Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 kicked off on Tuesday with a keynote address from Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov. More than 11,000 people attended the conference to hear, among other things, Tatarinov discuss how to reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance and collaborate with employees with Microsoft Dynamics.
Tatarinov reinforced the idea that business functions can work more effectively when they unite with their IT counterparts. He positioned Microsoft Dynamics as a catalyst for unity, and announced new advancements in integrated marketing, embedded social capabilities, and new cloud and mobile scenarios enabled through Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
"To realize the promises and possibilities of a world ahead, organizations must be united," Tatarinov told conference attendees in New Orleans. "When a business is truly united, great things happen."
Microsoft's Mobile Play
On Day One of the conference, Microsoft announced a set of new applications for phones and tablets, which will be available with the next update to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Microsoft promises the mobile applications will provide a more relevant experience based on people's roles and devices, help them connect with their social networks, and provide an engaging and actionable experience.
The Business Analyzer application is already available in the Windows Marketplace. Now, the company is making available apps for expense management, time and approvals. Expense management aims to helps workers both capture and reconcile expenses while traveling, cutting down time and effort.
As its name suggests, the Time app lets mobile workers log time on projects on the go. The goal is to reduce this administrative burden while providing businesses with the opportunity to improve working capital through decreased billing cycle times. Finally, Approvals makes it possible for managers to approve business requests such as budget requests, time sheets, submitted expense reports and purchase requisition to cut down on administrative task and time spent.
True Unified Communications
Laura DiDio, principal analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Consulting, said Microsoft has an extremely strong suite of convergence and unified communications offerings. Over the past several years, she said, the company has delivered an array of products and backed them up with strong service, support and documentation.
"Talk to many of the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence customers and they'll tell you they're not just sold on the technology -- which is rock solid -- but they're also impressed with how Microsoft works and partners with them to assist in every aspect of the product adoption, from design, testing, implementation, roll-out and after market support," DiDio told us.
She said Microsoft deserves credit for getting Dynamics Convergence right in terms of the technology, the products and the overarching strategy. She called it a very credible suite of offerings.
"Microsoft's Lync Unified Communications product is also catching fire, with 5 million seats in use now. Competitors like Cisco, Avaya and others are starting to take notice," she said. "One of the smartest things Microsoft has done in the past three years is to buy Skype. Lync and Skype have been separate products to date. But at its Lync conference last month, Microsoft said it would provide more integration between the two platforms to further its Unified Communications as a Service strategy. They're doing a very good job in this area."