We finally participated in Directions Asia in April 2023! And we did it as bronze sponsors. It was quite a journey from Germany, but it was well worth the trip. I had a blast and wanted to share my reasons why I liked Directions Asia.
Not only did it feel special as it was our first time there, but it was because Directions Asia took a pause for 4 years, probably due to Asian countries generally having stricter Corona policies.
When I started in NETRONIC in 2019, I was lucky enough to attend both Directions NA and Directions EMEA. I knew that a smaller event happened in Asia, but I never really expected that we would be participating in it one day.
#1 Bangkok is an amazing city
Bangkok is the perfect place to host an event. It has direct flights to many countries, fast internet, great event venues, and things are a fraction of the cost elsewhere and many activities to do during your spare time.
As I originally come from the Manila, Philippines (born and raised), Bangkok, Thailand is close enough geographically and somewhat culturally that it felt like home to some extent. A warm, humid bustling city that never sleeps! There’s bad traffic, a lot of noise, and actual pollution, but on the other spectrum good food at an affordable price, super friendly people, and great nightlife.
It is very different from my current home of Aachen, a mid-sized German city (both have pros and cons 😊).
View from the rooftop bar of the venue
The venue was great, as we had a nice view of the city, world-class facilities, and a shopping mall on the lower levels of the building. Obviously, and most importantly, the food in Bangkok is always amazing. Whether it was at the event or in the small roadside food stalls that dot the city.
The directions party even had a sushi station
#2 Networking is done differently
I represented NETRONIC at Directions alone. Therefore, I stayed at the booth for almost the whole event. I didn’t know a lot of people before attending. But when I got there, the event vibe was very laid back. It felt like a family reunion was postponed for some time, and the relatives finally met each other face to face again. As a first-timer to this event, I felt like that distant relative that you get to meet for the first time, only to find out that you have so much in common.
Although it is much smaller than Directions NA and EMEA, the atmosphere is a bit closer and less formal. This might’ve been due to the size of the event, the age of participants (I felt attendees were on average younger), and obviously the professional cultural differences of working in this part of the world.
I finally got to meet a lot of partners whom I only saw via webcam or written to via email. To my surprise, I spent much less time showing our products than just getting to know partners and cracking some jokes. I got used to attending Directions EMEA, where partners ask for product updates, and I give them a 5 – 10-minute demo of what’s new. I also finished my whole stack of business cards during the event and replaced them with business cards from new contacts I met.
Yes – business cards are still a thing here 😊
#3 Asia might be a blue ocean
I don’t know the numbers, but this is based on my gut feeling and speaking to partners, there seems to be a lot of growth in the region for Business Central.
As a company based in Europe, we have quite a good footprint in this region. We have also grown our partner and customer base in North America during the last few years. When I started, we had a handful of partners in Asia, and I could count the number of customers that we had with one hand.
Right now, I can proudly say that we have 50+ partners and around 30+ customers that we support in the region. Surprisingly, most of the customers that we support in this part of the world are already using Business Central. We’ve gone quite a long way from 4 years ago, but I feel this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Directions Asia helped us explore this iceberg a bit more. Being a bronze sponsor in this event was our way of showing our commitment to this growing market.
If we somehow did not get the chance to connect with us in Bangkok, I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIn or email at email@example.com . You can contact me regarding your customers’ Business Central requirements for scheduling for manufacturing or jobs - even if that means me waking up at 6 am (CEST) for a call.