The first time I was invited to attend Microsoft Convergence as a member of “The Press” in 2012 I was scared to death.
I found myself in a room of about 50 very seasoned, mostly male, journalists firing tough questions at Microsoft’s top executives. I remember wondering, “How in the world did I get in here and when is someone going to realize I don’t belong?”
But nobody called my bluff and in fact, they continued to invite me back year after year. Convergence 2015 was my fourth year attending the event with a press pass as Editor of the ERP Software Blog/CRM Software Blog.
While I still don’t speak up often at the intense Executive Q&A sessions, the part that I now enjoy the most is the 1 on 1 interviews with Microsoft executives and representatives from Dynamics customers.
At first I did hours of research on how to conduct the perfect interview. I still scour the internet for details on the executives I am assigned to write about. I find that they are surprised, and flattered, when I can quote something they said in a past presentation or mention a hobby of theirs that I find interesting.
I find that some people are very easy to interview. They require only one or two questions and they can talk for 45 minutes as I just nod my head and utter words of encouragement. These interviews are like a “blog post in a box” for me.
Other people are a challenge to interview, and we struggle to fill the 45 minutes and land on a theme that will make a good blog post. Surprisingly, some of the people I think will be very easy to talk to have made me sweat the most.
Here are the seven blog posts I published after Convergence 2015 Interviews:
Using Technology to Empower the Customer and the Employee – Interview with Pepijn Richter, Director, ERP Product Marketing, Microsoft Corp.
The Value of Dynamics CRM Within the One Microsoft Story - Interview with Angela Bandlow, Director of Product Marketing, Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Corp.
A Vision of How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Will Improve 80,000 Lives at the Illinois Dept of Corrections - Interview with Steven Matthews, CIO, Illinois Dept of Corrections.
How to Journey Map a CRM Implementation From Sticky Notes to Success – Interview with Ken Kelly, President, Kelly Roofing (Part 1)
Creating a Culture of Constant Improvement with Microsoft Dynamics CRM - Interview with Ken Kelly, President, Kelly Roofing (Part 2)
Using Microsoft Dynamics GP To Bring Solar Energy to Low Income Families – The Inspiring Story of RReal - Interview with Jason Edens, Director, RReal Solar
How Cloud ERP Allows RReal to Attract the Best and Brightest Mobile Workforce - Interview with Jason Edens, Director, RReal Solar
Here are a few of my favorite press interviews/articles from past Convergence events:
- 3 Lessons Sales Reps Can Learn From a 4 Year Old When Using CRM Software
- Jennifer Pollard Explains Why CRM Social Listening Is For Everyone, Not Just Enterprise
- How Microsoft Positions Dynamics AX vs Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP – An Interview with Gordon Macdonald
- What is Dynamics for Retail and How Does it Stand Out From The Competition? Interview with Michael Griffiths Part 1
- Stonewall Kitchen Goes From Farm Stand to International Distributor with Microsoft Dynamics NAV
The press and analysts that attend Convergence meet in a specific area – with rooms to work, conduct interviews and attend panel and Q&A sessions. It can be a quiet haven after the chaos of Convergence. Plus the food up there is better, which is a perk.
Press people are led down to the main stage area to watch the keynote and have a short guided tour of the Expo area. I do find that most press people there interact very little with the actual event. To them, this is just another in a long string of events they will attend and I am sure they all start to look the same. There are just a few of us there that are truly invested in the Dynamics channel.
Will I be part of the press at Convergence 2016 in New Orleans? There is so much speculation about the future of Dynamics at Convergence that I can’t say for sure. But each year I am delighted to get an invitation.
By Anya Ciecierski, Collaboration Works Marketing