11 Dec 2019 by Mike Weaver
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After a busy, but exciting week in Haarlem for Office 365 Engage, here’s my photo diary of what we got up to during the event.
We arrived in the sunny Netherlands on the Monday afternoon. Booth setup was handled by the event staff, so we didn’t have much to prepare. We forgot a magazine rack to hold our brochures, but Nigel kindly lent us one he happened to have in his car…
After a job well done, we decided that a reward was in order.
We enjoyed a relaxed afternoon, and felt ready for the main event which started on Tuesday. Tony Redmond kicked off the keynote in the morning with an interesting re-cap of where Office 365 came from, and how it has evolved over the years. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the service is in its 6th year – it’s amazing to think how much the technology, industry, and IT landscape has changed during this time. Later that day I also attended some great sessions by fellow MVPs Michel de Rooij and Steve Goodman, the event offered lots of different sessions and tracks, so it’s sometimes hard to choose which ones to join.
I presented my first session on Tuesday afternoon. The focus was on Data Governance in Office 365, and it seemed to get a good response – I got loads of interesting questions. It’s good to see that people want to find out more about these features, especially with GDPR coming in next year.
On Wednesday, Vasil and I presented our joint session on PSTs and Public Folder email migration – no photo for this one, but it also went down well, especially a particular analogy using Tupperware to describe the problems with PSTs.
The Haarlem House Party was, by far, the worst party I have ever been to. With no drinks, music, and hosted in a location that bore no resemblance to a house, I found it more than a little misleading (at least it was in Haarlem). Fortunately, they made up for it by presenting a lively and informative discussion with Tony Redmond, Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurrott.
After the party, we then went on a speaker boat cruise up the canal. It was a very pleasant way to spend the evening, plus, it was great to be outside and get some fresh air after a day of sessions – we also saw a few Dutch windmills on our journey.
The event wrapped up on Thursday. I had an interesting chat with a guy about increasing Office 365 adoption in their organisation, and the challenges he’s been facing with that. It also turns out he lived right near me in a suburb of Sydney, Australia, for 4 years before returning to Holland – small world!
Overall it was a great conference. The location was well-chosen, and so was the speaker lineup. The attendance was a bit on the low side, but I put that down to it being a new conference – I guess it just takes time to get the word out. I enjoyed the event, and will definitely be going back next year. After Microsoft cancelled TechEd Europe without a replacement there’s been a definite lack of quality conferences in Europe, and it’s good to see that events like Office 365 Engage are forming to fill this void.
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again at UC Day in Birmingham in October.