YOU wouldn't have been surprised to have come across a Gen-i staffer at this year’s Microsoft’s Tech.Ed 2004 event, as the systems integrator sent 74 staff members.
Gen-i Microsoft product manager Rick Hook brands the three-day event as “key” for his developers and infrastructure staff.
Overall, some 1800 developers, architectural staff, and other IT industry employees were expected at the Sky City Convention Centre, Auckland, for Tech.Ed 2004.
“Tech Ed is the biggest Microsoft event in New Zealand. It gets better and better every year,” Hook says.
This year’s “breaking technologies", he says, seem to be the adoption of web services, which have “suddenly taken off in New Zealand". Thus, Gen-i will want to focus on how best to architect web services across the enterprise.
Hook is responsible for developing Gen-i’s strategy for Microsoft technology across Australia and New Zealand; evaluating and determining what is appropriate for Gen-i and its clients.
He sees four key benefits from Tech.Ed, such as “session” information, “hands-on labs”, access to top Microsoft speakers from Redmond, plus networking with rival firms and developers.
Tech.Ed is one of three “key” Microsoft events for the IT community, Hook continues. The Partner Conferences (one of which was recently held in Toronto) set the strategic business direction of Microsoft; the Professional Developer Conference sets the technical direction for 8-18 months, while Tech.Ed offers current information for implementing technology.
“It doesn’t help us set business direction. That is already set using the other two events, but Tech.Ed helps us with our immediate implementations,” Hook says.
Gen-i encourages its customers, including their CIOs and development staff to attend the event, often with Gen-i staff. Both, he says, find they learn much for current and future projects.
Tech.Ed also attracts developers, architects and other systems integrator staff from across New Zealand.
“It’s a great catch-up and we tell our competition what we are doing and it validates it across the board,” Hook adds.
Microsoft development and strategy group manager Doug Pratt confirms growing attendance to the event, up a third this year, which he credits on “greater satisfaction from the developer community".
Microsoft has released many new products in recent years, but none this year, but companies are looking to upskill, Pratt says.
Security, he says, was a main theme this year, with US speakers including Steve Riley (network security), Michael Howard (secure coding), Scott Woodgate (BizTalk), Tony Goodhew (developing applications) and Brian Goldfarb (ASP.NET2.0).