GPUG Summit 2017 - Day 2

This is my 3rd blog post in this series. If you haven’t read the first couple yet, you can find my Tuesday pre-conference blog here and Wednesday’s Day 1 blog here.

Today, Thursday, October 12th, is the 2nd full day of GPUG Summit. It was a lot less stressful than my first day but just as jam-packed.

GPUG Community session

The first session of the day was the GPUG community session. This is the session where various award winners are announced, the next locations of the Summits are announced and other general activities.

Today, being that we’re in Nashville, the “curtain warmer” was a country band playing while people came in and got settled. Little did we know at the time, they were the opening act where we, the crowd, would be crowdsourcing a GPUG country song! It was pretty fun.

Long story short: some people wandered among the crowd with mics getting suggestions on what the song should contain (i.e. keywords on what they were here for) while Mary Beth Workin, one of the DCI team, was tasked with documenting it all. The band on stage would then rough sound things out to get a chorus and verse etc. Here’s what the “suggestions” looked like at one point:

General Session song ideas

GPUG 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Awards

Next up were the various awards. First, volunteer appreciation awards. These are earned via points given for your contributions in a given program year (Sept to August). For User members, there are 3 award levels, and there is 1 award level for Partner members. Here are the screenshots of all of the award winners:

  • GPUG 2017 Sapphire Awards
  • GPUG 2017 Ruby Awards
  • GPUG 2017 Emerald Awards
  • GPUG 2017 Partner Granite Awards

GPUG 2017 All-Star Awards

Next up were the GPUG All Star awards. These are users and partners nominated by GPUG users and partner members for their contributions and then voted on by the same. First is the list of nominees, user members on the left, partner members on the right, and I’ve marked the 3 who won this year. Congrats to all, it’s well deserved!

  • Bert Green
  • Steve Burney
  • Leslie Vail

The complete list of GPUG All-Stars, not including this year’s, are:

GPUG all stars up to 2016

GP Conference Schedule & Locations for 2018

This session is always where the next year’s location is revealed. One of the funnier parts of the opening crowdsourcing song bit was a comment made by one of the band members. Someone was suggesting an idea for a title specific to Nashville and the guy say something like “that won’t make a lot of sense next year when it’s in Arizona”. A few people in the crowd noticed and wondered if that was a slip or a random guess.

It turns out he might have slipped up and given us a clue to next year! With that, here’s the planned times and locations of next year’s conferences:

  • GPUG Amplify, March 20-22, 2018 in Chicago, IL
  • GP Tech 2018, August (specific dates & location still TBD)
  • GPUG Summit, Oct 15-18, 2018 in Phoenix, AZ

Morning Session

The only session I attended was an ISV/Sponsor session from Paramount WorkPlace. A client of mine uses this and I wanted to find out more about its capabilities and training options to be able to help more when issues or questions arise.

Lunch with Dynamics Pros team

3 of the 5 consultants on my Advanced Distribution exam subcommittee were going to be here this week so we arranged to find each other and meet at lunch. I’d already met 2 of them, Amber Bell and Teri Carpenter, but hadn’t yet met Sherryll Penney. The 2 others I work with on this team are Sandy Wickman, whom I haven’t met yet, and Kathie Bullock, who is a fellow Canadian, and we have met each other several times. When you talk to each other every 2 weeks for nearly a year, it’s nice to put faces to names!

Left to right: Amber Bell, myself, Teri Carpenter, Sherryll Penney

DynamicPros team

Real World Excel Tips session

My 2nd session of the conference was the Excel session, presenting with Frank Heslin. Once again I was shocked at the crowds, this shot is of the number of people waiting outside of my room for the previous session to clear out! Holy cow!

Excel session waiting crowd

The final headcount for this session was approximately 120 as well (similar to my Fixed Assets one). Frank and I were a little worried that people misunderstood the level the session was intended for, but once we clarified at the very beginning, very few people left!

Excel Tips session audience

This was another session where we didn’t get through the content in the time allotted. My one takeaway would be for the part that Frank focused on, to spend less time on setup and personalization and get into formula tips. He didn’t get into those at all due to time constraints, and I didn’t have any plan to cover them, and I think that may have had more value for the audience. Lessons learned for setting an agenda the next time.

The attendees clearly were interested in more Excel content and I can now definitely see the need for more content at this level, where users get real-world useful tips.

Ask your peers: IT Pros session

The next session I was involved in was back to back with this one and was a panel of GP gurus handling random questions from the audience from an IT Pros perspective. It was a good session with lots of good questions and for the most part, all of us got a chance to get some answers and suggestions in. Last year I was in the same session and we ended up with a lot of heavy-duty developer technical questions so I mostly didn’t get a chance to contribute to the discussion. I liked this one better! :)

One thing that worked out nicely was having 3 versions of Dynamics GP loaded on my laptop. I have GP 2013 R2, GP 2015 R2 and GP 2016 R2 all loaded on my laptop and one of the questions was around some POP prepayment functionality. The user who asked the question used GP 2013 so we looked at all 3 versions to see if what they wanted to achieve changed if they upgraded (and in this case, it did not).

Downtown Nashville Experience

That last session was the end of the day and the next official thing on the calendar was the “Downtown Experience” with shuttle buses going to and from downtown Nashville from 6 pm to midnight. Originally I thought I might grab a ticket to the Nashville Predators game, who played the Dallas Stars. I changed my mind and ended up hanging out with fellow GP MVP, Steve Endow.

Catching the bus was an adventure. Clearly, the majority of the 6600 attendees planned on getting on the 6 pm buses! The “Delta Portico” where the buses were was a complete zoo despite best efforts at organizing people into lines for each bus. The area could only hold 4 buses it appeared so there were 4 lines and as one set of buses left, the next set came in. Efficient as it could be under the circumstances but man, it was crazy packed with people!

Once we got on a bus (the 2nd wave of them, not bad!), Steve and I caught up and it was pretty clear we were similar social travellers: not super big country fans, not too interested in a really loud bar, not going to be staying out all night or having a late night! One fortunate thing was someone near us on the bus told us there were lots of rooftop bars downtown, something neither of us would have thought about. So we wandered up Broadway, following the herd of others from the buses and eventually started following fewer Summit people and more Predators fans.

Sure enough, we got to whatever the corner was where the arena is and it’s packed with yellow jerseys! Right around the corner, we found a cool little place that did have a rooftop patio with a view of the arena. Steve took a pic of me on the patio and another shot of the whole thing.

Jen on rooftop patio

View of entire rooftop patio

We had some good tacos, burritos and beer and then went back in search of a variety store (I had run out of contact lens saline) and to find the buses to head back to the hotel.

That’s the end of my day… one more day & two more sessions to go!

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