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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 2

David Meego - Click for blog homepageConvergence2015

I was exhausted already and it was only Day 2 of the Convergence 2015 conference.

As there were no sessions Mariano and I planned to attend first thing in the morning, we started the day a bit later. The downside is that the morning traffic had built up by the time we left and so it took a bit longer to get into Downtown Atlanta.

Once we got to the Georgia World Congress Center, we went to the Speaker Workroom to make final preparations for customisation session later in the day. Not very exciting, but it did help make the session better for those who attended.

At the CSG024-R1: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Customizing the user interface session as Mariano and I were getting our machines setup and the audio guy was wiring the microphones for us, I noticed someone in the audience with writing on their shirt that looked like it had my name on it.

I had to stop and investigate further. It turned out that Steven Vallarian, knowing that I was negotiating with Microsoft for the rights to the Support Debugging Tool, Menus for Visual Studio Tools and SnapShot, had got a number of t-shirts made up with the wording “Free David Musgrave’s Code”.

David Musgrave and Steven Vallarian with the Free David Musgrave’s Code shirts

Thanks to Steven, a few lucky people have one of these rare shirts. While I loved the thought that went into the shirts, the negotiations with Microsoft had already been successful by the time Convergence started. This meant that Beat Bucher’s #FreeCode hash tag, did not really trend on Twitter. However, it did provide everyone with a laugh. Thanks Steven for the shirts and for putting a smile on many faces.

After that the session went very well, with brief explanations of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the options for customizing the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 user interface. We covered Modifier & Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), Visual Studio Tools (VST), Modifier with VST instead of VBA and Dexterity. We had demos of each tool in action, but due to time constraints, only discussed the code at the conceptual level. The source code for these demos will be posted soon on this blog and Mariano’s blog.

The message for this part of the session was that there are many options available to you and you can mix and match the tools to find the best solution for your customization.

We also surprised people by including a couple of demos for the new Service Based Architecture functionality added to Dexterity for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015. We showed posting a batch via a web service call and pulling data into a Project Sienna application.

The message here is that you no longer have just limit yourself to customizing the user interface, but you can now extend the user interface into other environments and devices using REST based web services.

Thank-you to everyone who came to the session, especially those who answered questions or came up afterwards to ask questions or say hello. Hope you enjoyed the Tim Tams.

After the session, I had a meeting to go to, but wanted to see if I could find Pam Misialek. Pam was my contact at Microsoft for the software code negotiations and I had to give her one of Steven’s t-shirts. While looking for her, I found Chad Sogge, who had always been supportive of giving me the code for the products I developed. I thought it appropriate for him to have a shirt as well.

Chad Sogge showing his support. Thanks Chad

Chad told me that Pam was in a particular room, so stuck my head in the room to see if she was free…. Only to be spotted and called to the front of the room by Mark Polino, just before they started the popular DDG101: Excel, Excel, Excel. An Excel Shootout session. I had time to wave to everyone, give Pam the t-shirt (without an explanation, which confused her as the code was already “free”) and make a quick exit.

After my meeting, I went back to the Expo and continued visiting the various exhibitors. Sadly, I ran out of time and the Expo closed after I had only been there a little while.

I caught up with Mariano and we headed back to the Omni Hotel Lobby bar to relax and chat with other attendees and presenters. While there I caught up with the eOne Solutions team who are always ready to have their photo taken.

eOne crew
eOne Solutions team, including my ex-Microsoftie pal Patrick “Superman” Roth

After a few drinks, Mariano and I sat down at the Omni Hotel’s Prime Meridian restaurant (just next to the lobby bar) to have some dinner before the Rock-n-Rave party. Just after we sat down, Cindy and Tanya (who were at our customisation session) came in and were going to sit at another table. As much as I enjoy Mariano’s company, dinner would be much more interesting with additional people, so I asked them to join us. They are much prettier than Mariano anyway.

Dinner: Mariano Gomez, Cindy Reeves, Tanya Markwith and David Musgrave

After dinner we headed over to the Rock-n-Rave party which had a zombie theme to it this year. Thanks to the sponsors of the party:

John Lowther and Mike McDowell: One is ugly and the other is a zombie

Rock-n-Rave party at Georgia Railroad Freight Depot

Zombies don’t scare me … much

Craig Klapman and Ora Goldman scare Ora’s daughter

Mariano and I did not stay too late as we needed to be awake for the repeat of our customization session the next day.


