Summit EMEA Review – Day 1

Today I attended the first day of the Summit EMEA Conference in Amsterdam with my Codec-Dss colleagues where over 2000 Microsoft Dynamics 365 professionals and users come together to digest all things across Dynamics 365. With the converging product set, this included separate streams on CRM, NAV and AX. Being a community-driven conference it features special access to Microsoft leadership and a diverse array of interactive training workshops led by experts and users.

Did you know that Real Madrid use Dynamics 365 for Fan Relationship management? Mike Ehrengerg, Technical Fellow at Microsoft came to open the event with a keynote that focused on high profile customers such as Real Madrid and Rolls Royce. He gave some interesting background on how Dynamics 365 is being used and the benefits of the move from on-premise to cloud in recent years, explaining how Microsoft with Azure are in a unique position to deliver next generation business software.

The keynote focused on demos of the 4 pillars of Dynamics 365 – Purpose Built Applications, Productivity, Intelligence and Adaptability. Of particular interest was the Intelligence pillar which was covered in more detail in the next session I attended. This session was entitled ‘Increase your CRM IQ with Azure’ and focused on the new services provided in Azure and gave some demos of how they can or could interact with Dynamics 365 use cases. One example was a demonstration of a CRM web resource which took a photo of the user to verify against a CRM contact record photo, or a Facebook bot to automatically create a case using PowerApps.

If you spin up an Azure instance you can see all the Microsoft Cognitive Services in Azure – most of these are still in preview mode (except for Bing services) and these range from a custom speech service to to Emotion API (can tell you if someone’s emotion in a picture for example), and text analytics which could for example create a tag cloud of words against a CRM record or records.

Up next for me was a more detailed developer focused session looking at the evolution of developer tooling in relation to Dynamics 365. Some behind the bike shed type stories around CRM 1.0 which it was agreed was more demoware than software(!) and what is best practice in terms of pre-populating GUIDs in records or not. The topics covered were very useful for any developer starting out and there are always things that experienced developers can pick up with other peoples war stories.

Mid-afternoon saw a Microsoft led session based on the product strategy and roadmap which focused around the Customer Engagement platform, looking at demos of sections of that such as Field Service IoT and the IoT dashboard.

Finally, I reluctantly skipped a Javascript (sorry JScript) session to attend a session with Scott Durow and Sarah Critchley concerning the Community Schema Project. As someone who has OCD about data modelling and entity relationships, I am glad I did. Scott and Sarah are MVPs who have clearly put a lot of thought into the ‘right’ way that things should be modelled in CRM. To me this is something that Dynamics partners, and Microsoft should be embracing and supporting. It may not be as marketable a feature as the Azure Cognitive Services, but it has the potential to standardise customisation work and drive a standard logical business schema which is compatible with the official Microsoft Common data model. It’s something I hope to get involved with in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Session of the DayCommunity Schema Project – If you are attending the conference this week and missed this session it’s worth getting some time to talk to Scott or Sarah about it.

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