The future of BizTalk events are bright!


Today it is exactly one year ago that the BizTalk Events website was launched. So this is a good moment to look back on what has happened during the first year of BizTalk Events and take a look into the future. But first let’s have a look at what happened to BizTalk itself.

What has happened to BizTalk Server
2012 Was an important year for BizTalk Server. A CTP (Community Technology Preview) was launched in June, which was then called BizTalk Server 2010 R2. This name changed to BizTalk Server 2013, when the Beta arrived in October.
While the CTP was only available to MVP’s, TAP participants and as an image in Windows Azure, the beta was also available as a publically available download. In March the RTM version came available. On Fools day BizTalk Server 2013 reached General Availability, and although it made the BizTalk fans smile, BizTalk Server 2013 certainly is not a joke! Besides platform alignment, the most important new features of this version are probably the adapters for cloud connectivity. More information about BizTalk Server 2013 can be found here.

The announcement of this fantastic release helped ending rumors like BizTalk is dead. If that wasn’t enough, the BizTalk Summit in Seattle in December and the following tour of the BizTalk Server Product Group, made it clear that BizTalk is alive and kicking and we can expect more exciting BizTalk Server releases in the years to come!

What has happened on BizTalk Events
Since May 2012 BizTalk Events tries to give an overview of as many worldwide BizTalk related events as possible. Therefore a number of BizTalk and Connected Systems User Groups are monitored and any new events are registered in the calendar.

Looking back at the first year of BizTalk Events, we have seen 48 events, courses and webcasts in 10 countries, see the list below for a summary ordered by number if events per country.

Country Nr of Events
United States 11
Sweden 11
Australia 8
The Netherlands 5
Great Britain 4
Germany 3
Portugal 2
Norway 2
New Zealand 1
Italy 1

Events come in many ways
Although many events were organised by BizTalk or Connected Systems User Groups, Microsoft organised a number of events too. Further we have seen the emergence of the BizTalk Crew, which was initiated by Steef-Jan Wiggers and counts the following members:
Steef-Jan Wiggers
Saravana Kumar
Sandro Pereira
Nino Crudele
Tord Glad Nordahl

These guys, all Microsoft Integration MVP’s, were responsible for organising 4 events in 4 different countries (Milan, Stavanger, London and Porto). More events are under preparation for the rest of this year.
In the Oceanic region we have seen BizTalkBill travelling 1000’s of kilometres (Perth in West Australia to Auckland in New Zealand spans more than 5000 kilometres), to organise 5 BizTalk Saturday events in about 2 months!
However, during last year, the most active countries were the United States and Sweden. In Sweden the BizTalk User Group Sweden and Johan Hedberg’s Sommerkollo (Summer school) sessions were responsible for organising 11 events.
In the US, the Phoenix Connected Systems User Group organized not only 10 events during last year, but they organized an event nearly every single month since their start in August 2008!! The 11th event in the US was a webcast organised by Microsoft, mid april.

The organizers and the speakers at all these events deserve our respect, since in many cases they spend much of their spare time to organize these events and prepare their talks. Luckily they enjoy it because they are so enthousiastic about BizTalk and Integration and they are so commited to sharing their knowledge!

It’s all about attending
All these events attract many attendants, from around 45 attendants in Porto (which is a Portugese record in itself) to around 200 in Seattle, during the BizTalk 2012 Summit in December! Besides getting treated with interesting and often innovating content, they get the opportunity to talk to people who share the same passion for BizTalk and Integration.
And that is exactly what BizTalk Events tries to achieve! By informing people about upcoming events, those people get the opportunity to meet peers at those events, who might work for other companies and in other industries. They can share their own experiences and expand their peer network. By attending events, they expand their knowledge and they make the community stronger.
Even when people don´t have the possibility to join an event, BizTalk Events can help you keep up to date, because (links to) a number of the given presentations can be downloaded and viewed from the site.

The BizTalk Events website
The website uses, besides WordPress, Google calendars for 3 different categories, namely Events, Trainings/Courses and Webcasts. During most of the first year of BizTalk Events, a number of websites were monitored manually, any upcoming events were entered manually in the calendar where it belonged and also the announcement tweet was entered manually; only the reminder tweets were automated.
But since we are in the integration business and have such fantastic tools like BizTalk Server and Windows Azure, it made sense to automate things. After having integration with EventBrite in place in March, the next step was integrating with QuickLearn. As of early April their BizTalk related course schedule is visible on BizTalk Events.

The future
In the future we’ll see more improvements and additions to the website. I have some ideas myself and some other people have shared their ideas with me, so there’s still enough work to do!

A couple of things I’ll be working on are:
– reminder tweets with link to registration sites (thanks for this idea goes to BizTalkBill)
– change URL to http://www.biztalkevents.com (instead of https://biztalkevents.wordpress.com)
– show event locations on a (Google) Map
– better profile maintenance capabilities for the Frequent Speakers
– separate the links page in two pages: one for user groups and one for presentations
– redesign the website to make room for BizTalk related ads
– automated tweets about the speakers and the available presentations

A Contest!
But I would also like to hear from you, the community members who visit and/or follow BizTalk Events. What do you think of BizTalk Events? Do you have ideas on how to improve BizTalk Events?
For that reason I’m arranging a contest. With this contest I hope to get new ideas on how to further improve BizTalk Events. The best idea is worth a free self-paced online course from QuickLearn! More information about the contest will follow shortly.

Conclusion
Saravana Kumar already stated in his Happy New Year tweet that the future of BizTalk is bright:

But given what we have seen in the past and what we are looking at the time to come, we can say the same of BizTalk related events!

Keep on BizTalking!
Lex

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One Response to The future of BizTalk events are bright!

  1. Pingback: Share your ideas on improving BizTalk Events and win! | BizTalk Events

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