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Six Tips to Optimize Your Microsoft Ignite 2016 Experience

21 Sep 2016 by Dan Langille

I cited some stats in an ‘Ignite Countdown’ post a few weeks ago:  More than 20,000 attendees.  296 sponsors and exhibitors (including us, at booth #1948).  1,091 sessions from 518 speakers.  Those numbers have since increased to 1,364 sessions from 915 speakers. [vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column width=”1/3″]

That is a LOT of content to absorb—plus a massive expo hall to explore and a mighty horde of fellow attendees with whom to connect and/or battle for the coolest swag.  Microsoft Ignite 2016 is now almost upon us, so here are a handful of tips to help you make the most of your time in Atlanta

  1. Download the mobile app. It’s available now for Apple, Android, and Windows devices, and it will be your virtual concierge for the week.  It includes everything you need to navigate Ignite efficiently, from logistics such as shuttle schedules and maps of the conference center and surrounding area to your personalized schedule.
  2. Speaking of which . . . personalize your schedule. If you haven’t already done so, log into MyIgnite to build your personal agenda for the week.  Or if you haven’t recently updated your schedule, do so now—almost three hundred additional sessions were added in the past few weeks.  The session scheduler is easily searchable so you can find and register for the sessions of greatest interest and relevance—both those you absolutely must attend in person and those you want to tag for viewing later.  You can also share your schedule with colleagues so you can divide and conquer the sessions of greatest importance to your organization.
  3. Seek out the MVPs. If you want to distinguish between hype and reality, go to the MVP panel discussions and community hubtalks.  You can count on MVPs to give you straight answers and help you cut to the truth.  Their knowledge across all things Microsoft is deep and rooted in a wealth of real-world experience, and they attained MVP status precisely because of their willingness to share it with you.
  4. Customize your attendee profile and make it public. MyIgnite and the Ignite mobile app include a searchable database of attendees—along with a facility to request meetings with fellow attendees—but you’ll only get value from it if your profile is accurate and complete and you opt-in to make your profile public.  Doing so enables you to connect with peers, business partners, suppliers, and Microsoft personnel.  You can learn a lot from (as well as help to educate) your fellow attendees by sharing your experiences.
  5. Be selective in the expo hall. The expo hall is jammed to the rafters with solutions to the business and technical problems keeping you awake at night.  296 sponsors and exhibitors will be competing for your attention with cool swag and fabulous giveaways.  Grab as much swag as you can carry….but invest your valuable time carefully.  Be wary of indiscriminate badge swipers and quickly qualify yourself out of conversations if a particular solution is irrelevant to your needs now and for the foreseeable future—you’ll save yourself from a heap of post-Ignite spam.  Instead, treat the expo hall as an extension of your research and due diligence, and focus your time on getting to know the people behind solutions to the problems that brought you to Ignite.
  6. Take time to recharge. Ignite’s organizers have considerately planned for your need to take a bit of downtime during your hectic days in Atlanta.  You’ll find multiple lounges, an Xbox gaming area, a coffee bar, and even a couple of beer gardens in and around the expo hall.  Take advantage of them, and then come visit us in booth #1948 to talk with our best-in-world subject matter experts on email archive migrations, PST file eradication, and public folder transformations.