Words that come to mind when reflecting back on last week’s Convergence 2014 in Atlanta include: “Huge,” “Impressive,” “Dazzling,” “Networking-friendly” and “Educational.”
You bet it was! Around 12,000 attendees came from around the world. Besides theU.S., we personally spoke with customers and partners fromChina,Canada, Europe,Africaand elsewhere. There were 300 exhibitor booths in the massive Georgia World Congress exhibit hall in down town Atlanta.
Besides our cosmetic touch-up and giveaway station (courtesy of our favorite Mary Kay rep in Atlanta) other booths also had drawings for tablets, notebooks and Xboxes. We gave away $750 in overnight bags to delighted winners of our business card drawing. At another booth, there was even a sideshow illusionist on hand doing parlor tricks to bring in the crowds.
The Georgia World Congress Center is the fourth-largest convention center in the U.S.and it felt like it. We must have walked 10 miles in those three days. Across the street, where the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks play, the Phillips Arena literally served as the center stage for the opening remarks by Wayne Morris, CVP, Microsoft Business Solutions Marketing, and Kirill Tatarinov, EVP of Microsoft Business Solutions, both of whom spoke of Microsoft Dynamics’ renewed focus on customer-centric applications. They highlighted this year’s upcoming releases of AX, GP and CRM and showcased success stories of Dynamics users like Weight Watchers, New Belgium Brewing and Delta Airlines.
The keynote on Day 2 of the three-day event brought before attendees none other than digital media maven Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and social media wunderkind Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter. Huffington shared nuggets of wisdom about work-life balance (Hint: don’t do as she did and collapse from overworked exhaustion) and finding joy in your work.
Stone talked about his new social media project, Jelly, and how the highest purpose of a digitally interconnected society is to help one another. Day 3 featured the Grammy award-winning band Fun at the arena for a conference-ending celebration and concert.
Perhaps the best reason to attend a conference like this is to meet with customers and partners and learn what challenges they are facing and needs they may have, as well as showcase our unique solution for e-commerce integration. As an exhibitor, we were delighted so many attendees stopped at our booth to ask questions and learn more. E-commerce integration is, in so many ways, still in its early stages.
Businesses are just beginning to realize the true potential of integration between their e-commerce and their Dynamics ERP, CRM and RMS. Part of our responsibility is to help educate our partners and customers about these benefits, and Convergence was a great opportunity to do just that. We owe a very hearty “Thank You” to all who took the time to stop and talk with our team.
Aside from the exhibition, where businesses like ours showcased our Dynamics-based solutions, many thousands of attendees took advantage of many scores of educational sessions that took place in the convention center’s many smaller rooms. If you wanted, for example, to learn more about exactly what Dynamics CRM’s new offerings will look and feel like, or the Top 10 Implementation Pitfalls and How to avoid them, this was on your agenda. These sessions provide a head-start to many Dynamics admins and also help potential and current customers make better informed purchasing decisions.