My Thoughts on TechEd 2013

I was recently just asked what my thoughts were on TechEd 2013 after just returning from the conference in New Orleans. My first instinct was to say “It was great, had a fabulous time!” but I figured I should sit on the question a little bit and really think about how I really felt. I would not have been lying if I simply just said I had great time because I did. New Orleans is an exciting city with so much activity how can one not have a good time down there? So…what are my thoughts on TechEd 2013?

I thought it was a good conference overall but felt content was a little weak in some areas. The Azure sessions were good though, especially for someone just getting into it. You can definitely tell the push was Azure and the all things cloud. If you didn’t get that hint I have no idea which conference you were attending. There good buzz around SCCM 2012 R2, Visual Studio and of course Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2. Now content related to Exchange was weak & lacking any real excitement which was expected because MEC is just around the corner. For those that don’t know what MEC is, it’s the Microsoft Exchange Conference where all the IT Professionals of the Exchange world gather to discuss and learn all things Exchange.

As an Exchange admin I am excited for MEC but think it hurts TechEd content because it seems as if Microsoft holds back on big announcements at TechEd. In my opinion they should stick with TechEd and stop the focused conferences. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the Exchange community can get together and bring out our Exchange geekness together. It’s just sometimes too much to try to attend all these conferences, most businesses can’t afford to send people to both TechEd and a specialty conference. It’s not only the cost of conference but the time away from the office that businesses need to take into account, with IT shops running thin; sending people away can be a real issue.

If Microsoft were to combine the conferences again it can make TechEd even easier to attend for someone that is struggling to choose between which conferences to go to. TechEd is great a conference because you can connect with all sorts of IT professionals not just your specialty and you have the option to take sessions that is outside of what you typical attend at MEC or any other specialty conference. One of the big values of attending one of these tech conferences is the networking, making the contacts that you normally wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere. If being able to do it at one place that’s even better for someone that can’t get away from the office all the time.

So that’s how I really feel, it’s not right or wrong, just an opinion.

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One comment

  1. Your comments on the separation of content between a general conference and a product-specific conference mirror the way I thought about MMS and TechEd after going to MMS for the first time this year. I definitely think the System Center community can be well-served by having MMS get absorbed into TechEd (which is what is apparently happening for 2014) because the two events are nearly identical.

    For Exchange though, while I wish there was more Exchange content at TechEd, I think the experience at the MEC conference is quite different than TechEd. So many of the sessions were organic and audience driven, and I don’t think you could recreate that at TechEd due to its size.

    The thing to keep in mind with MEC too is that they don’t have a set schedule. At MEC 2012, they closed by saying there will be another MEC when they have something to say. Apparently they have something new to say next year.

    I’d like to see TechEd go back to being a five-day conference with beefed-up Exchange and Lync content. That would help in the off-years when MEC isn’t being held. I think it would be good too for Microsoft to better position the conferences so people can be clear on the intended audience and give people a better idea of why they should go to one or the other or both.

    I’m interested to hear what other people think.

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