I love Microsoft Ignite and have missed being able to attend large in-person events. Crowding in (pre-COVID) to watch product launches and fancy videos gets me thinking about future possibilities. We all come together and live off each other’s excitement. Together we cheer, dream, and rapidly text out mates who couldn’t make it to the event.
As exciting as this is, the announcements at Ignite are about what is coming in the future. The real outcome for industry conferences is talking about problems that are happening today. This includes discussions and meetings with experts from the industry, Microsoft MVPs, Microsoft’s product teams, and even just healthy debates in the vendor hall. Quite frankly, this is where I have solved real problems. This problem solving is the real value to a company paying the extreme ticket price and accommodations in the Orlando heat!
Last week’s digital Ignite was terrific. Massive enhancements are coming to Microsoft Teams, Azure, Security & Compliance, and so much more. Some of these features are coming out today, but many of these features are not going to ship for quite some time. Here are a few examples from Ignite March 2-4:
- How to Co-author Office Documents Protected by Sensitivity Labels
- Microsoft Teams Connect aka Shared Channels Coming Later in 2021
- Microsoft Makes Teams Multi-Geo
As we process these features coming soon, I am also getting ready for some fantastic user conferences and specialty webinars. Dreaming is fun, but living in the real world pays the bills!
I think a prime example of this experience is an Ignite session I went to in 2017. On the stage, they announced cross-tenant MRS Mailbox Migrations and made commitments to domain sharing. Some people cheered, some cried tears of joy, and some just relaxed to see such a thing finally being released. However, as short as a week later, we had clients coming back to us concerned that they could not wait for the previews. It was fantastic that this was coming out, but they had to consolidate today. Ultimately this feature went into Public Preview at Ignite 2020, three years later. This feature remains in Public Preview as I write this article.
Tears of joy just turned to tears after this session. Many in the Microsoft sphere can share loads of stories like this, sadly.
However, not all hope should be lost. Ignite’s focus on future releases creates an opening for smaller user conferences to solve today’s problems. Like The Experts Conference (TEC), these conferences allow you to leave with real solutions available immediately. The solutions are presented by industry experts and provide honest advice on how to solve your problem, not what can help in 18 months. Imagine leaving a session and doing something about your business problem. In some cases (when in-person events happen again), you can crowd around a laptop screen with conference coffee and try it live in a lab.
Conferences like TEC leave me with an instant method for making the world a better place. Conferences like Ignite leave me dreaming for the future.
After you are done taking in all the Ignite news, join the waitlist for TEC 2021 or sign up for the next TEC Talk (practical Microsoft 365 know-how without the third-party product pitches)! You can count on industry experts to help you navigate the problems, and solutions, of today.
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