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 !