Scottish Summit: Bringing together the global Power Platform community

  • Posted on March 23, 2020
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
scottish summit

This article was originally written by Avanade alum Carl Cookson.

February 29th,  that extra day that only comes around every 4 years,  seemed appropriate for the Power Platform community to come together to celebrate in Glasgow for the Scottish Summit. It was a great event with nearly 1000 Dynamics, Azure & Office professionals of all levels descending on the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre. Our hosts, Iain Connolly and Mark Christie have worked hard to promote the event and establish it quickly as one of the great, free, community events across the world.

First Day: Common data service hack
The weekend began by participating in the CDS Hackathon. Chris Huntingford and Lucy Bourne from Microsoft introduced the requirements for the hack and 20 of us spent the day being creative in groups to resolve an environmental challenge. Our group decided to highlight how our day-to-day choices impact our carbon footprint.

Combining a Forms Pro questionnaire, a Power App for the collation of data by employees, a Modal-driven app to maintain the questions and Power BI to visualise it, we produced a solution that would be ready for use within 3 hours! This  really demonstrated the power of the Low-Code capabilities of the Power Platform and teamwork! Working with Microsoft, customers and other partners was a great way to utilise our skills in a positive way.

Scottish Summit Saturday
On Saturday, Avanade was showcasing our capabilities to the attendees with D365, across Customer Engagement and Finance and Operations. Mixed Reality has become a big topic within the community, and we were lucky to be able to demonstrate a HoloLens 2. This was a big crowd-pleaser, with a lot of attendees experiencing this technology for the first time. By demonstrating the use of the device across training, 3rd line support or product visualisation we highlighted Avanade’s capability and customer successes.  

Keynote: This is more than just technology
What a start! Jon Levesque, Senior Power Platform Evangelist at Microsoft was piped into the main hall, wearing a kilt to celebrate our location. Starting with his personal journey, being a member of the Steve Ballmer support team, he talked how he got to his current role, evangelising Power Platform and supporting the community. His enthusiasm was infectious. Everyone left with a sense of belonging and passion to develop great apps for their businesses.

Session 1: To code or not to code, that is the question
Scott Durow and Sara Lagerquist, both Microsoft Valued Professionals and at the top of their game led my first session. Their talk was about the perceived battlegrounds that have been drawn between Low-Code and pro-dev practitioners.

Sara argued that Low-Code, via Power Apps, Power Automate and the other members of the Power Platform stack is leading to more reactive, collaborative  app creation, reducing time frames and increases quality. It removes the reliance on Pro-dev allowing solutions from business users to be just as valuable as structured developments. 

Scott countered these arguments by highlighting that bad solutions can come from Low-Code or pro-dev equally, each has its place in bring solutions to live. The conclusion to their presentation highlighted that we need to remove the barriers. Technical and functional developers have to co-exist and work with each other to use the right technology for the problem. Both Low-Code and Pro-Code techniques have their user cases and we should embrace these.

Session 2: Mixed reality - extending D365 on the next frontier
Kyle Hill one of Avanade’s own MVPs hosted a session on mixed reality. He used the session to show the capabilities of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 and how it could empower business users.

scottish summit image in text

He walked through how a Low-Code approach can be taken to augment the view of a user and the tools Microsoft provides to create this content. 

It was a great demonstration of how this emerging technology will soon be as widespread as mobiles, available to all at a price point to match. I love that Avanade is at the front of this adoption, bringing this technology to companies of all scales, changing their approach to solving problems and transforming their processes.

Session 3: Top 20 tips for surviving networking at events
Not every session is a technical one. Lucy Bourne, a Microsoft employee, delivered a great session on how individuals can address their anxieties to better involve themselves in our community. In any community, navigating a room of strangers can be daunting. 

Lucy gave a whistle-stop guide to her 20 tips to survive these moments, gain confidence in your interactions and get involved. She highlighted that everyone has the same fears, are they interesting and social enough? If you be yourself, “celebrate your onlyness”, as she puts it, and be genuine, then you can address your fears and become part of the big family.

In conclusion
Scottish Summit 2020 was a great event, it highlighted the great community we have in the UK. The level of free learning and social interactions that took place were exceptional. It’s position as one of the most revered weekends for any one in the Microsoft stack is not in doubt, show by the calibre of speaker from across the world. See you next year!  

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