GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas: Materials now available

November 14, 2011

If you attended any of my training classes or sessions, you will be glad to know that the training and presentation materials are now available from the Learning Resources page on this site. Please feel free to download.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC


GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas: Wrap Up

November 14, 2011

This was my first GPUG Summit (and my first GPPC as well) and I have to say I was utterly surprised by the level of organization, the training topics, the quality of the sessions (over 140!), and the spirit of the attendees. Frankly, except for the share number of people who attend Convergence, this event felt like any top class conference I have had the opportunity to participate in.

As is customary, this post will provide a summary of (most) links where you can find information on GPUG Summit 2011 Las Vegas, just in case you were not able to attend the event or missed any of the previous posts. So let’s get started:

The Dynamics GP Blogster

GPUG Summit 2011: Getting there
GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 1
GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2
GPUG Summit: Day 1
GPUG Summit: Day 2
GPUG Summit: Day 3

The DynamicsGP Blogster on Facebook

The Dynamics GP Blogster

The Dynamics GP Blogster on Twitter


DynamicAccounting (Mark Polino)

GPUG Summit Recap Part 1

GP2TheMax (Frank Hamelly)

Things Learned at GPUG Summit 2011

Finally, if you attended the Summit you will by now realize that the most important thing you can do for yourself after these events is begin expanding your professional network. It helps to know people who know people, who know people and will facilitate getting around those difficult business issues you may be facing.

Next destination… Microsoft Convergence Houston 2012 at GPUG DayONE 2012 See you soon!

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit: Day 3

November 13, 2011

Day 3 marks the end of the GPUG Summit 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The day started with an early 8:00 AM session, IT15: Administering Microsoft Dynamics GP Like a Pro with the Support Debugging Tool. The presentation was pre-recorded by David Musgrave with MVP Mark Polino and I in the room as facilitators and co-presenters. We had a chance to patch in David to say hi to the attendees. After the intro, we checked out David and began playing the video for the attendees. Unfortunately, due to the poor audio quality, and after 4 walk outs, we were forced to stop the recording.

Mark and I then decided to present the session live and were able to show some of the key features of the Support Debugging Tool. However, time was very short due to the fact the we needed to make up ground for the bad audio.

NOTE: Let this be a note of apology to everyone who attended our session. While we made all efforts to test the audio before hand and our judgement deemed it legible at first, clearly the end result was inadequate for the presentation.

After the session, I came across Andy Hefer, President of Dynamic Communities. Andy was able to arrange a photo-op with the wives of the Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs  in attendance. This was all based on an idea for an article my wife ran by Andy the day before. In addition to the photo-op, the ladies will be featured in the GPUG Magazine as part of an interview – I must confess… I have a feeling this is a very bad idea!

Backdrop for our photo-op at Caesars Palace

The photo-op took place at 10:30 AM and we had a really good time, with laughter and the usual jokes.

I had a final session at 1:30 PM, IT19: Ask the Experts – Microsoft Dynamics GP Development Tools. Frankly, I had no expectations of anyone turning up for this session, since it was a part of the group of last sessions for the day, with a relatively heavy topic. However, and to my surprise, I had close to 15 people showing up. Attendees to my session were very much in tuned with the Web Client and wanted to know about the preparations and adjustments they will need to do to move their code forward to codename GP “12”. Little did I know the session would be this dynamic and exciting and I thank everyone who attended for their interest, giving the time of the day at which the session was held. Also, thanks to Dave Dusek, Escalation Engineer Microsoft

Following my session, it was time to attend the GPUG Summit closing session, GEN20: Dynamics GP Product Strategy and Vision, scheduled at 3:00 PM. This was a very exciting session with Kim Peterson, GPUG Director providing a recap of the Summit and getting a bit moved as attendees thanked her for a very well organized event.

It was time for Pam Misialek, Product Manager Microsoft to put the final touches. Pam provided analogies between the product strategy and vision with North Dakotan birthday parties, and in particular a couple events around her family experiences. Pam highlighted how Microsoft Dynamics GP accomodates the old school ways of doing business, but at the same time moving forward to fit a world governed by technologies such as Instant Text Messaging and Social Networking in a world that’s increasingly mobile. She then proceed to demo some of the features that will be available in codename GP “12”.

