for Pierce’s session where he’ll be discussing his latest views on the understanding the total cost of ownership of cloud-based ERP.

Read why Microsoft selected Tribridge and the outlook for the Master VAR

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Highlights on Convergence 2011: A Big Week for Dynamics AX, GP and NAV

I thought Convergence was busy, but this past week back in the office post-Convergence has proved to be even busier, just with less walking and unfortunately, fewer parties. As Kirill Tatarinov noted in his keynote, this conference was the 2nd largest Convergence with over 9300 attendees and I definitely felt a positive impact of having a larger group as compared to previous conferences.

More attendees, more opportunities to connect face-to-face with my peers that I only get to speak with occasionally, if even that, as more often it’s hearing through the grapevine what new endeavors our colleagues are taking on. And then there are all the new connections. I have to say, having attended more conferences than I sometimes can remember, this conference was one of the most successful ones in terms of meeting new professionals within the community. So this past week, follow up from the conference included everything from partner prospect meetings, perspective client product demos and responding to social media messages.

If you missed out on the Convergence experience, there are a good amount of online resources that highlight the major topics and announcements delivered at the conference. I’ve provided some brief highlights below for the Dynamics AX, GP and NAV ERPs…

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Atlanta or HOT-lanta? Convergence 2011 keynote stage heats up with Microsoft announcements

Apart from AX 2012 and all the celebration around 10 years of Dynamics ERP growth, Monday’s keynote was slammed with other hot topics and announcements coming from Microsoft. The common thread pulling them all together according to Steve Ballmer – Microsoft comes to work to be focused and help you WIN!

As expected, taking Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to the cloud was a hot topic. Instead of reiterating all of the points discussed, both during the keynote and later among attendees, you can read Brandon George’s blog post on cloud computing for AX and the post for a more comprehensive look at the technical challenges and partner considerations surrounding cloud-based ERP environments.

Microsoft Innovations
Steve delivered highlights from all of the Microsoft product lines: Devices / Entertainment / Search (Bing) / Business Applications / Cloud / Productivity

Kinect for the Xbox 360 is the fastest-selling consumer electronics device; sells quicker than the iPhone and iPad (8 Million devices in its first 60 days!)
Bing – The little engine that you should make as your default!
Office 365 – A little more/few links; Dynamics ERP Online solutions are expected to take advantage of advances in Office 365
BI – Ballmer: “Traditionally BI was just a bolt on for ERP systems whereas with Dynamics AX 2012, BI is integrated with the solution.”
Other Announcements

Dynamics SL 2011, gives businesses a faster time to value through integration with Project 2010, is now generally available…

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Ten Years and Going Strong: Convergence 2011 Keynote’s Focus Balances Microsoft’s Commitment to Dynamics with Customer Successes

Thanks to my wife, I’m double-booked and had to head out before the close of the conference. As I wait to board my flight, my feet are tired, very tired, but I’m feeling great about this successful event, both from a partner and an attendee perspective.

I’ve talked often about the growth of the Dynamics User Groups, but during Kirill Tatarinov ‘s keynote on Monday he presented some pretty impressive stats for Microsoft’s growth as well:

Microsoft has been in the ERP space for 10yrs – GP started it all!
2nd largest Convergence conference in history with over 9,300 attendees
Millions of users log into Dynamics each day
Over 1,000 people have worked for Dynamics for over 10 years
(And I must say, in regards to the attendance at this conference, the expo hall was rocking, tons of people looking for solutions. For me this was a huge change from the last few conferences I attended.)

And it wasn’t all about Microsoft’s growth within the past 10 years. Kirill also highlighted two customers that have been with Microsoft during this time. The first customer highlight was Black Box Network Services, a leader in communications and infrastructure products, who started with Microsoft 10 years ago by acquiring Dynamics SL for just 56 users. Since then the company has experienced insane growth, and has also purchased Dynamics GP for some parts of their organization, and at Convergence 2011, they’re looking at the latest version of Dynamics AX to deploy for the global part of their company.

The 2nd company Kirill highlighted was another 10-year Dynamics user, NK Parts, a global supply chain leader who selected Dynamics NAV as the backbone for their operations. Through the growth of new offices, changes in business, etc., Dynamics NAV has evolved to…

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The Word on AX 2012 Coming from Convergence 2011: It’s ERP for everyone

Behind the “Cloud” of Monday’s keynote featuring Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov, the speech ended with the announcement and demonstration of Dynamics AX 2012 (beta version). Although the version is not cloud-based, it’s designed as a highly-customizable solution that unlike previous versions, does so without the need for writing any code. Kirill stated that “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 frees customers from the electronic concrete that has plagued the ERP industry for so long. Customers want flexible yet cost- effective business apps that work the way they do instead of being forced to adapt to the software.”

As part of his speech, Kirill focused on Microsoft’s commitment to helping people become more productive, with agile, flexible business processes. He highlighted several customer success stories to better demonstrate this commitment and the AX 2012 wins scored as part of Microsoft’s TAP program. One of the wins highlighted was that of Hydra-Power Systems, a leading manufacturer and distributor of custom hydraulic systems. While we all know Microsoft’s spin on AX 2012, let me give you a snip-it of Kirill’s remarks on Hydra-Power so you can hear the client’s perspective on AX 2012…

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GPUG PreGAME at Convergence is a double-hitter with Doug Kennedy and Anders Spatzek

If you missed Mark Rockwell’s viking outfit on Sunday at Convergence, then you must have missed the GPUG PreGAME event, hosted by GP Partner Connections. This event, like the AXUG and NAVUG DayONE events, are some of the best events as they occur before the Microsoft agenda kicks off, giving us partners the chance to dive right into ERP-specific content and take part in discussions with key Microsoft personnel.

