What an amazing event Convergence has become!  I just read The History of Convergence blog and was reminded of many of the things that make this conference the only absolute sure thing for my planning each year.  Every year I look forward to the dates and head to the conference totally psyched up and full of energy.  Every year the days are packed with so many activities, connections, ideas, and new friends that I return home physically totally spent, but mentally even more psyched than when I left.  Why?  Because of the power of connections.  There is nothing more satisfying to the human soul than helping your peers gain that which makes them happy - new ideas, answers to questions, useful information, or useful professional relationships.  Well, maybe there is something more satisfying than helping your peers - gaining all of this yourself!  It is all easy to accomplish at Convergence.

I have been to every Convergence since Microsoft acquired Navision in 2002.  Yes, I am a "NAV guy", but it doesn't matter what product you are aligned with or learning about, the conference will make your top 5 list without fail.  I will speak directly to my fellow NAVites below, but over my years of attendance I have compiled some personal tips and tricks I would like to share with you.

  • Tip 1. You are not going to the conference to eat or sleep. There will be ample eating, enough sleeping, but the goal is to gain as much new information as you can and to make as many connections as you can handle.
  • Tip 2. Be sure your suitcase or backpack has room to bring home more than you brought as you will go home with more.
  • Tip 3. Be sure to attend the keynote sessions. The keynotes with Microsoft Executives will help you align your future with theirs. In fact, you will often see a future you hadn't yet imagined. The keynote(s) with non-Microsoft speakers are always a fantastic as that is why that presenter was engaged.
  • Tip 4. Look beyond the sessions. There is no question the sessions carry a lot of value, but if all you do at Convergence is attend sessions, you will have left behind a lot of opportunity.
  • Tip 5. You have ideas or needs - share them with your product technical team. One of two things will happen. Either you will find an answer/grow an idea or the technical team will receive an insight into the real world that will help them build an even better product.
  • Tip 6. Meet as many members of the Microsoft Executive team as you are able and share with them how your business is going as well as how your Dynamics product(s) enables your business. Don't hesitate to provide them with a short list of things they can do/change to make your life better. They love this stuff and you will help guide their thinking.
  • Tip 7. Believe it or not - attend the parties. The environment created by a social event allows conservative professional barriers to be lowered and can often provide you with real insight or, at worst, a great new relationship with someone like you. Remember, everyone there shares Dynamics in common so you will never be stuck for lack of something to talk about.
  • Tip 8. If you are an end-user, engage with your partner. Convergence is a big opportunity for free consulting ;-). If you are a partner, engage with your end-users as there will be nothing to build loyalty better than the Convergence connections you can make and the solution sharing you can provide.

I could go on with tips and tricks, but this is a blog, not the Convergence for Dummies book so I will simply repeat that Convergence will provide you top value in every dimension.  If you put in some effort beyond your typical exertion at your typical conference, you will receive great dividends.

Most of all, look me up when we are all in Atlanta.

NAV NOTES

Although Convergence sports a large attendance number, the Dynamics product groups tend to each have their own community and personality.  The NAV community is nicely knit, open and, yes Andy, warm.  I think this stems from the natural tendency for minority groups (there are far more GP oriented attendees than each of the other products) to band together.  The NAV personality at Convergence is one of executive access (one can "hang" with the NAV executives), enthusiastic engagement with the technical resources (they love to hear stories from the real world), immediate friendship with NAV peers (always refreshing to meet someone from your flock amongst all the birds of the world), and tons of ideas for your next process or strategic improvement.

Look me up - I will be that guy in the front row in each session ;-)

John Kleb

Sikich