Microsoft Convergence 2014 – Atlanta

photoThis year we were fortunate enough to travel to Atlanta for Microsoft Convergence 2014.

This year was the biggest year yet, with over 12,000 attendees. If you’ve never been to convergence before, this experience is unforgettable. Not only are the sessions educational and fun, the expo hall is the largest, most energetic expo you will ever see! Not to mention the swag and fun games the VARs and ISVs use to get you into their booth!

Almost every minute of every day is planned for you. Breakfast and lunches are included, sessions run all day and of course, there are plenty of Convergence sponsored parties to choose from at night. FUN even performed a private concert for all attendees at the end of the week!

My favourite part about Microsoft Convergence is learning about the new product enhancements and features coming out.

Microsoft Dynamics GP

One of the most exciting sessions I attended was the  Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session, that spoke about the next release of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 R2.  Although we’re excited for what Microsoft if calling the “Big Rocks” (Identity Management and Workflow enhancements), our customers will be thrilled to see a lot of the smaller features such as:

  • Copy/Paste into GL from excel – There was a standing ovation for this new feature…
  •  Reverse fiscal year-end close
  • Document Attachment  – additional functionality that enables attached documents on cards to roll down to transactions while also adding the ability to include attached documents in Emails.
  • Locking companies for maintenance
  • Default Sort Order AP Cheques and the ability to Assign Items to All Sites and more
  • Smartlists – enables users to hide the navigation tree giving them a full screen of data
  • Web Client releases for the Project Series, Manufacturing Series, and Field Service Series.

Next year we will see Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 and again the highlights include more improvements to the previously mentioned ‘ROCKS’, but also include a Business Portal replacement.

convergence2014-tatarinov_tMicrosoft Dynamics CRM

The latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, expected to be released this spring, will contain ‘Microsoft Dynamics Marketing’ to help businesses drive and manage their marketing campaigns, Microsoft Social Listening to empower more employees with deeper insights, and the Unified Service Desk to help businesses engage with and care for customers more personally on any device, at any place and time.

According to Kirill Tatarinov, executive vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions, Social Listening follows Microsoft’s acquisition of Netbreeze a year ago. It will be offered at no additional charge as part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online professional licenses; on-premises customers will be offered Microsoft Social Listening for an additional $20 per user, per month.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, contains many of the application fundamentals from MarketingPilot, but also now features what is my favourite feature, a visual campaign designer and business intelligence solution that will enable organizations to analyze their campaign budgets against campaign results.

For customer care, Microsoft Dynamics is also introducing Unified Service Desk (USD). With the application, agents can handle multiple interactions at the same time, with increased automation and the ability to display scripts to guide agents’ interactions with customers. With the USD, an agent can run multiple apps, making it easier to connect to back-end systems to look up returns or a back order quickly, the company said.

Microsoft is also introducing a new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise license, priced at $200 per user, per month. This offers customers all of the functionality offered in the professional license and access to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Unified Service Desk.

If you couldn’t make Convergence, Microsoft has a LIVE Virtual Convergence option so we could listen to some of the Keynote and General Sessions info without paying for a registration.  Check out the link to see the opening keynotes and general sessions!

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