What's Missing in Microsoft's 4 Primary Conferences? The End User
Microsoft has aligned their conference schedule around four primary conferences geared toward different audiences, but they seem to have forgotten one important audience: the end user.
For 2016, Microsoft's primary conferences are Build for developers, Ignite for IT professionals, Worldwide Partner Conference for partners, and Envision for C-level executives. While all of these targeted audiences play key roles in the use of Microsoft products, they really represent a middle layer between Microsoft and its users.
Developers use Microsoft tools to create programs for other users. While developers could be considered end users of Microsoft's programming tools, the focus is really around using those tools to develop for other users. IT pros configure and support Microsoft products for end users. Similarly, partners help implement, configure, and support Microsoft's products. C-Level executives are ultimately responsible for purchasing those products for their employees, the end users.
Microsoft's transition from Convergence to Envision has eliminated Microsoft's largest end-user focused conference. While Convergence was originally focused on ERP systems, the addition of significant Office, CRM, and SharePoint content over the years made it a more broadly based event. Some Dynamics content has been promised for Ignite, but right now it feels like that event will be more focused on implementation instead of end user education.
There are other, smaller Microsoft conferences with a user focus. For example, Microsoft's Data Insights Summit in March is geared toward end users of Power BI and related tools, specifically data analysts and BI professionals. This is just one example, but it looks like much of the work of enhancing user skills have moved to third party conferences.
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