Summit 2019: A New View from Kerry (Rosvold) Peters
November 14, 2019 | New View Strategies
Even if you missed Summit 2019 this year hopefully now you’re feeling like you were there, after reading through the team’s recap series. In our last recap, Kerry (Rosvold) Peters reflects on a long history of Summits and some noticeable changes this year:
I’ve attended this conference every year since 2008, always focusing on Dynamic NAV (which is now Dynamics D365 Business Central), but seeing it grow from AX, CRM, GP, and NAV to education on all versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, Dynamics 365 Business Central, Dynamics AX, CRM, GP, NAV and Power Platform (Power BI, PowerApps and Flow). It’s been incredibly exciting to be a part of planning this annual conference each year and to continue to see this community grow.
New View Strategies had the privilege of training 110 students prior to Summit 2019 during our Controller’s Boot Camp and Warehousing Boot Camp, both held for a full week each, as well as during the two pre-summit Academy days, so we had plenty of time to spend with super-user level attendees before the conference began.
Even before getting started with the conference, we were excited to see:
Many more customers on the 2015 -2018 versions, with fewer and fewer on older versions.
More representation of Business Central customers.
New faces from the GP community seeking and sharing information about Business Central.
There were quite a few common conversations as customers and prospects sought information to help them make decisions for their companies:
Many customers registered shock related to the fact that they can no longer purchase NAV licenses (only Business Central now) and there is generally limited understanding of the new licensing, timing, and the expectation of how to go forward.
There is general confusion and misinformation around other topics as well, including the modern client, discontinuation of on-prem, and exactly what end-users need to do to be ready to upgrade.
The general consensus continues that re-implementation is the path of choice instead of upgrading. However, unlike when we last experienced this dilemma with the 2009/2013 versions, there is much more tolerance to the idea of re-implementing as path for a fresh start and an opportunity for efficiency.
Business Central customers were greatly relieved and happy to see some of the new features included in the 2019 Wave 2 release (released just prior to the conference).
Many NAV customers are still struggling with how to think differently about customizations, exactly what extensions are and why they are no longer optional, how to go about the process of refactoring, and how to manage that process with their partners.
There is still quite a bit of dissatisfaction and concern about ISVs who are not ready for Business Central, and how to know if new add-on choices are truly ready.
I participated in quite a few conversations with customers about the need to change their thinking and philosophies around how to support their companies in this new perpetual upgrade environment, where new features are constantly trickled into the system, alongside an ultimately personalize-able interface that can create unique views of each user’s desktops. It’s a new model, mode of thinking, and set of challenges for every IT team. It’s also very interesting to discuss what new skills (adaptive learning, flexibility, higher level of technology knowledge) are required of companies.
The one big negative of the conference this year is that Microsoft really missed the boat in their messaging to the attendees. The opening keynote had very little tie-in to the ERP software many attendees were there to see, and the Microsoft representatives who were there were not people who have been connected with the user group community. At one point toward the end of the session, Microsoft asked for some more time to include just one more thing, and the large majority of the audience walked out, intent on attending sessions more relevant to them. In discussion with other attendees, the sentiment was almost one of anger, that people’s time had been wasted. It was also really unfortunate that Microsoft’s presence was barely noticeable throughout the conference, which has often been the case at the UG conferences, but especially so this year.
Related to the conference itself, there was some difficulty with people being able to get into sessions, and people began to show up earlier and earlier for sessions to make sure they could get in. There was also quite of bit of angst around having too many good choices (what a great problem to have!), but hopefully having sessions recorded will alleviate some of that. This is the first time Summit has recorded sessions, so I’m really looking forward to seeing some of them myself that I couldn’t get to, and having these sessions is a great improvement to the conference format overall.
We all had a great time spending quality time at the Medics station throughout the conference, getting a chance to share information and network with new contacts. and reminisce and reconnect with people who attend the conference year after year.
And of course, this year was the year that New View Strategies added a THIRD ALL-STAR to our team. We were so proud of Kim Congleton, as she joined the ranks of BC/NAVUG All-Stars this year. While the town hall session was very sparsely attended, we were glad to be there to see her recognized in the community.
Overall, UG Summit continues to be the most valuable, absolutely-can’t-miss-it conference of the year for me. The opportunity to spend time with end users who are using the software every day in their jobs, to understand their concerns, to learn what they are excited about, and to assist them in their journey with ERP software is priceless, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
The experts at New View Strategies are experienced Dynamics NAV and Business Central trainers and business process consultants who have walked in your shoes as former Corporate Controllers, Directors of IT, and Solution Architects, and believe increased utilization of your business systems is critical to the continued success of your company.