Microsoft Directions 2024: A Focus on Copilot AI & Apps

Microsoft Directions 2024 has come and gone. As someone who has attended technology, partner, and user conferences for 25 years, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the evolution of my takeaways. Initially, it was about gaining application knowledge. However, with a learning mindset, my focus has shifted. Now, I attend conferences with the goal of networking and collaborating with our partners to enable us to create forward-thinking solutions and partnerships with our customers. Directions is a conference put on by partners for partners and although Business Central and other Dynamics 365 applications are why we gather the star of the show are the partners and independent software vendors who extend Business Central. Each year I have attended Directions, starting in 2017, the number of participants, sponsors, sessions, and speakers has grown, a few numbers to note for 2024 

  • 1,300+ participants 
  • 113 sponsors, 25 of which are new to Directions 
  • 346 first time participants 
  • 289 speakers 
  • 3 keynotes  

Microsoft Copilot and Business Central 

The running joke was how long would it take keynote presenters to say Copilot and how many times, we lost count. What is Copilot? Microsoft Copilot is an AI-powered assistant that helps with tedious tasks with the keyword being assistant. With Copilot in Dynamics 365 Business Central businesses, its workers are empowered with a tool that saves time. Users can chat with Copilot in Business Central to answer questions and find business data by expressing what they are looking for with natural language.  Areas withing Business Central that users will be noticing Copilot are inquiries/help, Bank Reconciliation, and building analysis views.  

We will be focusing on assisting our clients in understanding what AI and Copilot is and how to use Copilot daily. In the meantime, you can check out a blog we had Copilot write to introduce itself!

Apps and more Apps 

For those of us who have been Microsoft fans for a while, you may recall fondly Steve Ballmer trotting out onto a stage at some developer conference and at the top of his lungs proclaiming “Developers, developers, developers!”. Business Central is an excellent ERP and developed in a way that allows ISV solutions (extensions) to be added, providing vertical functionality or simply improving the user experience. They have also developed ready-built integrations to best-of-breed solutions such as AP automation or expense management. These have existed for some time but the number of choices based on a customer’s business needs is fantastic. Although Business Central has added all of these trusted software vendors, the fact is that customers have more application options and when business case calls for it then development is still a big part of the product’s future.  

The clear takeaway from Microsoft Directions 2024 is the big focus on rounding out the Dynamics solutions. Adding value in AI with Microsoft Copilot and integrations with trusted marketplace partners helps Microsoft create a more complete solution. Delivers compounded value has made it’s way to the forefront, adding to the platform they have built up for decades. I’m more confident than ever that Microsoft has its sights set in the right direction with the vision to take Dynamics into a bright future.