When Convergence Evaporated, What Did We Gain?
For the last ten years the first quarter of my team’s calendar year has been heavily focused on wrapping up final details and preparing for Microsoft’s event, Convergence. For us the planning effort begins almost as soon as the previous year’s event ends. So one might think that Microsoft’s recent announcement – Convergence is out and Envision is in – would be helpful in eliminating or adjusting resources.
Surprisingly, that is not true. A different challenge awaits.
Convergence has historically operated as a type of planning mechanism for many Microsoft partner and customer organizations. Our planning is not just around who will attend or how will we get there. More importantly, between one year’s event and the next, we plan how we will optimize our responses to customer feedback, technology trends and market needs.
We don’t wait till the day before departure to decide on enhancements for our software or to develop our marketing messages. All of that work began many months before the event. So in spite of the recent changes in audience focus, content delivery and even the name of the event, we planned and we executed our strategies.
We are now faced with a new challenge – how to best communicate those activities now that the expected communications vehicle has changed.
Buyer Behavior Change
We recognize that buying behavior is changing. When we encounter customers and prospects, they are likely to have engaged in significant self-education. The role of sales person as primary educator has moved elsewhere in the buying cycle. As these behaviors change, we are learning that our strategies for communicating about our products also need to evolve. No doubt this single action, the switch from Convergence to Envision, will be seen as a turning point in how organizations like our own develop and invest in these new models for communicating product capabilities and reaching customers.
A New Focal Point
We know we are not the only organization that has traditionally attended Convergence but is choosing to be absent from Envision. We are aware that, for some organizations, attendance at this event was not always an accessible or meaningful activity. But whether you attended or not, the event did serve as a focal point for communication and interaction. Historically it served the community well as a point in time for concentrating and absorbing information. In light of this benefit it is great to see the Dynamics Community partner with Microsoft to bring us Amplify, an opportunity to develop another such focal point. We expect to participate and we look forward to meeting our friends in the community in Anaheim in May 2016.
Moving forward, we will all struggle to adapt. But the experience of that shared struggle can also help build our community with different connections and different resources. Who is to say that we won’t all be better served in the long run?
Knowing New Stuff is Coming
In spite of late notice of name and audience change, all our traditional offerings are well in-process and will soon be available. We have code releases, new user tools, changes to our websites and video content all nearing completion. We won’t have Convergence as the pivotal event that allows us to draw back the curtain with fanfare and announce “ta da!”, but we have completed all the backstage work that make such announcements possible.
We look forward to leveraging new vehicles for communication and learning how to keep your attention with more meaningful and useful content. Working as we do in the technology industry, our team has certain curiosity and experimentation characteristics; changes such as these are exciting opportunities to more fully engage those traits.
We will certainly all have a bit of a struggle adapting to the absence of Convergence, but we recognize from the experience of bringing our own products to customers that the pain of change is a necessary part of growth.