Our experience organising BizTalk Summit London – 2013

We are very proud to be the sole partner organising this event BizTalk Summit 2013, London along with help of Microsoft UK and the BizTalk product group back in Redmond. This is the biggest BizTalk event conducted in Europe with nearly 140 attendees, 74 different companies from 15 different countries (UK, Ireland,USA,Denmark,Netherlands,Austria,Belgium,Sweden, Italy,Spain,Switzerland,Germany,France,Norway, India)

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What is BizTalk Summit?

BizTalk Summit  is a series of events conducted by the Microsoft BizTalk product team to help customers understand the product strategy and roadmap and to prepare for the upcoming releases of BizTalk Server 2013 and related Windows Azure integration services. The event, first held at the Microsoft campus in Redmond on December 10-11, is being repeated in 3 major cities in Europe in January.

Each event is separately organised by Microsoft with the help of their trusted local partners. We are extremely delighted to organise the London event.

Who is speaking in the London event?

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The keynote will be presented by Javed Sikander and Guru Venkataraman from Microsoft BizTalk product group, followed by various technical sessions by Microsoft Integrations MVP’s Saravana Kumar, Steef-Jan Wiggers, Sandro Pereira, Nino Crudele, Tord Glad Nordahl. At end of the day there will be a Q & A Panel consisting of Javed Sikander (Microsoft), Ravi Krishnaswamy (Microsoft), Charles Young (MVP), Michael Stephenson (MVP) and Jon Fancey (MVP).

Our Experience organising the event

This is the first time we are organising something of this magnitude.  Our initial plan was to organise and conduct BizTalk Innovation Day  (a community event) with around 40-50 people. We planned for the event 4 months in advance right after our last BizTalk Innovation Day at Stavanger Norway, back in September.  When you are organising a community event there are 3 main challenges Speakers, Venue and event expenses like food, drinks, travel etc. We have already sorted the speaker line, so the next issue to tackle is the venue. As soon as I was back in the UK, I arranged and visited Claire Smyth (UK/Ireland MVP lead) at Microsoft UK headquarters at Thames Valley park to sort out the venue. She was extremely helpful and managed to book the auditorium 1 at Microsoft central London office for 16th January.

The next challenge was to secure some funding for the event expenses like food, drinks, security, admin, speaker travel, accommodation, etc.  From past experience running user group meetings in London I’m aware if we announce something free, people will quickly book the slots and we typically see around 20-30% no turn up on that day. We wanted to avoid that situation for the event so, we decided to charge a nominal fee of £20 for the event. Having sorted all the key areas, we decided to promote the event and cover any additional expenses as sponsor from BizTalk360.

We started promoting the event through social media and blog posts and the response was overwhelming and there were lot of interest, the event was pretty much sold out by end of November.

At that time Microsoft announced BizTalk Summit 2012 in Redmond and we were invited to present BizTalk360 in the event along with 3 other ISV partners. During various meetings preparing for the event the discussion came, repeating BizTalk Summit in Europe in January. The original plan was to do it in Amsterdam on 15th and Stockholm on 17th. London was not even in the radar. I mentioned to some of my close friends in the BizTalk product group our plans about BizTalk Innovation day in London, which falls right in the middle of Amsterdam and Stockholm event and also the fact the event is already pretty much sold out. Finally after few discussion, we decided to include London as part of the Europe tour of BizTalk Summit, we renamed the event from BizTalk Innovation Day to BizTalk Summit 2013 -London.

Once we announced this plan of BizTalk Summit 2013, London there were more request and I had to go back to Claire and arrange for a bigger room. Luckily we manage to get the biggest auditorium in Microsoft London office with 130 people capacity. The word spread so quickly and the event started to fill up very quickly, we closed the registration at 110 people before Christmas. We had to hold off to 20 seats till the last minute for logistics reasons.

We finally released that 20 tickets beginning this week and it’s gone in 2 days. So the event in now fully booked up with 130 participants, 10 Speakers, 74 different companies from 15 different countries

All these numbers basically shows the level of interest in BizTalk Server, people are very keen to understand what’s happening in this area and what’s the story from Microsoft moving forward

Behind the scene we had different meetings with the BizTalk product group members, finalising on all the presentation slides, to make sure the message is consistent between different venues.  Yesterday I went to Microsoft London office to meet the logistics team (I been in touch with them for last few weeks now) in person and discuss about the on the day administration.

Everything is sorted now, tomorrow I’m going to pass on the final attendees lists and catering menu selection to the logistics team and order for evening drinks/snacks with a local company.

All the pre-conference preparations are done now, still bit of a journey there to finish this event smoothly.

See you all in the summit. This is the Microsoft London office (called Cardinal place) in London Victoria. It will he hard to miss this unique building right outside London Victoria Station.

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About Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/guru.venkataraman.5 Guru Venkataraman

    Thank you Saravana for organizing the summit at London. It is amazing to see the overwhelming response of the developer community and I look forward to meeting all these great supporters in person.