Top 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Convergence 2010
The economy is probably as good as it's going to be for a good while, which means we all have to figure out how to do more with our existing Microsoft Dynamics applications. The best way to do so is to add to our knowledge, and Microsoft Convergence 2010 (April 24-27 in Atlanta) is a great place to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics, lots more.
Convergence is the premier on-site conference and trade show for hearing the latest on Dynamics from top Microsoft officials, along with consultants, partners, and ISVs. Last year, I wrote a column about "Ten Reasons to Attend Convergence 2009." This time, I'm assuming you're going, and offering suggestions for getting more out of the experience:
Remember the old raffle notion, "You must be present to win"? Convergence is like that. Don't be left at home watching the Twitter feed (#CONV10), getting blog updates and generally feeling left out. Go...experience Convergence.
9) Attend Sessions
There is a lot to learn at Convergence. Breakout sessions are a great way to learn how to improve your Dynamics solution. There has been a shift in thinking at Microsoft this year, with a new emphasis on making Convergence less sales focused and more improvement driven.
8) Meet the Speakers
Saying hi and telling particular speakers that you appreciated their presentations makes their day and starts to build your network. When you desperately need help from an expert, starting the conversation by saying, "I enjoyed your presentation at Convergence and we met afterwards" is a great lead-in three months later.
Convergence isn't just about solving today's problem with something you learn in a session. It's also about building the relationships to deal with future issues. Spending time at a party with your partner, key ISVs or Microsoft folks builds memories that can open doors later on. You don't have to get plastered, but you can have fun and get to know people. You might also learn a thing or two once everyone relaxes.
You learn more by sharing what you learn with others. Tweet, Blog or share on Facebook something you learned in a session. Do a lunch presentation at your firm after Convergence to show why the trip was worthwhile.
5) Get Hands On
Take a break from sessions and hit the hands-on lab. Learning by trying not only works different parts of your brain; it recharges your mind for additional sessions.
4) Research an add on
Is there an add-on you've been anxious to search out and test? The Expo is full of Independent Software Vendors who would love to talk to you about their solutions. If you have a need to improve your implementation, this is a great place to get lots of answers in one place.
3) Ask an Expert
There are lots of experts at Convergence, including speakers, product developers and support personnel. If you're stuck, Convergence is a great place to get help.
2) Learn from Other Customers
Other Dynamics users are a great source of information and inspiration. Talk to other customers at lunch, in between sessions and at parties. You'll learn an amazing amount of information from other users, and you might find a solution you didn't think about from an industry you didn't know anything about.
1) Thank a Softie
As customers, we have a tendency to be short sighted. We want to complain about the problem facing us today. We forget about all of the problems that have already been fixed, all of the things that work right every day and all of the new features we didn't know we wanted. If you want to build relationships for the future, "Thank You" is a great place to start.
If you've been paying attention, there is a simple theme to these 10 items. Learn for today, build relationships for tomorrow. That's the way to truly get the most value from Convergence.