Teams Admins and Architects Essentials Webinar Series

September is a busy month with 3 new webinars in a series I’m titling this series the “Teams Admin and Architects Essentials.” I’ll be delivering 3 one hour free webinars diving into the latest and greatest from Microsoft across three key areas of governance, architecture, and recovery. Feel free to register for one or all of them.

The three webinars all in September should build upon the concepts of Teams as an organizing layer with emphasis on governance, management, architecture and design with a focus on service management and administration. The series is sponsored by TeamsHub which will be featured in each of the 3 webinars. Here are the details of each of the webinars:

Governing Teams, SharePoint, and Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, SharePoint and Teams have grown exponentially during COVID and the work from home mandates. In addition, Teams now has over 145 million daily active users as of April 2021. SharePoint Online has over 200 million daily active users. With all of this incredible momentum in remote work, online productivity, collaboration, and communication there’s a lot of pressure to provide good guidance around adoption with transparent governance. Unfortunately due to the rush of the platform the opposite has been happening with poor adoption techniques and poor habits around both provisioning and non existent oversight and cleanup. With the uncontrolled viral growth many customers have taken a back seat allowing things to grow out of control. In this product focused 1 hour session we’ll dive into the key success factors of governance and help you understand how to automate and keep your environment secure, encrypted, auditable and trustworthy. In addition this webinar will include a demo on TeamsHUB designed to help you get your arms around your environment providing easy to use automated processing to govern.

Thursday, Sept. 2nd at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>> Register Now or Get More Info

See you there!

Architecting Microsoft Teams for Lifecycle

Out of the box Microsoft Teams is open and ready go viral from an external sharing perspective, but it quickly gets to a point where it goes from being a trusted platform to being considered a liability.  Companies may find it tedious to audit and automate.  It is absolutely imperative you keep a handle on your environment with enforcement policies. You shouldn’t go without any cleanup and archiving, and oversight is key… this is where automation and approval routing can simplify your life.  Following guidance along a maturity model to help the organization learn the platform, learn the tools, and understand the platform and capabilities along with building support for a structured dev ops and business supportability through an entire lifecycle will position your environment in a unified approach for modern teamwork.  Getting your hands around proper archiving of inactive Teams not only makes it easier to manage, but keeps the environment more secure and trusted.

We’ll cover a Unified Governance approach for Teams breaking down People, Process and Technology.  Help you understand how to build out a proper information architecture in Teams that supports a global navigation, strategies for discovery, and integrated communication.  Along with a more comprehensive approach to business unit builder and dev ops strategies with preproduction environments. All services across the Microsoft 365 platform can find their way into Teams with Microsoft 365 Groups which when positioned properly can create a powerful unit for security and lifecycle. – Microsoft Teams as a Platform – Maturity – Initial Adoption and On boarding for Commercial Apps – Repeatable Provisioning with Consistent Best Practices with App Templates – Defined Preproduction Environment and a Culture for App Makers – Managed Structured Power Platform COE with Intranet and Personalization including N Tiered Apps including Viva Connections

Wednesday, Sept. 15th at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>> Register Now or Get More Info

See you there!

Microsoft Teams – Managing Archiving, Deletion & Recovery across Microsoft 365

What happens when someone deletes a team or a file? How long and when does Microsoft provide the recycle bin and recovery services? What happens if someone runs a malicious ransomware script that encrypts and locks them out the OneDrive or SharePoint libraries and anything they are connected to? In this session we’ll cover recovery options in Microsoft 365 services. It’s not just Teams, but OneDrive, SharePoint, Exchange, Stream and Planner that increasingly contain critical business these days. What about Dataverse? When was the last time you looked into the recovery options for these services? Microsoft has been very clear about backup and recovery and yet 70% of organizations have simply ignored any plans to setup their own backup and recovery. In this session we’ll cover the out of the box options, Microsoft SLAs as well as introduce you to the archiving, deletion, and lifecycle management options of TeamsHUB with Azure backup options for quick file, document, site and Teams recovery.

Audience: IT Managers, Architects, Admins, Tenant Admins, Business IT Groups

Tuesday, Sept. 28th at 1 PM Eastern/10 AM Pacific

>>Register and Get More Info

See you there!

The Next Wave Is Viva… Are You Ready?

Microsoft Viva is not well understood by most. Many are confused… Is it a product? it is a service? Is it a series of products? Why do they call them modules?

