Microsoft Ignite: It's Like Getting a Sneak Peek of the Future Getty Images

Microsoft Ignite: It's Like Getting a Sneak Peek of the Future

Richard's got his motorcycle route planned, I have my boarding pass printed for my flight to Atlanta, Georgia, and we're both heading for Ignite. Here's what I'm most excited about this year:

The keynotes: Microsoft executive vice president Scott Guthrie will be giving the Monday morning keynote (9 a.m. EDT/ 6 a.m. PDT), and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what the details behind the theme "working and powering digital transformation for all organizations" will end up being. (It's very similar to last year's themes.) When I sat in a lot of Office-related sessions last year, it was apparent that Microsoft wants to change how people use and share information to get things done. I want to see how that plays out this year.

And on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT, CEO Satya Nadella will be giving a keynote based on "next generation innovations and investments that are fundamental to shaping IT in the foreseeable future." I'm curious to see how that plays with the morning keynote, and what these new forces shaping IT -- if Microsoft has its way -- will be. 

Learning even more about OneNote: My fascination with information-management systems is pretty well known here, and I can't wait to hit sessions and demos to find out more about its mobile capabilities and how well it plays with other Microsoft apps.

Getting some insight into Microsoft's mobile apps: It seems fairly evident that Microsoft's been trying to position its products so it's a post-Windows company, one in which the services it provides (Office 365, Azure, OneDrive, etc.) and the software it makes (Excel, OneNote, Outlook) are what drive the customer growth. Mobile apps that you can easily use on a tablet or a phone are one part of that strategy, and I would love to see how Microsoft is crafting the user experience in these apps.

How email will change: Last year, Microsoft declared war on the email attachment. There's a number of sessions on the changes to Outlook -- including analytics, Focused Inbox and mobile mail -- and I am eager to see how this builds on last year's ideas.

What tools will enable collaborative project management: There are a lot of sessions about enabling smoother communication, file sharing and task management among team members. I'm always curious to see how Microsoft wants us to work -- mostly because I love hearing from other session attendees how they think these tools will land among their coworkers.

How users are receiving all these new changes: One of my favorite things about Ignite last year was simply sitting and talking with other attendees. It's one thing to try out new technology because it's our job to experiment. It's another to have to thoughtfully introduce it to your workplace and support the users. Hearing other attendees' concerns or learning what they're most excited about only helps us figure out how to cover technology more effectively, and I'm happy for the chance to do it.

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