An annual staple for every Dynamics user is Microsoft Convergence. “Part education, part conversation,” Convergence is THE conference to attend for Dynamics customers, partners and vendors alike.
Stacey Goff Johnson, ZAP, well-described the importance of Convergence: “Microsoft Convergence continues to be an outstanding event each year, drawing key decision makers from industries across the board. In addition to the unbelievable amount of leads we obtain every year it also enables us to network with other partners within the Microsoft Dynamics eco-system.”
How did Convergence become such an important part of the Dynamics scene? What are some of the hallmark moments of the conference and how did it get to be the massive event that it is today?
A Brief History of Convergence
The very first Microsoft Convergence was held in Buena Vista Palace in Orlando, FL. The brainchild of Doug Burgum, Great Plains Software founder and CEO, originally boasted a mere 100 people in attendance. Since Great Plains Software started Convergence, initial conventions focused exclusively on what eventually became Dynamics GP.
Mr. Burgum envisioned Convergence as a way to bring users together, give the company an opportunity to get to know them better and build a real community. It quickly became apparent that Great Plains was on to something. As the software grew, so did the number of individuals and companies that were interested in being a part of the new community. The very next year attendance was 549, with the third year boasting 1,216 attendees.
2002 proved to be a pivotal year for Convergence. Microsoft completed the buyout of Great Plains Software in April 2001, making the 2002 convention the first since Microsoft took over the reins. As one would expect, attendance tripled, reaching a new peak of 3,355.
Under Microsoft’s guidance, Dynamics and Convergence both continued to grow and evolve. In 2005, Microsoft took the step of moving Convergence outside of Orlando for the first time ever. From that year on, the location and venue would change from year to year, although it would by no means be the last time the convention was held in Orlando, returning there again in 2008.
Throughout the years, the size and scope of the convention continued to grow, with the 2014 convention in Atlanta, GA boasting 12,200 in attendance. The one thing that has not changed, however, is the goal of Convergence. Eighteen years later Convergence is still aimed at its original goals: bringing users together, giving Microsoft an opportunity to get to know them better and fostering a community.
What to Expect This Year
What can attendees expect this year? This year is already shaping up to be a can’t-miss event. Few years in Microsoft’s history have been so full-of-change as this last year, in large part due to Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella. Since becoming CEO, Mr. Nadella has unveiled a bold new vision for the company that has unified its strategy and spread its influence.
It’s only appropriate that Mr. Nadella is one of the keynote speakers for Convergence 2015. And he’s not the only one to look forward to, as the roster is one of the most impressive that Microsoft has ever fielded. Here’s a look at what attendees will be treated to:
- Satya Nadella – Microsoft CEO
- Allison Watson – Corporate Vice President, US Marketing & Operations
- Chris Capossela – Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
- David Finn – Associate General Counsel and Executive Director, Microsoft Cybercrime Center
- James Phillips – Corporate Vice President
- Judson Althoff – President, Microsoft North America
- Julia White – General Manager, Office Division Product Management
- Kirill Tatarinov – Executive Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Group
- Seth Godin – World’s Foremost Marketing Provocateur
- Tony Prophet – Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Windows and Search Marketing
- Wayne Morris – Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions Marketing
Without a doubt, this year’s Convergence promises to be “the place where leaders gather to explore, share and experience business solutions.”
If you’re attending, stop by and say hello to Journyx at booth 1827! We’d love to meet you and discuss the exciting developments in the Dynamics world.