This post is an overview of my experiences at Directions 2011 – Connect Learn Execute. Again, if you don’t already know, Directions is THE single event that any partner dealing anything with Dynamics NAV (Navision) absolutely has to attend. Not only do they preview a lot of new stuff, it’s also a great place to learn from what other partners are doing and the challenges they’re facing in the market.

The Vibe

The event itself was spectacularly put together by the Directions people. Everything was very organized and well put together. Having been to Directions since 2006, every Directions I attended since had been better than the previous. There were always incredible key takes aways and new friendships that are made.

However, this year I felt something missing. In particular, the energy level to be low. The problem wasn’t the event itself, rather, it was the attendees lacked enthusiasm and energy. In addition, I significantly noticed a lot of partners that I’d use to see (even until last year) did not come to this year’s event.

There are a number of theroies on why I think the energy level is low:

  • The presenters from Europe speak and present with no emotions, like robots. If there’s a competition for monotone speak, the European presenters would be clear winners, no doubt. 
  • There was a couple of presentations that I would like to call the “Doom and Gloom”. Basically, we have to significantly change our business model to be volume based seller. 
  • RTC. Apparently, many partners are still struggling with this.

Demos Dynamics NAV 7 (Navision 7.0)
Looking at Dynamics NAV 7, Microsoft really made significant improvements in usuability, development environment, performance, etc. etc. They’ve addressed everything (and I do mean everything) that I thought was a problem with Dynamics NAV 2009. It’s really a product that everyone can really be excited about.

The reason I can’t blog much about Dynamcis NAV 7 is because as a Dynamics NAV MVP, I’m under the NDA. And since Dan Brown mentioned that everything we saw in Dynamics NAV 7 is not to be made public in the beginning of the event, I have to follow it. Fortunately, not everyone in the conference cares about what they signed, so you can find a lot more about Dynamics NAV 7 if you did a Google search.

One thing I found strange on this event was how Microsoft showing off freely how Dynamics NAV 7 looks and works, even though the product release date is scheduled for Q3/Q4 2012. I can tell you also that Dynamics NAV 7 that I saw in the MVP program is different than the Dynamics NAV 7 they showed at Directions.

Within one year, anything and/or everything can change. After seeing Dynamics NAV 7 in its current form, and knowing people and rumors will start of fly about Dynamics NAV 7, I really hope Microsoft can release it sooner than later.

Key Take Away
Microsoft is moved to the cloud. Dynamics NAV is moving to the cloud. From the sessions in “Doom and Gloom” series, the message was clear: “Move to the Cloud or DIE!”

Yeah… They were fun sessions to attend…