Top 10 reasons to attend the SharePoint Conference North America

May 2018 brings a great opportunity to get face to face with and learn from Microsoft and the extended SharePoint community.

Top 10 reasons to attend the SharePoint Conference North America
SharePoint Conference North America

After a four-year break, the much beloved SharePoint Conference is back, providing a learning and knowledge exchange event with a rare opportunity to spend quality time with Microsoft, partners and top industry experts.

The SharePoint Conference was a much-beloved event among the members of the SharePoint community — and in contrast with the much larger Ignite conference, it provided a unique opportunity to focus on SharePoint, as well as OneDrive, Yammer, and now Teams.

The new SharePoint Conference North America will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas May 19-24. If your organization uses SharePoint or Office 365, you won’t want to miss this event. Here are 10 great reasons that you should definitely plan to attend!

1. Top-notch event produced by experienced organizers

SharePoint Conference is a third-party event, led by the team that has been producing DEVIntersection and other top technology events. You won’t find a team more qualified to produce large-scale events. You can be assured that the event will be run professionally and that you, the attendee, will feel well taken care of and very much appreciated.

2. Microsoft is not just the marquee sponsor, but also the marquee content producer

Microsoft is the marquee sponsor of the event, and their teams — across SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Teams, and Office — are investing heavily in making this event the place to be for best-of-class training. This is the first major follow-on event since Ignite 2017, and it will be where Microsoft unveils its vision and roadmap and latest innovations across these products. Microsoft is promising “one of the biggest announcements we’ve ever made for SharePoint.”

3. Learn from the leading industry experts

Take a look at the amazing session lineup already announced! A virtual who’s who of the leading SharePoint experts from around the world will be sharing their insights, best practices, and experiences at the SharePoint Conference. I’m really excited to be presenting a workshop on Sunday, May 20 — Information Architecture 101: How to Structure and Organize an Awesome Intranet with Amazing User Experiences — and three additional sessions all new and updated for this event:

4. Sessions that benefit everyone in the organization — technical and business users alike

The sessions at the SharePoint Conference will cover the gamut of deep-dive technical sessions to those focues on business and end users to ensure every attendee learns something relevant. My best advice is that every technical person attending the event bring someone from the business to share the experience. Many conferences are geared for just IT professionals or business users; it’s rare to find an event where you can attend with your business or IT partner and learn together at the same time.

5. An expo showcase just for the SharePoint family

As much as I loved the Ignite experience, the expo hall was overwhelming — and many of the vendors provided solutions that were unrelated to the technologies (i.e SharePoint) that I care the most about. The expo hall at the SharePoint Conference will feature the top Microsoft third-party solution providers, and virtually every vendor will have an offering that could be relevant to your organization. In other words — you will want to spend some time in the expo hall so that you can learn about solutions that complement Office 365 and SharePoint and could ultimately save you a lot of time and money and provide significant benefit to your organization.

6. Practical advice that you can apply immediately

There are over 100 sessions of content and a dozen or so workshops. Yes, you’ll learn about what is coming — but you will also learn about what you can apply right now —and best practices (often learned the hard way) so you can benefit from the learnings of early adopters.

7. Meet the product team

If you’ve ever wanted to meet the people who actually work on the software products you use every day, this is the place to be. More than 100 members of the Microsoft product groups, led by Jeff Teper himself, will be at the event. Their goal: to provide the most focused and high-value interaction possible with attendees.

8. Use and experience SharePoint

The SharePoint Conference brings back one of the best parts of the earlier SharePoint Conferences — the opportunity for attendees to use and experience SharePoint as part of the event. This will be a great way to learn the power of communication sites, news, and more.

9. The community

This probably should be Reason 1: One of the single best reasons to attend a conference in person is the opportunity to network with your professional peers. The SharePoint community is like no other — it truly is a family and even if you have never met one of your SharePoint cousins, I can promise you that you will be welcomed into the family with open arms.

One thing that I love about our community is how willing people are to share what they know — almost before you ask! This is not a family of egos — and something worth noting: No one speaking at the SharePoint Conference is getting paid to speak. They are all there because of their love of what they do and their desire to share those experiences and learn from others.

All you have to do to become part of this community is show up. Most of the speakers are introverts, so if you approach anyone and ask them a question or even just tell them you enjoyed their presentation, you could find a new best friend!

10. The location

For some, Las Vegas is both a plus and a minus when it comes to a destination for events. I prefer to focus on the positive. The airport is very close to the conference venue, which makes travel and transportation very convenient. Once you are in Vegas, you really don’t need a car. There are trams connecting many of the hotels on the strip, and the city is surprisingly walkable.

There are some unique and fun things you can only do in Las Vegas to round out your SharePoint Conference experience. This past summer, my family had a great time at the Neon Museum (go at night; it’s really fun and quirky) and saw some of our favorite acts from America’s Got Talent. We also ate some spectacular meals and drove from Vegas to the spectacular Zion National Park for some incredible hiking.

Whether you go just for the conference or to experience Las Vegas and all it has to offer, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the SharePoint Conference!

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