Information technology professionals, regardless of their place in an enterprise hierarchy, are expected to keep up with the latest business-related technological advances. Attending educational conferences to become familiar with new software, hardware, teamwork support systems, collaborative facilitation tools, and management support platforms is a given. However, gathering useful information that can help you predict and anticipate what will happen in the near future is what gives you that competitive edge.
Whether they attend in-person or online, IT pros working with Microsoft products and services can learn about that company's latest plans from hundreds of conferences, seminars, and summits each and every year. But choosing when, where, and how to attend these educational events requires an annual schedule and some thoughtful logistical planning.
Like 2018, the 2019 schedule of Microsoft events was altered slightly based on the company's current business plan and strategic emphasis. For example, the Microsoft Connect(); conferences from 2018, was replaced in 2019 by a series of conferences known as Microsoft Ignite: The Tour. There are also many more small conferences taking place throughout the calendar year in more cities and countries. Microsoft seems to be concentrating on intimate small gatherings in 2019 rather than large grand public relation statements.
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Microsoft has scheduled four big events for 2019:
1. Microsoft Build
Microsoft Build - As usual, this big conference in Seattle does not have a date set for 2019. The event traditionally takes place in May each year, but Microsoft does not confirm the dates until February, so we do not know the exact dates yet. (We will update this list once the dates are announced.)
However, regardless of when it takes place, the Build conference is always one of the most important educational conferences of the year for Microsoft. It is the event the company uses to get application and system developers excited about Microsoft's major platforms of Windows 10, Office 365, and Azure. More developer projects mean more Microsoft customers, which eventually means more company revenue and profit.
2. Microsoft Business Applications Summit - June 10-11, 2019
Microsoft Business Applications Summit - This conference will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. Like the Build conference, this event focuses on the development of business applications and the all-important concept of enterprise digital transformation. A successful business enterprise in 2019 must transform itself from old analog and on-premise technologies to digital and cloud-based technologies. This summit will explain how to accomplish that task.
3. Microsoft Inspire - July 14-18, 2019
Microsoft Inspire - This conference will be held in Las Vegas. This annual meeting features keynotes and breakout sessions for Microsoft partners—third-party vendors who sell, develop, and support Microsoft products for business and other organizations. However, even though it caters to partners, all IT pros can glean some valuable information from what is revealed during this conference.
4. Microsoft Ignite - November 4-8, 2019
Microsoft Ignite - This conference will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Acting as the culmination of a full year of seminars, conferences, and summits, Ignite highlights the very latest in expert insights from technology leaders. The breakout sessions examine how technology is shaping the future of cloud, data, business intelligence, teamwork, collaboration, and productivity. It is Microsoft's most forward-looking big conference of the year.
Smaller, more intimate events
Microsoft is trying something new for 2019. Throughout the year, in various cities and sites around the world, the company will host dozens of Microsoft Ignite: The Tour events. These educational conferences will be similar to the large Ignite conference held in November but will cater to the location and local attendees at each event. Just about every continent is covered, so check the website for locations near you.
Other more intimate events are scheduled throughout the year and in multiple cities including:
- IoT in Action - This seminar will be held in various venues and cities throughout the year starting with January 14, 2019. The seminars will show how IoT can be implemented practically in a business environment.
- Microsoft Cloud Workshop: Azure Cosmos DB Hands On Workshop - January 14, 2019, in San Francisco.
- Microsoft Leap for the Future Program - January 28-February 1, 2019, in Redmond, WA, Microsoft HQ. This is professional developer training.
- MVP Global Summit - March 17-22, 2019, in Bellevue and Redmond, WA. This event is exclusively for Microsoft MVPs.
- Microsoft DevDays 2019 - June 17-21, 2019 in Redmond, WA. A conference for developers and quality assurance engineers.
There are also many educational conferences and seminars presented by third-party vendors throughout the year with explicit support from Microsoft. Check for local events through social media and other informational outlets.
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Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.