Event Preview: Directions North America 2022 brings Microsoft SMB partners together again

March 15 2022

The Directions North America conference has been a fixture of the Microsoft Business Applications event calendar for over a decade. The conference began as a way to bring the Dynamics NAV and Business Central partner channel together and has broadened its product focus in recent years. The event returns next month in-person, taking place April 3 to 6 in Orlando.

For the organizing committee, April's show offers a chance to prove that the painfully long hiatus is over and that they can still put on an event that serves the interest of SMB partners.

"Being our first in-person event since 2019, our primary goal is to pull off the event as normal with similar offerings like workshops, deep dives, and really trying to have a successful event without over-complicating it," says Scott Brennan, Directions NA president and a partner at Sikich. "Then we'll figure out how the event evolves moving forward."

Directions NA 2019 brought in the event's biggest turnout ever, with more than 950 attendees. The 2022 event will be smaller, but still tracking to potentially reach 800 attendees according to the event committee's latest projections.

One key element that has enabled Directions North America to come back is the opening of US borders to other countries. Much of the Dynamics 365 product team is based in Europe, including Business Central GM Mike Morton, who will be presenting at the general session.

And Microsoft's presence at the April event will include broader product representation, Brennan said. Attendees can expect product teams sending experts to present on topics related to Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, Power Platform, Teams, and more.

"In our messaging this year, you won't see as much Business Central or NAV branding as much as you will SMB.  Obviously the event is still mostly focused on the Microsoft Dynamics platform, but we are trying to make the event a little more horizontal to appeal to those outside the BC partner channel by including content on CE, Power Platform, and a 'new to Business Central' track,” he explained.

Beyond the Microsoft product and strategy guidance, Brennan says the organizing team sees Directions NA 2022 as a chance for a tight-knit partner community to re-connect after a long time away.

"This being 17 years since our first event and the BC community having a lot of history,  I think a large number of people are looking forward to catching up with prior business and personal connections," he said. " I think people are getting really tired of the virtual events.  In addition there is much interest in seeing how the Dynamics community and platform have changed and where it is going coming out of this pandemic.  We are also extremely excited about a number of new attendees and sponsors that have entered the event since our last in-person event in 2019.  It is good to be back!"

About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com.

Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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