“Which SharePoint Conference should I attend in 2019?” I get this question so many times that I thought this definitely deserves a blog post. As part of my job, I continue to visit and present at numerous conferences every year. While I don’t think that this makes me an expert at SharePoint conferences, I do have a perspective that I can share with folks who are looking to evaluate the choices out there.
Why should you attend a SharePoint Conference?
These days, training and travel budgets are limited. You truly have to convince yourself (and your boss) that it’s going to be worth the time and money to attend a conference. If your company is focused on SharePoint or is evaluating SharePoint as a critical component of your business, it will definitely serve you well to look into attending a conference with SharePoint content.
Please do not substitute training with attending a conference. Conferences are great for getting a feel for a variety of subjects in a short two to three day period with bite sized sessions (60-75 minutes each). However, when you are ready to dive into a subject, it’s always good to get some real hands on experience either training on your own with books and video tutorials or by attending a focused training session. It’s hard to beat these modes of learning.
Which SharePoint related Conferences provide the biggest bang for the buck?
I have listed below several conferences and some subjective information about each conference – not in any particular order. Hope this helps you when you are deciding on which SharePoint conference to attend. Hope to see you at the shows!
The SharePoint conference returns to Las Vegas: the world's biggest and most comprehensive event empowering you to achieve more in the modern workplace with Microsoft 365. SPC is where business leaders, IT pros, developers, consultants come together to learn how technology can power teamwork, employee engagement and communications, and organizational effectiveness.
I will be speaking at this event with the following two sessions, please stop by and join me.
Getting the best use out of all Office 365 applications
There's so much that Office 365 has to offer small to large organizations. However, the current reality is that most organizations are only using about 20% of the available capabilities. Why not understand the entire value of the suite of Office 365 applications so your users can take full advantage of what you are already paying for? Come to this session and we'll go over the entire stack of Office 365 applications. Not just what each of them do, but also the sample business use cases.
Organizational change management: migrating your users along with your systems
So you have decided to migrate to the new version of SharePoint or Office 365. But what about your end users? Are they ready for the change? Organizations around the world have been discovering that to realize their return on investment, they must take into account how they migrate their users along with their systems - No end user left behind! We'll show you strategies that have worked with organizations around the world as they deal with organizational changes and prepare their users.
SharePoint Fest is held two or three times a year. The best thing I like about this conference is the focus on the local audience. Whether it’s held in Denver, DC or Chicago (the usual locations I have seen), it provides the best value to the local audience who is not satisfied completely with SharePoint Saturdays and user groups. Because Fest attracts a good number of top speakers and there is no travel involved for the local folks, I would recommend looking to see when it comes to your town and sign up for it.
Free SharePoint event that takes place around the world. Local event for the community. This is a free event that takes place around the world now. The basic premise of this event is to have a local event for the community that is free to attend. Many presenters are usually local as well. In addition, some presenters travel great distances on their own dime to present at these conferences.
Focused on business users, this conference speaks to the business value of SharePoint as a platform. Share conference is one of its kind. Its sole focus is on the business users of SharePoint (not IT or Dev). The presenters are also generally from the business community with real world experience that they share in the sessions with the attendees.
ESPC is Europe’s leading online community, providing educational resources and encouraging collaboration. Each year ESPC gathers SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure experts from around the world in one European location for the largest conference of its kind.
Provides variety of tracks for all types of audiences – IT Pro, Developer, Business User. Conducted twice a year. The presenters at this conference are also Microsoft folks and SharePoint experts in the field. It is held twice a year in the United States (once in Vegas and the other time in Orlando) and has very direct and focused content for SharePoint.
SPTechCon: The SharePoint Technology Conference – is the largest independent SharePoint conference in the world for IT professionals, business managers, analysts, and developers. The SPTechCon event is held twice a year in the United States. Usually, the venues are in Boston and San Francisco. Audiences catered are IT Pro, Developers and Business Users. The presenters at this conference are primarily experts in the SharePoint field. A great overall conference to attend for all SharePoint audiences.
In today’s fast-paced world with technology changing rapidly, it’s a challenge to stay on top of everything new while mastering the fundamentals. This exciting event, now in its eighth year, brings your favorite Microsoft leaders, engineers and industry experts together to educate, network, and share their expertise with you.
Office & SharePoint Live!, provides leading-edge knowledge and training to administrators and developers who must customize, deploy and maintain SharePoint Server on-premises and in Office 365 to maximize the business value. In addition, this event will also cover Office 365 and Office clients for developers & administrators. Whether you are a Manager, IT Pro, DBA, or Developer, Office & SharePoint Live! brings together the best the industry has to offer for up to 6 days of workshops, keynotes, and sessions to help you work through your most pressing projects.
- SharePoint User Groups
Many around the world. A well run SharePoint User Group is designed to serve the users (usually for free) with monthly or bi-monthly events focused on all aspects of SharePoint. Definitely check out and find the SharePoint User Group in your city. There are many good ones out there. A charter for a well run SharePoint User Group is to serve the users (usually for free) with monthly or bi-monthly events focused on all aspects of SharePoint. Usually, there are a couple of presentations at each meeting with lots of interaction with the audience.
Caution: Over time, some SharePoint user groups have been taken over by local training or consulting companies unfortunately. The focus for these have shifted to serve more as a lead generation for these companies rather than a true SharePoint community gathering. Check out the user group’s site for these signs before visiting.
- Virtual Conferences
In addition to in-person SharePoint conferences, there are also virtual SharePoint conferences and presentations held year round. In addition to in-person SharePoint conferences, there are also virtual SharePoint conferences and presentations held year round. There are too many to mention here. However, doing a simple search on ‘SharePoint virtual conference’ brings up several of them. More often than not, these are hosted by either SharePoint training or consulting companies. Also, various in-person conference organizers host the virtual conferences as well.
In addition to conferences, live webinars are a great way to learn new skills and get taught by highly experienced SharePoint trainers, consultants, authors, and speakers.
At VisualSP we host a series of live and recorded webinars,
check our schedule and register for one of our upcoming events.