TROY (WWJ) — More than 200 current and potential clients and more than 50 vendor representatives converged on the Michigan State University Management Education Center in Troy Tuesday for Vision 2011, the annual technology training and management event sponsored by Farmington Hills-based TM Group Inc.

The Microsoft-centric event featured dozens of presenters offering their take on the latest features in Microsoft Dynamics products, including GP, SL and CRM, as well as general IT and executive information on tomorrow’s technological advances.

In a departure from what you might expect in a meeting ostensibly selling software, morning keynoter Bonnie M. Robertson, principal of the Chicago consulting firm Robertson Co., said we’ve all probably purchased too much software — and for that matter, too many devices — and what we really need is more simplicity and more help in using more effectively the technology we’ve already got.

“People are overwhelmed with technology and we probably have overpurchased it,” she said. “I personally have a whole shelf of dead software. I look at it and think, what is this, a memorial? Most of us have purchased more than we need for our business.”

The advantage today is that software actually is fully customizable to any user, meaning no more waste. And she said a major effort that probably should be under way at most businesses is effectively mining the data that companies have been collecting for the 10-15 years of the tech boom.

Robertson also identified “singularity” as a trend — people turning away from carrying multiple devices like laptop, tablet and smartphone, and seeking a single device, along with a single point of purchase and a single source of information.

Other presentations included word on the future directions for Microsoft CRM, GP and SL; online procurement, expenses, employee self service and sales tax processing; supply chain management; budgets, forecasting and dashboards; document management; online marketing; disaster recovery and backups; building innovation and adaptability in teams; cloud computing management; and more.

TM Group marketing manager Andree Dolan said the cloud computing was of particular interest to attendees.

“My take is that Michigan companies that have held on and survived are in the process of innovating with the cloud,” she said. “It’s like putting off repairing the house for a long time and then finding out that it’s less expensive than you thought it would be.”

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