I’m back from Microsoft Convergence, the Dynamics conference Microsoft hosts for its customers and partners of the complete suite of Dynamics products. That includes a Dynamics CRM and set of ERP products like Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, and SL. The conference really drove home for me how I think technology competition will change in the future, from which product is better to where the best insights are delivered. Microsoft’s main presentations focused on their vision of user empowerment. In fact, there was very little mention of Dynamics in particular, and certainly no Dynamics product demos. Microsoft saved that detail for the breakout presentations. Instead, Microsoft focused on telling its broader story, focusing on Azure, Mobility, Productivity, Big Data, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, and the new Surface Hub. For me, it was common territory and similar to other recent Microsoft conferences. For the Dynamics specific partners I talked with, this represented a big shift. Today, Microsoft’s major value proposition is the breadth of their offerings and how well their products all work together. Clearly, the Dynamics product roadmaps show that Microsoft is trying to strengthen that value by pushing harder. Their “better together” message is a clear differentiator. Into the future, I think the lines will be drawn differently. Product value is significantly more enhanced when it delivers rich insights. The industry buzz word “Big Data” and Business Intelligence (BI) is typically used to capture this concept. Many associate Big Data and BI with more traditional scenarios where a company looks to create insight by bringing together data from many different internal systems. But there is so much more data than that. Consider that in the future, as more and more businesses move to the cloud, Microsoft has the opportunity to have access to more of your data than any other company. Imagine combining data and generating insight across all productivity scenarios – the people you email with, the Office documents you create and interact with, the people you talk and instant message with and the topics of those conversations, and the social interactions you have both inside and outside your organization. Microsoft is hard at work on this already with Office 365 and Social Insights, and the underlying technology is called the Office Graph. Delve in Office 365 leverages the Office Graph and generates insight to help make employees more productive. Moving forward, Microsoft announced at Convergence that Delve will integrate with CRM Dynamics. For sales people, CRM knows how accounts, contacts and opportunities connect together. That additional information means Delve can know which companies your sales contacts work for, how much business you’ve done with each of them and therefore which ones are more important. Based on that data, it could simply prioritize knowledge from your biggest accounts. How powerful is that? Taking this a step further, the Dynamics business represents the core function of a business. ERP is the lifeblood of business. What if Microsoft could blend that data to generate even more powerful insights? Internet of Things adds yet another ladder of data. Insight into how your production machinery is working or where each truck is on the road – the possibilities are endless. Machine Learning creates the opportunity to be predictive about what might happen in the future, based on the data of what has already happened in the past. Much of the competitive focus today is about which products are better: iPad vs. Surface, SAP vs. AX, or Azure vs. Amazon. In the future, it will be which vendor delivers the most powerful insights – the company with access to the most data will win.