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Filed under: Conference, Dynamics, GP, Microsoft, News Tagged: Conference, Convergence 2015, News

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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 2

March 31, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Continued

David Meego - Click for blog homepageConvergence2015

After the Opening Keynote and the Microsoft Dynamics GP general session, it was time for lunch.

I don’t have any facts and figures this year, but the logistics in feeding this many people must be amazing and I am very pleased that I work in the IT industry and not hospitality.

Below is a picture of the meals area. In the distance are some black partitions…. that is the halfway point with about the same area of tables on the other side.

The meals area (at least half of it)

After lunch, Mariano and I visited the Speaker Workroom where we caught up with our favourite speaker organisers, Ace Martin and Tracy Stenhjem. These guys are the driving force behind ensuring that the sessions at the conference have speakers to ready to deliver them.

Ace Martin and Tracy Stenhjem

We finalised the presentation deck for the customisation session we were doing tomorrow and Mariano prepared for his CS15G002-R1: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Upgrading and deploying session.

The session was a great success with Mariano keeping everyone amused while they learned heaps of valuable information. No excuses now, everyone’s upgrades should run smoothly.

Mariano doing his stand up comedy routine before his session

The audience at Mariano’s session, including hecklers at the front

After the session we visited the Expo hall for the Expo Experience, Microsoft Solutions Experience and the Community Experience. It was impossible to get a photo of the entire Expo hall, but I did take a panorama shot of the middle section.

The Expo Hall (at least what I could capture at one time)

Mariano and I got separated, so I spent the next few hours wandering the Expo hall catching up with ISVs, partners and Microsofties that I knew.

David Musgrave with some of the Vicinity Manufacturing team: Jeremy, Randy & Kaitlyn

Ora Goldman from Mekorma and David Musgrave

Brian Roney, David Musgrave and Alice Newsam

Eventually, I caught up with Mariano again as I was chatting with Brian and Alice from the Microsoft Dynamics GP development team.

Then it was time for the Expo to close, so we headed over to the Omni Hotel’s Lobby bar to unwind for a bit. We finished the day with dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s downstairs from the Omni Hotel and then headed home to get some rest after a really long day.


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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Continued

March 30, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Dynamics GP Session

David Meego - Click for blog homepageConvergence2015

So, now we are here at Sidney J. Marcus Auditorium for the Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Roadmap and Strategy general session.

I sat right down the front so I could heckle the presenters… It is in my job description. Someone has to keep them on their toes.

The session started with everyone’s favourite non technical person, Errol Schoenfish (#IfErrolCanDoIt).

Errol Schoenfish

Errol took us through a demo of the upcoming Time Management App, by deciding (in advance) what days he would be sick on (after a public holiday) and then taking some additional annual leave. This new self service app would be released on all major platforms.

Time Management App for Windows, iOS and Android

Next up was the MVP Shootout, a challenge of one-upmanship between Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) Mark Polino and Mariano Gomez. Each time one would mention the cool benefits of a new feature in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015, the other would raise the bar with an even better new feature.

MVP Shootout

Mark Polino MVP and Mariano Gomez MVP

Mariano even explained Service Based Architecture in under 30 seconds

Then as Mark and Mariano are finishing up and congratulating each other, Belinda Allen MVP surprises us by coming on stage to cover the new Business Intelligence features of Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015. [Edit] Okay, I knew it was going to happen as I was at the rehearsal. :-)

Belinda Allen hijacks the MVP Shootout

Where to find the MVPs … if you didn’t know already

It was great to see Mark, Mariano and now Belinda being part of the official proceedings. Microsoft needs to continue harnessing the enthusiasm of the MVPs and other community members.

After the MVP Shootout, Errol hosted demos from Jennifer Ranz and Jodi Christiansen as well as have Jason Eden from Dynamics GP customer Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL) come on stage and tell us how running Microsoft Dynamics GP in cloud has helped their organisation. RREAL supply Solar Power systems to people in need to help fight fuel poverty. It is a smart, eco friendly way to help families rather than just giving cash handouts.

Jeff Trosen then joined Errol on stage to cover the Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Roadmap as well as the features for the next Dynamics GP 2015 R2 release.

