Milan, Italy. 26th to the 29th October.
Matt Fleming – Business Development Manager
Having spent the last two years socially distancing and working from home, the opportunity to not just attend the “Directions 4 Partners EMEA 2021 event” face to face, but to travel to the beautiful city of Milan, well I didn’t need to be asked twice.
Air travel to Italy, the city and the venue were all very aware of the risk that COVID continues to pose and bringing in 1,600 delegates from across Europe was carried out with the utmost care, caution and consideration. Masks, hand sanitising and proof of a double vaccine were mandatory throughout our stay and with COVID secure measures in place, it gave us every opportunity to focus on the technology.
“Directions 4 Partners” is an independent community, funded in a large part by the community, for Microsoft Dynamics 365 partners from the ERP and CRM channels, focusing on the SMB market.
The event focused on not just the technology but also market conditions, challenges and a number of new initiatives from the team.
Microsoft’s first session stated their intention to “Create a world class, connected User Experience” allowing users to adopt faster, perform better and work smarter.
The next three days weren’t just a PowerPoint marketing fest though.
We had demonstrations of:
- Artificial Intelligence suggesting customers’ approach to generate sales should be based on historical sales analytics.
- Non-Finance Users viewing D365 Business Central data through their Teams product.
- Virtual Agents (Bots) servicing data requests from D365 Business Central.
- Improved business processes within D365 Business Central
There was a real enthusiasm within the community around the core ERP product, but also the elements that take it from a Finance system into an integrated Business platform, talking to and sharing data with Microsoft (Office) 365, publishing to Teams, Power BI, Power Apps and device independence.
There was a feeling of momentum being built and the figures produced by Microsoft substantiated that.
Whilst the number of Partners selling D365 Business Central has doubled in the last two years, D365 Business Central Users around the world have grown to more than 20,000; a ten-fold increase.
It was a tremendous event involving knowledge sharing, networking, community support and development. I genuinely believe that if Microsoft continue to invest in this Business focused Power Platform, they will achieve their goal and create that world class, connected user experience they are striving for.