Microsoft Ignite this year is already finished, and it was a huge event and It was an honour for me to visit it this year in Orlando. However, during the last couple of days on Ignite, I wrote daily a splitter in my Blog, in which I wanted to show this Event through my Eyes and I hope, you enjoyed the way I was writing.
I have just returned from the U.S. a week ago and I would like to write a review about some points, which I have divided in different categories. Please note, this review is about my own impressions I had from the Ignite this year. If you talk to other people, who were in Orlando this week, maybe they have another point of view about the Ignite.
However, I hope, you will enjoy reading this article…
Microsoft Ignite by itself was a very well-organized Event from Microsoft. There were everywhere dressed in violet Microsoft employees (or volunteers) who were always friendly and very helpful as much as it was possible. With the Microsoft Event app and all the descriptions, it was very easy to get mostly to the right places in time. There was always enough food in the Morning and at Lunchtime and Fridges all over the convention centre with cold drinks to take. Just being at the convention centre for few minutes, it was clear that Microsoft has a lot of experience, how this kind of events have to be organized.
However, there were not only positive moments from general organization, as a negative example was that at the Lunch time there where Lunch spots to grab a small lunch. This was a good idea because we could get a pack and continue with the sessions. The problem was that some of the Lunch Points where open and some not, why? made absolutely no sense! If you did not manage it in time, you simply had no lunch, passing by the other Lunch Points you were not allowed to get something. Here Microsoft definitely has to get better.
Another point was also about give away from Microsoft itself: In the Expo all the companies were giving all kind of goodies away, that was especially interesting for the swag hunters. However, many of my working Colleagues asked me if I can bring something for them FROM Microsoft with me, as I was in the Goods Shop of Microsoft I was (again) negatively surprised about what was for sale and for which prize. I don’t speak here now about Books or Tshirts, I speak about Batch holders, Pens and other kind of things which should be free given away for free and not like: A Microsoft Pen for 4.95 $.
The last thing I want to write in this chapter is that 35’000 People (this is the number, people were talking about) weere to many! I spoke with other visitors who has made other Ignites in the past and we all had the same conclusion, 20’000 till max. 25’000 people are enough to feel comfortable on this Event.
My personal rating for the general organization is:
Host (and Party)
As I have written before, all was well organized, when we had to move to Universal Studios. It was always clear where to go and a lot of Microsoft people were helping us if help was needed.
However, Universal Studio was closed for visitors and opene only for Ignite Attendees, that was very cool, but as I have also mentioned in the previous chapter, there were to many people at Ignite in general, which was visible also at the Universal studios.
Maybe it could be an idea for another year to change the Park? Maybe Disney?
My rating for the Host and party:
All different Stages at the Convention centres were looking very good and practical. There were enough screens around, so we could follow the speakers and the slides and demos of them. The microphones were working very well so nothing to say about that. However, in some Rooms Air-condition was working to strong and many people were freezing during the session.
What I have noticed this year was, that there were much more Theater sessions, this is a cool idea and it is more flexible for the attendees. However, some session had so many people that not everyone could listen to them in a comfortable way. Some sessions got presented a second time again. Maybe it is possible to make the theater area a bit bigger?
My rating for the Sessions:
The sessions I have visited had very good speakers from the technical point of view. Some of them were very easy to follow in the way they were presented, some of them had even a very good sense of humour, which was very refreshing. However, for some speakers English was not a native langue and for many from the crowd as well, that`s why for some not native speaking speakers were very hard to follow, because of not quite understanding them and also of talking them to fast. I totally understand that not all of them can present in the same way if the language is not native. I just wish for the future that they try to speak more understandable and slower. It just was making the crowd tired after 10 min of listening and sadly many were starting to leave the session, because they simply couldn’t follow anymore. Here I hope Microsoft will get this feedback especially for their own employees, who will have speeches in front of the peoples like at the Ignite or Inspire to help them becoming more understandable.
My rating for this category:
The Expo was not bad, they were ready for all of the swag hunters, as for me, a bit too ready for them… Of course, I also got some T-Shirts and other gadgets, it was cool and funny. However, there were some companies, which were very interesting for me. By the most of them I had to make clear that I am not there for swag hunting, that I am there for the products/service they have. By some of them I asked for more informative material to bring back for my colleagues in my office and they simply didn’t have. Some of the Expo companies were mostly interested to scan my Ignite pass to get my mail address for the future – let’s call it official SPAM…
Of course, not everything was bad on the Expo. No, not at all, there was a significant reason for the good mood at the Ignite in general. Comparing with other Expo’s in the past, I can say it was an easy-going flow. That’s why this is my rating to the Expo:
The food was ok in general. However, as far I saw it was enough for all. Maybe it is about the quality difference between U.S. and Europe, or especially Switzerland. I cannot say it was not good or bad, it was just different. The good point was we never had to wait long till we get our food, so the organization was very good, small but I have to tell here is the trash which was created from all of us. I think here can a lot be optimised for the future.
About the Lunch Points I mentioned in the beginning of this article Microsoft has really to think about. This is a pain point that made so many attendees angry for absolutely no reason. That’s why I cannot give a good rating here.
Here my rating for the food:
Drinks such as Soft drinks, Coffee and Water were available everywhere and for free. I didn’t walk even once to a fridge. From this point Microsoft did really a fantastic job, and it can be an example for other conventions. There is really nothing much to say anymore about this point and here my personal rating:
Information (About products like Exchange, Office 365, etc.)
This topic is a bit difficult to rate. It because there were so many different topics during the Ignite. I was focused on Exchange, Office 365, Microsoft Teams and PowerShell. On my topics the Mix was good, from the Theater till Microsoft Mechanics sessions, all was available.
Honestly saying, before the Ignite started and after I had made my session schedule, I was worried if I really will handle all my sessions in time at this huge convention centre. Microsoft had a lot of volunteering people all around the Convention centre and I didn’t miss not even one of my sessions because of less time for changing or not finding the right Room. ALL of Microsoft volunteers were extremely friendly and helpful. That’s why I can give only the following rating:
From one point the idea of the hangout zone was great, that the attendees should be able to follow all sessions. If I look back to last year, Microsoft had no problems this year with the video quality etc.
Another point was about the power plugins, there were no one at all in the hangout zone. There were some, only around on the tables, but not on the sofa chairs. Because of the fact that we this year again had no power plugins and a possibility to use the Notebooks in a comfortable way, the rating is not optimal.
I personally think Microsoft need to work on the quality of the hangout area. However, as I said in the beginning, the idea of the hangout zone is fantastic. Here my rating about that:
There were many good things at the Ignite 2019, but also some, which Microsoft could make easy better. Talking with “veterans” from other Ignites and Tech-Ed’s before, I got told that the quality of the Event was not that good as they expected. This is something I can’t compare, because for me it was the second Ignite. However, I had a good time here in Orlando, I have met very interesting people there and I was able to network. I also got new technical information from the Office 365 and Exchange product team. At the Expo I also meet Engineers, who are building Exchange and it was cool to talk to them. However, my personal conclusion is that I don’t regret at all that I made this Journey and I can highly recommend it to everyone who want to feel the big base around Microsoft.
Going through the chapters, and looking on the ratings in this article, I have to give the rating below. I personally learned a lot of new things; met new people and I will have a lot to write on my Blog in the next weeks…