Speaking with a friend yesterday, who also happens to work for a vendor, it struck me as odd that IT/Dev Connections might still be viewed as a dev-heavy conference. But, given that IT/Dev Connections has been around for close to 15 years, and there are those that have not had experience with IT/Dev Connections in the past couple years, this might explain it.
So, I thought it might help to clear things up a bit with a story.
I came on board with Penton in 2013 at a very opportune time. As most of you know I've been deeply involved with Microsoft conferences for the past 20 years or so, helping establish what eventually became the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS), and providing community and social media services for TechEd. At the time I joined Penton, I already knew that Microsoft was working plans to end MMS and it was rumored that TechEd would meet the same fate soon. With that in mind, and coming to understand that Penton already had an event called IT/Dev Connections, we set about to revitalize and revamp it to meet the needs of those used to community-driven, technically-heavy conferences.
In 2013, we initiated our plans and produced our inaugural revamp. We added more relevant content, injected a series of community events, and brought in well-known speakers. IT/Dev Connections alumni were pleasantly surprised, and those MMS refugees who took a leap of faith, likened the event to very early MMS years, before Microsoft turned it into marketing-heavy solicitation. With positive feedback and a stack of suggestions in hand we began planning for IT/Dev Connections 2014.
IT/Dev Connections 2014 was touted by attendees as the best IT/Dev Connections conference ever. Given that the event has been running for so long, that's quite a compliment. What makes IT/Dev Connections so special? We believe that an event like this should be your event. Here's what I mean by that:
- You come to these conferences to learn tips and tricks and deep technical information from experienced experts just like you. We have that.
- You want to learn more about the technologies you are currently using in your environment. We have that.
- For planning purposes, you want to hear about what's next – from a technical perspective, not with a sugary, salesy coating. We have that.
- You want easy ways to connect with like-minded people to create a year-round support group for working out problems and coming to solutions. We have that.
- You want training, not preaching. We have that.
- You want direct access to the speakers to ask questions and clarify comments presented. We do that.
- You have to justify to your manager that a week out of the office was worth the expenditure. We provide for that.
We take all these concepts and deliver them in exactly the way what you want. To create a conference of this scope takes significant effort, but once we merge all the pieces together, we leave it to you to glean the benefits. In this way, you get complete control over shaping an event that is personal, rewarding, and completely yours.
A good test of a valuable technical conference is in how many pages of notes you take back with you, how many existing problems you solve the week after, and the number of professional relationships you create and foster. IT/Dev Connections takes all those original, good-conference concepts many have come to love in other, popular events over the years and deeply embeds them. If you leave IT/Dev Connections with a half page of notes, we didn't do our job. Period.
IT/Dev Connections 2015 is shaping up to be even better than our 2014 event, which is a bit scary considering that's actually akin to pulling off the impossible. We are currently sifting through the submitted session content and it's hard not to be amazed at the high-level of technically valuable content that will be available this year.
When we started the march to casting a better event, even though the revamped sessions were solid, the tracks were not aligned with the industry. To better align with your focus, this year we've overhauled the track selections to make them less confusing and more prominently pronounced.
- Cloud and Data Center - Includes Azure, VMware, AWS, System Center, and related services
- Data Platform and Business Intelligence - Includes SQL Server, Azure BI, SharePoint
- Development Platform and Tools - Includes DevOps, Visual Studio, and Open Platform Development
- Enterprise Collaboration - Includes Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, and Yammer
- Enterprise Management and Mobility - Includes On-premises (Configuration Manager, Patching, Security) and Cloud (Microsoft Intune) Management
So, as you can see, IT/Dev Connections 2015 will be a technically rewarding extravaganza. The catalog of sessions should be publicly available in the next couple weeks. We know how tough it is convincing your boss that you need to attend without seeing the list of available sessions. And, even though this is probably the single most important selling tool, some conferences don't get it sorted until a month or two before the event. That's why we work hard to get the IT/Dev Connections sessions list completed so early. Plus, we're pretty proud of the content and speakers that IT/Dev Connections attracts because of its deep IT focus.
Choosing a conference shouldn't be a gamble. IT/Dev Connections is truly about taking the best aspects of all conferences and merging it into a single event.
IT/Dev Connections 2015 kicks off in September and I hope to see you there!
Need help convincing your boss? Use this document