Pam Misialek, Microsoft Dynamics GP Product Manager at the GPUG Summit closing session

Couple features that drew applauses were the ability to select a printer at print time and the gradual phase out of Report Writer in favor of SQL Server Reporting Services reports. Pam went into some details explaining that SSRS reports will run from within Microsoft Dynamics GP and not externally as it happens today.

It was time to say goodbye!

To wrap up the day, my wife and I went to watch comedian David Spade at the Venetian Hotel at 9:00 PM, who was in town for 2 days. Following the act, we returned to our hotel, Caesars Palace and decided to go to PURE night club for a couple hours.

David Spade at The Venetian Hotel

 Back to the room, we spent a great deal of time packing our suitcase and getting ready for our trip back to Atlanta.

Following this post, I will publish the traditional wrap up post with links to download the materials for the sessions I presented at the Summit.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit: Day 2

November 11, 2011

Day 2 marks the day I get back on stage.

The morning started out very slowly, with most of the time spent at the Mekorma Connections Cafe, catching up on emails and projects I am currently working on back in Atlanta. On the way to the Cafe,  I couldn’t help but realize how there was no one around. That’s good, because it seems GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit, #GPUG) attendees are definitely getting the best out of the conference and maximizing their time. Also, it would suggest that a number of partners have already left town from the now defunct GP Partner Conference (twitter: #GPCC) event which wrapped up day before yesterday.

Upon arrival at the Cafe, there was a second round of book signing with our community authors – see GPUG Summit: Day 1 for a picture of the authors. Fellow MVP Mark Polino was as usual taking care of business and had some folks approaching him for his signature.

MVP and Author Mark Polino

Following the book signing, my wife and I headed outside of the Conference Center for some breakfast and were back to continue catching up on emails. I decided to give my slide deck a second pass just to make sure my timing was correct for the upcoming 3:00 PM session, GEN13: Where do the experts turn for answers?

I had the opportunity to attend Mark Polino and John Lowther’s session, GEN12: The Worst Mistakes you can make with Microsoft Dynamics GP. This session was fun and clearly a reminder of the things you should not do, unlike all other sessions stressing the things you should be doing.

After Mark’s session it was showtime. I headed over to my presentation room, got my computer setup and waited for attendees to show up. Surprisingly, I had some 20 attendees in the room with lots of questions on where to find resources on GP. Interestingly enough, most attendees were acquainted with the blogs, but are still slow to adopt other resources like Microsoft Dynamics Communities and the Partner Online Technical Community.

After my session, it was time to attend the Microsoft Town Hall meeting with members of the Product Management team and Microsoft Customer and Partner Management team.

Audience settling in for the Microsoft Town Hall meeting

During the session, attendees – Customers and Partners – asked the tough questions and at times put the panelists under the spotlight as it relates to features in upcoming releases, especially those related to Manufacturing and Project Accounting. The panelists reminded the attendees of the importance of Microsoft Connect as a tool to submit requests for product features.

Microsoft Town Hall meeting in course. Left to right: Bill Tattan, Pam Misialek, Chirs Lerum, Mark Albrecht, and Brian Meier, moderated by Kim Peterson

Things turned a little heated when the topic switched from product features to the panelists questioning the audience on their knowledge of the “Unleash your full Potential” program. This program was launched by Microsoft to help customers increase their utilization of their existing system functionality to help their business. Customers complained that partners did not inform them about the program and in some cases didn’t make them aware of existing promotions.

In turn, partners fought back by letting customers know that communication is a two way street and that they need to reach out when in need of new functionality. Some partners reminded customers that there is a fine line between being perceived as always selling something, versus working with customers to understand what else they can implement to complement their initial implementation.

My personal take is this: if you are a customer, you must work with your partner beyond your initial implementation to assess the maturity of your organization as it relates to the Microsoft Dynamics GP features you are using today. In turn, partners should have an honest dialog with customers about their capabilities and how they can help effect the changes needed by their customers. Both customers and partners should recognize their limitations and seek assistance from other organizations who can help closing the gaps.
After the meeting, I went back to my room and headed out to dinner to the Stratosphere Hotel with my wife. We both had a great time looking down to the city from the Top of the World restaurant, located on the 107th floor.