The PreGAME kicked-off early with Kim Peterson of GPUG opening the session, with Doug Kennedy and Anders Spatzek following with a discussion on the partner channel and how it’s been different from other Microsoft partner models. Some interesting points from the keynote…

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There’s No Place Like Home, but the Partner Reception Makes Convergence 2011 Feel Like a Home Away from Home

One of the great things about the Microsoft partner community is that all of us in it are truly part of a tight community of professionals. So last night’s partner-only reception hosted by Microsoft was a relaxing opportunity to meet up with the connections that we’re always working with or hearing about, but rarely see face to face. I think I can speak for others when I say that although it’s not always easy travelling for business, sharing evenings like last night with colleagues, and friends, makes home feel a little less far away.

I caught up with many folks that I had been looking forward to seeing, such as Bob McAdam (@4mcadam) and Mark Polino (@mpolino),as well as many members of the Dynamics Communities crew including, Andy Hafer, Frank Vukovits, Kim Peterson and Heather Williams. I also had the opportunity to talk with John Kleb of Sikich, Steven Gregory from Metafile and Mark Rockwell of Rockton Software. And there were many new introductions thrown in the mix for me as well, such as meeting Dave Musgrave (@Dev4DynamicsGP), who writes a blog for Microsoft Dynamics GP Developer and Consultant community.

It’s kind of funny, as much as we all talk and work together throughout the year, for most of us we couldn’t pick each other out in a crowd. For example, last night I introduced Kim Peterson of GPUG to both Bob McAdam and Mark Polino as they had never meet personally! I was joking that as long as they’ve all been involved with GPUG, it was funny…

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“EDI is HOT. No, Really!” Post Gets the Wheels Turning on the State of EDI

While researching ideas for future blog posts I came across the recent post titled, “EDI is HOT. No, really!” by Benoit Lheureux of the Gartner Group. With a title like that, it definitely got my attention. I did a double-take before I was able to continue reading his post, which went on to describe the state of EDI with words I would never associate with this technology. Granted I’m in the trenches when it comes to EDI integration for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP and NAV but when I think of EDI I think “necessity” and “dictated” – the opposite of Lheureux’s more appealing take on things.

Whether or not you find EDI as Lheureux’s post describes, let’s at least talk about some of the various EDI subject lines that he mentions:

EDI Standards

ANSI ASC X12 (X12) is predominant in North America.
UN/EDIFACT is the only international standard and is predominant outside of North America.
TRADACOMS standard developed by the ANA (Article Numbering Association) is predominant in the UK retail industry.
ODETTE or VDA standard used within the Automotive Industry.
VICS standard is used by the general merchandise retail industry across North America.

Help with EDI Translator Upgrade

From a Microsoft Dynamics ISV who just specializes in EDI this is where “apples to apples” becomes “apples to bananas” as not all EDI ISV’s are the same with regards to how they handle translator software. Now some ISV/EDI vendors will have an OEM agreement or reseller agreement to sell another translator software solution, while others will expect you to recommend a translator software solution. And then you have…

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It’s not just the Tweet, but how it’s Tweeted: Using #hashtags to benefit the Microsoft Dynamics community

It’s not just the Tweet, but how it’s Tweeted: Using #hashtags to benefit the Microsoft Dynamics community

When we launched our Twitter account, I needed to explain #hashtags and how to best use them to my colleagues. While doing so my brain started to run-off into all different directions (nothing unusual there) about how ISVs, VARs, Subject Matter Experts, User Groups (e.g. AXUG, GPUG, NAVUG), Conferences (e.g. Convergence 2011) and of course, Microsoft benefit from using consistent #hashtags in their Tweets.

If you’re unfamiliar yourself, the # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages. Read “What are Hashtags” for more information.

So why should you care about #hashtags? If you use #hashtags then your message is categorized according to each tag, which makes it easier for someone to find information on a specific topic. As members of the Dynamics community, we can help potential prospects, partners, consultants, etc. navigate to relevant information by making sure we categorize our Tweets with the appropriate tags. For some of you, you might narrow that objective down even further and use tags more focused on a specific Dynamics platform, or even a type of product. Remember though, that hashtags are included within a Tweet’s 140 character limit, so choose wisely.

What #hashtags we should use? That’s not something I can decide, but I’ll help by…

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Convergence 2011 at your fingertips: Using social media to stay in-the-know, whether in Atlanta or out in the snow

For many of us we’ve been going to tradeshows since we can remember, and we have the company-branded shirts to prove it. And we’ve also seen a lot of trends come and go along the way, more than I care to remember. But one of the trends that I’m excited to see, and one that has developed quite a foothold, is the uptick of social media. While it was once just a fun new thing to do, social media is becoming an increasingly more important element in successful conference planning and execution.

Convergence 2011 is right around the corner and as much as I wish the entire reading audience could attend, as there’s no replacement for being there first-hand, I also know that resources and budgets keep willing participants at bay. If you’re not attending, staying connected “socially” during the countdown to Convergence and throughout the conference will help you stay on top of the latest announcements coming from Atlanta. And by following your blogging and tweeting peers that are attending, you can benefit from the information that they’ll be distributing outside of the Convergence classrooms.

For those of you attending Convergence, you can leverage social media outlets to get the most bang for your buck. By staying connected, you can benefit from start to finish, from planning your schedule to continuing strategic conversations afterwards. By joining your peers on Twitter and following their blog posts, you can leverage the information provided to maximize your Convergence ROI. “One of the greatest values of social media around conferences is…

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