Errol Schoenfish and Jeff Trosen

Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 R2 Features

The final section of the session was with Errol and Chad Sogge and discussed the next generation of the Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client. By removing the dependency on Silverlight and using HMTL5, the next web client will be able to work on any browser and any device that supports HTML5.

The next generation web client

Errol using an Apple iOS tablet to access the web client

Chad using a Samsung Android tablet to access the web client

An example screen from the next generation web client

The room was packed with a lot of excited Dynamics GP users, customers and partners

And on that bombshell, the session ended and it was time for lunch.

Day 1, to be continued …


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Filed under: Conference, Dynamics, GP, Microsoft, News Tagged: Conference, Convergence 2015, News

#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Dynamics GP Session

March 30, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) – Day 1

Keynote and General Session

I know, it’s been over a week since Microsoft Convergence 2015 closed its doors, however, I did not want the time to go by without reliving some of the things I personally experienced throughout the event. With early mornings and late evenings it became impossible to write blog posts as things were happening, considering my own involvement with quite a few of the activities and presentations at Convergence.

Day 1 started out with David and I rushing through Atlanta’s traffic to get to the Georgia World Congress Center. From there we would head over to the Phillips Arena for the Opening Keynote Speech. We got there at the tail end of the presentation of Dance 411. The Dance 411 Foundation’s mission is to foster the well-being of urban youth and young adults through self-expression. They provide a quality education and exposure to the discipline of dance, drama and music. Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America was in the middle of interviewing JJ Crampton and Sindy Scheider, both directors of the Foundation and requesting everyone filled out the Convergence event evals, for which Microsoft would make a donation to the Foundation.

Dance 411

Once the dance group completed their presentation, Althoff was once on stage to talk about the Atlanta Youth Project and Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture and the volunteering work done in conjunction with the Convergence attendees who signed up for community outreach, now a staple of these events. The community outreach video was accompanied by an original song by The Groove Merchants.

Upon the conclusion of the community outreach video, Althoff was back on stage to describe the upcoming days at Convergence and some of the guest speakers that attendees would have a chance to experience. He also alluded to the fact that the event itself, Convergence, is also evolving and changing, just like the businesses present at the event. He also noted that Convergence used to be a Dynamics only event. Microsoft has expanded the event and evolved it to actually incorporate all of its innovations. Convergence has become the Premier Business Event.

Without further due, Satya Nadella was on stage to talk about how Microsoft is empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, via the “systems on intelligence”.

Satya Nadella on Microsoft’s Vision

The systems of intelligence interact with the systems of record to make sense of the data collected. Microsoft is focusing on the automation of the systems of intelligence, with the richness of its cloud infrastructure. To further talk about how other industries are taking advantage of the technologies that drive the systems of intelligence, Satya welcomed Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson.

Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson

Russell described how he uses OneNote to track all his activities on and off the field and how the National Football League (NFL) leverages Microsoft Surface during the games to analyze team formations, plays, and players in near real time – Microsoft is a sponsor of the NFL.

The rest of the presentation focused around the use of other technologies such as Yammer within Microsoft itself. Also there was a cool case study on how AccuWeather is leveraging Microsoft Azure to deliver custom and personalized weather to both consumers and businesses.


After the case studies, it was time for Mark, Belinda, and I to head over to the GWCC to wire up for the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session, to be held at the Sydney Marcus Auditorium. Upon arrival, I went back stage to check in and had a chance to capture this picture with the engineering team at work.

Video and Audio Engineering Room

This year, the Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session featured a number of info-bites showing what each of the presenters were doing at different stages during the 90’s and various terminologies born from that time.

Little bits of information before session

This year’s Dynamics GP General Session would focus on product strategy and roadmap, and as customary, it began with with Errol Schoenfish welcoming all attendees and discussing the Microsoft Cloud for Business strategy, which features Office 365, Azure, and the business applications, including Microsoft Dynamics GP. Errol went on to demo a Time Management app (#IfErrolCanDoIt) showing how it would work on various device platforms.

Then came the highlight of the event (ehem!): The MVP Duel featuring Mark Polino and I, with a special guest, Belinda Allen. Our presentation, showcasing a number of new features in Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015, went very smooth and features were well received by the audience.

