For the very first time in its history of putting on (amazing) conference experiences, Experts Live is coming to the US. Started in 2009, Experts Live has lived as a user group in Europe designed to gather MVPs together to share their insights. With their mission to “enable the sharing of knowledge and experience about Microsoft technologies worldwide”, the team at 1E felt a strong bond with that mantra. Now in its 9th year, 1E is proudly supporting the conference as a Gold sponsor. Here to tell us a bit more about the US are Stephen Leuthold, Principal Consultant at Invoke and Pete Zerger, MVP, CEO and Managing Partner at Lumagate.
1E: Tell us how you started Experts Live.
Stephen: I published my first blog post about a decade ago. I’ve continued blogging on System Center topics and it wasn’t too long after that when I was asked by Microsoft to take over HASMUG. With the help of Microsoft and other partners like 1E, we were able to grow HASMUG from about 20 members to now over 800 which makes it one of the largest user groups in the world.
1E: What are you excited to see at the upcoming event?
Stephen: Being able to help facilitate a conference with speakers like Johan Arwidmark, Aleksander Nikolic, John Savill, Wally Mead, Brian Wren, Justin Incarnato…it’s a huge honor! I find it amazing to see that we have speakers flying in from all over the world.
Pete: That’s an impressive group of people! I’ve been involved with these MVP folks for years and to bring it to the US, in such a strong community, the scope of HASMUG as a user group is really important in establishing a foundation in this community.
1E: What was the deciding factor for bringing Experts Live to the US?
Stephen: There are multiple factors involved— but first, seeing the success of HASMUG. They’ve been asking to put on a multi-day Microsoft conference for years. Many organizations have been faced with budget restraints, and they simply can’t afford to send full teams to conferences abroad. Plus, Pete is on the committee for Experts Live. He’s been instrumental in bringing Experts Live to the US.
Pete: And it took us about 5 seconds to realize we needed to do this event in Houston.
1E: What do you think some of the important things sponsors need to know?
Stephen: Relevant visibility. The strategic placement of booths along with a predominantly Systems Management attendee base offers an excellent opportunity for value creation. The Woodlands Waterway offers so many opportunities for post-conference day activities all within walking distance.
Pete: And we wanted the best speakers in the world. When we selected this location, we wanted everyone to be comfortable and entertained, but we wanted to make sure that the community was already there. The best thing is that this event could really live anywhere. There’s a lot of flexibility because of the inherent community from HASMUG. And going back to the budget restraints point, there are more modest ways that local user groups can support Experts Live with the Experts Live Café Concept where we bring local and virtual events to the communities who maybe aren’t necessarily ready to tackle the full-on conference experience.
Stephen: And it should be known that Texas is home to 50 of the Fortune 500 companies with half of them right in Houston which reinforces the massive community.
1E: Is there any specific session that you’re excited about?
Stephen: I wish there were three of me so I could attend them all! But the Ask Me Anything discussion panel for ConfigMgr and Windows 10 with Wally Mead, Jason Sandys, and Johan Arwidmark is high on my list. But the best part of this conference is that it’s very tailored for the attendees who want to get the most out content.
Pete: Exactly! For a two-day event, we’ve made it very curated for specific tracks. What we have been very careful about for the scheduling process is that if your goal is to become an expert in Windows 10 Deployment, you’ll be able to follow the sessions on that schedule. You can pull the schedule you choose right from the app. This is a community-based conference and we hope this works based off of our past experiences in Europe.
1E: Where do you think, after 25 years, ConfigMgr is headed next?
Stephen: Over the years through many builds, we’ve seen incremental integrations for Intune and Azure. With the increased adoption of Windows 10, as more manufacturers adopt AutoPilot, the bridge is built and we are walking across it. We have to look at all of this as enablers, increasing the agility of our organizations. Microsoft is still making heavy investments into ConfigMgr and those investments have been fulfilling the community’s needs in each new release.
Pete: Yep, it’s exciting to see what Microsoft has up their sleeve. With partners, like 1E, it’s always interesting to see where you guys innovate. The future is wide open.
For more information about Experts Live, click here. Are you headed to the conference? Let us know!
The 1E team created an anniversary video for ConfigMgr. Check it out below: