Convergence Diary: Keynote session with Steve Ballmer

Today, it's not a NAV day at all. Very few NAV sessions - and actually not one where I'm interested in. All about marketing fluff, sales strategy, exectutive blabla ... . As developer, these are not really sessions in my interest. That's why I signed up for quite some Community & Learning Center and Expo duty. I had a positive experience with it yesterday, so I'm convinced that today is going to be a very interesting day as well Smile.

Allthough I'm not interested in all the marketing and sales "fluff" Wink, I stil wanted to go to Steve's session (for the record: I mean Steven Ballmer Wink). No matter what your interest is - you have to go to Steve's session. It's a moral obligation. I attended his session in one of the previous converences. I don't remember which one exactly, but I remember his punch line: "You guys energize me". I'm curious what his punchline is going to be.

First, some general info about Convergence was highlighted: the sponsors, Speak Your Mind booth, ... Stuff like that. After that - the show :-). It started off with some kind of circus act (we are in Orlando, so this was inevitable Wink). Some girls hanging on "hoola hoops" and sheets above the podium, doing some acrobatic stuff in the air ... . I wonder Steve will do the same in a few minutes - I doubt it.

Michael Park - Corporate vice President Small and Mid-Market Solutions and Partners - kicked off (hey, where's Steve?). It seems that he wanted to go over some figures about convergence. You know, there are over 9500 people are attending this Convergence. Like I always say when I'm amazed: "hola pola". That's a lot, isn't it?

Furthermore, this is what Convergence offers this year: 3 keynote sessions, 13 General Sessions / 286 concurrent sessions / 110 Interactive sessions / Community and Learning Center / Expo. The introduction of steve: He has watched the company (fyi Microsoft) grown from 24 people to what it is today.

Steve comes up (without a punch line Wink). Everyone knows that he can "get everyones attention". He stated that the biggest decision, the best decision (besides the yahoo deal Wink) he ever had to make during all those years at microsoft, is going to Businnes Applications - our stuff.

Then, he began with what the challenges and opportunities are. Off course, the market in the US is going a bit tougher at the moment, but (off course) he adviced to innovate, to search for new innovative opportunities.

In the old days, you got a very strong focus on the "Application Platform". Later on (mid 80's) it shifted to personal productivity (with the personal computers coming up). Now, we have to try to fill that gap between the personal productivity and the application platform - to let the people know what is really going on in the organisation/market/... . The "personal productivity" has to be "connected" with the "application platform". This connection, he calls "Analysis & teamwork".

Microsoft offers for the "Personal Productivity": Usability, mobile solutions, portals. For "Analysis & Teamwork": Workflow, Search, Business Intelligence. And for "Application platform": Scalability, Integration, Somplicity. And all this - with Dynamics. I think we can confirm this, no Smile?

When he summed up the different Dynamics products, it was very noticable how he emphasized the NAV product. No kidding. Like he said about AX and all others (except NAV): "it was good received, new version right arround the corner". About NAV he said: "it has been extremely well received (with a big emphasise on the word "extremely"), and I'm really excited about that". Go Steve!

Demo time. The intention was to get a glimpse on the future - about the integrated platform. First Microsoft CRM. There is a caller, the system recognizes the caller and the customer/contact card pops up. The customer wants to change its order and - obviously - this is a peace of cake. The call was tranfered to someone in the company who does not use CRM, but uses one of the ERP proucts (I didn't get what it was). She had a graphical overview of the production schedule, so could immediately see what impact it had on the schedule (none whatsoever).

Next, Ronald A. Rittenmeyer, Chairman, President and CEO of EDS - a Microsoft partner (last year's partner of the year). Ronald was convinced being the biggest Microsoft implementor wordwide: + 3000000 desktops, +100000 servers. Ronald was really full of himself: "We have many customers, in many countries, in many languages, ... So we know about customer interaction ... And we believe in the way Microsoft wants to go". I believe in this as well, but this wouldn't be a way to convince me Wink.

Back to Steve. Let's look foward to the migration of a world of software to a world of software + services. There is the desktop, the web, devices and servers that has to be "connected", "serviced", and have software. Microsoft vision: you have to have the best on the server, on the devices, on the desktop and on the web (see where this is going?). In the Dynamics product line, they will try to embrace this as much as possible. There are already results, expecially for desktop, server and mobile. He was talking about "the power of choice": what are your processes, where you need them (on premises, partner hosted, ...), what are you terms.

In the next few months: Microsoft will launch Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live, which will be a step to the combination of Software and Services. A demo by Bill Patterson: Seems that CRM Live is version of CRM that can be accessed through a browser. An online CRM as you want. Furthermore the desktop app is still available through outlook. Automatical tracking of emails in CRM, one button synch of contact to CRM Indifferent with conflict handling, ... . I don't know enough about CRM to know what's interesting, to be honest.

Back to Steve again. Why Microsoft? The seriousness, the focus on integrated solutions, the focus on services strategy, the long-term commitment and approach, the support, ... Are really 100%. I don't think anyone doubt it. I also don't think that this is not the case at the competition, but anyway ... (you have to keep being objective Wink).

That was it. Only demo's about CRM. That's not nice, Steve! Anyway, it was an interesting Key Note afterall. Glad I attended.


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