South Coast Summit 2021

Conferences, remember them?

Back in the day I was lucky enough to attend conferences and summits all over the place, from Vegas, Atlanta and London to exotic locations such as Birmingham. They are always an excellent way to meet people in the industry and learn about new technology and ways to solve the challenges our customers face.

That all stopped 19 months ago and was replaced by on-line conferences, which for me, is a poor substitute as you lose the interaction and dedicated learning time away from distractions and interruptions. Luckily, South Coast Summit came to the rescue. An in-person conference covering Microsoft cloud technologies 15 minutes from my house. Brilliant!

It was hosted at the Ageas Bowl Stadium, the home of Hampshire cricket no less, in Southampton which provided the usual conference features such as an expo hall, large and small session rooms and a great deal of walking!

Ageas Bowl Stadium
Ageas Bowl

The expo hall had stands from range of Microsoft partners, ISV and agencies and it was great to see what products and solutions companies are providing. It was also nice to catch up face to face with a few people I know from past lives and celebrate how well they’re doing.

Expo hall
The expo hall

The main reason for going though was the sessions, and they didn’t disappoint. I went to the keynote delivered by Richard Potter (Director of Digital Strategy) and Helen Wilson (Director of Modern Workplace CSU), both from Microsoft UK and Dona Sarkar (Director of Technology – Microsoft Accessibility) from Microsoft Corp and the theme was hybrid working and accessibility.

It was inspiring to see how much thought and effort Microsoft are putting into enabling people to engage better in the new work from anywhere reality caused by the pandemic and providing tools for people with differing abilities to feel included and do their best work.

Following that I attended sessions on a wide range of topics:

  • Digital leadership & technical empathy
  • Automating collaboration and productivity in Teams
  • Using Power Automate for desktop RPA (Robotic Process Automation)
  • PowerApps pages
  • Windows 365
  • Managing insider risk

All of them were really insightful and I came away having learned a lot of new information.

I hope the South Coast Summit will become an annual event and grow into one of the must do conferences of the year. Thanks to Nathan Sweeny and Aaron Rendell for organising it and I’m already looking forward to attending in 2022.

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