In January 2020, we followed tradition and presented a list of Microsoft events that IT pros might want to attend during the year. Of course, COVID-19 and the global pandemic eliminated most travel and changed how we all interact. Physically attending conferences, seminars and meetings was just not part of the equation for most of 2020.
Consequently, in 2021, while Microsoft will still have events where IT pros can learn about new technologies, products and services, those events will be digital and virtual. Attending a virtual Microsoft event can be just as informative and enlightening. And a side benefit of going virtual is the venue does not get sold out, so there is space for everyone who wants to attend.
Despite being a schedule of digital virtual events, the calendar breakdown continues the familiar pattern of a few large conferences spread out over the course of the year, supported by several smaller events focused on specific technologies and professional job roles. We will update this article as more Microsoft events details are available.
SEE: Top Windows 10 run commands (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
The biggest Microsoft events scheduled for 2021
Envision 2021 is presented by Microsoft in partnership with Accenture and Avanade. The Envision event is geared toward global business leaders trying to navigate innovations in technology and understand the benefits and consequences of business digitization.
According to the program overview: “In Episode 2 of Envision, we explore the five crisis crucibles—the macro forces that are impacting our world oriented around health, climate change, employment, technology, and global GDP—and the key digital trends that will remain with us after the pandemic, shaping all of our futures.”
Microsoft Ignite—March 2-4, 2021
The annual Microsoft Ignite event is geared toward the IT professional and developer audiences. Ignite focuses on development tools and provides detailed technical training on new technologies and new techniques for getting things done. Many of the seminars and training sessions deal with Microsoft Azure and how it can be used in the digitization of any business.
Microsoft Build and Microsoft Inspire
The other two big Microsoft annual events, Build and Inspire, generally take place in the mid- to latter-half of each year, so those 2021 dates have only recently been announced.
The Build conference is typically one of the more important conferences of the year for Microsoft, which uses the event to get application and system developers excited about Microsoft’s major platforms (Windows 10, Microsoft 365 and Azure). Microsoft Build 2021 will take place May 25-27, although the official Build website has yet to be updated.
The Inspire conference is where Microsoft partners can connect and collaborate as one community. The interaction helps those partners gain insights into the year ahead and potentially learn new business strategies. Microsoft Inspire 2021 will take place July 14-15, with registration opening in June.
SEE: Checklist: Securing Windows 10 systems (TechRepublic Premium)
Other important Microsoft events in 2021
In addition to the four major Microsoft annual events taking place in 2021, there will be dozens of smaller, more focused events that specific IT professionals may wish to attend. Unlike the major events mentioned before, these smaller events may be available on demand or online at several times during the year. Check the Microsoft events schedule for dates.
A sample of some of the smaller, focused Microsoft events include: