One event to rule them all.
As you should know by now, a few months after TechEd 2014 ended, Microsoft announced that it wasn't quite finished in its attempt to merge all of its events into one massive jamboree of technical messaging and marketing. The year before, the company killed off a very popular and well-loved event called the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) and decided to merge it into TechEd. Using its experiences from that incident (which was deemed unsuccessful by many) it decided that it could, and should, go farther. So, the decision was made to merge the SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference and the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC) into a new, as yet unnamed, conference that will take place in Chicago in May of 2015.
I've heard some say (primarily TechEd alumni) that the new event is just TechEd, but with a new name. I guess that helps them feel better about it. But, as we saw this year from the MMS fiasco, merging only dilutes the content and the value. A new event, merging all the various product-specific events, puts every conference-attending IT Pro in the same boat as the MMS alumni. So, if you want to understand what the new event will be like, ask the MMS'ers.
Incidentally, the first proposal submitted by Microsoft for a name for the 2015 event is the Unified Microsoft Commercial Technology Event. Classic Microsoft naming, wouldn't you say?
Microsoft promised more information about the new event in September, and based on an email plea overnight, it looks like the company is working to stay on target. Of course, September is a long month, so the announcement could come at any time.
The email asks for past attendees to help provide feedback about the new event. However, the survey is very specific in terms of who can participate. If you submit that you are part of a publishing or analyst firm, or that you have worked at any of 24 companies (some are Microsoft competitors) then the survey stops. However, the intent for the survey is to help Microsoft choose a name for the event that people can live with, and it's important to capture the right audience. I say "live with" because several options are offered, and none of them are great.
- Microsoft GO
- Microsoft Forsee
- Microsoft Unity
- Microsoft Current
- Microsoft 4C
- Microsoft CO:
- Microsoft Spark
- Microsoft Tomorrow
Out of the provided list, I was not personally offended by Microsoft Unity. The others left me confirming that Microsoft still needs to whiteboard a bit more. Of course, I guess that's the intent of the survey – to help come up with a better name. But, in the end, it's not really about the name. It's about whether or not Microsoft can rejigger its conference to provide true technical content and value, inject a community focus, and supply a worthy alternative for a huge mass of people that already have their own conference culture experiences.
Do you like any of the names provided as options? Any suggestions for a new name?