March 23, 2015

Notes from Microsoft Convergence 2015

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I just returned from Convergence and while it was fresh in my mind, I decided to write a blog post on the event.  For some of you, who may not know Convergence, it is the Microsoft annual event for its business products – Dynamics CRM, GP, AX, NAV and SL.  My focus in the event was primarily on Dynamics CRM, Dynamics Service and parature, Dynamics Marketing, and Power BI.

Some of the key highlights from the event:

  • About 12000 people were present at the event
  • It was a mix of business and technology leaders and practitioners with an excellent mix of sessions for both
  • Cloud sessions in the event enabled attendees to understand Microsoft’s focus on the cloud
  • In case you are confused about the term MDM that was shared in the conference – It is NOT Master Data Management OR Mobile Device Management.  Rather it is Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM)
  • Netwoven just migrated its 4 year old instance of SalesforcetoDynamics CRM and the results have been very positive.  Dynamics CRM 2015 makes it even better.  We are still using Pardot for our marketing automation but what I saw in Dynamics Marketing, I am going to ask my team to migrate us to Dynamics marketing this year.
  • Make no mistake, MDM is a very solid product and can meet the needs of many marketers.
  • Excellent roadmap shared on the marketing, sales and service side of the business. I feel that I am in year 2003 when I migrated Netwoven’s business from Opentext Livelink to SharePoint.  SharePoint was in its infancy and we liked the vision and here we are 12 years from then in a very happy state.  I feel the same for Dynamics CRM.
  • XRM is hot and strategic.  Expect a lot more from Microsoft in this front as the Cloud Development platform.  I spent a lot of time with the senior leaders of the Dynamics business and it’s clear that XRM has a much bigger role to play.  I will be presenting on this topic at the local user groups.  XRM does bring up a question about which framework to use for development and what does the marketplace mean for the XRM business.  I chatted with the product managers around it and it seems that there is some work to be done here and more will come later during the year.
  • One Republic band was awesome.  They completely blew the socks off the stadium.
  • The preview release of Power BI pleasantly surprised me.  The designer now is not part of Excel.  It is available as a separate download.  Power BI is tightly integrated with Dynamics CRM.  Our company spent considerable time with Power BI last year and were disappointed with the product.  With the new preview, I am super excited about the capabilities of the product in the visualization space.  There is no reason that we should be losing business to Tableau or Qlik.
  • Office 365 + Power BI + Dynamics CRM = $65 per month per user.  Compare this to SFDC + Sales Analytics = $265 per user (base version of SFDC).  I think Salesforce has some justification to do.

I saw the following opportunities to approach the white space:

  • SMS&P
    • Sell XRM has a cloud development Platform
    • Sell MDM
    • Sell Dynamics CRM
    • Migrate Salesforce to CRM
  • EPG
    • Sell XRM has a cloud development platform
    • Sell service + parature
    • Do Salesforce and Office 365 integration

As always, feedback welcome. More later in the subsequent blogs.

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