Technically, I don't think today 's schedule was considered to be the first day but the keynote was this afternoon, so with this re-write, I am now just calling it Keynote Day. Confused? Yes it was a little but I'm assuming the rest of the conference is now Days 1 to 3. I give up labelling days since I goofed once already! :)

For the morning, it was a quiet start to the day. It was a nice day, as it has been every day in Tampa, but today there was a nice breeze to keep it cooler than it was the previous couple of days. So, I walked to the convention centre area and funnily enough, I arrived at the front of the convention centre at the exact moment that Tim Wappat was standing there waiting for his shuttle to the hotel. I hadn't met Tim yet although we have chatted quite a bit on Twitter, so I was looking forward to meeting him! We chatted for a bit until his shuttle bus arrived and then went our separate ways.

Partner Exchange

After breakfast, there was a Partner Exchange session, held by Dynamics Communities. Some of the key things that came out of that session are the following (that I can share!):


  • 108,000 members
  • 19,500 companies
  • 1,500 volunteers
  • 215 chapters
  • 27 special interest groups
  • Summit attendance growth has been from 3190 in 2014, to 4100 last year to 6500+ this year. (WOW!)

New User Groups

  • Power BI (PBIUG)
  • Dynamics SL (DSLUG)
  • International Association of Data Science
  • Dynamics 365 (D365UG) ** this wasn't announced specifically but this UG was on a slide that listed all of the UGs so I'm considering this my little scoop of the day! :)

EMEA Expansion

  • Darrell Monk has been hired as the Director of Community Development, based in London, to aid in the expansion of the UG presence in EMEA.

2017 Dynamics Communities Events

  • Amplify - March 19 to 21st - Anaheim, California
    • GP Customers
    • GP Partner Connections Sales & Marketing content previously at reImagine will be here now
  • Dynamics 365 for Operations Tech Conference - March 12 to 15 - Seattle, Washington
    • Dynamics 365 for Operations Partners
  • Summit EMEA - April 3 to 6 - Amsterdam
    • AX, CRM, NAV and Power BI customers
  • Focus - May 7 to 12 - St. Louis, Missouri
    • AX, CRM, NAV and Power BI customers
  • reImagine - August 7 to 10 - Fargo, North Dakota
    • GP Partners (Developers & Technical Consultants only again)
  • DSLUG - Sept 11 to 16 - Tampa, Florida
    • SL Customers
  • Summit - Oct 10 to 13 - Nashville, Tennessee
    • AX, CRM, GP, NAV, PBI customers

The rest of the session was Rich Beliveau and Tonya Anderson discussing the benefits of partner membership and a partner panel where a handful of partners talked about their involvement in the UG communities, what they contribute and how they have benefitted from their involvement.

Keynote at Amalie Arena

After the partner session, I ran into Tim Wappat again so we went to get a bite of lunch before heading to the Keynote at the Amalie Arena across the street (practically) from the Convention Centre.  I signed up as a volunteer ambassador so for the first hour beforehand I was outside helping direct people to the right place to get to the keynote. Nothing like enjoying the sunshine for an hour while watching 6,500 people stream by!

The primary content at the Keynote was around Dynamics 365 and its official launch to the world (literally!). (link to intro removed, no longer valid)

The first couple of minutes of the keynote above was a recording shown of a prior presentation but the portion starting with Scott Guthrie was the live presentation we were part of at the Summit.

The user interface is quite slick, and the presentation was impressive. Of course, a demo will be impressive, right? But it was hard not to be impressed with some of the features and integration points they have worked on.

One key point of the message was the evolution of Dynamics 365 does not have any effect on Dynamics GP customers.

  • There is some re-branding that will be occurring on Dynamics CRM and Dynamics AX. Both of those products are being re-branded with Dynamics 365 product naming terminology.
  • Project Madeira, the code name for the preview, becomes Dynamics 365 for Financials and is roughly based on the NAV platform, but isn't just a SAAS version of NAV.
  • Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics SL all continue as they have in the past with continued development, just no plan to make SAAS versions of those products.
Product rebranding
Slide showing evolution of branding changes in Dynamics products.

Expo Reception

After the keynote, the Expo Hall was opened up and it was a reception for everyone with drinks (with free drink tickets from registration) and nibbles of various food. The expo hall was huge and I took a "swim lane" approach, starting at one end and walking up and down the entire expo hall while occasionally stopping for a drink, a bite from a food vendor or chatting with someone I recognized. The reception 3 hours long and I pretty much walked around for the entire 3 hours.

Near the end of the reception, a marching band came in and literally marched around and through the entire expo. Man, it was loud! I suppose that was the "alarm clock" for everyone to remember that the expo session was closing soon and the fireworks display outside was going to start soon.

I missed the beginning of the fireworks but caught most of it and it was a lot of fun. It was quite loud, being launched off a barge in the water right beside the convention centre. Everyone was quite impressed I think!

I made the mistake of trying to make a phone call after the fireworks were done, thinking it would quiet down. No sooner did I start to make a phone call, then the marching band came outside and marched around, so I walked inside the convention centre again to escape the noise. A few minutes later, the marching band came back inside, so I went back outside to escape the noise. Too funny… I couldn't get away from the band!

MVP Mingle

After the Expo reception, Fastpath sponsored an "MVP Mingle" evening reception for MVPs and special guests. I was quite tired by the time this started so I only stayed for about an hour before heading back to my place for the night. I did stay long enough to be part of the picture of the GP crew at the mingle event. There are 11 GP MVPs here at Summit, out of 18 total GP MVPs, a pretty good ratio! This isn't the greatest picture, David Musgrave had one taken with his camera so a better one will likely surface on his blog sooner or later!

MVP Mingle, Left to Right: Aaron Back (GPUG All-Star), Charles Allen (former MVP), Mark Polino, Beat Bucher, John Lowther, Belinda Allen, Mariano Gomez, myself, David Musgrave, Steve Endow, Christina Phillips, Leslie Vail & Harry Lee.
MVP group picture.

That's it for today!