Participating in industry conferences is always a rewarding experience to me, we get a unique blend of knowledge sharing, networking, and the chance to increase our market presence. This year, my team and I embarked on an exciting journey by becoming Silver Sponsors and attendees for the first time at Community Summit North America 2023 in vibrant Charlotte, North Carolina.
Let me take you through my adventure and share the incredible moments I encountered during this event.
Community Summit was loaded with training opportunities. Per their site, there were more than 500 GP, Dynamics 365, Power Platform and AI sessions. There were "tech medic" desks to help customers on-site figure out anything related to Microsoft business applications and its ecosystem.
As half the representation from the company, we had to be strategic when choosing the sessions that would provide the most value. Which is why, the academy option was the perfect solution:
I signed up for 3 full days of manufacturing for Business Central prior to the Summit. This way, I managed to deepen my understanding of Dynamics solutions, ask a lot of questions and then do my booth time. Totally recommendable!
All speakers I encountered, from academy and training sessions seemed knowledgeable and patient enough to guide the attendees through their sessions. The practical tips and strategies I gleaned from these sessions were invaluable.
At the same time, we were delighted to be approved by the board with two sessions: Capable-To-Promise and Production Scheduling (A Provocative View) for Business Central and Win the Battle between Production Planning and Scheduling held by our CEO Martin Karlowitsch (PS. if you missed them let me know, I can share the slide deck).
Showcasing Our Solutions:
As a sponsor, we had the opportunity to present our solutions to a highly targeted audience eager to overcome scheduling challenges. We implemented an engaging icebreaker activity, a bingo game, which listed the challenges our customers wanted to address. With this approach we could connect with attendees, qualify leads, and gain insights for our next steps. The enthusiasm of the attendees for exploring new solutions was truly impressive.
The floor labels were very useful to let customers and partners identify our user group and the whole thing facilitated interactions with a diverse group of professionals from around the world.
Networking was a standout feature of Community Summit. Due to the big attendance, the event provided variety and ample opportunities for meaningful interactions. It was a welcoming environment for asking questions, sharing ideas, and forming new partnerships. The conversations I had were enriching, and I left with both valuable contacts and potential collaborations.
For sales professionals, finding new leads and opportunities is a priority when attending events. The summit did not disappoint.
I was delighted to find a multitude of potential customers. These interactions weren't just superficial nor forced; they were engaging discussions that ignited genuine interest.
I look forward to nurturing these leads and exploring how we can collaborate. Btw, the ribbon system was on point. It was so easy to recognize "my people"!
The ribbon system, was a color coding method
Key Takeaways and Future Prospects:
Participating in Community Summit was an incredible opportunity. The connections made, and feedback received will play a vital role in refining our solutions and enhancing our support to the Dynamics community. The relationships formed during the event are bound to evolve into productive collaborations and partnerships. My first-time experience as both an attendee and sponsor at Community Summit North America 2023 exceeded expectations. I appreciated the valuable insights gained, expanded professional network, and the opportunity to introduce our solutions to manufacturing planners, project managers, and Business Central consultants. The event organizers deserve credit for their dedication in creating an exceptional gathering. For those who missed out on Community Summit 2023, I encourage you to mark your calendars for next year's event. I know I'm eagerly anticipating it.
What Stood Out:
While my journey at Community Summit was filled with positive experiences, a few key points stood out:
- Customer identification: a.k.a. ribbons! Can't stress this enough.
- The Quality of Trainings: The educational sessions and workshops provided substantial learning opportunities. The depth and breadth of knowledge shared were commendable.
- Valuable Customer Feedback: The event attracted a diverse group of customers who provided valuable insights and feedback on our solutions and prompted future features.
- Ideal Convention Center Location: The convention center's location in Charlotte added to the event's charm, offering a vibrant backdrop for our endeavors, lots of accommodation options, culinary escapes, and much more.
Room for Improvement:
However, there were aspects that could be enhanced:
- Dining Experience: The quality of food left something (or a lot) to be desired, suggesting room for improvement in catering services.
- Session Layout: The layout of the sessions around the convention center was somewhat challenging to navigate, making it difficult to access certain sessions efficiently.
- Networking: Having to rush between halls made it hard to network on-the-go. The gloomy weather made the outside BC/NAV short, and NASCAR felt too crowded imo. But thankfully VARs and ISVs worked together to host amazing parties making it easier to meet equally amazing people.
- Paid Bars: While I had tickets for the bars, the concept of paid bars seemed counterintuitive and didn't align with the event's inclusive atmosphere.
My experience at Community Summit North America 2023 was undoubtedly remarkable. Overall, I'm left with a treasure trove of memories and promising prospects for the future.
See you at Directions!