Busy Office 365 Conference Line-up for 2020

Conference Dance Card Fills Out

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite on Tour in London, January 2020
Speaking at Microsoft Ignite on Tour in London, January 2020 (photo: Anna Chu)

Now that Microsoft has decided to move their Ignite Conference to New Orleans, my conference dance card for 2020 has filled out and I know the events I’ll be attending (and most likely presenting at) for the year. Here are some notes about the events now in my calendar.

Microsoft Ignite Goes to New Orleans

After running Microsoft Ignite conferences in Chicago (2015) and Atlanta (2016), Microsoft took the event to Orlando in 2017 and appeared all set for an extended run at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). Liked and loathed in equal quantities by conference attendees, Orlando ticks a lot of boxes and the November date worked well in terms of the weather.

But the first week of November 2020 features the U.S. presidential election and Microsoft wasn’t keen to run a major 30,000-person conference at the same time. Shifting a event like Ignite isn’t easy as few locations can handle the transportation, accommodation, and conference demands.

The date selected for New Orleans (September 21-25) happens to be in the hurricane season. I am assured by those who know that all will be well and the opportunity to take swamp tours, eat gumbo, and experience Bourbon Street is not to be missed. And no, I don’t know what kind of attendee celebration will be held to replace the usual party at Universal Studios.

Preregistration is now available for Ignite 2020. You don’t have to pay anything to preregister and will receive a heads-up email when the registration process opens to allow you to get first choice of available hotels. I don’t know how important this will be for New Orleans, but choosing a suitable hotel reasonably close to the event has made previous Ignite events easier to be at. Ignite has sold out the last few conferences, so that’s another reason to preregister now.

In terms of getting to the event, New Orleans is not as well served by international airlines as Orlando is, which will cause European and other non-U.S. travelers a challenge to find reasonable air fares. I settled on going out with American via Charlotte and returning with British Airways via London.

The SharePoint Conferences

Two big SharePoint conferences are on the agenda, both of which are expanding coverage to take in more of Office 365 and Azure. This is a good strategy because the days of SharePoint dominating its ecosystem are over. SharePoint’s new role as the document management service for Office 365 is much more interesting. In any event, I will be in Las Vegas for the U.S. event in May (19-21) and hopefully will make the European event in Amsterdam in November (9-12). You can get a $50 discount off the SharePoint North America conference fee by entering REDMOND as a discount code while the European conference is still at the point where a substantial 30% early bird discount is available.

A discount for SharePoint North America
A discount for SharePoint North America

European Collaboration Summit

The conferences listed so far are commercial events. In other words, they’re intended to make a profit for the conference organizers. The European Collaboration Summit, in Wiesbaden, Germany (June 8-10), is a community event. At around 300 Euro (now), ticket prices are much lower, but the quality of the sessions is well up to standard and the event is well worth attending if you can get to Germany.

The Experts Conference (TEC)

After a seven-year hiatus, Quest Software brought TEC, The Experts Conference, back in Charleston, SC last August. TEC is a small two-day conference that’s focused on Azure Active Directory (and Active Directory), migration, and Office 365. The organizing committee prides themselves on selecting high-quality speakers and insists on level 400 content. Presenters who don’t come up to the mark are not invited back. Quest had TEC lined up for Atlanta in the week now occupied by Microsoft Ignite, so the date has changed to November 17-18. You can join the TEC waitlist to be sure of getting a slot in an event that’s sure to sell out.

Shift Happens

#ShiftHappens is another small event run by a software company, in this case AvePoint. The 2020 event is scheduled for Washington DC on June 25-26. This event is strong on specific aspects of Office 365, such as data governance, compliance, and management of Office 365 Groups. It’s also attended by many government agencies. The avuncular Raymond Dux Sy, AvePoint’s CMO, hasn’t told me what I’ll be talking about, but you can be sure it’ll be linked to some aspect of Office 365.

Other Trips

My list doesn’t include Evolve UK, another one-day community-led conference that I like (the 2020 date hasn’t been set yet). Or Experts Live event in Oslo on May 28, featuring the awesome Ståle Hansen. Or anything else that turns up. It’s a busy schedule, but it keeps me out of mischief and the learning and interaction at each event leads to some nuggets of information to include in an update for the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. All good!

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