Which Session Do I Choose? A Quick Breakdown of Microsoft Convergence Session Categories

February 12th, 2015 No comments

Every time a new year arrives, Microsoft Dynamics customers and partners know what that means – Microsoft Convergence is just around the corner.

As the cornerstone event for the Microsoft Dynamics community, this is a conference jam-packed with in-depth, educational sessions – from technical, functional, and industry perspectives. Attendees know they need to prepare and plan in advance to get the most out of their experience.

No matter if you’re a first-timer, or if you’ve attended more Convergences than you can count, it’s good to know what exactly the differences are between sessions – that way, you can make the right choices in budgeting your time appropriately.

Check out the list below for a quick breakdown of Convergence session types, and which ones resonate with you.

For more information on specific sessions, as well as the full session catalog, please remember to check out the official Microsoft Convergence site – new sessions are getting added all the time, so keep it on your radar!

Concurrent Sessions:

Microsoft Definition: 60 minutes of presentation, demonstration, panel discussions, tips and tricks, best practices-or some combination of all of these. Presenters may offer Q&A time at the end of the session, but the priority in this type of session is on the presentation.

Why You Should Attend: Concurrent Sessions are really helpful if you’re looking to get either an overview or more information on a solution; a feature of a solution; industry and technology trends; experiences of other businesses in your industry; or advice on general business management practices. The presenters of these sessions are focused on teaching, which is great if your purpose is to gain more knowledge about how or why something works now, how it will work in the future, or how you can improve it.

Type of Attendees: Anyone – Concurrent Sessions cover a wide variety of topics, so they can appeal across departments and business levels.

Interactive Discussions:

Microsoft Definition: 60 minutes of dialogue. With a moderator to lead the discussion, this type of session is designed to optimize for a great exchange of experience and ideas from the audience. Think: less presentation, more conversation. Seating is limited in these sessions to provide a more intimate discussion.

Why You Should Attend: Interactive Discussions are similar to concurrent sessions, but they have more back-and-forth between the moderator and the audience. This is a session for you if you want to hear feedback on how your peers face certain issues within your industry or solution, and if you’re looking to ask them specific questions directly. The collaborative environment can help you get interesting, and sometimes refreshingly honest, responses (or can even make you look at something in a different light). Some of these sessions even have Microsoft Dynamics team members present, which means you can ask questions and share opinions with the people who created the products themselves.

Type of Attendees: It depends on the type of interactive discussion – some have a more technical bent, while some are more industry-slanted. Find the ones that are most relevant to your role, and to your day-to-day working life.

Deep Dive Sessions:

Microsoft Definition: 90 minutes in length, which provides even more time to dive deeper into the topic at hand. Generally presented by Microsoft product experts, you’ll spend your time exploring product functionalities, customizations, enhancements, troubleshooting, integrations-the sky is the limit!

Why You Should Attend: As the name suggests, if you’re looking to get into the nitty-gritty details of a product, product feature, or business practice, then you will want to attend these sessions. These sessions are focused on giving an in-depth look at the material at hand.

Why You Should Attend: Deep dive session attendees are generally solution power users – the ones who work in-depth with the solution every day. They already have deep technical and functional knowledge of the system, and they’re looking to either: a) further enhance their system know-how; b) learn about new features or releases; c) grow their understanding of solution areas that they aren’t very familiar with. If you’re looking for a broad overview of a solution or set of features, a deep dive probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for thorough explanations of how something works, then this type of session is the right call.

Type of Attendees: People in IT positions, management level positions, or heads of departments/practices are generally the most likely attendees.

Sponsor Theater Presentations

Microsoft Definition: Sponsor Theater Presentations feature a brief snapshot from one of our event sponsors. Conducted on the expo floor, you’ll want to take this opportunity to learn more about the solutions and services provided by our valued partners. Don’t be late-these presentations take place in either a 15 or 30 minute timespan.

Why You Should Attend: No two implementation partners are the same – some specialize in specific industries, some in particular product features, and some in niche business practices. Attending these presentations are a nice way to get a quick understanding of what these different partners provide. And you never know – by attending this session you could learn of a partner that offers a solution or service that could help your organization.

Type of Attendees: Anyone.

Sponsor Breakout Sessions

Microsoft Definition: 60 minutes in length and a fantastic way to learn more about the services and solutions offered by our valued Microsoft partners. Dive in to find out more from these event sponsors and who knows-you just may find the solution you’ve been searching for.

Why You Should Attend: This type of session is similar to a Sponsor Theater Presentation, but it allows Microsoft partners to discuss their solutions and services more in-depth. This is a good choice if you’re interested in a particular solution, service, or partner and want to get more information.

Type of Attendees: Anyone.

Roundtable Discussions

Microsoft Definition: Roundtable Discussions have a much greater emphasis on the learning you can achieve by networking with others. Roundtables provide you the opportunity to actively participate in small group discussions-while seated at a round table! How much you get out of the discussion is largely up to you!

Why You Should Attend: Roundtable Discussions are similar to Interactive Discussions, but instead of having an official moderator guide the discussion, these discussions are held in small peer-to-peer groups. These discussions are a way to explore solution features and functionality with the people who use them day-in and day-out. Also, they present valuable networking opportunities – making new business connections is always a good goal for any conference. 

Type of Attendees: Anyone.

Ready for Convergence?

As the premier event for Microsoft customers and partners alike, it’s always exciting seeing which speakers and topics Microsoft Convergence will feature each year. Be sure to drop by Ignify Booth #442 and chat with us about the ones you liked the most. 

For more information on Ignify at Convergence, please email us at events@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

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