What I’m hoping to see at Ignite 2018

As Microsoft Ignite 2018 nears, I am busy preparing my schedule for the week.  Part of that preparation is planning for discussions I would like to have with product group members, MVPs, and other peers.  I also have some other things that I either think (hope) will happen, or at least want to hear more about.  Without further ado, here are 5 things I’m either hoping for or looking forward to at Ignite this year:

  1. Definitive future of Skype for Business Server: After Ignite 2017, I speculated that Skype for Business Server 2019 would be the last on-premises version released.  I based that speculation largely on what I heard in sessions and in discussions with others.  In September 2018, I am not as sure that will still be the case, but hope to hear a definitive answer on the future direction of the on-premises server product.  Having this answer will guide both short-term and long-term plans for many.
  2. Improved administrative options for Teams: Microsoft Teams announcements have been fairly light in recent months so I fully expect we will be bombarded with announcements starting on day 1.  From a user perspective Teams has a ton of functionality, but the administrative side is lacking…particularly for large organizations.  I expect to see some announcements about better administrative controls.  This may include updates around governance, but also possibly improvements with the PowerShell module that is currently in beta.
  3. Continued investments in AI: At Ignite last year we saw a lot of excitement around artificial intelligence, and I expect this year to be no different.  With a strong focus on adding developer content to the conference, there will likely be lots of cool bot integrations being on display.  Also, I have been impressed with possibilities around Cortana meeting scheduling in the Calendar.help private preview and would not be shocked to see it enter public preview at Ignite (just a guess but maybe announced in this session?).
  4. BRK3075 – Preparing for the unexpected: Anatomy of an Azure outage: I was already interested in this session, but after the well publicized outages caused by weather events near the Azure South Central US datacenter last week I’m definitely going to be in the room for this one!
  5. Two sessions that will improve my presentation skills: First is Dux’s THR2071 – How to be a rockstar public speaker in five steps as well as BRK2402 – Behind the scenes: How to build a conference winning technical session by Sami Laiho.  With quite a few upcoming speaking engagements coming up for me I’m hoping to take away some tips that will help me walk in knowing I’ll knock them out of the park.

In just about a week we’ll see if any of these things happen or if they were just freezing cold takes 🙂

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