The MVP Duel – From left to right: MVPs Mark Polino, Belinda Allen, and Mariano Gomez

Up next was the customer story featuring Rural Renewable Energy Alliance (RREAL), a non-profit dedicated to make solar energy available to low income families.

Next up was Jennifer Ranz to demo a day in the life of a RREAL employee. Jenn showed the dashboards released for Office 365 and PowerBI. Jason Edens from RREAL came on stage to talk about how their company is leveraging Microsoft Dynamics GP to run their business.

The session went on with other demos and a glimpse into the future of Microsoft Dynamics GP. First up was Jeff Trosen to talk about the evolution of the Microsoft Dynamics GP roadmap. Chad Sogge came up next to talk about the new HTML 5 interface and provide a demo of how this new web client technology will allow for a better user experience across browsers and devices.

Errol Schoenfish and Chad Sogge on the Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP Web Client

I had to finally get a shot of the audience.

Microsoft Dynamics GP General Session Attendance

Well, in my next post, I will talk about the sessions we delivered throughout the rest of the event.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
Intelligent Partnerships, LLC

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Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) – Day 1

March 30, 2015 · Mariano Gomez · No Comments
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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Opening Keynote

David Meego - Click for blog homepageConvergence2015

Today was the first day of the actual Convergence 2015 conference.

The first stop for the day was to one of the Speaker Rehearsal Rooms so that Mariano could fine tune his role in the MVP portion of the Microsoft Dynamics GP general session later in the day.

After the rehearsal we joined the long queues of conference attendees heading across the road from the Georgia World Congress Center to the Philips Arena (Home of the Atlanta Hawks) for the Opening Keynote for Convergence 2015.

The Opening Keynote for Convergence 2015 featured Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO as well as Kirill Tatarinov, Microsoft Executive Vice President, Business Solutions. It was very well attended (I believe the conference had about 12,000 attendees), which meant that we had to go to the upper level to find a seat. Here is the view from the “Gods”.

Opening Keynote: The view from our seats

Thanks to my camera’s 20x optical zoom, I was able to get some closer photos during the session.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO

Russell Wilson from Seattle Seahawks discussing how he uses his Surface Pro 3

Satya doing his own demos… and they even worked too!!

Surface Hub (an 84 inch, 4K screen with an integrated computer and built-in
sensors, cameras, speakers, microphones, WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC and more)

Kirill Tatarinov, Microsoft Executive Vice President, Business Solutions

For the actual content of the Opening Keynote, the best method would be to watch it yourself online via the Convergence Video Library.

Use the link below to go directly to the session video:

After the keynote, I headed back over to the Sidney J. Marcus Auditorium in the GWCC for the Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Roadmap and Strategy general session. Mariano had already left as he had to be there early to get prepared.

Day 1, to be continued …


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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 1 – Opening Keynote

March 30, 2015 · WinthropDC · No Comments
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#CONV15 – Convergence 2015 Atlanta – Day 0 – PreGame

David Meego - Click for blog homepageConvergence2015

The conference starts today with the partner only pre Convergence event, PreGame.


The PreGame is organised by Dynamic Partner Connections and is a partner focussed half day event. It is described as “Over 600 Microsoft Dynamics partners gathered in Atlanta, to hear from 70 expert speakers during 25 partner-centric sessions contributing to 1 Dynamics Partner Community”.

The day started with Mariano and I going to Georgia World Congress Center to register for Convergence 2015.

Welcome to Convergence 2015

While at the main entrance between Buildings A and B, we met with some of the LATAM Microsoft team.

Mexico Office
LATAM Microsoft Dynamics Team with Mariano and David.
Do their tops mean that I have lost my Superpower?

We then walked over to the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel for the start of the PreGame event. This was my first chance to meet up with some of the other Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs (other than Mariano) and with some of the GPUG team.

David Musgrave, John Lowther MVP, Belinda Allen MVP,
Kim Peterson GPUG, Mariano Gomez MVP and Bob McAdam GPUG

At this time I should point out a common misconception. I am not a Microsoft MVP and have never been one. As a Microsoft employee for 13.5 years I was not eligible and I have to be outside of Microsoft for 12 months before I can be eligible. So, even though the actual MVPs and many in the community treat me as an “Honorary MVP”, it is not official.

