Community Summit North America 2021 Comes Back Live and Doesn’t Disappoint: An Event Recap
It was great to be back at Community Summit North America 2021 in person this year. The overarching theme of attendees, partners, and Microsoft was digital transformation that included moving to the cloud, collaboration, and productivity leveraging business applications.
Although there were fewer attendees at Summit NA this year due to the pandemic, those who were able to make the trip were completely committed. They had a plan and were serious about what they came to accomplish—which made the event even better! We talked to users who were attending Summit to:
- Learn more about Business Central as they are considering a migration from Dynamics GP to Dynamics 365 Business Central
- Determine how to move to the cloud and SaaS solutions
- Find vendors for solutions like AP automation, barcoding, and payroll
Microsoft’s Keynote at Summit NA 2021: Committed to Helping Customers Make the Digital Leap
Microsoft took to the stage at Summit NA virtually with Bob Evans, founder of Cloud Wars, and John Siefert, CEO of Dynamic Communities, as the in-person hosts. Microsoft speakers Neha Bajwa, Senior Director of Business Applications, Richard Riley, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Power Platform, and Stephanie Dart, Director of Product Marketing, Dynamics 365 homed in on the importance of and Microsoft’s commitment to helping customers make the digital leap, whether it be to the cloud or through connected applications.
With better data access and management as a driver for Microsoft, they’re focused on seamlessly and intuitively connecting data from all sources, then surfacing that data through connected applications to users for greater efficiency, productivity, collaboration, and decision making.
The Best Attended Sessions
Summit offered 622 sessions this year, 148 of them specific to Business Central and Dynamics NAV. Here are some of the best attended sessions of Summit 2021:
- 50 Tips in 50 Minutes for Business Central
- 9 Mods You No Longer Need in Business Central
- Make Business Central Your Own with Customized Profiles and User Personalization
- An Appetite for Cloud: Expert Panel Explores Top Migration Strategies
- Surviving and Thriving in Supply Chain Chaos
- Automated Testing for Business Central
- Ransomware: The Penetration Testers You Did Not Hire
As a note: We’re very proud of the fact that Automated Testing and 9 Mods were presented by ArcherPoint’s Matt Traxinger and Leanne Paul (respectively). In fact, we’re proud of all the sessions presented by ArcherPoint’s amazing experts!
The key takeaway: In addition to those sessions traditionally attended in high volume, many users are interested in learning everything about Business Central, making the move to the cloud, and increasing their efforts around cybersecurity.
Not a Virtual Conference, But Streaming for Those Who Couldn’t Make It
Summit NA 2021 was not a virtual conference, but there were some virtual/streaming elements to help enhance the event in light of travel restrictions and other pandemic-related obstacles for attendees and speakers. While a few streaming hiccups surfaced during the conference, recordings were made so those sessions could be viewed afterward.
Networking, The Real Reason We’re All Here
Networking is an extremely valuable part of the Summit experience, and Summit North America 2021 was no different. Meeting in person makes for deeper connections. Finding subject matter experts by attending sessions and asking questions is a great tactic for problem solving. It great to see so many community members, both male and female, at The Women in Technology event this year! Hearing from other women in the trenches about work/life balance and tactics to put into practice both in the workplace and at home was inspiring. Networking opportunities is one of the main reasons users attend Summit year after year.
My Top Ten List
While best-attended sessions at Summit North America 2021 were certainly a highlight of Community Summit NA 2021, I had my favorite moments:
- The ArcherPoint Client Appreciation Dinner. This is always my favorite part of Summit. Coming together and spending quality time catching up and enjoying an evening together is the best. The cherry on top was performer Ben Jackson—he was so entertaining!
- Welcome Reception. This was special because this was when I saw the majority of our clients and my teammates for the first time in person in two years.
- New speakers making their mark. To all those who stepped up to contribute what they’ve learned, cheers!
- So many sessions! On the BC/NAV side, there were more than 140 sessions!
- Flexibility to meet how you want to meet. I loved the virtual/remote options, and the wrist bands to help with social distancing were a great idea. As a hugger, I was glad to see the green bands run out of stock.
- Daily emails. Leading up to and during Summit, the notifications via email and the app to help prepare for the trip and each day were succinct and effective.
- Legends of Summit. This somewhat impromptu celebration of those who have been contributing to Summit (and previous events like Forum) over the years was presented by retired DCI founder Andy Hafer. It was also an honor to be recognized as a Legend!
- Celebrating birthdays This event is so important that community members like Meenakshi Singh and ArcherPoint’s Matt Traxinger, among others, chose to celebrate their birthdays at Summit.
- Food trucks in the Expo Hall for the closing ceremony. What a great and fun way to close out this fantastic event. Delicious!
- Houston in October. The wonderful downtown location was highlighted by a cool art installation at Discovery Green.
Looking Forward to Community Summit NA 2022 and Beyond
The pandemic has been a challenge for all, and there were many changes as a result of and leading up to March of 2020 for Dynamic Communities Inc. We’re glad that DCI, the programming committees, and speakers worked so diligently to bring Summit North America 2021 back to us in person. Dynamic Communities is solidly committed to hosting Summit in 2022 (Orlando, October 10-12 at the Gaylord Palms) and Summit NA 2023 in a location to be disclosed during Summit NA 2022.