View of Las Vegas from the Top of the World restaurant

The Summit is almost coming to an end, so stay tuned for more.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit: Day 1

November 10, 2011

The GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit) officially starts today! The morning started with the traditional pastry and coffee breakfast – ok, there were also a variety of juices to go along. I managed to sit at a round table with a few Microsoft Escalation Support folks and fellow MVPs Frank Hamelly and Mark Polino.

MVPs @ Work: left, MVP Frank Hamelly; right, MVP Mark Polino

Minutes later, Kim Peterson, GPUG Director kicked off the GPUG Summit 2011 (twitter: #gpsummit) with some overall statistics on attendance and industries. Suffice to say, the numbers are pretty impressive: 500 attendees from over 14 lines of industries, heavily represented by middle market organizations (11 – 49 users).

Kim Peterson on stage, recognizing the GPUG Board members

 GPUG sponsors were also recognized with folks from MetaViewer and Rockton Software taking the stage to talk about their products. This is when all hell broke loose! Mark Rockwell took the stage and reminded attendees why they should be using the GP Toolbox… BY SINGING!

Note: please do not confuse Mark Polino, MVP and author of the Dynamics GP Cookbook, with Mark Rockwell, author of the Dynamics GP Toolbox! Not that I am vouching for Mark Polino’s singing abilities either, but I think he knows his limits.

The keynote speach was delivered by career coach Carolyn Baana, former Microsoft Support Commercial Services regional director. Carolyn’s speach focused on the importance of setting long-term goals, fueled by short-term achievements toward the end goals.

Kim Peterson and Carolyn Baana

I also had a chance to catch up with Bob McAdam and Zubin Gidwani, who had just a few minutes aback received the GPUG All-Stars award – then again, Bob already knew he was a superstar even before he was confirmed to be one.

Bob McAdam and Zubin Gidwani

Back at the Mekorma Connections Cafe, I had a chance to catch up on emails and take a break from the hectic pace here at the conference. I also had a unique opportunity to talk about personal matters with MVP Mark Polino and get to know a little bit more of the man behind the Diet Mountain Due. Mark’s wife, Dara joined in and reminded me how lucky she was to marry a geek. Dara is also surprised by the Diva status her husband has achieved in the Dynamics community.

Following the stint at the Cafe, I decided to attend a session on Microsoft Dynamics GP Upgrades: Approaches and Techniques, hosted by Microsoft’s Kelly Youells – for a picture of Kelly, see yesterday’s post GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2. The session was jammed packed with useful tips on how to upgrade your Microsoft Dynamics GP system and all the “gotchas” and considerations to move from previous versions to Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 – there was an attendee whose company is still running version 8.0. Kelly outlined the importance of keeping an eye on the upgrade paths and version numbers and presented various resources online where this information could be found.

It was time for lunch at the Expo Hall. The place was packed! They were 4 food stations dedicated to Summit attendees, each running a very long line. After circling around a bit, it was time to get in line and grab some food. On the way out, I returned to the Mekorma Connections Cafe to sit down and enjoy the meal, joined by Pam Misialek, Product Manager Microsoft Dynamics GP and Jay Manley, Sr. Product Manager Microsoft Dynamics GP, where we had a chance to discuss some of the details behind codename GP 12’s web client.

I must say, the more I hear about the web client, the more I am excited about the prospects for the Microsoft Dexterity community of developers – wait for my new In my humble opinion column, “Web Client? Dexterity developers rejoice!“, putting the final touches to it.

At 3:00 PM PT, book signing began. This was a fun event featuring community authors Mark Polino (Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Cookbook), Chris Elmore (The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation) and Richard Whaley (Accolade Publications).

Mark Polino, Chris Elmore, and Richard Whaley

My wife was coming into town, so I return to my room to drop off my computer bag and I was off to the Las Vegas International airport to pick her up. Back at the hotel, she got settled and it was time to party… GPUG style!

