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Travelling at 278kmh on the SNCF train between Mannheim and Strasbourg, Paul Woods digested the information presented to him over the 4 day Directions EMEA Conference. Read his recent blog.

Directions EMEA is an independent conference for Dynamics NAV partners, organised by partners. Directions EMEA brings together over 1400 developers, implementers, technical experts, sales and executive/owner representatives from Dynamics NAV Partners across Europe & the Globe. Microsoft supports this independent conference as a platinum sponsor.

Directions EMEA is held annually in 2 locations – one in Europe and one in the United States. Directions EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) – which now should be changed to Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific!) is the first of the two to be held.

It is the largest gathering globally of NAV partners and developers. It is where the latest NAV announcements and updates are first released by Microsoft to the partner community. This year is the highest attended Directions EMEA conference with approximately 1350 people from over 42 countries.

The 2015 Directions EMEA Conference was without doubt one of the best and most informative conferences I have attended. It was extremely valuable because it was entirely focussed on NAV (and ancillary or complementary products such as Power BI and CRM Online).

This was not only due to the content (which we will be covering in other blogs) but also because of the fantastic opportunity to network and compare ideas with over 450 other NAV partners from around the world.  We also got to hear from some of Microsoft’s development and executive teams.  With EBS based in the Asia Pacific region, we don’t often get this opportunity.

The Microsoft engineers have an amazing passion for the solution suite. If anyone had any doubts about the partners, products and future direction of Microsoft, then this would be quickly dispelled within the 1st few minutes of Directions 2015.

Most of the NAV partners we met were from Europe, where NAV was originally ‘born’ and developed. It was extremely interesting to meet some of these partners and discuss the similarities and differences between our markets and approaches.

We also took the opportunity to meet various vertical application development companies who have ‘add on’ integrated solutions based around NAV for areas such as fresh food production, marketing and logistics to name a few.

Although we are based in the Asian Pacific region and most of our business is here, NAV and Microsoft have global footprints. We are a part of that market and ecosystem, so it makes a massive difference to be able to tap into these worldwide resources. And having met each other face to face makes future partnership building even easier.

The major announcement at the conference was the launch of the new Dynamics NAV 2016.

Microsoft has invested heavily in NAV 2016 and this is apparent across the board, from the enhanced functionality and feature sets such as:

– Preview post functionality
– Native CRM online native integration
– Enhanced web client functionality
– Microsoft Managed Services Business Productivity tools (Power BI)
– Mobile device client
– Phone Experience
– Workflows
– New finance feature
– E-Everything
– New Web Client
– to the native integration with the O365 suite and CRM online to give a complete ‘business solution’ for end users.

Back this up with services based around Azure hosting (that Microsoft are providing through partners via the Microsoft Managed Services for Partners program) – there has never been a better time for end users to get ‘in’, ‘on’ & ‘with’ (‘in’ O365 ‘on’ Azure and ‘with’ CRM Online).

Our focus at EBS is about providing business solutions for clients that further enhance and develop their business productivity. The key to this is relationships. So for me, this is always one of the most valuable and satisfying aspects of any conference – and it was a great part of my time in Mannheim.

Next year’s Directions EMEA conference is to be held in Prague.  We will be saving up to attend this conference so we can bring you the latest information as it happens – direct from Microsoft.

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