Microsoft first introduced Microsoft Ignite—MS Ignite—to the tech world in May 2015. Almost one year prior to the event’s groundbreaking in Chicago, IL. Microsoft began marketing the event as its beautiful collision of several other, smaller IT conferences—TechEd, Management Summit, Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, and Lync Conference to name a few.
Unlike its location trending southward—Chicago, then Atlanta, now Orlando—interest has only surged upward after every passing year. So, what makes Ignite a fan-favorite among the Microsoft Partner Community?
We asked our partners at Experlogix, a 2017/2018 Inner Circle for Microsoft Dynamics member, to bend our ear on what keeps them returning year after year. “You really don’t want to miss these major events. Microsoft always sends the leadership teams from product development, partner management, and the field organization, so it is a great way to not only stay current on product direction, but also to strengthen relationships with these key resources,” said Scott Rich, Executive Director of Strategic Alliances.
Scott seems to hit the nail on the head in describing why those leveraging Microsoft systems find MS Ignite to be a priority. There’s something for everyone, marking the event as ‘highly advantageous’ to those in the MS Partner community.
With so much happening at the event, it’s hard to pinpoint what motivates each individual enterprise to attend. Yet, despite variety in what attracts each business and influencer to turn out, three overarching benefits are indisputable when it comes to Microsoft Ignite:
If you have yet to attend MS Ignite—or any annual partner event for that matter—you’re in for quite a treat, particularly if you’re looking to bolster your Microsoft rolodex. Ignite is one of the larger networking opportunities Microsoft hosts throughout the year, habitually touting a long list of its “who’s who.”
The tech giant recently overhauled its partner ecosystem, “One Commercial Partner Group,” which was announced at the annual Inspire event earlier this summer. The overhaul appears to be part of Microsoft’s larger initiative in empowering its partners to drive innovation and integrate with one another through MS platforms. This push for inter-reliance among partners further incentivizes attendance to partner networking events like Ignite.
And the elbow rubbing doesn’t stop with partners… MS Ignite comes complete with an array of prominent speakers, like Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, and several industry experts. Scott and his team know after nearly 12 years of attending Microsoft events that Ignite is a unique opportunity that “brings the entire Dynamics community together, including customers, partners and Microsoft” – Scott.
Ignite is truly the only event where peers and the source of tech innovation can come together and share their experiences.
A range of experiences and independent use cases is another driving reason that partners flock to the annual event. Learning by seeing and doing is an inherent part of the Ignite experience, making the price to send your developers well worth the cost.
The topical range among the sessions is extraordinary with eight different segregate parameters to refine your session results. Two segregates we suggest utilizing are “audience” and “persona.” By using “audience,” you can refine sessions by occupational field (IT Influencers and Implementers, Developers, IT Decision Makers, Data Professionals), while “persona” allows you to specify which type of application environment and deployment you work with.
Sessions are largely beneficial, but the industry expert speakers hosting these sessions are what propel that benefit. Jeffrey Snover, the lead architect behind Microsoft Azure Stack and the Microsoft Server is one of many Microsoft experts that partners have enjoyed exchanging ideas with at Ignite.
Regardless of which sessions you attend or experts you converse with, Ignite’s agenda is full of opportunities to learn and grow your MS based solution. It’s one of few opportunities to learn the technology behind your product, giving you the opportunity to expand functionality and grow your target market.
Growth and Opportunity
Microsoft is one of the fastest growing tech giants in the market today. With innovation and expansion occurring every day, the only way for partners to grow in lockstep is to know what’s coming down the product and solution pipeline.
Microsoft is notorious for unveiling strategy and pipeline plans for its products and solutions at its annual events. From Office 365, to Dynamics 365, to Windows OS, to Azure Stack, Ignite is where you find out what innovation is in store for the popular MS platforms that drive your business solutions.
Many have noted Microsoft’s tendency to be somewhat tightlipped about coming innovation and solution roadmaps until its annual event(s). This strategy is two-fold. Microsoft is in the business of enhancing your solutions through innovation and technology advances, but they’re also in the business of strengthening their partnership ecosystem. It wouldn’t be the first tech conglomerate to leverage anticipation as incentive to attend conferences, but this coupled with its reliance on its partnership program is unique to the creator of Windows.
In sum, attending Microsoft Ignite keep’s you on course with the line leader of tech innovation.
Another darn good reason to head to Orlando in a couple of weeks is the Attendee Celebration at Universal Orlando Resort! What’s not to love about bottomless buffets and thrill rides—but perhaps not in that order…
If you’re at Ignite, make sure to say hello to our CPQ partner, Experlogix, at in the expo hall! Psssst…. Tell them we sent you!