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Miss Convergence 2016 ? Don’t miss Amplify 2016!

GPUG Amplify 2016

Lots of people have been sitting on the fence since last year’s Convergence 2015 when Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft was going to give new directions to one of the largest event of the company in North America (roughly 12-13’000 attendees in the past years).  Microsoft wanted to target more the big company decision makers of the America Inc (and other countries of course), namely all the C-level people (CEO, CTO, CFO, CIO, name it… ).

Problem is that Convergence has essentially been followed by the base users of their Dynamics line of product, at least that was my feeling and experience since attending my first Convergence in San Diego in 2007. Lots of IT people, Finance, HR and Manufacturing dept users, all of them wanted to see the next coming ‘new’ features for the product they used. One essential reason also for participating at Convergence was the chance to be able to have a one-to-one discussion with the technical folks of Microsoft and also to meet their peers that share the same domain of business and interest. Having also the opportunity to visit several ISV’s on the Expo Center was a bonus as well.

For several months after last year’s Convergence 2015, many folks still believed that Microsoft couldn’t sacrifice such a huge event like this and make a 180° turn. Even our lovely GP folks in Fargo tried to reassure everyone that they were still fully committed to continue the development and support of GP, promising they would do all in their power to maintain some decent content for the 2016 Convergence.  Then on January 13th 2016, Wayne Morris made a big announcement about this year’s coming event in April.. And this was the beginning of the end ! Convergence as we all knew it was dead, replaced by a complete new event called Envision 2016.  For all the users from the base of Dynamics, this was a clear statement that there not much to expect anymore from the event as we had known it for the past 10 years.  As alternative, Wayne Morris was redirecting the folks to other large events like Microsoft Ignite (Sept 26-30, 2016, Atlanta, GA), the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (July 10-14, 2016, Toronto, Canada) and last but not least the Dynamics User Group Summit (Oct 10-14, 2016, Tampa, FL).

The later one being the most interesting when it comes to content for all things GP related, since Ignite is more targeting technical and development people, and the WPC being mostly a partner event which this year will be help in Canada (I wished Convergence would come one day north of the border… sigh). With only one major event left this year for most regular Dynamics GP users in the fall in Tampa FL (GPUG Summit), the Dynamics Community organization committee started (probably quite early) some discussions with the folks in Fargo and decided to organize some other more GP-centric event for the Spring season… and so they decided to launch as experimental event for the first time in 2016 the new GPUG Amplify conference.

GPUG Amplify will be held in Anaheim CA from May 23-25. Technically only a short event of 2,5 days, it is not excluded that GPUG could organize some Academy training classes the day before (Sunday). Anaheim is also home of the Disney Land California park which is only a few streets away from the Marriott Convention hotel where the conference is going to take place, so why not combine business and fun for a full week off. One big incentive of GPUG Amplify is the price : 699$ if you’re a registered GPUG member and do your reservation before March 25th. That’s almost a third of the price of this year’s Convergence ticket , eeehh Envison, which will set you back a full 1995$

Of course there will be no fancy party with big-O names.. but there will be an Expo reception evening on Monday night and lots of networking opportunities as well. Breakfast and lunch meals are going to be provided as well, like at Convergence and GPUG Summit. Of course, this year being kind of a testing event, it’s not clear yet how much sessions will be presented, nor if there are going to be many user-driven session, but from what I could get so far, the session content will mostly be covered by Microsoft people and possibly some ISV’s (Gold & Platinum sponsors).

If you want to know more about the coming event, head over to the Contact page and an e-mail to Bob Buresh or Nancy Anello from Dynamics Communities. Pam Misialek has already posted a blog entry on the Dynamics Community forums to market the event.

I’ve yet to bring the topic up in our company with our CFO, who had started to attend with me Convergence back in 2012 in Houston, and has not missed one since then, as he too found a lot of interesting content, since he is our main financial reporting tools user (having used FRx for many years and transitioned to MR 2012 back in 2012). I hope we could be part of the very first edition of GPUG Amplify, hoping that it will get the audience it deserves and there will be more over the next years.

Until next post,
Your truthfully @GP_Beat

Edit :  PS: I was just listening to the latest Enterprise Podcast from Dynamics Communities and Bob McAdam was confirming that some Academy classes would be held on Wednesday PM after the closure of Amplify at noon… And he mentioned the opportunity of spending some time at Disneyland as well for the remaining time that week !

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Categories: Amplify, Convergence, Dynamics GP, GPUG, News | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

My Journey to the Dynamics GP MVP Award

Now that April 1st is behind us and this would no longer fall for an April fool, I can officially anounce the good news.. I’m now part of the big ‘small’ family of the very ‘select’ Dynamic GP MVP group.

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It’s great because of all the GREAT people that make this group a real family… and it’s probably the smallest MVP group dedicated to a Microsoft product : there are only 15 active Dynamics GP MVP’s around the world with 2 new ones added on April 1st, 2015, with myself and Mahmoud AlSaadi.  And it looks like I’m the only Canadian one as far as I could inquire from the official Microsoft MVP site, which means either that Kanuks are not big Dynamics GP fans or that it is just too cold and people spend more time shovelling snow around half of the year then caring about Great Plains :-)…

Hold on !  Great Plains.. isn’t that a place somewhere in the middle of North America, where all the crop farms are ? we have some provinces like Saskatchewan and Manitoba that are actually sharing that qualification: always windy, hot in the summer and darn cold in the winter. There is no spring or fall season… just winter and summer. Reminds me when I was in Fargo in 2011 in March and it was no different from Montreal at this time of the year.

