Microsoft Envision 2016 Recap

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After more than a decade of exhibiting at Microsoft Convergence, we were on the fence about having a booth at Envision this year. We downsized our booth, our team attendance, and our expectations. We went from a gold sponsorship and two separate booths to highlight our distinct Microsoft Dynamics GP solutions from our Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions (Rockton Connect & Sales Order Processing) with 9 attendees, to one 10x10 booth with just two attendees. The decision to downsize our expenses was well based.
The booth staffing hours were long, the traffic was light, but we always find interesting people to talk to. We were surprised that about half of our traffic were Dynamics GP users well-familiar with the Rockton Software brand and product line: SmartFill, Dynamics GP Toolbox, Auditor, Dynamics Report Manager, and Omni Price. Some of them had the mistaken belief that Envision was simply a rebranding and name change of Convergence and were sadly disappointed at the lack of focus on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Others were excited to get a broader exposure to the full Microsoft technology stack. And more than a handful showed up at Envision because their flights and travel arrangements were booked long before Microsoft made the change.
Overall, Envision attendees that we talked to felt that the agenda was posted late, the content was light, and some of the sessions seemed completely out of place. The crowd was significantly smaller than Convergence. Official word was 6100 attendees, but in actuality we saw closer to 3000. The footprint of the entire event seemed smaller as most everything happened in areas adjacent to the EXPO floor, doing what in the past seemed nearly impossible of making the New Orleans convention center seem small and intimate. Even the Train concert, which was the entertainment draw of the week, had the feel of being inside a small town bar.
Microsoft clearly made a firm commitment to Envision and have announced the date of the event next in 2017. There is a tremendous room for improvement both with better planning, marketing, and session content, but I trust Microsoft will continue to evolve it. Sadly, our ISV friends, reselling partners, and customers are unlikely to attend Envision, which means that we are extremely unlikely to exhibit again. But we, and most other ISVs we've spoken to, are ALL IN to meet with customers, prospects, and partners at GPUG Amplify in Anaheim, WPC in Toronto, CRMUG and GPUG Summit in Tampa. We missed seeing the vast majority of you in New Orleans and are definitely looking forward to seeing you later this year!


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Written By Kelli Sexton, CEO at Rockton Software, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Add-On Partner.

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