WPC was indeed Texas-sized this year with over 10,000 people in attendance and 4 days of packed action. Needless to say, I'm yet to fully recover from all that happened in Houston :-)
Software+Services and CRM both were heard all across the conference. Even though wall street doesn't very much agree on Microsoft's online investments, like Ina Fried, the attendees of WPC knew Microsoft's huge potential in this market. Of course Microsoft will continue to invest in its on-premise software and server applications as well.
On-demand software will be hot in markets like US and Europe. However partners from the Middle East and Asia seem to disagree. After talking to them, I realized that infrastructure improvements still needs to happen in many places around the world. At the same time, industries with enough wealth and resources don't want to cut corners by moving to on-demand software. No wonder making CRM 4.0 available both on-premise and on-demand resonates well with our customers.
By the way, don't worry if you missed the action at WPC. You can always watch the major keynotes and breakouts from WPC on demand at http://www.microsoft.com/digitalwpc/.
That's right. The streaming is supposedly available in the fall update to Xbox. Check out the Gizmodo article: http://gizmodo.com/5025001/xbox-360-getting-netflix-streaming
Both me and my wife love the Netflix "instant viewing" even though their catalog of movies & TV shows for streaming is limited. Finally I don't have to use my laptop & VNC connection to the media center PC as a lousy remote control. Even though I haven't played anything other than Fuzion Frenzy 2 since I bought my Xbox Elite 2 months ago (busy times, you know), this update would help me justify the price tag of Xbox to my wife!
If Hulu.com makes the move to Xbox, I'll be well on my way to cancel my cable connection. Can't wait for that to happen.
Monday was the pre-conference day at Microsoft and we had a blast at the ISV track. Judging by previous experience at conferences, I was prepared by wearing sneakers and rolling laptop case to make that 5-mile walk across the conference center from session to session. This year the WPC organizers have that through this and made all of the ISV sessions in the same room and most of the other session I wanted to attend were pretty nearby. Nice!
Eric Weis, a program manager for the Metro program hosted a great session for ISVs titled "Making the Decision to Adopt the Latest Microsoft Technologies" to clear the myths and doubts on early adoption of Microsoft software. BTW, if you are not aware of the Metro program, it is Microsoft's structured program around early adoption of our technologies run by the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) group. In this session, one of our very own CRM partners RDT was showcased. Mark Bates, CEO of RDT spoke clearly about the good, bad and ugly of early adoption.
The next session was by Eddie Amos, the GM talking about the Software+Services. The surprise of the day was the final session on how learnings from gaming software could be applied to enhance business applications. Entellium showed how you could build a WPF application that acts as a smart client and provide amazing User eXperience such that the users will love what they're doing. Working on the CRM demo where we did WPF and Silverlight samples for CRM Online, I was totally able to relate to that. If we could collaborate with our friends and intuitively play the games, why not our business applications!
Many of our ISV partners might be familiar with the DPE Metro (formerly Ascend) early adopter training content that we used to ramp-up the partners on CRM 4.0 platform(code named "Titan"). We're now happy to announce that the materials are now updated and being released to the entire development community as Developer Ramp up Kit for Dynamics CRM 4.0. Any .NET based developer can use this kit to easily ramp up on the CRM platform and start building line of business applications well within a week's time.
The kit is available at the MSDN development center here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc720132.aspx
The kit includes
No prior Knowledge of Microsoft CRM is required. Familiarity with the .NET Framework, Microsoft Visual C#, Jscript, Microsoft SQL Server and general web development is recommended.
The content has come a long way since its inception and has been refined and well tested in the field. Going back to 2006 with CTP2 build of Titan, revised completely for CTP3, the materials were delivered in-person to several of our ISV developers world-wide. Earlier this year, it was forked off and we created materials for the Software+Services scenarios focusing on CRM Online and Partner Hosted CRM.
We've listened to your feedback and the ramp up kit now unifies all of this into one single package that we hope will be a useful resource for our developer community. Many thanks to all those involved that helped in shaping up the content and releasing it. You know who you're!
Please let me know via comments or email if you have any questions or need any further information.
I will be there at Houston for the World Wide Partner Conference 2008 along with several of my colleagues in Dynamics Evangelism group. If you're an ISV and are interested in CRM, please do come talk to us.
You can also find me wandering in the CRM booths, so please feel free to stop by and chat about the ISV opportunities in CRM.
Texas is always an exciting place for me. It is where I first landed in the US and spent 4 years of my life doing my Masters and my very first job. After spending the last couple of years in New York and Seattle, I'm not sure if I can sustain the hot, humid Houston for a week. Maybe a quick little trip to Galveston should help.
See y'all in Houston. Adios for now!
Partnering with Microsoft is a wonderful opportunity for the partners and a huge bonus to our customers. Seriously, I haven't seen any other major software vendor having such a great partner eco-system.
To illustrate that we're not just ranting about it, Nikhil Hasija, a Senior Product Manager for CRM team showed us a preview of some of the ISV solutions that'll be showcased at WPC this year. Ben, Sanjay and John have covered the solutions in details and the sessions you wouldn't want to miss at WPC.
What's interesting to me is the way ISVs have creatively used the CRM platform and how they've seamlessly integrated with products like Silverlight, Virtual Earth, Live Messenger,...
If you are at WPC, do attend these sessions and find out how you as Partners, can leverage solutions like this in the eco-system to help your customers.