[IMGCAP(1)]Sometimes where you're going is more important than where you've been. Accountants and consultants are realizing this for their clients and figuring how to capitalize, but in my case rather than looking at the week that was, I'm eyeing next week's major user and partner confab that is Microsoft Convergence 2013.

This isn't to say the past week has been uneventful; in fact we had the entire state of Minnesota -- well their tax authority anyway -- basically tell its taxpayers not to use Intuit products. For those that didn't catch it, the state's Department of Revenue had to address the fact that there were "multiple problems" with Intuit consumer tax programs, which Intuit was apparently aware of and addressing but seemingly not enough for Minnesota's Department of Revenue.  My question really is, are other state tax authorities having this issue as well? Haven't heard of any but I'll keep you posted.

Other than that we really have Microsoft Dynamics-centric product news and, of course the upcoming mega-con. Of the aforementioned product news, seems to be a good week to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics products, could it be -- timing wise -- because Convergence 2013 is about to happen? Could be. As such, we have Armanino Consulting releasing an integrated application for Dynamics CRM 2011 that supports the product lifecycle for manufacturers, distributors, medical device and life sciences companies.

In the same week, sales tax product competitors CCH and Avalara each have new products that integrate with Dynamics ERP. For CCH, their Sales Tax Office software is now certified for Dynamics AX 2012 while Avalara just released its automated consumer use tax offering. Their product plans to work with most ERP and back office systes out there starting officially with the Dynamics ERP line.

So as I've mentioned, I am headed off to New Orleans and Convergence 2013 in particular next week and while it's going to be packed with product specific hype and deep dives into the latest features, I'm expecting the bigger news to revolve around the cloud, and more cloud (and maybe a bit of mobile).

Ever since Steve Ballmer boldly proclaimed in 2011 that Microsoft as a whole was "all in" with the cloud, we've been seeing peeks at how their Dynamics line is exactly accomplishing this task. The plan here, for the most part, is to host their Dynamics ERP products on their own Azure Cloud and that every major release will receive this treatment. The debate here is ongoing, in that what kind of cloud do users really want or do they really care as long as you call it cloud and they can access some or all of their data without having to sit at their desks or log into their servers to do it. 

The fact is, for the most part the SMB-focused accounting and ERP vendors with a history of on premises systems -- like Microsoft Dynamics -- have not developed or bought much in the way of cloud-native products. This isn't to say they won't, but it doesn't appear to be on their immediate product roadmaps and the plan is to bring customers to the cloud, or their version of the cloud, gradually. Mobile, on the other hand, seems to be a race. Vendors can't seem to "mobilize" features or products fast enough and eventually this, in my opinion is how the majority of users are going to want to access their data anyway so, next week, let's see what Microsoft has to say. 


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