Reflecting upon Dynamics 365 for Operations Technical Conference – March 2017


 

Two weeks ago I had the good fortune to join our partner community at the annual Technical Conference held in Seattle, which this year was focused solely on Dynamics 365 for Operations.

As an event, it catered for 1500+ professionals with over 110 sessions being run over 3 days, with an additional day focused purely on the retail capability of Operations.

In Sri’s Srinivasan blog and his keynote he highlighted that we’ve had Operations available in its current form for just over a year, and during that time the momentum we have witnessed I believe is truly impressive for a new cloud based platform and made this the most timely technical conference to continue the focus and innovation.

The evolution of the solution from AX2012R3 into Operations not only carries forward the key components of the business logic but is deployed through the proven engine of ‘Lifecycle services’ which works as both a collaborative environment for our Partners, Microsoft and the customer, but also manages the actual production environments.

When we then build upon the new modern UI, aspects as integration platform, IOT, PowerBI etc we have a truly powerful ERP platform that our customers that start to derive real value from.

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To leverage this wider technology, and truly start to bring the value to the fore for customers by our partner community this is where the Technical conference comes into its own.  The sessions are all being delivered by Microsoft’s subject matter experts and have both intermediate and advanced sessions to suite the caliber of individuals in attendance. 

What I observed from the sessions and the keynotes is how far Operations has come in a year.  The momentum of new implementations going live every month is a huge testament to the solution, our Partners and the customers realizing what Dynamics 365 for Operations can bring. 

It is often easy to lose sight of the diversity and scale of our customers’ businesses.  In my own role, I often get asked questions such as ‘how many legal entities can be used in tandem’, ‘what is the maximum volume of transactions’ or integrations we can apply.  It was hugely refreshing to hear directly from a customer in person at the conference their own experiences of their deployment where they have deployed across over 400 service sites, for 5000 employees from a single Dynamics 365 instance globally.  A positive testament to the scalability of the Microsoft Azure platform and Dynamics 365 for Operations.

It was also great to be in an event where we could articulate the full value of digital transformation and empowerment of choice for our customers.  This is certainly pertinent where for Operations we will now be providing three deployment scenarios that enable customers to apply the right scenario for their own business environment, utilize the cloud and its complementary technologies and drive innovation to recognizable value. 

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Operations is now a key component of the wider Dynamics 365, and the technical conference had some good content that focused on the Common data services and model (CDS and CDM respectively) that will enable our customers to fully apply their business processes across components such as Sales, field Service and Operations – and utilizing complementary tools such as PowerApps and Flow.  As the CDS and CDM evolve and mature, they will underpin Dynamics 365 for all organisation’s enabling the faster creation of business applications without the concern and worry around data duplication and potentially conflicting entities.   The first iteration of CDS will be available in our spring wave release, which will start to really add value to Dynamics 365 in my view.

The conference also explored other aspects for our Partners.  For instance, there was some good sessions on the tools for migrating customers from AX2009 to Operations.  This was great to see in action and provide partners confidence in how to position what can be migrated from AX2009.

The sessions for PowerBI and reporting were superb also, leveraging the tools and techniques we have available today, but also highlighting where we continue to innovate.

I felt also that the conference was a superb opportunity to help partners start to understand the role that Appsource is looking to fulfill for our customers and their own practices. It is our destination for all business users to discover, trial and acquire line-of-business SaaS Apps.  From a partner’s perspective, reusable IP that can be applied as an App, or ISV’s who position their complementary solutions on Appsource all now have a global reach to our combined customers.    

So, from an all-up perspective, the Technical conference is a fantastic forum for our partners to combine networking, re-establish relationships, build new relationships, understand the vast array of innovation that has taken place around Dynamics 365 for Operations and to get to grip with some of the underlying details through the hands on labs and breakout sessions to help all our customers on their journey of Digital Transformation and derive a real value from Dynamics 365 for Operations.

 


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