Winding up after another really great MVP Summit. For the CRM MVPs, Summit was a little unusual this year. Microsoft’s CRM Product team were in Barcelona for Convergence 2014 Europe when the main MVP Summit was on, so Microsoft generously put on a ‘Special Summit’ just for the CRM group a week later, on the product team’s return. Microsoft was under no obligation to do this, so it was greatly appreciated by all.
The product team have been very open this year with the MVPs, including them in giving feedback on design elements and opening up the pre-release programs to them for testing. As usual I am under NDA on this week’s content but I can say I am very excited about the upcoming ‘Fall Release’ and beyond. There is a nice balance of new features and tidying up the existing system, which is great.
If you are curious about what is coming, some information was released at Convergence 2014 Europe and the videos are available here.
What is really impressive is how much the product team are doing, given the product family has increased so much. Not only are they working with the core CRM product but they now have Parature, Social Listening, Dynamics Marketing and the Unified Service Desk to either develop directly or integrate with (all on the existing six month release cadence). Getting all these moving parts to work with each other is no simple task and I do not envy them in this but they appear to be tackling it very well.
A big part of Summit is meeting up with ‘The Family’. It was a term used a lot this week to describe the group and it is accurate. We are, despite being from all over the world, quite closely knit. There were also a few new MVPs this year, which is great. As the product grows, it is almost impossible to be across everything so mixing with other individuals, passionate about the product, is a great way to ‘fill in the gaps’ on the knowledge (and share a few war stories).
Another thing which was apparent was there is a bit of consolidation going on in the CRM partner ecosystem. Oakton has two CRM MVPs on staff (me and Andre Margono). This used to be quite unusual but there were two partners, represented at Summit, which have three CRM MVPs on staff, which is unheard of.
The other thing I noticed this year was the proliferation of Surfaces (you can see some of them in the first photo). While there was one or two Apple devices in the room, I believe there used to be more, but the Surface seems to have supplanted them. I am writing this on my old Surface Pro 1 and it still does the job.
Flying close to 20 hours (each way) for a few days with Microsoft seems like a crazy endeavour but I never regret it. It is easy to forget there are real people behind the products so meeting them is both impressive and humbling. Interacting with the product team and with my fellow CRM MVPs is always a revitalising and enlightening experience. I have said it before and maintain it is still true; there are none more generous and giving than the Microsoft MVPs. I am proud to be a member of this family and hope to be so for as long as possible.