That said, I would never have imagined that when I started to work in 2003 with Dynamics Great Plains (aka GP) that one day I would end up being one the few subject matter experts for that product… quite a long way since those first days where I was hired to do some process rework for a manufacturing company to optimize the production forecast with big Excel workbooks. In those days I was relying on the newsgroup forums (only a few ones dedicated to GP) that were barely monitored by Microsoft, but mostly by dedicated users like Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave, to only name a few.

It was after a few years later that I really understood the power of the ‘community’ when Microsoft took back control of the newsgroups and put them into a controlled environment to be able to better ‘moderate’ the discussions and keep the spammers away from the subjects. Since those days I was grateful already for the numerous tips and hints that I had received from other users, that I seamlessly started to give back what I had received during a few years.

During the life I spent in IT (which covers almost 30 years back in the early 80’s), I always made a point to keep up with the latest technology and try to be ahead of everyone else, mostly by educating myself or getting ad-hoc training for the products I was working with. I never really had a mentor as such, since most of the people I was working with always came to me to ask questions… The wheel turned and one day it happened that I was myself asking for questions about a product I had no idea how to work with. As my motto has always been “if you know how to do it, you’ll save yourself lots of trouble in the future”, so rather then relying on a partner to fix problems, I just looked around on the net.. that was when started the long Journey about my apprenticeship with Dynamics GP :-).

I’m happy with the road I decided to go at that time since it opened me already much better opportunities in my professional work back in 2009 and many others that came along when joining the GPUG community. Today I’m at a point I only dreamed about several years when looking at all those MVP VIP’s (Valuable Informed People) that where providing advice and technical content to others in need. I’m now too one of the very few Dynamics GP SME (Subject Matter Experts) around the world and hope it’s only the beginning of another lengthy joyful journey.

Thank you all for your support and recognition. Looking forward to more exciting online & in-person discussions.

Until next post..

@GP_Beat

Categories: All Stars, Dynamics GP, GPUG, MVP, News | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Wrap-UP from this year’s GPUG Summit 2014

So the Summit 2014 is behind us and St-Louis too (as are the Cardinals 🙂 ).
What to retain from this years event ? First of all, I must confess that the 3-4 days flew by like nothing and Friday PM was here before I could even notice it… that’s a good sign, since I was so busy that I didn’t had the time to get bored.
My take away ? GP 2015 is coming and this is sooner then we thought ! Official release date is December 1st, 2014. Yes Madam ! right before the Christmas shopping rally… so you get something to put under your tree for your boss. See my recap of Day 1 about the presentation for GP’s Road-map that was done by Eroll Schoenfish and Jef Trosen from Microsoft Fargo.

My second biggest gift from this year’s event was the opening keynote with Andy Hafer when he announced that the attendees had broken the 900 participants this year, from which 47% were first-comers. After which he briefly introduced the invited speaker Steve Rizzo, a fantastic & funny motivational speaker, that knows how to make you laugh every day. His medicine is actually very simple and the prescription is free : Every Morning when you wake up, start to thing about something laughable and you’ll start with a great day. Do this for one month, and you’ll soon discover that your life gets along much easier and worry-less.

I couldn’t complete here without mentioning all the nice friends and people I met this year (or met back again), especially when it comes to all the users from the community that you encounter almost every day on the GPUG Collaborate site and for who you can finally put a face and a voice on it :-).

To conclude this wrap-up, it has to be said that we got the information about the next GPUG Summit location very late compared to other UG’s and it’s a pleasure to tell you that it will be in the sunny (hopefully) Reno-Tahoe Nevada region. Check the video bellow from the people in Reno that shows you what to expect next year.

Categories: Dynamics GP, GPUG, News, Summit 2014 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

So here I am… for almost a week now there has been a whole social rumble that went around the globe and hitting Twitter & FB like crazy… Though this doesn’t seem really related to Dynamics GP or ERP at all, it hit me actually because some fellow Dynamics GP friend and blogger, MVP Jivtesh Sing nominated me and another great GP buddy, David Musgrave, to take the challenge of the ALS Ice Bucket..Seems nobody can escape it, as it hit also Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates and the current MS Business Solutions VP, Kirill Tatarinov.

First of all I thought that I’m not going to participate in those silly / crazy social ring events that go around and come back once in a while… not me, I’m not that kind of guy, nah not me… but this morning a whole new information came to my hear.. I very close friend of mine that I work with was in the hospital last night to visit her nephew. As I’m a great admirer of people that have achieved something in life and have great respect for my colleague too, I was really touched by this story and decided to take the challenge. Listen to this quick video of her nephew, who happened to get on the news last night on CTV channel. He has been diagnosed in 2005 of ALS and is now in his 9th year, which is extreme considering the disease. Most people don’t live up to the 4th or 5th year.

And I already did posted my contribution to the Canadian ALS Support Organisation and as of this morning they had passed the mark of 500k$ raised so far with an objective of 1$mio… By the time I’m writing this, the mark has already passed 780k$ !!! less than 12 hours to raise 250k$… lets go and break that million dollars goal.

And now the  funny part 🙂

It’s now my turn to nominate someone, and to keep the ball rolling inside the Dynamics GP community, I’m challenging here Mark Rockwell from Rockton Software, Erroll Schoenfish from Microsoft, and to send back the ball to the southern hemisphere, our national Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield who happens to be in Australia this week (Chris actually has no connection with Dynamics GP, but I love & admire what he does).

I’m looking forward to see your own recording and who’s next on the list  🙂

Have fun !

Categories: Fun, GPUG, News | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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