Covergence is an aptly-named conference, especially this year’s edition.  Today, we announced several Dynamics related products, including Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office.  This technology will bring business data in our ERP and CRM products to the places where they’re most often used – the Microsoft Office suite of applications.  I would encourage you to check out Dynamics Client for Microsoft Office as well as the Dynamics SNAP add-ins to get a good sense of what’s possible where Dynamics meets Office.

In addition to these announcements, Satya Nadella affirmed our continued investment across the entire Dynamics suite (AX, CRM, GP, NAV, and SL) and our commitment to make each more connectable, more accessible, and more service-oriented in general.  While each product as its specific sweet-spot, all will benefit from massive research and development efforts Microsoft makes in its core platform, and all add features and enhancements that reflect this.

I spent the bulk of my session time at the AX talks on the schedule, and was duly impressed.  If you haven’t had an opportunity to see Lachlan Cash discuss and demonstrate the technical features of Dynamics/AX, I highly recommend doing so.  In addition to having spent the last 10 years or so working on the product, he’s a great presenter with good, dry sense of humor.  It’s not easy to make the AOT entertaining, but Lachlan always manages to do so.

I also got to spend some quality time down on the expo floor.  In classic expo style, several folks went over the top, with booths featuring:

·         Cavemen/women

·         Developers in cages

·         Simulated fire and volcanoes

·         Magicians

·         Plush carpeting

·         Comfy chairs

And, of course, swag o’ plenty.  One exhibitor was giving away iPods though, and just shook my head and mumbled every time I passed their booth (I was tempted to say “Hi – I’m a PC, and so are you…”)

One other interesting highlight was the UX lab, in which the product teams invited attendees to participate in usability studies and engage in a dialogue about future user experience directions in the Dynamics products.  ERPs have come a long a way from green screen UIs, but they still have a long way to go.  The platform enhancements in Windows and Office will make this next wave of ERP products much easier to use and much more visually appealing.  If you’d like a good example of where we’re going with this, take a peek at the 10.0 release of Dynamics/GP.

After an evening getting fleeced at the craps table at a partner’s “Casino Night” party, I’m ready for another day…