by Tristan Shortland, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Software Development Director

Our takeaways from the Microsoft Business Application Summit 2019

Infinity Group recently had the pleasure of attending Microsoft’s annual Business Applications Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.  A jammed packed, immersive and enlightening few days dedicated to all things Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. The fact that Microsoft Dynamics 365 has its own dedicated Microsoft event on such a scale as this (there were around 20,000 attendees) is a real testament to the focus Microsoft has on developing, extending and transforming the Power Platform with the help of its global partner network.

 

 

The first day was a hands-on workshop, exploring the latest and greatest features of the Power Platform where our team got to solve some real-world problems and build functioning apps in a day. These app included Model Driven and Canvas Power Apps as well as Power BI reports and custom Flow connectors, it was great fun and an insightful, interactive day.

Following this workshop, we went for an explore around Atlanta to check out the sites such as the Centennial Olympic Park, College Football Hall of Fame and the World of Coca Cola!

 

 

Monday and Tuesday were busy days filled with keynote presentations, break out sessions and hands on workshops during which we learnt about some of great new features coming in the 2019 Wave 2 update (a separate blog on that soon) as well as the longer term roadmap for the Power Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and some of the apps within it such as Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation, Business Central and Finance and Operations.

We got to see exciting demonstrations of the latest technology advances from Microsoft, including Remote Assist, Connected Field Service and Call Intelligence. It was also an opportunity to talk directly to some of the Microsoft engineers building these products, even asking them real world questions from our customers and getting the answers right from the horse’s mouth. A great example of this was being able to speak to the programme manager of Project Service Automation to clarify Microsoft’s vision for the future of the product and how it will fit in with Project Server, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and Finance and Operations.

 

 

On the second day we were treated to a live demo of Product Visualise, which enables Dynamics 365 users to build 3D models of products which can then be configured and viewed in augmented reality by potential customers, we saw someone select, configure and order a boat using virtual reality to view the specification and visualise what the end product would look like.

Some exciting new features within Power Apps were also announced, with out of the box controls for object recognition (using Azure AI) and business card scanning. This, combined with the power of Microsoft Flow and the Power Apps Control Framework, really opens up a world of possibilities within Power Apps. We even built a custom Flow connector for UK Companies House whilst in a session, which we then exposed to a Power App form allowing people to search for a company and find all of their details, the speed to build and deploy and app like this was mind blowing. Previously, this would have been a case of building the app, user interface and integration from the ground up and would have taken weeks!

The closing keynote was delivered by Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President of Business Applications at Microsoft, and feature special guest Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and husband of Serena Williams. They shared their experience and advice on digital transformation and what partners and customers need to be aware of when embarking on the digital transformation journey. Alysa also highlighted the incredible momentum of the power platform with some impressive stats.

 

You can access on demand content from the conference here, and if you’re interested in attending next year to learn more the event will be on 19-21 April 2020 in Anaheim, California, USA. We will certainly be there.