Microsoft Viva is a Wave. Microsoft has announced the first four modules, but they aren’t licensed together or bundled together. In the beginning back in February I was calling Viva “Marketecture.” Maretecture is when the marketing team owns the strategy and architecture. I’m saying this a little tongue in cheek, as Viva is a series of products that originally weren’t designed to be together, but with a big enough drum and a marketing powerhouse like Microsoft. The product teams are falling in line and the first four modules of this Viva wave has been announced.

Microsoft Viva from Microsoft – highlighted are the launched products

Alone customers are used to SAAS services simply being upgraded along the way. Microsoft Viva is different. Each of these modules needs to be looked at individually and considered as new rich functionality. The positioning around Employee Experience along with Employee Engagement provides an opportunity to engage a number of new business unit technology focused groups such as Intranet teams, Marcom, corporate communications, HR IT, and HR services groups, HR University LMS teams focused on learning and instruction along with CXOs focused on employee services. Imagine executives who may pick up on any of these modules as truly pluggable in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Viva is a wave of pluggable modules that need internal campaigns so the right business groups can be aware of them. I’ve put together a graphic to help provide some visibility around these new modules.

Microsoft Viva Infographic

If you like the infographics, feel free to download them and share them in your powerpoints with your organization. I’m working to improve the education and awareness on Microsoft Viva.

I’m working on a series of webinars to help provide more background and depth on Microsoft Viva and how to approach it for your organization.

It’s important again that you not just simply think of these as simple apps that you can add optionally to Teams. These are a major investment from Microsoft and this wave is a great opportunity for IT to get closer to the business units and in providing additional functionality to your organizational business solutions. Microsoft recently featured the Viva wave in Microsoft Mechanics. I put together a couple of their screenshots into one. You can quickly see here these are not simple apps, but designed to provide rich integration across the Microsoft 365 apps and services with additional extensibility. I hope you can join me in these upcoming free webinars. 1) Introduction to Microsoft Viva 2) Vivafy – A tactical deeper dive into Viva Connections and Viva Topics.

The first webinar is:
Introducing Microsoft Viva

Microsoft announced Viva in February 2021, it is a movement toward employee experience that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights. Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced primarily through Microsoft Teams. Viva fosters a culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best from anywhere. Viva itself has four main components: – Viva Connections – as the enabler for plugging your SharePoint Intranet into Teams formerly known as Teams Home Site App. – Viva Topics – one of the products from the Project Cortex initiative. It is focused on connecting knowledge and experts. – Viva Insights  – delivers focus on employee engagement with consideration for health and wellbeing. – Viva Learning is an aggregation of your skilling across the enterprise with LMS platform integration and just-in-time delivery in the your Teams. We’ll dive into each of these tools and help you better understand availability, licensing, and enterprise positioning and roadmap. Audience: Marketing, Communications, HR IT, IT Managers, Directors, Microsoft 365 Admins, and Teams Administrators Level: 100 & 200 : Introduction and Assumes Basic Microsoft Teams Experience

Register for this free webinar

Tue, Aug 10, 2021 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM PDT

>> Register Now<<


“VIVAFY” Your SharePoint Intranet with Teams and Viva

Most companies are using Teams for chat, meetings, and basic collaboration.  SharePoint Online has been a neglected investment who have invested in Microsoft 365 with many companies still running their Intranets in classic or even in SharePoint on premise.  What is to be done?

How do you take advantage of this Viva wave? Agenda: In this session we’ll break down the tactical steps to take your SharePoint Intranets in whatever phase you are in, into your modern Teams environment for an improved experience. Some may simply be ready to create the powershell package and get Viva Connections deployed to take advantage of the app bar, search, and targeting, but others will need to prepare and should prepare.  Here are some of the topics: – Get Your Intranet, Corporate Communications and Org News to Modern SharePoint Online – Design your Branding, Header/Footer, Site Design & Look Strategy – Design your Global Navigation, Information Architecture, and Hubs – Create and Deploy Powershell Package including Icons – Set your Root site and Official News – Manage your Taxonomy, M365 Groups, and Audience Targeting

Audience: Marketing, Communications, HR IT, IT Managers, Directors, Microsoft 365 Admins, and Teams Administrators Level: 100 & 200 Introduction and Assumes Basic Microsoft Teams Experience

>>Register Now<<

Microsoft Viva Enhanced Teams as A Platform

You’ve invested in your SharePoint for many years and Teams has been your life blood for employee productivity, communication, and collaboration it only makes sense to bring them together even more and Microsoft Viva is that spice to the marriage of Teams and SharePoint. You’ve been wondering if Intranets are dead with all this modern collaboration in Teams and modern work… No, what’s been missing are the individual and enterprise pivots and employee engagement and personalization in all of this. Our ADD/ADHD brains can handle the distractions of chats and working with our Teams in a few channels, but add a ton of Teams and dozens of SharePoint sites and we’re lost.

