I started working with Navision in 1990 and since then I've done almost everything in this industry.
In 1995 I started the Dynamics User Group, formerly Navision Online User Group and Microsoft Business Solutions User Group. Here on my blog I write mostly about the Dynamics Community, my experiences with Microsoft and especially the Dynamics NAV and Navision projects I'm working on, but also how it is to work as a self-employed Navision freelancer, Navision contractor or whatever you call it.
Today my first session was about "Extending Collaboration with the 2007 Microsoft Office System: Office Groove 2007 and Office OneNote 2007". I selected this session because I have previously been using both Groove and OneNote and I really see some potential in both applications. But I would also like to hear about it in situations outside my little IT world.
Where Sharepoint is Microsoft's offering to primary internal enterprise and departmental collaboration, then Groove is their offer in the area of teams and projects which are often more combined of people accross organizations and in more ad-hoc fashion. No interaction from your IT department is required to create a new Groove site (called work space). Everyone in the company who have been trusted to use Groove can themselves create a new work space and invite the team members. And they can do this without putting any finger on security, as the work space is protected with both public and private keys. The customer references he told about who was using Groove was amoung police, hospitals and government organizations.
Personally I have primary been using Groove in connection with my NAV MVP award, where we have a Groove work space where all the NAV MVP's can share information and files between eachother. I like it very much but it's also very easy to see that this application was something Microsoft bought from another company not so many years ago. So it doesn't really look the other Office applications, neither in design/layout, nor in the way it can be integrated easily to other Office applications. But I think once they get his solved, then it's a really strong application, which most organizations can make very good use of.
Speaker Mark Ryan of Microsoft made a very good presentation of the subject, and showed a few very good examples of where it is used in organizations today.
OneNote was the other subject of the session. OneNote is also part of Microsoft Office (Enterprise version). I really like this application, as a replacement for my normal paper notepad. You can create both structured documents and add really unstructured comments, as well as you can add pictures, sounds and videos into your OneNote documents.
The customer reference for OneNote was the City of Bergen in Norway. They have replaced all printed meeting documents and minutes with OneNote documents, which all employees can access from their pc. Their primary reason for doing this was to save the environment, and expect to save 3 million A4 papers each year. That the same as 400 threes and 210 ton of CO2. On top of that they save an estimated 340000 NKR each year.
If you haven't tried OneNote already, then I can really recommend it myself. I love it.
Kirill Tatarinov's keynote was the first session on Convergence 2008. As someone who have participated on many Microsoft and before that Navision conferences over years then this keynote as actually boring. Not that Kirill is a bad speaker, his little russian accent makes him sound a bit more entertaining. But except for his announcement of Dynamics NAV 2009, there was really nothing new here. Just a lot of sales talk, not giving anything new.
The most interesting part of his session was really the demonstration of the new surface platform. The demonstration used it in a warehouse mangement situation, where it was used to optimize inventory locations. I liked this graphical view of a warehouse a lot, but on the other hand then I think it will take at least 5 to 10 years before we really can start use something like this in normal companies. And even the examples they demonstrated, could easily and more ideal be automated. But it looked great.
After the session the exhibition hall was open, and here is the place where I usually get the most value from Convergence. The chance to meet not only old friends and co-workers (remember I have worked with NAV since 1990), but also meet new people and companies. I think that this year will not be an exception, I have already meet a lot of our members of Dynamics User Group and a lot of companies which add-on products looks really great.
I have just arrived in Bella Center, the venue where Microsoft Convergence takes place in Copenhagen 2008. They also call it Convergence EMEA, for Europe, Middleeast and Africa and this is the second year in the row where they have it here in Bella Center.
It's only 8:30am here and the conference is not set to start until 9:30am, but as a local resident (I love about 50 km from Bella Center), then I know the morning traffic, which sometimes simply isn't accountable. But this morning it was actually ok. It took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get here. And then the lines to get my access card was also quite short today. I remember last year were it took some people up to 30 minutes to get their card. So I decided to get here early. Last year I was also participating as a speaker, so I could use the VIP counter to get my card. This year I'm here "only" as a customer.
With my Dynamics NAV cap on, then the primary topic of this whole conference is the release of Dynamics NAV 2009, which Corporate Vice President, Kirill Tatarinov is expected to announce in his keynote at 9:30am. As being one of the Dynamics NAV MVP's, then of cause I have already seen this many times. But as I'm am working for a company which currently is just wrapping up our Dynamics NAV 5.0 (sp1) version of our global Core, then to me my main interest isn't really NAV 2009.
Today besides the keynotes and general NAV session, then I'm going to listen a little about SQL performance and NAV, although I don't expect to hear too much news. And later this afternoon I'm going to participate in some focus groups about Help and documentation.
I'm planning to write a little about the diffent sessions I'm participating in, but do also expect to see blog posts from the other bloggers from Dynamicsuser.net.