Microsoft Ignite - One Conference to Rule Them All!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yesterday morning the on The Official Microsoft Blog announced the name for their new enterprise technology conference - Microsoft Ignite. This conference, called MUTEE (Microsoft Unified Technology Event for Enterprises by some folks, promises to be everything to everyone. It replaces TechEd North America, as well as all the specialty conferences held by those product teams over the year - MEC, the Lync Conference, the SharePoint Conference, MMS, etc.

Plus Office 365, of course.
It’s finally here — One enterprise conference with infinite possibilities.

For the first time ever, Microsoft Ignite brings together our best and brightest for a single, remarkable enterprise tech conference. Meet the minds that make it happen. For the first time under one roof, Microsoft Ignite gives you unprecedented access to hundreds of Microsoft technology and business leaders. Join us in Chicago.
In October I was invited to join the Microsoft Roundtable to provide feedback on this new conference. Microsoft was there to listen, not be heard. They were particularly interested in hearing our feedback on MEC (the Microsoft Exchange Conference), which is very highly regarded by both attendees and within Microsoft. MEC brought everything together in a perfect balance - mid-level and deep-dive sessions on Exchange (and Office 365), a tremendous sense of community, and attendees and product group members who are very passionate about this product.

My feedback was primarily about community, the depth of the sessions, and the level of participation that small sessions provide. I really think this is where MEC shines and I hope that Microsoft is able to pull off the same sort of vibe at Ignite.

By combining all these conferences into a single event, Microsoft expects 20,000(!) attendees at Ignite in Chicago. The expectation is to have 300-400 attendees per session, which is far too large to be "intimate". Microsoft is planning to have a lot of gathering areas for impromptu "chalk talks" and collaboration.

The conference center in Chicago is HUGE and should easily accommodate that many attendees. I hope that the sessions for each product are close to each other. It would be difficult to navigate long distances, both vertically and horizontally, if the sessions are spread out.

I have attended every TechEd since 2004 and I've always gotten great value out of these conferences. My take-aways and participation have changed over the years, but I still get a ton of information and collaboration from the community here. I look forward to the same thing going forward. I sit on The Krewe board of directors as Vice-President and know a lot about the value of community that conferences like this bring. The Krewe Facebook page continues to be a resource for TechEd and Krewe alumni, where members exchange questions, advice, and their views on our industry. I encourage you to check it out.

Overall, I'm hopeful that Microsoft Ignite will be able to pull off their ambitious goal of combining the dedicated technology conferences and TechEd into one mega conference, while maintaining the community and collaboration that smaller conferences like MEC and the SharePoint Conference were able to attain.

Microsoft Ignite - Come for the technology. Stay for the community.

#IWasMEC  --  #IamIgnite