Jim McBee, co-chair of the Exchange Connections conference that takes place in Las Vegas, NV (Oct 31-Nov 3), sent me the line-up of the Office 365 sessions that have been scheduled. Browsing the topics and speakers, I think that this is a good set of sessions for anyone who’s interested in Office 365 as a potential platform. Here’s what is on the schedule as of today:
- Jim McBee: Economics of Cloud Sourcing and what that Means to Your IT Team
- Siegfried Jagott: Rich Coexistence of Office 365 and Exchange 2010
- Michael B. Smith: Throw that old server away – moving Exchange to the cloud
- Mike Crowley: Exchange Online: Administration
- Byron Spurlock: Lync Server 2010 Cloud
- Randy Williams: SharePoint Online and The Cloud. Forecasting Today and Tomorrow
- Mike Crowley: Exchange Online: Understanding Archiving and Compliance
Of course, while email is probably the single most compelling reason for companies to use Office 365 today, it’s important to note that Office 365 includes more than just Exchange Online (and will include other applications in the future. Even the humblest P1 plan that might be used by a small organization includes access to Lync Online and SharePoint Online so any discussion about Office 365 needs to include Lync Online and SharePoint Online so that full value is extracted from Office 365. After all, why only use one application when you are paying for three? It’s therefore good to see that the Exchange Connections schedule includes sessions to inform the Exchange community about what they can do with Lync and SharePoint after Exchange is deployed and operational.
Apart from a good set of topics, the speaker line-up is strong too. Jim, Michael, Mike, and Randy are Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), a recognition awarded by Microsoft to those who contribute to the technical community. MVPs need to inform and communicate to share their knowledge and it’s great to see four MVPs on the schedule. The other speakers are Siegfried Jagott, one of the authors of the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Best Practices book, and Byron Spurlock, an ex-Microsoft consultant who specializes in Unified Communications and an acknowledged expert in the field. Of course, I should acknowledge that Jim McBee has published many books on Exchange too, including Mastering Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, so he knows his stuff when it comes to assembling a talented slate of speakers about technical topics.
The Exchange Connections team has set up a Facebook page that you can use to quiz them about sessions and provide ideas for future events. Finally, the worst kept secret for this event (at least, it is now) is that you can secure a $50 discount if you input the code SPKR when you register (early bird rates are available for an additional discount until September 1). Don’t tell them I told you about that top-secret code!