Teams as A Platform Enhanced by Viva
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Microsoft Teams has become the de facto, irreplaceable way to get work done with brilliant chat, meetings, and channels for collaboration. In addition, Teams delivers on a platform of communication with productivity solutions, app catalog, and a customizable app platform, enhanced by the Viva employee experience for engagement.  

The out-of-the-box features really put it in a great position to show a wealth of rich collaboration and communication features that not only blow away the competition but set up teams for modern team work.  The Office online productivity suite that’s built into Microsoft 365 snaps right into teams seamlessly, even better than native SharePoint. 

Next, the app platform is a gold mine for hundreds of first- and third-party apps with rich integration from the likes of Salesforce and ServiceNow, and so much more.  The pure scale and repeatability of business solution building starts with templating from the new Microsoft Lists app in Teams (which is SharePoint under the hood.  You’ve got templates in Teams itself for taking your best practices in your tabs, apps, and channels structures, and then rich extensibility expends seemingly, endlessly, with the Power Platform of development tools from the likes of Power Automate and Power Automate desktop for workflow, and don’t forget the connectors from hundreds of repositories and line of business applications.  Seriously… What can’t you connect or automate and streamline now?  Power Apps are the low-code, no-code powerhouse of app building and construction for mobile, desktop and cloud construction of solutions that really span worlds. Bring Power BI for charting and reporting right into your Teams workspace channels, tabs and feeds along with Power Virtual Agents for construction of chat bots.  Let’s not forget the star of the show…Viva!

The new Viva killer apps from Viva Connections, the plumbing for bringing the latest and greatest investments from Microsoft and your intranet on SharePoint into Teams. The new SharePoint and Teams app bar incorporates the intranet and employee experience of Hubs and introduces a more integrated SharePoint experience in Teams all with a PowerShell script, a roadmap and a price that’s sure to please. 

It’s time to get serious about your information architecture from Hubs along with your terms and topics to support Viva Topics and SharePoint Syntex, which bring knowledge and expertise to search and the Topic Center to Teams. Viva Learning brings an enterprise of just-in-time learning management into an integrated platform in Teams. Microsoft learning and skilling in any Team can be shared in the channels.  Recommended, smaller bits of learning and courseware can be integrated daily rather than force feeding. 

Microsoft Viva Enhanced Teams
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Viva Insights rounds out the most recent, but please don’t count it as the last as we are already being promised more, rich engaging Microsoft employee experiences. Viva Insights app provides the individual information on productivity and well-being, and based on a large enough organization, it can provide a comprehensive anonymized look at large teams, groups and divisions, with productivity recommendations for the organization.  You may be surprised!  Maybe you haven’t been taking enough breaks or 45-minute meetings may be better, as meetings aren’t starting on time.  

Teams as a Platform has been enhanced with the Viva employee experience, and it’s a fantastic opportunity to get your enterprise communication and collaboration platform in order! Where is that architect anyway? Some may find that they had oversight and guidance during an intranet release and deployment, but this VIVA wave is a fantastic time to revisit the employee experience of your M365 solution as an integrated whole for your employees.  Seriously DO NOT take Viva as simply a short sighted set of products that don’t relate to your enterprise.  These are killer apps that are purposefully built to engage, connect, skill up, and provide the glue, the stickiness and delight, but not by pressing the setup button…  they do need thought, planning, and consideration for your industry, your architecture, your world.  

Many intranets may not be modern, communications and news focused, or hierarchical with information Hubs. It is time for a health check to evaluate employee engagement in context of the new solutions. The Viva enhancement (especially Connections and Topics) is not be ignored, as it is really an upgrade to SharePoint and Teams.  Now is the time to look at this release as the upgrade we’ve all been waiting for and not as another off-the-shelf feature. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work on a long, overdue employee-first strategy.  

Join host Valo Solutions for an information webinar on July 29, 2021. Valo is a Microsoft gold solutions partner and provides complete solutions for turnkey, modern intranets, extranets, connections and engagement platforms for Teams and SharePoint solution management along with many products to fill in the gaps.

