TechDay 2016 Riga

By | 1st April 2016

Intro

Had the pleasure to attend a Microsoft TechDay 2016 Riga event this year. Haven’t been there since 2012 (described here). Let’s see what’s new.

The highlight (pinnacle I would even say) of TechDay 2012 was the security lecture by Paula Januszkiewicz and me winning a laptop bag and an MS t-shirt.

This year was different. I did not win anything. Standard non-discount entry fee was 169 EUR and it just didn’t feel like I had my bang for the buck. More details  below.

Microsoft TechDay agenda link. Or just in case it’s here too TechDay 2016 agenda LAT. The real agenda printed out on the badges is here. The real real agenda was printed in the presentation slides itself. For example – I’ve been wondering how Marin Frankovic will fit the whole Enterprise Mobility Suite from Microsoft discussion in 55 minutes. Well, he technically did, only by doing a high level review and focusing on Advanced Threat Analytics (analyze your DC traffic and track patterns).

Events

I’ve been hopping between IT Managers and IT PROs tracks and attended the following presentations:

  • Keynote for IT PROs, Future of Datacenter, George Dobrea, MVP Romania
  • IT Managers, O365 Roadmap: Digital transformation is hot topic – how can you utilize it? Where to start such journey?, Tomaz Valjavec, Enterprise Solution Specialist, Slovenia
  • IT PROs, Mobility EMS, Marin Frankovic, Technology Solution Specialist, Croatia
  • IT Managers, Project and Visio, Livia Barcsay, Microsoft consultant, Hungary (this got switched in time slot with the next one due to logistic issues)
  • IT Managers, Windows as a Service: creating strategy for workplaces, Goran Medic, Windows Technical Solutions Professional, Croatia

Subjective opinion starts now – the keynote for IT PROs was mostly focused on new functionality of Server 2016 and there is not a lot there, so it was a bit off for me. PowerShell direct (yay!), console unification (yay!), azure stack (or just new web interface for azure management console, yay!), TPM devices in servers (yay!) and so on. I was not impressed. Too much desperate selling.

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The O365 road-map lecture was a pleasant surprise – a very non-intrusive talk for non-technical people about how can they adopt to modern world where companies that embrace cloud, modern technologies and Microsoft stampede over slow people. Gartner magic quadrants were included and abused. A story about a customer adapting yammer for daily awards and activities and a demo of some pie charts you can get by using Microsoft Delve to analyze your exchange mailbox, your calendar, count how many meeting minutes you’ve wasted and other cool things. Presenter was great, one of the better sessions of the day.

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IT PROs, Mobility EMS – A considerable amount of time was spent here to convince people of how insecure their network is and how credential theft and sales are blooming and posing an immediate threat to your enterprise, buy Microsoft Advanced Threat Analytics now. Too bad they’ve mixed up the naming for the agenda and the actual presentation. I would not attend this for one product review.

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Project and Visio session was a pleasant surprise! They’ve switch presentation timing and it was moved up before Windows as a Service. Surprisingly it was one of the better lectures of the event. I’ve learned that Microsoft PowerBI are good old Excel charts that you pay for monthly per user to Microsoft as a subscription cloud service. Some cold reality checks were included, for example – you should probably master pivot tables in excel and at least know how to configure data sources in modern world if you need those reports (or break your piggy bank paying developers each time you need something). Speaker was great.

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Windows as a Service mostly focused on giving a glimpse on how Microsoft’s patching and release cycle will look for future Windows versions. How it is recommended to use those versions depending on your organization type and other interesting facts. Charismatic speaker, even though the lecture was about basic things it was captivating (everyone can relate to Windows).

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Conclusion

Other than the lectures there was plenty of time to socialize, meet a lot of people and enjoy the atmosphere.

TechDay 2016 Riga was OK for me. 2012 was more breathtaking and fun, I would not pay again for 2016 event.

Notes for next year – attend lectures for technologies you have completely no clue about, because if you’re already +- expert in the field there are a few things to pick up, except business cards.