Now that Convergence 2012 has come and gone, I want to take a minute to reflect on my experience at Microsoft’s annual conference for Dynamics’ evaluators, customers and partners. This post is solely my own review and in no way reflects the views of Axonom or its employees.
The City – A good number of restaurants, hotels, and pubs were well within walking distance of the convention center. The only time I found myself in search of a cab was to/from the airport, and that was quick and easy; travel time was roughly 35 minutes.
Convention Center – The George R. Brown Convention Center was spacious and navigation throughout the building was easy. In past venues, it sure seemed like there were never-ending escalators or a long travel by foot was need to get to the next destination! I liked that feet from GRB’s entrance doors was the Expo Hall, Hands on Labs, conference center, Meal Hall, and the convention’s store and bookstore—all on the same level, in one big area. Don’t get me wrong, this certainly doesn’t make the GRB venue superior, just a little more convenient to navigate around.
Convergence Attendees – Doug Kennedy announced in his keynote that the ‘12 conference broke a record in attendance (10,000+) and exhibitors (270).
Keynotes – General Colin Powell, (Ret.), gave an inspiring, informative and humorous keynote speech to close out the conference. He shared insights on how to remain focused, take responsibility and work towards improving processes, organizations, and people.
Booth Experience – This year, we (Axonom) did something pretty impressive in our booth. (At least, I thought it was cool.) We took our scripted survey technology and applied that functionality to the tradeshow floor. For example, when customers came into our booth and their badge was scanned, all of their contact information instantly loaded into the Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s leads table. Then, with our staff equipped with iPads, we walked the customer through a series of scripted evaluation questions. As soon as that person stepped out of our booth, their contact information, products interested in, purchase timeline, and follow-up actions were already loaded into CRM.
This process simply bypassed waiting in line to receive login/password information from the handheld leads device company and then downloading that CSV file into CRM. In addition, conversations were recorded systematically so that the sales representative had all the necessary information to make the follow-up call.
Receptions and Partner Parties – Only a few blocks from the Convention Center, Microsoft held its Convergence Reception at the Astros’ ballpark. Minute Maid Park delivered on its ability to be a great venue. The stadium’s wide concourse provided easy walk flow and an uninterrupted view of the field. The smell of Southern-themed cuisine filled the air (and stomachs) and a live performance by Daughtry rang in our ears.
Other notable evening events included the Exhibit Reception at the Expo Hall and The Spot’s Rolling Stones cover band party at the House of Blues. I also attended smaller, private receptions hosted by Armanino Consulting at Tejas Grill, CoreMotives at Reserve 101 and HP at the House of Blues.
Convergence ‘13 – Block your calendars from March 18-21, 2013. Microsoft announced its annual conference will be back in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was only four years ago that “The Big Easy” hosted the Microsoft Dynamics convention. For those interested in receiving alerts/updates, sign up on the Convergence website.