For my first session I went to the session “ISV Confidential: How to Work the Microsoft Dynamics Ecosystem and Get Results”. It was a great session with a number of experienced ISVs on the panel giving us the benefit of their experience. They explained how big flashy product launches are not as effective as the prolonged approach with reputation building and word of mouth marketing. A consistent and long term marketing presence is needed to build the client base. It was also a good opportunity for me to get some feedback on the pricing model I am planning for the rebadged Support Debugging Tool.

We then had a Dynamics GP general session: “Product Strategy and Roadmap”. This was a preview of the content we would see in the Convergence Dynamics GP general session, with a bit more depth. It allowed the partners to be ready for any questions their customers attending Convergence might have.

The usual suspects were there, including Errol Schoenfish, Pam Misialek, Chad Sogge and Jeff Trosen.

Introduction by Errol Schoenfish. #IfErrolCanDoIt

Not sure if Pam is telling me off for taking a photo, emphasizing a point or throwing down a rap tune.

Pam Misialek laying down the law

The main take away points from this session where the latest product roadmap slide. The Roadmap now shows planned releases for GP 2015 R2 and GP 2015 R3 as well as the next version in the latter half of 2016 onwards.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Roadmap

We also got to see some more details of what is planned for the upcoming releases. Below is a summary slide of what is planned for the GP 2015 R2 release due mid 2015.

Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015 R2 features

We had a demo of the All-in-One document viewer for Purchasing which allows you to see the entire flow of documents between Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Invoices and Receivings for a vendor. Very cool. This All-in-One view will be added to other series (Sales, Inventory, etc.) in future releases.

We also had a preview of the next generation of the Web client which will work on HTML5 rather than Silverlight. This will make the vision of any browser on any device a reality.

After the general session, I went to the “User Panel: What Do Customers Really Expect?” session. This was an interesting session which hopefully helped partners to understand how to best work with their customers. A great example that came out of that session shows how not to have good relations with a customer. Without mentioning any names: A customer who had not heard from their partner for a while, invites the partner to lunch to touch base and re-establish a working relationship. The partner sends three representatives who enjoyed a nice meal paid for by the customer. Shortly after, the customer receives an invoice for 6 hours consulting (3 consultants for 2 hours). An excellent example for relationship building… NOT.

The final session for the day was the PreGame Closing Keynote featuring the new Vice President Dynamics Partner Sales and Programs, Direct of ERP Partner Strategy, Victor Morales.

Before Victor spoke we had a presentation from Brian Deming who introduced us to the new independent, non-profit membership organisation which will service the professionals for all Dynamics products. Its initial focus will be on certifications for Dynamics GP and Dynamics NAV and eventually for Dynamics SL. This organisation is The Association of Dynamics Professionals and its website can be found at Please go to the site to register your interest. They plan to officially launch the association in September 2015, however, if you are interested in helping with the development of the certification exams, please contact them now.

The Association of Dynamics Professionals

Hal Howard then spoke to us about Dynamic Communities (including the user groups, such as GPUG) and  gave us some interesting statistics.

Dynamic Communities

Finally, we heard from Victor Morales, who explained how he is still new and learning lots about Microsoft and his new role. He is very open to feedback and improving the working relationships between Microsoft and its Dynamics Partners.

Victor Morales

Victor also provided us with some statistics of how both the Microsoft Cloud and Microsoft Dynamics ecosystems are growing.

Microsoft Cloud and Dynamics Momentum

The session finished with a quick question and answer session. The day ended with the Microsoft Partner Reception where partners could relax and have a drink and some nibbles and chat with other partners. The networking that occurs at these sorts of receptions can be some of the most valuable time spent at a conference.

One last stop: Mariano and I went to the MVP Mingle held at Stats Food & Drink. This event was sponsored by FastPath and Data Masons and allowed the MVPs for all the Dynamics products to socialise and relax together. I abused my “Honorary MVP” status and gate crashed. Well, Mariano was my transport home, so I was not going to lose him. I spent much of the night chatting with Beat Bucher (another Honorary MVP).

During the closing session, the upcoming events were highlighted, so here is a quick reminder to mark your calendars.

  • reIMAGINE 2015 in Fargo, ND, USA on 21-23 September 2015
  • GPUG Summit 2015 in Reno, NV, USA on 12-16 October 2015
  • PreGame at Summit 2015 in Reno, NV, USA on 13 October 2015

Hope to see you at these events.


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