The second session was one with somewhat controversial content, the Dynamics 365 for Consultants session. This session was opened by Errol Schoenfish and then handed over to Chad Sogge for the demonstration section. Dynamics 365 does look fairly swish, but I do wonder where we’d fit it our offerings.
Yes, the Cloud is not just coming, but is also here now. Dynamics 365 would appear to be pitched at the bottom end of the ERP market; a market which can be met by a hosted Dynamics GP implementation while Dynamics GP also retains it’s ability to scale upwards as required. Perfect Image has a client with over 250 concurrent users, and Njevity spoke of one with 400 plus concurrent users). It is viewed by some people as the next Office Accounting; remember that? Yeah, not many do.
At Perfect Image, we have a small number of clients who have gone for web client only implementations of Dynamics GP and I have been looking into providing what would basically be a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) offering. It turns out there are US partners out there who are far ahead of us, not only in thoughts about it, but actually implementing it, such as Njevity. I am lead to believe MVP John Lowther was responsible for much of their work (more on this in the next post) along with their wider team.
So, while having a cloud offering is required, this is something which can be offered by partners using Dynamics GP, rather than taking on a functionality limited cloud only offering. At the moment, it is limited not only in functionality of features, but also in how it can be extended; it is a vary rare implementation which does not require some customisation or development of something somewhere; which you cannot do in D365.
The only way to add extra functionality is to write an app for it to Microsoft’s guidelines and publish it to the Dynamics 365 app store; I can’t see a single client paying for something which then ends up in an app store. I’d also expect Microsoft to reject the majority of this type of development as not being suitable as it would be too focussed on one clients needs.
I will be taking a more detailed look when Dynamics 365 launches in the UK.
It is also worth noting that while I mentioned Njevity above, there are other US partners who are in the clou space as well such as RoseASP and WatServe.
Okay, another delayed post, as at the end of day two, there was a sponsor pub crawl in Downtown Fargo, so I didn’t get a chance to do a post. (I’m going to stop saying they’re delayed, as it is obvious that they are.)
I had quite a busy day on day 2 with a lot of sessions.
The first session, I was attended was Developing All-In-One Document Viewer. This session showed how they developed the All-In-One Document Viewers. One point the presenter stressed, was that there had been no new additions to Dexterity to allow these windows to be created; it was all done using standard functionality.
It’s very interesting how it was done, as these windows look and behave most unlike the other windows in Microsoft Dynamics GP.
The short version of this, is that there are other controls laid over the usual scrolling window controls to hide the 3D effects and a temporary table used to control how many records are displayed. Tricksy.
As a side note, I took my life in my hands for this session and sat next to David Musgrave (he’d tried to poison me earlier in the week).
In my last post, I mentioned that I hadn’t had time to write a post up; I then did a short one about the day.
(as an aside, there is about to be a flood of posts done as I catch up; I’ve had four-and-three-quarter-hours stuck here in Chicago O’Hare airport, and have another 2-5-3 to go.)
Well, the reason that I did not have time, was that there was a cocktail reception at Microsoft following which eOne held a party at Shotgun Sally’s. This is a bar pretty much just around the corner from the ClubHouse Hotel where I was staying.
Perfect Image are partners of eOne (we sell a lot of SmartList Builder and have clients with Extender and SmartView), so I felt obliged to go along. It was a good night where I got to talk to a lot of people and met quite a few who I knew from online (Jon Rivers and Pam Misialek included).
As part of the evening, one of the eOne guy’s did a beard/head shaving for charity. He apparently hadn’t been clean shaven for 30 years and has 28 year old children, so they’ll be seeing something they haven’t seen before.
The deal was, if $1,000 was placed in the bucket for charity, his wife would come down and shave his beard and the rest of his head (excepting the moustache). That sum was easily reached and it was confirmed later that the partners present that evening had donated a total of $2,500 with more added the next day taking the total to over $3,500.
My apologies, I don’t recall which charity it was, but in addition to US Dollars, they also received some Pounds Sterling (and Canadian Dollars from others).
It’s now the start of day two, but I didn’t get a chance to post at the end of yesterday.
