The last half of day 3 and the first part of day 4 was post-conference training that you could sign up in advance for. I saw there was a deep-dive on Reporting and I thought “cool”… I feel a bit behind on some of the reporting tools and surely could use some in-depth training on things like SSRS. What I neglected to pay attention to, was the deep dive covered about 7 different tools. That should have tipped me off to the fact that we were not covering anything in depth.
I guess you can tell from that opening paragraph how I feel about the training… I was disappointed, plain and simple. What I expect when I hear “training” is hands-on, everyone working through real examples of something to learn a tool or a module. What we got instead, in my humble opinion, were presentations on the various reporting tools and some troubleshooting tips.
This wasn’t a complete waste of time by any means, but it was not what I wanted, nor what I expected. I think had I known what was covered I would have simply passed on the training and gone home a day earlier.
The one recommendation I have (and will give to the organizers when the survey comes out) is twofold:
- Please don’t call it 2-day training when it’s merely split over two days. It’s an afternoon and a morning, in effect was 9am-5pm just happened to be split over 2 days.
- If you call something a deep dive, you need to split up the content into smaller topics and actually have in depth training on fewer tools.
Overall, the conference was great, as usual. I found this year’s conference content to be less interesting than in the past. That is no fault of the organizers, I think it was more of where I was and what I wanted to learn. Going in, I hoped to sit in on more of the SBA (Service Based Architecture) for a couple of clients of mine who use eConnect extensively. However the SBA sessions were a little more in-depth for my level of knowledge, so that wasn’t the best use of my time as it would be over my head. I hoped to learn more about Azure and that too missed the mark. There were a lot of sponsor sessions which I found had little interest to me, and there was at least one time slot when I didn’t attend anything because they were all ISV sessions.
I liked having a lot of the content at the Holiday Inn so we didn’t have to shuttle back and forth every day to Microsoft. I loved having tables in the rooms so we could use laptops or notebooks and not be writing/typing from our knees! I think the food was excellent, for all the meals. And lastly, I loved having the WiFi that was consistently on… it could be a difference in the security method the hotel uses vs Microsoft but the last few years at Microsoft, I had to constantly re-login and it was a pain in the butt.
Getting the content from the sessions (the slide decks) proved a little harder to get at. The content was all posted at the Dynamics Partner Connections website but in my opinion was a little buried under Communities, then under ReImagine 2014. I wish there were better options for finding the documents as the only sort options were Most Recent, Most Viewed etc., nothing even a simple alphabetical. I think this could be organized better, and my suggestions would be to allow sorting by session # (alphabetically), or since they were content silos, look at them by type – consultant, sales, marketing etc. To take it a step further, I would also love to see a way to mass download items instead of clicking on sessions one at a time to download the file. The last thing would be to put the actual PowerPoint slides on the site, but I know that will come as many people have asked for the same thing instead of PDFs.
The last part of my thoughts is more of a little rant! There were a number of sessions that I sat in where people nearby me hadn’t muted their phones, and every email notification, ever text message, resulted in another “bing” that gradually annoyed the heck out of me. I find it hard to believe in this day and age that people are still that oblivious to leave their phone on during a presentation. I find it rude and it can be distracting.
Right after training, which ended earlier than the scheduled 2pm finish, was quickly getting to the airport for my 3:30pm flight to Chicago, ultimately to end up in Toronto later in the evening. Crossing fingers that my flights go smoothly and there are no delays!
(originally posted on www.kuntzconsulting.ca, and migrated to this site in October 2017)