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2020 Productivity & User Conferences That Have Moved Online

Thanks to the global pandemic, in-person conferencing is paused. However, many big IT productivity and user conferences have decided to move their learning and networking opportunities online – and offer them for free.

As the tech world has begun to adapt to life with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future, a shift to virtual conferences is becoming the new normal.

As my colleague Christine Hall laid out last week, the open source community has shifted many of their communities' conferences to online events. The same thing is happening for productivity, collaboration, development, and other tech communities. Consider attending a virtual conference: there’s no travel involved and normal conference fees have been either eliminated or significantly reduced. Plus, you get to watch all the keynotes and sessions right from your desk instead of trying to balance a laptop on a rickety conference-room chair.

We already have some proof virtual conferences can be a highly effective alternative for the lack of in-person events.

For instance, last month Microsoft hosted their annual Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit completely within Microsoft Teams for approximately 3,000 participants. Every Microsoft employee was logging in remotely from home to present the content. Beyond a couple of small irritations, it went extremely well for participants (me included). It was the first opportunity for Microsoft to show what they might potentially do for future online user conferences from the company, such as the 2020 versions of Microsoft BUILD and Microsoft IGNITE 2020 (detailed below).

Here is a list of upcoming productivity and user conferences moving online throughout the 2020 calendar. To see past online 2020 conferences available online, scroll to the bottom of the page. Much of the content presented at these conferences is still available to attendees on-demand for a period of time.

Editor's note: This article was updated on 5/5/2020 to include Microsoft Inspire and Apple WWDC 2020.

Microsoft IGNITE 2020 | September 2020 (Cost: Free)

Microsoft confirmed this year's conference will be a 48-hour virtual event like Microsoft BUILD 2020 earlier this year. This event will focus on options for building out IT solutions, migrating and managing infrastructure with the Microsoft stack, plus networking with subject matter experts at Microsoft and around the globe.  A second event for Microsoft IGNITE will be held in early 2021. There is still an option to sign-up for updates on Microsoft IGNITE 2020 and the future event in early 2021.

This list of 2020 productivity and user conferences moving online will be updated as more announcements are made.

Past 2020 Conferences Available Online


Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience | May 5, 2020 (Cost: Free)

ServiceNow will kick off Knowledge 2020 on May 5th by making most of their content available such as breakout sessions, customer showcases, demos, product updates, and hands-on workshops. After virtual conferencing attendees have had a few weeks to peruse all that digital content, the first week of June will see keynotes from ServiceNow leadership and other guests made available for attendees. Select presentations will be available to attendees "in the near future," according to the website.

Microsoft Business Application Summit | May 6, 2020 (Cost: Free)

Microsoft's Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, including Power BI, are both featured through keynotes with Microsoft executives and virtual sessions with software engineers and program managers in real-time sessions. All the content will also be made available on demand following the event.

StarEast Virtual Plus | May 4-7, 2020 (Cost: Free)

If you want to learn more about boosting software quality, this is the event to attend. There will be content sessions about software security, quality assurance methods, agile development, testing automation, plus load and stress testing for applications – including mobile.

The event includes keynotes, industry technical presentations and a virtual newsroom with interviews and on-demand access for 12 months.

M365 May – Australia & New Zealand | May 1-29, 2020 (Cost: Free)

Do not let the Australia & New Zealand moniker throw you off, this event is open to anyone in the world. The name just means the presenters will be primarily from the Australia and New Zealand region of the globe.

M365May will run for the entire month of May with various scheduled sessions focused on SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Power Platform, Endpoint Manager, and other Microsoft productivity and collaboration products and services.

This community-run event is a great way to network and connect with other admins, power users, end users, developers, and other technically minded IT pros.

Microsoft BUILD 2020 | May 19-21, 2020 (Cost: Free)

If you are a developer in the Microsoft ecosystem, this is the event you should be attending – even virtually. Like other user conferences, expect opportunities to learn though technical sessions and to connect and collaborate with others within the ecosystem, including Microsoft software engineers and program managers.

LiveWorx 20 | June 9, 2020 (Cost: Free)

Digital Transformation is the technology buzzword these days and LiveWorx is offering this one-day event to help those in the enterprise define what it means for them. Although COVID-19 and the sudden need to work from home and remotely, has already accelerated those efforts in many companies, knowledge is power as that process continues to be validated daily. Expect nine livestreamed keynotes and more than 100 on-demand sessions.

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2020 | June 22, 2020 (Cost: Free)

COVID-19 has already moved Apple to announce major product launches virtually and now they will connect with their developer community the same way. Enterprise companies with developers preparing apps for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS will want to tune in beginning the 22nd of June. Apple will also have a student developer track for WWDC20.

HPE Discover Virtual Experience | June 23, 2020 (Cost: Free)

Headlined by a virtual keynote from Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri, this vendor event will offer live and on-demand sessions covering trends, challenges, and potential solutions for your organization. In addition, there will be what HPE is calling The Experience Showcase that will allow attendees to experience both live and on-demand demos with HPE employees. HPE training and certification programs will also be available to virtual conference attendees.

DevOps Enterprise Summit | June 23-25, 2020 (Cost: $240 until May 6, then $480)

Focusing on their four key areas of learning, talks, networking, and community, DevOps Enterprise is promising three complete days with their virtual format they say will provide an immersive participation environment for attendees.

Included among the subject areas being covered are Kubernetes, mainframe operations, security and governance, deployment and release modernization, and database operations.

Attendance is limited to 3,000 virtual conference attendees to accommodate the use of Slack channels for various aspects of the event.


Microsoft Inspire | July 21-22, 2020 (Cost: Free)

This is Microsoft’s annual partner conference and an opportunity for Microsoft to being their partners up to speed on the latest technologies and services available. For enterprise companies, this is a new opportunity to see what Microsoft is telling partners about future capabilities on the Microsoft stack  and therefore insight into what technologies might be headed for their offices in the next 12 months.

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