Registered for Directions US and NAV Techdays 2016

After careful deliberations and weighing of all options, we decided that I will attend two more events this year: Directions US and NAV Techdays. Lucky for me, they are two of my favorite events.

Directions US is organized by and for the partner channel. Partners go here to work on their knowledge, to learn about the latest development in our industry, to see what new products are available, and not in the least to network with our peers in the partner channel. Personally I like this event because there is a minimum of marketing fluff that is directed at the end user, and people are hungry for knowledge.

There were some other people that wanted to go to Directions as well. Because it will be held in Phoenix this year, which is just a 2 hour drive for me, it didn’t take long to pick me to go to this one. It is looking like I might even be able to present a session or two.

 

NAV Techdays is THE premier technical event for NAV professionals. This will only be my second time at this event (why I never went before that is still a mystery to me) but I could not look at a year as a successful one without going to Antwerpen in Belgium.

The content at NAV Techdays is second to none: two days of 90 minute sessions, all deep dives into the most geeky technical topics that you can think of. It would be an absolute honor to present at this event, but I’d have to brush up on my skills a LOT before I’d feel comfortable standing up in front of that crowd.

Before the event itself there are two days of workshops. These workshops are not included in the event price, but they are all well worth the cost of admission. I will be attending “PowerShell – Black Belt” by Eric ‘Waldo’ Wauters and “Deep Dive Eventing & Extensions” by Arend-Jan Kauffmann. I cannot wait to get those started.

See you in Phoenix and Antwerpen!!

Envision Not a Replacement for Convergence

Although it has been a few months since we went to Envision in New Orleans, I wanted to take a few minutes and write down my thoughts on this event. For me it has a very double meaning. On one hand it was a new type of event for me that brought a lot of food for thought. Rather than getting down into nuts and bolts of product knowledge, this event was more about thought leadership and marketing, two concepts that are more abstract than I am comfortable with.

In previous years, we (the company I work for) would always attend and/or sponsor the annual event called Convergence, which was the Dynamics event that was focused on the end user of the Dynamics products. After we had already purchased the VERY expensive platinum sponsorship for Convergence US in 2016, Microsoft decided to restructure their event rotation. They brought it to us as though “Envision” was intended to be more than just Dynamics, but it was essentially a rebranding effort, so it was really another iteration of the same thing. By the time that the session schedule came out, and there was not a single session about any of the Dynamics products other than merely marketing, we realized that this was an entirely different type of event altogether, and unfortunately it was too late to cancel our sponsorship.

The event itself was VERY poorly attended. Day one of the event itself felt like it was the afternoon of the last day of any other event. We hardly had any visitors to our booth, the floor felt like it was deserted all day long, and most of our guests at our traditional coffee stand were booth staff of other partners on the floor.

Normally, platinum level sponsorships come with 2-3 speaking slots of an hour each, and a partner session that can be uses to promote ourselves. This time around, we only received a couple of 15 minute slots at the media wall, which was very different. The picture is me presenting at the media wall, where I talked about the challenges of global implementations (slides here). There were plenty of people that seemed to be very interested in my presentation, but 15 minutes was barely enough to race through some of the highlights.

The highlight of my event was the opportunity to meet Scott Kelly, a NASA astronaut who had just come back from a year in space. Where I live in Flagstaff we are space nerds and we have parties to look at the sky at night. I had watched the International Space Station fly over and wondered how he’d be doing up there. It was great meeting Mr. Kelly, who told me that my town looks great from space.

Envision may be a great event if you’re into thought leadership and marketing, but it is no replacement for Convergence. Too bad, because I always enjoyed attending Convergence, both in the US and in EMEA. Time for groups like NAVUG to step up and fill the void.