Top Trends of Microsoft Convergence 2014
Microsoft Convergence 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia was, again, a major success for Microsoft, its partners and customers. With over 12,000 in attendance, there was a lot to see, do and learn. Here are the top trends that seemed to have the most momentum at Microsoft Convergence.
1. Customers, prospects and partners are looking for relationships
Despite a wide range of people in attendance, it is amazing how every year there are a few main things that attendees are looking for; this year was no different. By day two, it became very evident via the questions we were getting that A LOT of customers, prospects and partners were first and foremost looking for people and companies they can form relationships with. On the surface, this seems like a very obvious request, but as we talked to more and more people, it became clear that relationships weren’t always formed, or they fell apart. This can be detrimental to any business deal, and customers and prospects made that clear to us. They want a company that they can rely on and trust; they want to be treated as if they are the only or most important customer. This goes back to the topic of “being easy to buy from.” In the same way that the customers of a manufacturer are looking for a business that makes the sales process smooth and easy, potential customers and partners of software companies are looking for the same thing.
2. Acknowledgement of CPQ as a game changer
The second theme that quickly emerged was an overwhelming request for information on Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) solutions. It seems as if companies are finally starting to acknowledge the benefits that a CPQ solution can provide, including a decrease in the time it takes to produce a quote and an increase in the average deal size. In the past, CPQ was treated as a separate requirement for companies, and its targeted use was for internal and external sales teams. Now CPQ is firmly engrained as part of a complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. Without CPQ as a part of an overall ERP package, customers will pass you by and move on to your competitors.
3. The Ability to Deliver on Government Contracting
Customers and partners alike are looking for those that can close the gap left by Microsoft Dynamics® AX, in terms of government contracting (GovCon). Microsoft had a whole session devoted to this topic that was very well attended, and we had multiple people stop by the booth asking if we could address the AX GovCon gap. GovCon is getting a lot of traction now that Microsoft and its partners can deliver a government-contracting solution, giving them the capabilities to compete against SAP and Oracle in this area. Cincom, for example, is bringing indirect cost allocation, product data management, contract tracking, cost-plus billing and project-based manufacturing. These are all fundamental capabilities that are needed in order to compete in the government-contracting space. Prior to this new functionality, AX did not have the ability to serve government contractors.
Microsoft Convergence, once again, provided an excellent platform for the Microsoft community to exchange ideas and learn all of the new and exciting trends in the Microsoft ecosystem.
For more information:
Cincom CPQ – A multi-channel configure-price-quote and guided selling platform that aligns with the way customers want to buy – across any channel, any application and any device.
Source: Smart Selling