As I’ve been in and around the Microsoft world for approximately 6 yrs I still find it difficult to understand that yesterday was my first TechDays attendance to date. For this reason, I had no expectations which may / may not have been a good thing.
I was pretty satisfied with most of the day and I’ve decided to highlight some key areas of the day.
Since the announcement of SharePoint 2010 I have been involved in as many events, training sessions, webcasts etc as possible and the content presented in the SharePoint related tracks were mostly a reiteration of what I’ve seen before. Special mention does however have to go out to Michael O’Donovan for his presentation on “Building Workflows using SharePoint Designer and InfoPath”. I had recently completed this exact task at a client and could therefore relate directly to not only what was being done, but how super fantastic and cool it is.
The keynote address handled by Fred B (Chief Technology Officer) was really good. His overview of Microsoft was fantastic and as always his energy is electric. Side note: I was interviewed by him once upon a time and it was a fascinating experience.
What I enjoyed most about the keynote was the Windows Phone 7 discussion led by Rory Headon-Weaks and I’m giddy for the launch of that. I currently have a HTC Touch Diamond 2 with Windows Mobile 6.5 and I love it!
The session on FAST search was again an eye opener. I’ve been exposed to quite a number of FAST presentations to date and I thought it would be much of the same. Brian, from FAST, handled the presentation and Michael O’Donovan gave us a demonstration. I absolutely loved what was shown from Getty Images and Globtrix. Absolutely mind-blowing and FAST is for sure the technology that brings the dream of Enterprise Content Management to life.
TechDays was held and the Sandton convention center and the venue was therefore superb. Parking was paid for by the event organisers and the lunch / chill area was also laid out pretty well. The only gripe I had with the lunch area was that there was not enough space for people to eat properly. I stood around with a plate of food and a fork eating which was not pleasant.
A number of sponsors had set up stands I have to say the 3fifteen and Intervate stands stood out for me. 3fifteen were showcasing a product called EXPRESSNet and although there might be some gaps (haven’t seen enough to make a call) in the implementation, the idea is a good one. Many more partners will follow suit with the concept especially as SharePoint 2010 is now launched.
Intervate showcased their new website running SharePoint 2010 and it looked super slick. I was slightly miffed that ours wasnt’t 100% ready. Oh well, I guess being second won’t be the worst in the world.
On the second floor, the sound wasn’t so great and we could hear other presentations being held which was a little off putting. Other than that, the venue get’s a super 2 thumbs up!
For those that know me you will know that I looovvee food. Yipyip, I pretty much eat a lot. :) Okay, on a serious note though, I was very satisfied with the spread that was made available for all delegates. On arrival water, coffee, muffins and tons of pastries were available. I just had breakfast so I just had water. At lunch time a monster buffet was spread out and I pretty much ate a ton. I had so much starch that I had to skip the dessert which looked out of this world. Later on the day further snacks were put out and it ensured that you never went hungry.
The launch party also had food and it was all themed as a German beer hall. I didn’t like the music, but the idea was fantastic. It got people into a festive mood and the German style snacks where off the hook. Well done all!
Overall Impression (8/10)
I paid +-R906.50 for the day. All things being considered I believe that it was well worth it. Other than the incorrect spelling of “Share Point” on the certificate things were pretty well organised. Not only was the venue good, the food was fantastic and the available content was really superb. The goodies received were not fantastic but I did get a soccer ball as I left which made up for it. There were groovy give-aways and two poor soles that could have won a DELL laptop weren’t there to collect it so the prize went to the next person in line. <– Super FAIL!
I enjoyed the day as it is always good to connect with your peers in the industry. I definitely learnt a couple of tips and tricks and have a good idea of where Microsoft is heading which in never a bad thing especially in the Microsoft Partner space.