First day was good, there were a number of good sessions.
Errol Schoenfish did a section in the introductory session on Dynamics 365 and what this meant for Microsoft Dynamics GP as there have been concerns expressed by the community. His repeated line was “Dynamics GP goes on”. There is a roadmap for Dynamics GP going forward into the future with continued investment.
We also heard about what was coming in the Microsoft Dynamics GP 2016 R2 release in the Autumn/Fall; I’ll do some posts about those features later this week.
I then attended the Developing for the Dynamics GP Web Client which was informative, if sometimes a little over my head. I’m a consultant and it was aimed more at the developers; it did still give me a better understanding of what our developers are doing.
My MVP count is now up to 6 and will not go higher as there are only seven of us here. The final one I met was Christina Phillips.
I met a lot of people with some Community notable ones being Pam Misialek and Jon Rivers.
A group of us went out to dinner last night and I got to add another MVP, Lesle Vail to the list of MVPs I have met.
There was about 14 people there in, but never met.total, some of whom I knew and had met earlier in the day, with Jay Manley, formerly of Microsoft and now of Mekorma, being the one who I had spoken to online previously, but never met.
With the first day of the conference about to start, there should be plenty more people to meet.
One of the nice things about coming to one of these conferences is meeting all of the people I have been speaking to online for the last few years.
Before now, I had only met Tim Wappat, so it is good to add some more names. Especially when you consider I have never met any of my fellow MVPs.
So far today, my MVP count is at four (and should increase later this evening):
- John Lowther who came in for a chat while I was setting up for my pre-conference training session on Workflow 2.0
- Belinda Allen who was setting up for her training session in the room next door; I popped through to see her when I was finished setting up.
- Mariano Gomez and David Musgrave who came in together to see me during the first break in the training.
I also met Jen Kuntz (who was helping Belinda with her session) at lunchtime, which was good as I have spoken to her online multiple times.
Well, the flight from Heathrow to Chicago was a long one and left 35 minutes late and then arrived 30 minutes late reducing my time in Chicago from 90 minutes to 60.
This is what I was worried about. However, when we disembarked from the plane there were red envelopes waiting for us. These envelopes were marvellous things; whenever an airport employee saw them, they waved you past the queues.
So in all it took only 15 minutes to get through customs. Of course I then had to collect my hold luggage (apparently you have to do this at your point of entry. This involved picking the case up from the carousel, walking to the exit, handing the receipt (collected from the automatic passport control machine) to the guy at the exit and handing the case to someone just outside the door.
I then had to go up the stairs, catch a tram from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3, go through security again (oops, had a partially drunk bottle of pop in my bag) and then find the gate.
I did reach the plane and was the last person to board with only 7 minutes to spare for take-off.
Couple hours later and ne taxi ride later I am at the hotel.
Only took a total of 22 hours from when I left home to entering the hotel.
I think I need sleep.
The plane arrived at Heathrow slightly late, apparently due to the airport being busy.
The flight from Newcastle was pleasant enough. I now have three-and-a-quarter hours until my flight to Chicago is due to take-off. The downside is once I get to Chicago, the next connection departs from a different terminal and I have to collect my luggage before going through customs and re-checking my luggage.
And I have to do all of that in one-and-a-half hours.
Slightly concerned, which I voiced on Twitter, but American Airlines responded saying their staff will be happy to help and not to worry. Yeah, still worrying.
As it is my flight is due to arrive in Fargo at 2205 and I am due to start work tomorrow at 0930. I don’t exactly have a lot of latitude in timings if I am going to get any sleep tonight. Why did we book a flight like this, you ask? All of the flights available had similar timings, so there was little actual choice.
Well, I’m going to try to stop borrowing trouble and worrying about it and have a nose about Heathrow Terminal 5 while I am here.
The taxi arrived bang on time and I am now not only at the airport, but I have done the baggage drop and gone through security. This time I remembered to take my belt off and keys out of my pocket, so I had no problems.
With a couple of hours to kill before the gate opens, I’ve decided to have a breakfast stottie.
My next check-in, will ne when I am at London airport.