As you should know by now, Microsoft Ignite is Microsoft's attempt to bring together all of its historic conferences into a single, massive event. The new event will kick-off on May 4th next year and run through the 8th, and will be held at the McCormick Place in Chicago. If you've ever been to Chicago and have been near its events complex, you know that McCormick Place is enormous. If you thought TechEd's in the past were held in massive venues, just wait.
Having an ear directly in tune with the IT community, I've heard a lot of confused voices over the past couple months since Microsoft announced the new event. Many IT Pros want to attend Microsoft Ignite but are worried that the increased headcount might make it less valuable and less approachable. It also didn't help that Julia White, General Manager for Office and Technical Marketing, used a live press conference in Chicago to suggest that customers actually asked for Microsoft to merge all of their community events into a single conference. This was clearly not the case. You can still catch that, in all its glory, here: Microsoft Ignite is a Product of Customer Feedback.
To address some of the confusion, Denise Begley submitted a "Who, What, and Why" description today, with hopes that a little explanation might help ease some of the misunderstanding and solicit folks to register. You can find that explanation here: Microsoft Ignite Explained: The Who, What, and Why.
One note in Denise's post is important because it helps solve a burning question asked by many concerning what exactly Microsoft Ignite is intended to provide…
So there's no confusion: Microsoft Management Summit + Microsoft Exchange + SharePoint + Lync + Project + TechEd conferences = Microsoft Ignite
Interestingly enough, those that attended the Microsoft Management Summit in years past have already moved on after an unsuccessful merge with TechEd this past year. Grass-roots community events exploded this year as replacements. A couple great examples are the System Center Universe, the Minnesota Management Summit, and IT/Dev Connections. All 3 events have seen huge success. From what I've heard, some of the other communities (SharePoint, Exchange, Lync, Project, etc.) are also planning their own, more intimate events.
Still, for IT Pros looking to renew their long-standing TechEd value, it's really the sessions that make the big difference. Without an appropriately detailed session catalog, many IT Pros simply can't approach their managers to get approval to register. And, even then, the session catalog has to prove that a week-long conference can produce dividends for the actual business. What will make Microsoft Ignite stand out as a must-attend event will ultimately be the content.
To help, Microsoft today has unveiled a sneak peek at the sessions that will be available at Microsoft Ignite. Separated into six different categories (or proposed industry topical areas), there are currently over 50 sessions already posted.
The categories for 2015's Microsoft Ignite event are:
- Deployment & Implementation
- Operations & Management
- Security, Access Management & Compliance
- Usage & Adoption
You can find the current session list here: Microsoft Ignite Sessions Sneak Peak
How about you? Are you excited to attend Microsoft Ignite next year?