I was chatting with a long-time MMS’er the other day and for some reason, he had no idea that IT/Dev Connections’ focus is to fill the void left by the Microsoft Management Summit and TechEd. He said, “Jeez, Rod, I wish you would have told me this before.” So, I thought this could be a chance to let you in on what is, I guess, a secret – though it wasn’t intended to be one. Incidentally, he’s now trying frantically to get approval to attend.
Many of you have looked at IT/Dev Connections sessions and workshops and found them interesting and a lot familiar. Some have said, “Wow, that looks a lot like MMS.” Well, that’s because that is the intent.
Let me explain.
As a founding member of MMS, I’ve known that the event was on its last legs for years. Many of us have been in discussions about its potential demise, and as you might remember, we’ve fought very hard to keep it going for the last few years. With the knowledge that Microsoft might someday end the event, many of us have been working in the background to provide alternatives – just in case.
Last year, I joined Penton as an employee right about the time, the very last MMS, MMS 2013, kicked off. I considered this a providential event because Penton is famous for very large, very valuable conferences in many sectors of the industry. So, I knew that Penton had a lot of experience with conferences, but what I didn’t know was that the Penton Technology Group (PTG) had a technical conference of its own called IT/Dev Connections.
IT/Dev Connections had flown off my radar over the years, despite its astonishing 15+ year lifespan. I spent so much energy and effort on MMS and TechEd that I simply didn’t know about it. One of my roles joining Penton was to become the conference chair for the “Windows” track for IT/Dev Connections, and with MMS’s death confirmed, I was in a very providential spot to bring MMS back to life.
Last year, I revamped the content for IT/Dev Connections 2013 and brought a small part of MMS to it. This year, for IT/Dev Connections 2014, we’re going even bigger and bringing more of MMS. The community events and User Group feel you loved about MMS is deeply embedded into IT/Dev Connections. And, not the MMS of the last 5 years, mind you, but the way MMS started out. I sometimes feel sorry for those attendees that only had the opportunity to attend MMS in the last few years. They loved it, for sure, but there was still something missing.
So, IT/Dev Connections really is the new MMS. And, as we move forward with the future of the event, we’re working to bring new tracks to better highlight the MMS-specific content. I know it’s a bit confusing that the MMS content currently falls under the “Windows” umbrella, but if you sift through the track today, you’ll see that it’s clearly a very familiar list of sessions, workshops, and speakers. Take a look: Windows Sessions.
The new event has also given us the perfect opportunity to take what we’ve learned from the old MMS, incorporate the good stuff, eliminate the bad, update it, and bring the event into the modern world. Remember those post-MMS surveys where they would ask for ideas and suggestions for coming years and you’d then never see them implemented? IT/Dev Connections is basically your wish list fulfilled.
Here’s some other pieces we believe are also important to keep the MMS feel and to make you feel right at home:
- It’s in Vegas
- The event center is attached to the hotel
- Brad Anderson is keynoting
- Many of your MMS buddies are already attending
- Twitter Army
- Meet and Geek
- A multitude of community events
- Impromptu Birds of a Feather
- Familiar, expert speakers
- myITforum party?
Oh, and if you’re a TechEd stalwart who is a bit miffed that Microsoft ended TechEd this year and replaced it with something else in the Spring of 2015, IT/Dev Connections is also for you. It provides sessions for Exchange, SharePoint, SQL Server, Cloud, System Center, Lync, and other important topics that IT Pros deal with every day.
These sessions aren’t built around marketing and messaging. They are highly technical. We don’t even allow 101 sessions and very few 102 sessions. As soon as you hit the ground in Vegas, you’ll start learning, focusing on those topics you need to actually perform your job – today. The sessions were actually reviewed and vetted by community members like you to ensure technical quality and value.
As a few people stated about IT/Dev Connections 2013, it’s a conference with a User Group feel.
If you haven’t considered attending yet, there’s still about a month left to register. If you can’t attend this year, prepare yourself now for IT/Dev Connections 2015.