We’re four days into Microsoft Ignite 2015, and Microsoft has announced — via the official Microsoft Ignite 2015 Twitter account (@MS_Ignite) — that Microsoft Ignite 2016 will be held in Chicago next year on May 9-13, 2016.
— Microsoft Ignite (@MS_Ignite) May 7, 2015
The actual conference facility to be used for Microsoft Ignite 2016 wasn’t announced, but given the size and scope of this year’s event — which combined several once disparate Microsoft tech conferences under the Microsoft Ignite banner — it’s reasonable to assume that the conference will once again be at McCormick Place, which just happens to be the largest convention center in North America.
Microsoft Ignite 2015: Mixed Feelings
Microsoft faced the challenge of combining many conferences into one, and several conferences had well-established, vibrant communities — the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) and the Microsoft Exchange Conference (MEC), to name two — that had already been wary about the merging of their favorite conferences into a single larger one.
The Petri IT Knowledgebase editorial team solicited feedback from attendees, vendors, and fellow journalists at the Ignite conference. I’ll post a bit more of that in my Microsoft Ignite wrap-up article in a few days, but the overall consensus seemed mildly positive, yet with a clear distinction between the quality and quantity of the content offered at Ignite (which was generally very positive) and the actual management and execution of the event itself (namely shuttles, food, etc.) where feedback was decidedly more mixed.
From a vendor perspective, John Burton, CEO of Nintex, said that their Ignite experience was — on a preliminary basis — a productive one. “[Microsoft Ignite has a] broader audience than our prior SPC (SharePoint Conference) participation, and therefore new people were introduced to Nintex,” Burton said. “Anecdotally, people commented on good sessions. [Some commented] that a bit of adjustment was needed to such a large venue and attendance, while some missed the specificity of the SPC agenda. Overall though, quite positive.”
The actual Ignite event experience — excluding the content and sessions — obviously experienced some hiccups and growing pains. The Petri editorial team personally experienced conference shuttles being late or taking excessively long to reach the convention center, while PowerShell MVP Don Jones wrote a scathing summary of his Day 1 Ignite experience, and then followed up that with a post entitled ‘How Microsoft Can Fix Ignite‘ that outlines areas where Jones could see the conference improve.
Microsoft clearly experienced some growing pains on the event management side of things, but the near Sisyphean task of combing five conferences into one in an entirely new location should also be considered: One can only imagine the amount of internal effort that was expended within the halls of Microsoft to make this event happen.
Likely Event Focus Microsoft Ignite 2016
Given the avalanche of new, updated, and rebranded Microsoft products announced at the Ignite 2015 keynote, it’s reasonable to assume that many of the products hitting GA sometime in 2016 — namely SQL Server 2016, Windows Server 2016, System Center 2016, and more — will be featured staples of Ignite 2016. Microsoft is continuing to blur the lines between on-premise data centers and off-premise cloud resources, and I’m sure that trend will continue next year.
So what do you think of Microsoft Ignite 2015? I’d love to hear what you think, so please add a comment to this blog post, or contact me on Twitter or Google+. You can also catch up on my posts in the Petri IT Knowledgebase forums.