Enterprise Collaboration sessions selected for IT/DEV Connections 2015

It seems only yesterday when we wrapped up IT/DEV Connections 2014. Well, despite that feeling, we've been busy making the session selection for the Enterprise Collaboration track at this year's event. The hard thing was the choice - so many good speakers, so much expertise, so many topics. But with just a few arguments, we think that we have a balanced selection of old and new, on-premises and cloud and hybrid, administration and development, and all manner of products. Let's hope that you agree.

It was gratifying to receive so many session submissions for IT/DEV Connections 2015, which takes place at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas on September 14-17. As you might know, this year the conference is organized around a set of tracks that we think match the interests of attendees, with "Enterprise Collaboration" being the track of most interest to those looking for Exchange and Office 365 content.

Because many constituencies must be satisfied, selecting sessions from the set submitted is a bit of an art form. Some folks are only interest in on-premises content and want to know the latest and greatest about how to make their servers work better. Some want to know about the latest technology, so they'll be all ears for news about the Wave 16 release of the Office server products due in late 2015 (Exchange 2016, SharePoint 2016, etc.). Some are all-in the cloud and could care less about what a server is or what it does, and some want information about developing code on a platform, be that using Exchange Web Services or a SharePoint workflow.

You might imagine that you can only select from the submitted sessions, but that's not quite true. We keep some sessions back to be used for new and interesting topics that arise between now and the conference. For example, we know that Microsoft is likely to make some major announcements at their Ignite event in Chicago in early May, so we might need sessions to cover that news. We also know that Office 365 introduces new technology on an ongoing basis, not all of which is well flagged by Microsoft, so we might need sessions to review and explain these developments. For the same reasons, we're pretty flexible about working with speakers to make sure that the content they present at the conference is as up-to-date and pertinent as possible, even if it doesn't quite match what they said they'd like to talk about when they submitted session proposals.

The upshot of all these moving parts is that we can't be definite about what will eventually be presented in September. But we know that many people need to submit a justification to attend technical conferences as otherwise their employers might think that they're off for a four-day fun fest in Vegas. Alas, if the truth were known, it is really four days of solid effort and wrinkled brows as speakers and attendees alike engage in a mutual struggle to comprehend and master technology.

To return to how you can justify coming to IT/DEV Connections, I can tell you that we have:

  • Lots of Exchange on-premises content – including information about Exchange 2016, including what steps you should be taking now to prepare for its deployment.
  • Lots of hybrid content to reflect the simple reality that hybrid deployments are likely to be the most common configuration used by enterprises in the next few years. Some will be totally in the cloud, but a lot of today's customers will remain with some workload on-premises.
  • Lots of Office 365 content, including the intersections that are becoming more common between Exchange and SharePoint (something much easier to accomplish in the cloud). Topics like Office 365 Groups and Office Delve are good examples.
  • Lots of mobile content from the traditional ActiveSync-based approach to device management for on-premises Exchange and Office 365 to Microsoft's work to make InTune the MDM of choice.
  • Lots of great speakers, including some of the folks who have scored very highly with attendees over the last few years. People like Paul Robichaux, Paul Cunningham, Tim McMichael, and Andrew Higginbotham. All mixed together with speakers returning after a couple of years being away from the conference and some new faces to jazz things up.

There's an abundance of knowledge to share and the important thing is that it's practical, hands-on knowledge from people who work with the technology to solve business problems daily.

Details of the initial batch of selected sessions will soon be available on the IT/DEV Connections site. Hopefully you'll agree that they are a good set. If not, I'm sure you'll let me know.

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Tony Redmond

Tony Redmond is a senior contributing editor for Windows IT Pro. His latest books are Office 365 for Exchange Professionals (eBook, May 2015) and Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 Inside Out: Mailbox...
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