GPUG was hosting the now popular Rock n’ Rave event. Simply, it was very spectacular. And what would be a party in Vegas without Elvis? Now, I have seen my fair share of Elvises around, but this guy was good! The music was right, and needless to say, people were shaking it.

What would be a party in Vegas without Elvis?

It was also MVP time! Rarely, you would have a chance to have 3 Microsoft Dynamics GP MVPs in one spot — with their wives. MVP Frank Hamelly was at the party with his wife Sheila, MVP Mark Polino attending with his wife Dara, and me, with my wife Marina. We had a chance to get the ladies together, only to have our inflated egoes popped. This was after all a bad idea, now that I reflect on it.

Little known fact: Mr. Polino may be MVP to the rest of the world, but at home he still has to take the garbage out and pickup the dog’s poo. I don’t have a dog, but you still get the picture.

Dara Polino, Mark Polino, David Eichner, Marina Dzyura (Mrs. Gomez)

With sessions ahead, it was time to call it a night. Wife and I went to dinner and had a great time catching up, but sessions are ahead of me.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 2

November 9, 2011

Today marks the second day of training sessions at the Great Plains User Group (GPUG)  Summit (twitter: #gpsummit). The day started with the traditional early morning. However this time, I had to make it to the classroom at 7:30 AM to test my machine, projector, and VPC image, before students had a chance to sit.

I was scheduled to deliver a class on Data Migration and Integration Techniques which would cover anything from pitfalls to the core steps to get data from point A to point B, while showing how to use one of the integration tools in the process. Class ran relatively smoothly, except for a few lock ups with had with the VPC images.

By midday, it was time to get some lunch. GPUG had a special lunch for class instructors, so I had the opportunity to catch up with fellow MVP and business partner, Frank Hamelly, who was also delivering training this week – to be honest, it was the first time since Sunday that I had seen Frank, this is how crazy it is out here.

MVP Frank Hamelly and I at the Instructors Lunch

Lunch was over and it was time to continue training. My class was originally scheduled from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM PT, but by concensus, the schedule was cut to 2:00 PM. The class attendees were very receptive to the topics and participated during the session with real life examples of data migration and integration projects they were currently working on.

This is a picture of my class:

Data Migration and Integration Class – from left to right: Marty Lingg (Pacific Northern Gas), Michelle Vecqueray (St. Michaels University School), Joyce Vanjura, Thomas Bosquet (Franklin Pud), Liz Koon (Snoqualmie Casino), Steve Gillson (Bladetech), Craig Jacobs (Affinity Gaming), Monique Whitaker (Affinity Gaming), Wade Petty (Mortgage Contracting Services)

Following the training session, we had a speakers meeting in the Forum Ballroom, where I had the opportunity to meet Online Technical Partner Forum support engineers Kelly Youells, Christine Galea, Terry Heley, and Sarah Purdy.

Microsoft Dynamics GP Support Escalation Engineers
From left to right: Kelly Youells, Christine Galea, Terry Heley, and Sarah Purdy

I had a chance to sit down with Kelly and exchange a few conversations on a KB article update and to report a bug in the Navigation List Builder feature in SmartList Builder – more on that in a future post.

After receiving the last minute pointers for our speaking engagements from Kim Peterson, GPUG Director, I went down to the Expo hall. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised by the level of organization of this event. Clearly, a lot of time went into the logistics of getting this part of the Summit right.

Summit Expo Hall

I had a chance to check out a few products and catch up with a number of partners and friends. I had a chance to view the latest developments from the eOne Integrated Business Solutions team: SmartConnect and its ability to import data from any source into any destination – not only GP!; previewed the new SmartView product, which can only be described as the alter ego version of SmartList; and Node Builder, a complete solution to facilitate eConnect extensibility.

I also had a chance to check out the new products from Integrity Data and was especially impressed by their U-LINC product, a very powerful workflow builder for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Continuing my tour around the Expo hall, I came across the guys from the Microsoft Dynamics Community team, which shared some of the upcoming improvements to the Community site, dubbed Community 3.0. Currently, the team is working on developing various usability labs that they expect to unveil to a select group of beta testers.

