For a while we were planning to do an event in Australia, but the magnitude of arranging something on the other side of the planet was daunting and we couldn’t persuade it for a long time. It all changed when Dean Robertson from Mexia consulting attended our popular BizTalk Summit London event this year and proposed he is willing to help us organise the event in Australia.
I know Dean for many years now, we used to work together back in 2006 for a client in UK, as soon as I see the commitment we started to put together a plan to organise the event. The original idea was to repeat the same format as London summit, 2 days with around 12 speakers in single location (probably Sydney). But when we calculated the budget and logistics, it looked over risky to bring speakers from Europe and USA for the event. We discussed few options and finally settled to bring 3 speakers from Europe, 3 from Australia (all Integration MVP’s) and instead of one big event, 3 events in 3 cities (wow! all 3’s). This was better, since it also gave the advantage people do not need to travel and they can attend the event locally. I need to thank Mick Badran and Mikael Hakansson from Breeze consulting for their support, they happily agreed to participate. We also shouldn’t forget about the support we received from various Microsoft offices in Australia.
As soon as we finalized on the plan we pulled together a team containing people from BizTalk360 and Mexia. The tasks were split between both teams. At BizTalk360, we kind of have our event team now, given the volume of events we are doing throughout the year. There were various tasks in pulling together this event starting from creating the website, ticketing system, arranging venues at multiple locations, booking international and domestic flights for the speakers and event crew, hotels bookings in multiple cities, arranging for catering, even arrange for local transportation between airport, venue, hotel etc. It was a daunting task and I highly appreciate the quality of work done by both BizTalk360 and Mexia teams.
All the international speakers started the journey on the weekend before the event, and pretty much all of us had anywhere from 20-30 hours flying time. We planned to relax couple of days at Australia before the event, just to make sure we are out of jetlag and ready for the event to start on Wednesday.
We kind of had a theme for the day, Michael Stephenson covered very high level architecture kind of session covering all the available technologies available now between server and services giving direction to people how they all fit together, pros/cons of each one. Then Steef-Jan followed the day with deep dive into some of Microsoft Azure BizTalk Services with lots of demos covering all the way from provisioning, deploying, tracking monitoring etc. Bill Chesnut covered some of the new stuff added in BizTalk Server 2013 R2, he focused on health monitor plugin, adapters, etc giving customers a view of reasons to move to 2013 R2, then I followed with presentation and demo on BizTalk360 showcasing how we bring the power out of BizTalk server with valuable tools and dashboards, finally Mick Badran and Mikael Hakansson did an excellent end-to-end complex demo putting together various technologies like Windows Azure Ad, On-opem AD/ADFS, Office365, SharePoint online, mobile into one consolidated solution, mainly showcasing how to leverage on-prem asset in an hybrid solution.
The entire team worked hard for the week, this is how the week went : We started the day around 8am with registration, event started at 9am sharp and finished around 4:30pm, we will have evening networking/drinks in a nice place near by, wrap up around 6pm, head to the airport, take the flight to next venue (Sydney and then Brisbane), have dinner at about 10pm, go to bed, and repeat the cycle the next day. Finally after Brisbane event we had good time in the evening with drinks and big dinner party (since this is the first day where we didn’t have to take a flight in the evening). I’ve personally travelled to 6 cities, 8 flights, 5 hotels, in the last 8 days.
Steef-Jan showed his patriotism by wearing Netherland world cup football jersey everyday. Overall after the survey the feedback for all the speakers were great, Michael Stephenson topped the rank with his highly packed architecture content without any demo.
This year’s event was more experimental to see the interest in the community, we are blown away with the number of people who attended the event and support from community for BizTalk and integration in general. Based on the survey we conducted during these events, we will do the next year’s event a grand 2 day event at Sydney or Melbourne, bringing more speakers.
If you interested to know more about these events and if something is happening near you, please subscribe to our mailing list using the bar at the top. Our next event is in Oslo, Norway.