Microsoft Ignite is getting bigger; time to look elsewhere?

This week, it was announced that Microsoft Envision, normally a three day event focused on business leaders separate from other events, would be essentially merging with Microsoft Ignite.  This leaves Microsoft’s main conferences as Ignite and Microsoft Build, but now one of those events is getting larger than it already is.  In 2015, Ignite was held in Chicago, where transportation and lodging became an issue.  In 2016, the same event from held in Atlanta, where it appears that things got better from a transportation and lodging perspective, except that some attendees didn’t get much from the standpoint of food due to shortages (again, what I’ve been told)

In 2016, I had the opportunity to either go to Ignite, the Midwest Management Summit (MMS), or IT/Dev Connections.  I was planning to pass on Ignite as it was, and it was too late for me to do MMS as it was sold out.  IT/Dev Connections was where I ended up going to.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Las Vegas is a neat city to go to, but the casinos and smoking that are always found there get on my nerves.  Thankfully, IT/Dev Connections was held in a hotel where I could bypass the casino (thus bypassing the smoking) when going between my room and the conference.  I was able to focus on learning and talking with the leaders of IT in a smaller environment.

I’m not sure how Microsoft can sufficiently find ways to get their training and their message out to users in a large scale format that they seem to be pushing with the larger conferences, but I think the smaller conferences are the better way to go.  When the ratio is 20:1 at IT/Dev Connections versus 100+/1 at Ignite, the one-on-one opportunities are a no-brainer.

Now for a message to managers who have the budget to send employees out to training – I am throwing my support into the smaller conferences.  This post is obviously centralized around the smaller conferences that have a lot of System Center compentencies, but IT/Dev Connections did have from Office 365 tracks, along with programming and development.  But my main point is that both IT/Dev and MMS were created due to the involvement of the various user groups around the country, so it becomes the voice of the users that help dicate the size of the conferences, as well as the content that is being presented.

For those managers who are concerned about IT/Dev Connections 2016 being held in Las Vegas, do not fear – IT/Dev Connections 2017 is being held in San Francisco, CA in October, so those that don’t want to send their employees to a city where there are too many distractions, you have the perfect scenario this year.

For my situation, I won’t be headed to any training again until most likely 2018.  I know when the time comes for me to determine my training options, I’ll stay away from the mega-conferences and focus on the smaller user-focused conferences.

IT/Dev Connections, October 23-27, 2017 –

Midwest Management Summit, May 15-18, 2017 –

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