The road to Microsoft Ignite: News, networking and nighttime fun

Microsoft's major event for in-depth technical news and ideas takes place Sept. 25-29, 2017, in Orlando, Florida.

The road to Microsoft Ignite: News, networking and nighttime fun

We’re less than three weeks away from the biggest Microsoft event of the year — Microsoft Ignite. Now in its third year, Ignite is in a new location — Orlando, Florida. There are three great reasons to get excited about Ignite: News, networking and nighttime fun!

Ignite 2017: News (and learning)

Microsoft has been saving some big announcements for Ignite, so I think you can expect to see some significant “moments” for SharePoint and Office 365, as well as other products in the Microsoft family. Ignite will have more than 1,000 hours of learning opportunities for attendees. There are 176 sessions about Microsoft 365, 339 sessions about Office 365, and 129 sessions on SharePoint — just to name a few.

If you are attending in person, don’t miss an opportunity to participate in one of the hands-on labs or the Microsoft 365 customer immersion experience sessions. This customer immersion experience (CIE) is a hands-on introduction to Microsoft 365. CIE takes you through everyday business situations and lets you see how Microsoft 365 makes it all easy, convenient and secure. The space at these sessions is limited, so you really need to sign up in advance.

Networking at Ignite 2017

Attending Ignite is more than just an opportunity to learn about Microsoft products. It’s also a great time to network with Microsoft, partners, experts and peers. In fact, networking is one of the most important and most valuable reasons to attend a conference in person.

Spend time in the expo hall doing more than collecting SWAG. Learn about vendors who might have a product or service that you might be able to leverage. Develop relationships that might save your organization time and money.

There will be at least 24 community-led “meet up” sessions at Ignite where you can connect with like-minded peers. Meet-ups are not formal presentations, but essentially topic-focused networking discussions led by Microsoft MVPs on topics they are passionate about. If you are looking for a way to share ideas with a group of like-minded people from all over the world, these sessions provide a great way to build your network.

There will also be more than 130 "Community sessions" led by MVPs. Community sessions are typically 20 minutes long — so you can learn a lot in a short amount of time from people who are “in the trenches” building solutions on the Microsoft platform. The topics address a variety of audiences: from business users to technical developers. I’ve been working hard on my two business-users focused community sessions for Wednesday afternoon of Ignite week. I hope you can join me for:

On Thursday morning, I’ll be doing a 75-minute session with Dave Feldman where we present a case study of an intranet built using Microsoft’s modern Communication and Collaboration platforms. We’ll talk about planning, team building, IA, governance, development and adoption — and everything in between — and we'll show a lot of demos.

If you are not able to make it to Ignite in person (and it may be too late now, since the event is sold out), don’t worry — there are several ways you can get involved and even do a bit of networking:

  • Follow @MS_Ignite on Twitter. Use the hashtag #MSIgnite to share your thoughts. Each session has a code number that can be used as a hashtag, as well.
  • Follow the Microsoft Ignite Blog in the Microsoft Tech Community. Post comments in the Tech Community.
  • Find the sessions you are most interested in on the Microsoft Tech Community Ignite page, and share comments and questions in the space for each session. You will find recordings of the sessions shortly after the live event and be able to interact with both speakers and other “attendees.”
  • Gather some colleagues together and watch a full day of live streaming from Orlando. In addition to the keynotes, there will be some awesome “behind the scenes” video, plus live interviews from the Microsoft Community Reporters. Microsoft invited 10 MVPs (including me) to serve as Community Reporters. Leading up to Orlando, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks for navigating Microsoft Ignite, what to pack, and a look at our session schedules. During Microsoft Ignite, the Community Reporters will be posting live event updates on Monday and throughout the rest of the week. If you aren't attending the conference this year, we hope to provide a great way to see what's happening on the ground in Orlando. Use the link learn more about the reporters so you can follow us on social media.

Nighttime fun at Ignite 2017

The big attendee party on Thursday night takes full advantage of Orlando as a vacation destination — it’s at Universal Studios.  The attendee party is included in the price of admission to Ignite. Attendees can get also special discount late-afternoon and evening passes to the Disney parks.

In addition, numerous vendors will have both public and private parties that provide opportunities to network and have fun at night. Follow @SPCPartyPatrol for up-to-the-minute nighttime party information. Once again, AvePoint will be hosting their annual RED Party and giving away a Ducati motorcycle at their booth in the expo hall. The motorcycle may be the most unique SWAG you can pick up at Ignite, but in case you don’t win the Ducati, Christian Buckley and I are covering SWAG as part of our Community Reporter duties. We hope to suss out the best stuff you can take home. Interested in “the bag”? Check out this detailed “2017 MS Ignite bag unboxing” video.

The countdown has begun — so if you’re planning to go to Orlando, pack comfy shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking. If you’re not going, block some time on your calendar for Monday, Sept. 25, and tune in to watch the keynotes and the Community Reporters live all day — and follow us the rest of the week for more live video from Ignite.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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