Keynotes are always a tough thing to evaluate. Often you see the CEO of a company or other higher management entering the stage to talk about all of the amazing things going on. Often the topics can be high level CEO to CEO content, leaving the room of “tekkies” left with nothing to be excited about. During the User Group I felt the combination of tech and CEO material was well balanced.
One thing that caught my eye during the keynote was the virtual assistant. I wrote a short article about it on my blog here: Café X being replaced by Virtual Assistant. A cool BOT framework integrated to the powerplatform via connectors. Certain elements requiring code before now can be solved with configuration (if you use CDS).
But the big talk from Microsoft was of course AI and the power it gives us with the vast amounts of data that we can collect and now understand better. The sales pitch for AI is not really a problem, because everybody wants AI to work, but I am not sure everyone understands what it takes for AI to make sense. What I am talking about is the never ending “Chicken and the Egg”. You cant do AI without data, and you might not motivate data without the AI.
It feals that the whole story with PowerApps and citizen developers is intended to lower the hurdle of collecting data, and therefore we can do more Actionable Insights once the data is in.
So the story about ONE VERSION is actually really exciting. The world will during April all be on the same version of Dynamics online. It is just like SalesForce, and it enables us to commit on delivering updates at a regular pace. Commitment and promise from Microsoft is 2 major updates every year April and Oktober ish. This time around I actually believe that they are capable of delivering on this promise.
Customers will need to understand that software is an ongoing investment. What was a limitation 4 months ago, might be an opportunity now. Staying ahead of the competition will require you being current. The downside of a statement like that is that you will need more consultancy for upkeep of solutions, and you will have to look into the more experimental software approach. I guess this might scare some larger companies that still prefer to be slow movers.
The story around learning and MS is fairly odd at the moment. While they are heavily investing in this great platform, the Dynamics content has also been released on the edx platform. Jukka has written a post about this. I see that this is copying the SalesForce model of brining all information out public to everyone, and I really think this is a solid move from Microsoft. About time some would say.
Neil Parkhurst – USA accelerator and Omni-Channel
Neil Parkhurst has released an accelerator you can download for USD. This will help you get started quick, and is a great tool to use when you wan to demonstrate the USD. USD is no simple product to demonstrate, because you have to understand the complexity of customer service organization for it to make sense. Link to Accelerator
He also informed more about the Omni-channel capabilities. I first thought this was a simple rebranding of USD, but from my understanding this will provide us with a framework capable of receiving information from several channels (chat, CTI, SMS etc) in a more controlled way than having to do heavy coding. More about the Omni-Channel.
I attended this session hoping to understand more about Typescripting. I am a copy/paste scripter, meaning that I can’t really write my own code. Therefore I was a little uncertain that this would be right for me. It ended up being a little over my head:)
So I didn’t understand what was going on after some time, because the syntax for me was so odd coming from a JavaScipt CRM world. I guess it all just takes a little getting used to. I will start off by converting my scripts over to TypeScript in time when the projects are big enough. For the simple day to day scripting, I will stick to the small functions.
Lets-start-TypeScript 2 part series by Scott. I will read this at some point..
Daniel Cai – Integrations Done Right
If you for some reason haven’t heard about https://kingswaysoft.com you might be doing migrations/integrations to complex. This session was first a theoretical part about the tool before we dove into some good examples of setting it up correctly. They have lots of good articles on the blog in regards to migration and capacity online, so head over there for the latest in updates.
One thing that was important to mention for Daniel was that the WebAPI was not considered as mature as the old SOAP. Therefore he still used SOAP for some integrations, BUT since this is being deprecated, you need to plan migrating the integrations over to the new API
Mark Smith – User Group from 0-3000 members
Mark Smith has an impressive track record behind him from New Zeeland, and has been an active part of building User Groups (amongst many other things). He was talking about his experiences going from nothing to something, and giving out tips on how to succeed.
One of the major “hmmm..” moments that caught me was how he got everyone together in the beginning to create a leadership that would drive this. In Norway I still feel that some partners feer each other a little to much to work on this goal. Eventually it would be awesome to see the customers own this User Group and continue pushing the market. It all sounds more legit when the customers are telling their stories:)
Neil Parkhurts & Lucy Muscat Microsoft Marketing vs ClickDimensions
I am not sure words can describe the tension in this room. Microsoft on the right side of the room, and ClickDimensions in the back. Neil and Lucy did an extraordinary job trying to express their experiences on the 2 products, while not offending any of the 2. If this were an octagon, I am not sure who won the fight. Both parties got a few solid blows in, but left the session as winners.
There is definitely a room in the market for both of them, but not in the same segments. I just wonder which one of them is going to figure it out first 😉