Day 1 Dispatch from Convergence

Well, I made it to the conference…

Convergence has a different feel to it than the TechEds or the PDCs I’ve attended.  For one thing, the attendees seem to be much more international, and for another thing, there seems to be a much better gender balance here.  Also, the community here seems to be tighter-knitted than most, with many long time Convergence veterans returning for what’s become an annual event for them.

After reading through the event syllabus, I decided that I would attend as many sessions as I could with the words “Extending” and/or “Integrating” in the title, as I think these sessions will be of highest value to the ISV community.  I also decided to make it a point to spend some time down on the expo floor checking out the great Dynamics based products ISVs are bringing to market.

My initial reaction is all of the above is: wow!  I’ll attempt to digest in a few paragraphs, beginning with sessions I attended and then followed by my adventures on the expo floor.

First, I tried to attend the Dynamics Business Intelligence Vision, Roadmap and Strategy session but couldn’t, as the room as filled to overflow.  I think that indicates the level of interest in these technologies as they relate to business applications, and I think you can expect there to be *significant* uptake of the BI stack within the Dynamics platform and the products built thereon.

Fortunately, I ended up in a CRM mobility session which proved to be immensely valuable.  In case you’re not aware of this (I wasn’t), Microsoft provides 2 solutions for extending the reach of CRM to mobile devices: CRM Mobile and CRM Mobile Express.  While that might not be all that surprising, what I found to be more interesting was that CRM Mobile Express is shared source.  As an ISV, you could use this as the basis for a custom mobile offering or as a reference for how to develop for our mobile platform – this is well worth exploring.

I also attended a session focused on Dynamics NAV integration scenarios.  The vision for NAV integration is to seamlessly provide access to NAV data across Outlook, SharePoint, and Word+Excel.  That might sound rather obvious, but these are the underpinnings for building the role-tailored user experiences we’re seeking to enable.  If you’re an ISV on NAV, now would be a great time to explore the Office 2007 integration points with your local ISV Architect Evangelist (or just ping me here if you’d like to start a dialogue on topic.)

More tomorrow…

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