Continuing on from my first two posts, Pre-Conference and Keynote Day, this post covers the highlights of my Wednesday.

This was the first day where there was an organized breakfast, and it was at Amalie Arena today where the opening Dynamics GP (GPUG) session was held. I’ll be honest and say I was disappointed with breakfast. It was boxed packages with yogurt, a granola bar and a juice plus a breakfast sandwich and coffee. Not my thing. There was nothing to drink other than coffee, not even water, which seemed like a strange oversight. I suppose there was OJ in the box but still… I ended up eating a couple of bites of my breakfast and left the arena to go to Starbucks to get some tea, and came back for the keynote.

Opening Session

The GPUG opening session started with Aaron Back, GPUG All-Star and Bob McAdam, GPUG Director (and also a GPUG All-Star!). The opening session covered some of the 10 years of GPUG Summit history, as well as thank yous (you’s?) to the sponsors. The big 3 sponsors this year were:

A big thank you as well to everyone on the planning committee:

Next up was Microsoft’s demos of GP 2016 and R2 features along with a repeated commitment to the Dynamics GP product line with a couple of the usual roadmap slides.

First, Dynamics GP 2016 new features slide, and the boxes indicate some examples of features that came about due to client requests on Microsoft Connect.

Second, the on-going commitment slide we saw at reImagine 2016, and the re-branding of some product lines. The announcement of annual releases was made to the audience as well, slowing the cadence a bit from the recent past.

Third and last, the roadmap slide. GP 2018 is expected approximately one year after the release of Dynamics GP 2016 R2, in late 2017. GP “Next” would be one year after that if all goes according to plan.

Partner Q&A

After the opening session, there was a Partner Q&A session at a nearby hotel led by Microsoft. The two people on stage were Barb Edson – GM Cloud & Enterprise and Ron Huddleston – CVP Microsoft Business Solutions. Ron is a recent hire, as several of his answers to things were “I’m still learning”. The short version of this session is the questions from the partners indicated a significant amount of frustration around licensing and margins and policies with cloud products, from what I pieced together. Not being a reseller, I’m not intimately familiar with the nuances many of the questions were related to, to comment further.

ISV Session

After lunch, I attended a session led by DocStar on A/P Automation. It ended up being not too useful for me as it was in the format of a panel and Q&A with clients or partners of DocStar talking about their experiences. So, it felt mostly like a sales oriented demo as opposed to useful tips or tricks on A/P automation.

Canadian Payroll

The session after that was led by Rod O’Connor and was a little light on attendance. I think it’s a challenge to have Canadian-specific content but if the Canadian attendees don’t go to the content specific to them, then it’s less likely to have Canadian-specific sessions in the future.

Anyway, the session covered some reasons why you would or would not use Canadian Payroll in GP and an overview of the high level configuration needed to set it up.

Excel Shootout

Last session of the day for me was the Excel Shootout with Mark Polino and Belinda Allen. It was a full house, quite literally. If there were 2 or 3 seats empty, I’d be surprised. For the most part, it was a multi-part duel complete with lots of trash talking between going back and forth on cool features. The session moved pretty quickly and most people stopped taking notes as they would rely on the slides for tips and links to what they showed. In the end, Mark was victorious!

Evening Reception

There was another Expo Hall reception this evening as well as a reception I was invited to by Rod O’Connor. I went briefly to the Expo Hall, intending to walk through the Member Showcase but was distracted by something and never made it there.

I walked to the bar that Rod was holding his reception at and it was about 30 minutes up the road, walking time. It was on a rooftop patio which was nice, except for a brief rain shower when we all hid out under the covered bar for a bit while it went through. Many of the Dynamics Pros volunteers were there so it was an informal opportunity to get caught up with some of them, like Christina Phillips and Joe Carroll.

After a bit of time there, I walked back to my hotel for the evening. Something I ate didn’t quite agree with me so I ended up just going to bed early instead of venturing back out to some parties.

And, that’s it for Wednesday!