Microsoft Dynamics Community Team
From left to right: Mariano Gomez, Andy Leapaldt, Arlin Fisher, Eric Parsons, Nick Hoban

After talking to the Community team, we were joined by MVP Leslie Vail and went to dinner were we discussed various aspects of our personal lives and motivations to do what we do to improve the life of users and partners in the Community.

While I have already been here in Las Vegas for the past 2 days, I must say that the Summit is just getting started. I am definitely still feeling the effects of the timezone change and 2 training classes I have under my belt. Tomorrow, the Summit goes into full gear with the keynote session, various breakout sessions, and activities organized for attendees. I not schedule to speak until Thursday, so I expect tomorrow to be more of a transition day for me, awaiting for my wife to arrive in town.
Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC

GPUG Summit: Academy Training Day 1

November 7, 2011

Today marks the beginning of optional training classes at the GPUG Summit (twitter: #gpsummit) in Las Vegas, Nevada. My class in particular runs from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM – more on that later.

The morning began pretty early for me (3:30 AM PT, 6:30 AM ET) due to the change of timezone, so I figured instead of wasting time rolling in bed, I would get up and do a final review of my slides to make sure I had incorporated the last minute updates that went out this past Friday and even yesterday. By 6:30 AM I was ready to get in the shower and go grab some breakfast.

Partners having breakfast and getting ready for the Conference

Over at the Octavius Ballroom in the Conference Center, I decided to crash the GP Partner Connections (twitter: #gppc) keynote session, with Mark Rockwell opening for Microsoft’s Anders Spatzek, Director of Customer & Partner Services and Programs.

Mark Rockwell (Rockton Software) getting ready to introduce Anders Spatzek

Anders explained all the different changes in the Solution Provider Agreement (SPA) and the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) program and  and how they affect partners currently doing business with Microsoft. The picture is clear: if you did not meet your SPA requirements (directives issued since 2009) by the end of October you are at risk of no longer being able to place orders with Microsoft – SPA requirements included a certification component, plus a revenue target component.

MPN requirements revolve around achieving Silver or Gold competencies in ERP and/or CRM – the same applies to other Microsoft product families – and maintaining the right number of certified individuals and customer references to satisfy the program requirements.

Anders went into the details of the Master VAR program and how it can be seen as a way for partners who are not going to make the cut after the SPA requirements go into effect, to continue doing business with Microsoft. At the end of the presentation, ISVs and VARs had a number of pointy questions for Anders, a clear reminder that not everyone comulgates with the concept.

After the session, I met up with John Lowther to catch up on a number of items, while getting acquainted with the classroom for my upcoming training session. I did all the necessary projector testing and made sure the VPC image was working properly. Once all the testing was completed, John and I headed downstairs for some lunch.

The main event’s room is almost ready for Wednesday

Back to the classroom, I sat back and waited for the time to wind down and began training at 1:30 PM PT as scheduled. Things went pretty smoothly with the class and the attendees, with no issues experienced by any of my students. Congrats to the GPUG team for making the experience enjoyable for everyone! Training ran its course until 4:45 PM, then we floor was opened to questions.

Drill-Down Builder and Navigation List Builder class attendees. From left to right, Bill Crabble (CS&S Consulting), Bruce Wilkins (Flagstone Management Services), Margie Newton (Great Plains College), and John Lowther (STA Home) 

It was then time to go get some food after a long day of activities and find a space to just decompress. GPPC (twitter: #gppc) was hosting a little buffet, so once again, I decided to crash the event with John.

GP Partner Connections (GPPC) Buffet

The afternoon got a bit busy and I ran across Kevin Racer and Brian Roney, both Senior Development Engineers at Microsoft. Kevin is one the engineers working on the Web Client project and Brian is a lead developer on the Dexterity team and the Web Client as of late. The good thing about talking to much smarter people than one appears to be, is the ability to be listened attentively, so I took the chance to run some Silverlight initiatives of mine to both of them and get some feedback in return on the things I can try out.

Kevin Racer and Brian Roney

On my way out, I came across Sheila Jefferson-Russ and MVP Leslie Vail. A few conversations later, and I was ready to get back to my room to get ready for my next day training session on Data Migration and Integration Techniques.

Until next post!

Mariano Gomez, MVP
IntellPartners, LLC