A Connected World

Last week Microsoft held their annual Dynamics conference (‘Convergence 2014’) in Atlanta. Sadly I didn’t get to attend in person, but I did see some of the conference virtually. And from what I saw it looked pretty epic!

Here’s a quick overview of some of the highlights:

The keynote for the conference was presented by Kirill Tatarinov (who is the executive vice president of the Microsoft Business Solutions Group).

Kirill introduced us to Microsoft’s vision of ‘A Connected World’.  The keys to this vision are Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Social Media integration.

He explained that both ‘B2B’ and ‘B2C’ were no longer valid. It was now simply ‘People to People’, meaning that it’s no longer about just one person, technology or business process – it’s about every single person in the company, and they really need to work together to serve that customer. I thought that was just an awesome message!

There were a number of other presentations, but one that sticks out was one about the up and coming updates to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, called ‘Leo’, ‘Mira’ and ‘Subra’. ‘Leo’ is speculated to be released before the summer.

Among the new features being mooted were Dynamics Social Listening, a focus on Customer care with a unified configurable service desk agent, and CRM tablet application for Android devices.

As part of the virtual conference I saw a great feature whereby you are able to bring up a contact in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and see all of that contacts’ social interactions, tweets and blogs in one place.

So when you have a meeting with someone, you can get more of an understanding of that person, their recent activities, and potentially relate more to them. If you know through their Twitter feed that they’re a fan of House of Cards but they despise Game of Thrones for example, you can start a healthy(!) discussion on that.

SLA timers with colour indicators were also in some of the demonstrations, and they are rumoured to be part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 ‘Leo’ release.

One feature that did have everyone tweeting was the sandbox addition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Online. A sandbox is a way for developers to try untested code, without affecting the live environment.

This is just awesome from a Development perspective, because it means that we can see if something breaks, without actually breaking it!

Another demonstration saw CRM 2013 being extended with new features of HTML5, to allow for drag and drop within the marketing sections.

The interface for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 has been said to be the most innovative user interface in the CRM marketplace. By the end of 2014 it’s said that when CRM is coupled with Microsoft Dynamics NAV, we will have the most complete end to end solution.

One of the key messages to also come out of the conference was to keep things simple with customisations for CRM 2013, and deliver amazing experiences.

This is something that is at the heart of what we are doing as part of the R&D team at TSG.  It’s a monumental pioneering approach which my colleagues David Cabaniuk, Kunjan Barot and James Waterworth are taking to the products we are releasing on the CRM 2013 platform.

So as I got to the end of the week, reading all of the updates people were sharing on Twitter and via the community blogs, I realised that time and space truly no longer have any boundaries! We are definitely living in a connected world.

And so I will create a spark and leave you with this awesome Keynote Video from Convergence 2014: