Microsoft’s flagship event, Ignite, is over for another year, and our team are still buzzing from an amazing few days in Florida. But it wasn’t all sunshine and selfies with Ninja Cat: the lucky Identity Experts on the ground got a close-up glimpse at Microsoft’s genius, and a lot more besides.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the excitement really ramps up in Identity Experts HQ in the lead up to Microsoft Ignite. The annual event, held over six days in Orlando, is the highlight of the events calendar, serving as an opportunity for the team to brush up on their competencies, take a sneak peek at what Microsoft has in store, and mingle with other partners and aficionados.
With so much on offer, our team always come back with plenty to share with the other experts, and this year was no difference. Here’s a few of our team’s highlights from this year’s Microsoft Ignite, and be sure to check out our Twitter for more.
1. Badges Galore
What better time to brush up on Microsoft competencies and earn yourself a shiny badge than with fellow MS-heads? For Shelley, Alan, and Matt, Ignite was the perfect opportunity to ace a selection of qualification tests, earning a total of eight badges between them.
What’s more, this has now formed a personal challenge for the experts, as they push themselves and one another to achieve further certifications and score higher, elevating the Identity Experts offering in the process. And yes, there is a leader board set up in the office…
2. Microsoft Product Teams
Unsurprisingly, our team flew out to Ignite bursting with questions – and the Microsoft Showcase was the perfect place to get answers.
“It was almost like a treasure trail of information,” said Shelley Hill, Pre-Sales Technical Consultant. “We spent a long time talking to the Intune team, which generated further questions, and when we took that around the corner to the Windows 10 team, we got our answers and more questions.”
“Eventually, we had re-engineered every internal business process, created ten new products, had a crash course in collaborative project management, and got totally over-excited (in the best way). It really was fantastic having so many specialists in one place.”
Needless to say, the team have come back full of inspiration for innovative new projects!
While there’s still much to be done to promote and achieve gender equality in technological spaces, small steps are nonetheless being made.
This year, our team recognised that there were noticeably more female speakers and representation within Microsoft. Meanwhile, some toilets were rebranded into gender neutral bathrooms, to welcome a more diverse audience to Ignite.
Elsewhere, Microsoft evidently invested a lot of energy in broader inclusion with badges that illustrated how happy attendees were with speaking and interacting with those around them. Sometimes, the very real needs of people can be lost in the stereotypes around IT professionals, but this was a nice touch to help those struggling under overwhelming circumstances.
Finally, we’re delighted to see that completing feedback on the event is rewarded by donations to the Girls Who Code organisation. This brilliant organisation is working towards closing the gender gap in technology by encouraging, inspiring, and educating young women with skills in computing – bringing in new and exciting minds that will surely enrich the profession long into the future.
4. Greener Conferences
As we picked up on at Microsoft’s earlier Future Decoded event, the tech giant is doing its part to make conferences far more environmentally friendly.
For a start, attendees received water bottles in their swag, with the opportunity to ‘fill it forward’. This meant that our experts could fill their water up, get the bottle scanned, and Microsoft made a donation towards a clean water initiative.
5. Matt on TV
An exciting moment came for Matt Fernandes when he participated in a Microsoft Learn interview, discussing how the new learning platform had personally benefited him, Identity Experts, and our employees.
Want to watch? You can expect to see Mr Fernandes in action in the coming weeks – keep your eyes peeled for a link from us.
6. Being Part of the Future
As many who are familiar with Ignite might already know, signing up brings with it the benefit of being able to put yourself forward to participate in focus groups. Within these groups, attendees meet with the Microsoft Research product group owners, and provide feedback to help shape the product’s future.
This year, Alan took the opportunity to attend an event that partners and customers attended. Over the course of a full day with Microsoft researchers, Alan and his fellow attendees were able to look into pinch points within a selected area, before agreeing on an issue and a potential solution, playing a direct role in Microsoft’s product development.
Overall, Microsoft brought the gold standard to Ignite once again, and our team have returned to Identity Experts HQ proudly displaying their badges and new insights. As we gear up for the Ignite tour in early 2020, expect to see more from us. And if you’ll be attending next year, we look forward to seeing you there!
Want to hear all about the exciting technical announcements and how they’ll benefit your organisation? Get in touch with our team, and they’ll be happy to share!