The keynote speaker Krill Tatarinov opened the conference today. Mr Tatarinov is the corporate VP of Microsoft Business Solutions (MBS). The theme was being dynamic and enabling customers to drive dynamic business with dynamic tools. Yes dynamic, I will say it again. The people, process and ecosystems were the three key areas used to describe this theme.
Ecosystem is the Microsoft new speak for the technology and surrounding business environment. This buzzword encapsulates the business environment and relationships with customers, employees, suppliers and everything else that interacts with the business environment.
New Orleans was the perfect place to showcase the incredible job the Red Cross did during hurricane Katrina. The Red Cross used Great Plains 10 and CRM 4.0 integrated with MS Office. The idea was to show how companies can have adaptable and flexible tools to react to situations. The people and volunteers were the critical success factors empowered by technology.
One of the key concepts was the convergence of consumerism of IT where consumer technology is converging with business technology. Mr Tatarinov also talked about the impact the Gen Y’s will have in the work place. Microsoft is adapting its technology to prepare for the Gen Y’s. A slick demo of a table top touch screen Windows 7 was shown. The screen displayed a pond, when touched would give a very realistic looking water ripple. Beyond the touch screens ability to show ripples and play music, an intuitive interface to interact with windows and applications was also demonstrated.
The economy was an underlying theme and Microsoft expects a recovery in mid 2010. The recovery will be very different from what we have ever seen. This theme was used to drive the ability for businesses to react with dynamic tools. I would like to see this theme play out in the sessions this week, because making business cases to invest in technology have to be solid. Most attendees whispered that they had already implemented cost controls and were focusing on keeping the business running.
After the keynote, I attended the sessions to get myself up to speed on the application platform integrating SharePoint, SQL Server Reporting Services, BizTalk and Excel. There was a soft promotion of Silverlight, Microsoft’s answer for Adobe Flash. Silverlight has a long way to go before it will match the capabilities of Flash. The advantage is that Microsoft developers can leverage their .NET skills in Silverlight solutions. It will take time, but Microsoft is getting in the rich media application tools game with Silverlight.
The infrastructure puzzle of end user tools, web delivery, dashboards, BI, application and database integration is probably the most innovative I have seen in a while. Microsoft has hit it right with small business. The Microsoft enterprise software suite puzzle is becoming believable