It’s still only October, but already some companies are starting to talk about what they plan to do next year. Unfortunately, the word from most tends to be pretty vague this far in advance.
Microsoft is no exception.
However, one thing Microsoft has given some very concrete details about is its conference line-up for 2015.
For the first time ever, Microsoft is bring all its enterprise business applications together in a new conference called Ignite.
Microsoft’s Enterprise Business
Details of the conference were announced yesterday. According to a statement from Microsoft, the new conference, taking place in Chicago from May 4 through 8, will pull together what Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of Communications at Microsoft, describes as a the best of the best of best of Microsoft’s enterprise conferences.
Ignite will pull together a number of what have previously been individual events: the Management Summit, the Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and TechEd conferences. Shaw doesn’t say what the result will be, but he does say that bringing them all together will bring the conference to an exciting new level.
Nope, we don’t know what that means either, and Microsoft isn't really saying. But Ignite — not to be confused with the similarly named gospel-centered Ignite Conference — by all accounts, is going to be a big show, with appearances from CEO Satya Nadella himself and a cohort of top Microsoft executives including Brad Anderson, CVP of the Enterprise Client & Mobility (ECM) team; Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, PC, Tablet and Phone; Dave Campbell, Chief Technology Officer, Cloud and Enterprise; Peggy Johnson, Executive Vice President, Business Development; and Julie Larson Green, Chief Experience Officer, Applications and Services Group.
OK, OK. Yes this probably sound a bit like an advertisement for Microsoft and ... well hands up, it is a bit. However, this is more than an ordinary conference. It is the first time that Microsoft has pulled all these business units together under the same roof since Nadella was appointed and Steve Ballmer outlined the principal of ‘One’.
If you don’t remember that, ‘One’ is the precursor to Nadella’s Mobile First, Cloud First’ strategy. It talked of pulling all the disparate businesses in Microsoft together under the same roof, streamlining them, and making them more agile.
Over the past twelve months we have seen this happen across the entire Microsoft stable. Office 365, for example, is uniting a whole bunch of different applications and functionality and the additions just keep coming. ‘One’ is on the way and Ignite appears to be part of that move.
Even Microsoft is getting excited about this one. Ignite, Shaw said. “It rounds out our schedule of key events for professional communities in the first half of 2015," he explained. "We start with Convergence 2015 from March 16 to 19 in Atlanta, the place where business leaders gather to explore solutions. Build, which runs April 29 to May 1 in San Francisco, is where developers will hear the latest about our platform strategy, technologies and opportunities. Then we turn to Ignite, followed by the Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando in July."
The rundown of conferences shows you how Ignite fits into the whole picture at Microsoft.
“In addition to hundreds of sessions, technical training, hands-on labs and opportunities for certification, we’re making it a priority to give attendees direct access to hundreds of Microsoft engineers and executives. Our top gear heads and thought leaders will be there in force, ready to step down from the podium and get into the weeds with you,” Shaw said.
So Ignite will pull all the enterprise technology together. It will show you had to use it and it will give Microsoft’s customers access — access to Microsoft’s movers and shakers, and access to Microsoft. That’s the promise anyway.