I’m excited about attending Microsoft Convergence 2012 in Houston this year. I try to go every year and this will be my fifth or sixth time to attend as a partner. For the uninitiated, Convergence is an annual conference put on by Microsoft for Microsoft Dynamics customers. Users and decision makers of the Microsoft Dynamics flagship products (GP, AX, NAV, SL, & CRM) will be in attendance. Microsoft representatives from Redmond to Fargo to Copenhagen will be there representing research and development, support, services, sales, marketing, and other areas. Last year, attendance was around 9000 people.
For me, it boils down to four key things that make Convergence a good value:
1) Opportunities to Learn (Sessions) – By attending as many concurrent sessions, deep-dive sessions, user group sessions and hands-on labs as I can, I always leave Convergence with new ideas, solutions to long-standing challenges, and pages of notes.
2) Talking to the Pros (Technical Support Desk) – No, I don’t save up all of my technical support problems for Convergence. But, I always have one or two sticky wickets that I want to run past the pros in person. They’re always helpful and it’s so nice to put a face with a voice when I actually do open a support ticket. (They say the same.)
3) Face-to-Face with Third Party Solutions (Expo Hall) – There are so many third-party tools for Microsoft Dynamics products, it’s nearly impossible to know what they all do, where they fit, and what they look like. As a partner, it’s imperative that we know what is out there for our customers and prospects. And, for customers, the expo is like a wonderland with so many tools and problem solvers all in one (very large) room. I generally plan to visit a few times during the conference focusing on one specific area of the room at a time. Otherwise, it can be very overwhelming.
4) Networking – Meeting with customers, other partners, Microsoft representatives, third party solution providers is almost a full time job at Convergence. Opportunities abound – from one-on-one meetings to all-night parties.
My best advice to those attending is to bring your best walking shoes, dress comfortably, and get plenty of rest before you come. You won’t get any while you’re there.
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