For those of you who have never attended
Here’s a day by day play for those of you who weren’t able to attend or for those who may have enjoyed an extra day of sunshine in Orlando!
Monday & Tuesday
The event began with an exciting opening keynote in the morning, highlighted by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. He was a delight to hear speak, and continues to drive his message about the mobile-first, cloud-first world. Being a company that builds a cloud-based product that allows mobile engagement, that sounds great to me. Microsoft took advantage of the captive audience to showcase a few really compelling new technologies that look amazing – Gigjam and Hololens leading that group. The Windows 10 demo was truly enjoyable and the product is looking good. The demo was performed by Microsoft’s Executive Demo Lead, Bryan Roper who has a pretty cool story. If you’re interested in piano bar music you’ll want to enjoy
Though Dynamics was mostly ignored in the keynote I left looking forward to the rest of the event.
The rest of Monday and Tuesday was devoted to sessions and the expo hall. There were Dynamics focused sessions each day, where I found content that certainly made it worthwhile to attend.
Wednesday started with a closing keynote where we heard about the evolving partner ecosystem from many different Microsoft executives. Much of this was similar to the last several years – focused heavily on partners adding IP and other annuity-based revenue streams. It also was heavily focused on adding cloud-services for many of the partners. Again, these are the things Microsoft is really focused on, so this messaging was not a surprise. One thing that stuck out to me in the closing keynote was a comment made by one of the Executives that Dynamics is shifting to the center of the Microsoft ecosystem. This was an exciting message as a Dynamics ISV, so we will see where that goes.
The closing keynote was strong with Kevin Turner echoing the comments of Satya earlier in the week, but giving even more detail. He was very clear in his messaging that Microsoft has the best cloud services, the best products, and the best partner channel. He also mentioned that they’re excited about the competition and the fact that “Microsoft is back”. He received some strong applause when explaining his thoughts on recent partnerships with historically Microsoft-haters such as Salesforce.com and Oracle. He was very clear that Microsoft is still committed to winning in the competition, but feels the need to have these strategic partnerships to continue to build the best cloud platform in the world.
All in all, while Dynamics is not a strong focus of WPC, there was great value in the event for me and our business this year. I was able to learn a few things, grab some fun SWAG, meet with many of our partners and have really great conversations that will help to move our business forward. Add the two days of Disney World at the end of the conference with my family and what more could you ask for from a conference?
Again, it was great engaging with new and current partners! If you aren’t yet a Partner of CRM Vertex we invite you to join us.