Bob Scott reporting in his weekly Insights column.
A number of trends suggest major problems for the future of Microsoft’s long-running Convergence user conference. The fact 4,200 users attendance this week’s Summit for Dynamics user groups in Reno, Nev., suggests users are voting with their feet after years of complaining about the decline in the value of Convergence sessions. That is up from 3,500 last year. Another is the potential ISV exhibitor revolt after last year Microsoft did a banner job in recruiting vendors for the show. Then before Convergence was held, it blind-sided them, declaring it would change the nature of the conference dramatically by no longer centering it around Dynamics products. Right now, reports are sweeping around the ISV community that Microsoft won’t make as radical a change as first thought. And exhibitors are loathe to not attend major shows for fears it will reflect on their companies. But major cutbacks in booth space seem likely from many ISVs. The Summit for the user groups, AXUG, CRMUG, GPUG, NAVUG also shows that users want content about the software used to run their businesses, not the wall-to-wall sales pitches that Convergence often seems to become. Besides, Convergence has probably gotten too big—Microsoft, which is a gold sponsor of Summit and other growing Dynamics shows would be better establishing Convergence as a show for big companies using big systems and letting the rest of the market do the rest.