I have been asked this question about the Amplify event repeatedly over the past few weeks. I answer with a resounding YES. There seems to be some confusion regarding Amplify vs. Summit and which event is better and whether or not people should attend both.
The big difference as I see it is that Summit is a peer driven event where peers are talking to peers. Summit is an event where GP users are sharing experiences, explaining how they did certain tasks in GP, overcame an issue, how they trouble shoot as well as explain all the really cool things they have done for their business with Dynamics GP. This is a great event and a super way to learn from other people. I love Summit.
Summer is just starting here in North Dakota so I have a golf analogy for you. Going only to Summit is like going to the driving range to perfect your swing. While there you take advice from the guy on your left who seems to swing pretty well and sounds knowledgeable. Shortly after that, the guy on your right starts giving you tips about your follow through. After a few visits to the driving range you have advice from 10 different people, and you’re left totally confused with a worse swing than you had before! (this is how I originally ‘self taught’ myself to play golf). In this scenario you can learn a huge amount from the great people around you, and their tips. What you do not know is whether the people advising you are truly ‘experts’ or if they learned like you did – by second hand tips from some guy at the driving range.
If the clubs you are using are brand new and state of the art, then is the advice from the guy at the driving range relevant to you when he has 15 year old clubs? He has fixed his slice, but it turns out you have an issues with a big hook! It’s great to get advice from other players but you can never be sure how good the advice is or how relevant it is to your scenario. This is a bit like taking reporting advice from someone that is proud of their Crystal Reports deployment, when you will be rolling out a combination of SmartView and SRS.
Amplify, as it has been explained to me by its organizers, is an event based around ‘experts’ and gurus on their given topics. These sessions are run by people who work for Microsoft and drive the future of GP. These sessions are run by people who implement this software for a living. These sessions are run by people who are at the cutting edge and keep up to date with the very latest and greatest.
Amplify is the event where I would go to get a deep understanding of where Dynamics GP is going in the next 5 years. Amplify is the event I would use to strategize my businesses software plans for the next few years. Amplify is where I would go to learn about new features in both Dynamics GP and the associated ISV products. Amplify is where I would hunt down Microsoft execs or help desk consultants and ask all the hard questions.
If you are able and lucky enough to attend both events you would be in the strongest position. You can take your strategy from Amplify and enhance that with input, feedback, and tips and tricks from your peers at Summit. There will no doubt be some level of content overlap and if you are only able to attend one event – the decision is up to you as to which is most appropriate to where you are in your software use cycle. I would do everything I can to make sure I make at least one of these events.
So in conclusion I believe both events are highly valuable. There is a huge amount you can learn from your peers and I would never miss Summit. The chance to enhance that learning with information from a verified ‘expert’ will help you make more sense of Summit and ensure you are asking all the right questions of your peers in the GPUG community.
To continue the analogy – I have picked up many tips from people I golf with, but the fundamentals of my game is best left to my occasional visits to the club professional for lessons.