Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) - Day 1



Keynote and General Session

I know, it's been over a week since Microsoft Convergence 2015 closed its doors, however, I did not want the time to go by without reliving some of the things I personally experienced throughout the event. With early mornings and late evenings it became impossible to write blog posts as things were happening, considering my own involvement with quite a few of the activities and presentations at Convergence.

Day 1 started out with David and I rushing through Atlanta's traffic to get to the Georgia World Congress Center. From there we would head over to the Phillips Arena for the Opening Keynote Speech. We got there at the tail end of the presentation of Dance 411. The Dance 411 Foundation’s mission is to foster the well-being of urban youth and young adults through self-expression. They provide a quality education and exposure to the discipline of dance, drama and music. Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America was in the middle of interviewing JJ Crampton and Sindy Scheider, both directors of the Foundation and requesting everyone filled out the Convergence event evals, for which Microsoft would make a donation to the Foundation.

Dance 411
Once the dance group completed their presentation, Althoff was once on stage to talk about the Atlanta Youth Project and Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture and the volunteering work done in conjunction with the Convergence attendees who signed up for community outreach, now a staple of these events. The community outreach video was accompanied by an original song by The Groove Merchants.

Upon the conclusion of the community outreach video, Althoff was back on stage to describe the upcoming days at Convergence and some of the guest speakers that attendees would have a chance to experience. He also alluded to the fact that the event itself, Convergence, is also evolving and changing, just like the businesses present at the event. He also noted that Convergence used to be a Dynamics only event. Microsoft has expanded the event and evolved it to actually incorporate all of its innovations. Convergence has become the Premier Business Event.

Without further due, Satya Nadella was on stage to talk about how Microsoft is empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, via the "systems on intelligence".

Satya Nadella on Microsoft's Vision
The systems of intelligence interact with the systems of record to make sense of the data collected. Microsoft is focusing on the automation of the systems of intelligence, with the richness of its cloud infrastructure. To further talk about how other industries are taking advantage of the technologies that drive the systems of intelligence, Satya welcomed Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson.

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson
Russell described how he uses OneNote to track all his activities on and off the field and how the National Football League (NFL) leverages Microsoft Surface during the games to analyze team formations, plays, and players in near real time - Microsoft is a sponsor of the NFL.

The rest of the presentation focused around the use of other technologies such as Yammer within Microsoft itself. Also there was a cool case study on how AccuWeather is leveraging Microsoft Azure to deliver custom and personalized weather to both consumers and businesses.

AccuWeather
After the case studies, it was time for Mark, Belinda, and I to head over to the GWCC to wire up for the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session, to be held at the Sydney Marcus Auditorium. Upon arrival, I went back stage to check in and had a chance to capture this picture with the engineering team at work.

Video and Audio Engineering Room
This year, the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session featured a number of info-bites showing what each of the presenters were doing at different stages during the 90's and various terminologies born from that time.

Little bits of information before session
This year's Dynamics GP General Session would focus on product strategy and roadmap, and as customary, it began with with Errol Schoenfish welcoming all attendees and discussing the Microsoft Cloud for Business strategy, which features Office 365, Azure, and the business applications, including Microsoft Dynamics GP. Errol went on to demo a Time Management app (#IfErrolCanDoIt) showing how it would work on various device platforms.

Then came the highlight of the event (ehem!): The MVP Duel featuring Mark Polino and I, with a special guest, Belinda Allen. Our presentation, showcasing a number of new features in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015, went very smooth and features were well received by the audience.

The MVP Duel - From left to right: MVPs Mark Polino, Belinda Allen, and Mariano Gomez
Up next was the customer story featuring Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), a non-profit dedicated to make solar energy available to low income families.

Next up was Jennifer Ranz to demo a day in the life of a RREAL employee. Jenn showed the dashboards released for Office 365 and PowerBI. Jason Edens from RREAL came on stage to talk about how their company is leveraging Microsoft Dynamics GP to run their business.

The session went on with other demos and a glimpse into the future of Microsoft Dynamics GP. First up was Jeff Trosen to talk about the evolution of the Microsoft Dynamics GP roadmap. Chad Sogge came up next to talk about the new HTML 5 interface and provide a demo of how this new web client technology will allow for a better user experience across browsers and devices.

Errol Schoenfish and Chad Sogge on the Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client
I had to finally get a shot of the audience.

Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session Attendance

Well, in my next post, I will talk about the sessions we delivered throughout the rest of the event.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP
Intelligent Partnerships, LLC
http://www.intelligentpartnerships.com/
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