Wanting to learn more about Teams as Platform or how Viva enhances the employee experience providing rich engagement, connection and insights? Join me in an upcoming webinar hosted by Valo:

Join the upcoming webinar

Valo Solutions, the host for this 07/29 Information Webinar, registration below, is a gold solutions partner to Microsoft providing many offerings related to, not only, filling gaps, but complete solutions, for turn-key modern intranets, extranets, connections, and engagement platforms for Teams and SharePoint solution management.

It is time for this core essential strategy and awareness to kick-off! It is fundamental for corporate communication, intranet teams, extranet solutions, marcom, and Human Resources, to get on board with this latest wave of Teams as a Platform and the Viva Enhanced Employee Experience… all in a platform you invested in long ago.

Join me, Joel Oleson for an information Webinar on this Topic and More! If you liked what you saw here and want more… You can join me on a Webinar where I will dig into Viva Enhanced, Teams As A Platform.

Webinar: Viva Enhanced, “Teams As A Platform”
Date: July 29th, 2021 at 10 am or 1 pm (Pacific Time)

More information and topic summary here, with two session coverage options to choose.

What are you waiting for? Join us already! We can’t wait to see you there!

>> REGISTER NOW 10 AM PT / 1PM ET

>> REGISTER NOW 1 PM PT / 4PM ET

It’s time to kick off this core essential strategy and awareness that is fundamental for corporate communication, intranet teams, extranet solutions, marcom, and human resources to get on board with this latest wave of Teams-as-a-Platform and the Viva-enhanced employee experience, all in all a platform you have invested your enterprise employee experience and modern teamwork.

If you feel inspired by any of the infographics in this post feel free to share them or use them in your presentations both in and outside your company.

90% of Teams Performance Issues are *NOT* Microsoft Related – Get Network Monitoring

With the recent announcement of 145 million daily active users for Microsoft Teams it’s not surprising to hear call quality troubleshooting, and Teams performance issues are top of mind for everyone.  When Microsoft has an outage it makes the news and it’s a big deal, but not all issues are Microsoft related and even that it often takes Microsoft 30 minutes to scope the issue and do their own root cause analysis.  With the recent push for flexible work schedules, increased working from home, from literally anywhere the emphasis and need for IT to quickly address quality issues has never been more important, but also never been more complex.  According to Call Quality Data millions of signals from Teams users, “90% of Teams performance issues are NOT Microsoft related.”  In fact, most happen with the client machine including CPU, Memory, and at home or with the local internet service provider. 

When troubleshooting Teams support issues, don’t jump to conclusions.  It’s important to break down the data and look closely into the 4Ws… 

When Every Minute Counts:  (Who, What, When, Where, Why, Which and How?) 

When tickets start to come in, you need to quickly qualify the issue to determine the best course of action.  

Who are the users impacted?

What workloads are affected?

When did it start?

Where are the bottlenecks?

Why did this outage occur?

Which team is responsible?

How are the lines of business affected?

It typically takes between 30 minutes to an hour for Microsoft to send a notification to its users indicating that there is an outage occurring. So, what do you do during this time? Will your entire company wait for a confirmation tweet from Microsoft before taking any action? 

Martello’s DEM Solutions for Microsoft 365 Can Help 

Martello’s Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solution for Microsoft 365 helps organizations to qualify any service issues they have in minutes, allowing them to identify where the problem comes from, what is affected, where, and who is really experiencing its effects.

Martello gathers data from your existing monitoring tool and correlates them into a Microsoft service delivery map to quickly pinpoint the root cause of the issue.  

These are key Metrics Microsoft Teams Metrics:

From a general point of view, to reach these targets you should make sure that:

  • The latency one-way is stable during busy and non-busy hours
  • The latency RTT is stable and stays close to twice the latency one way
  • Packet loss are not increasing too much during busy hours (it is normal if it rises)
  • Jitter does not increase too much as well
  • Edge connection tests stay better than client connections ones

Being able to quickly determine if home LAN or egress including local network components, your VPN, as well as ISPs are to blame is beyond what most IT organizations have access to, otherwise they are blind in a situation like this waiting for complete Call Quality Dashboard reports that often miss individual call quality data impact on the client itself.  

Lay the Foundation  

Martello DEM has just helped you to considerably reduce the impact of the Microsoft outage by allowing you to identify, qualify, understand and take decisive actions before any official announcement of the problem.

As the problem is solved, Martello shows you in real-time that the performance is improving, and you know again beforehand that the service is about to be restored.

Martello provides the following:

  • Martello tests the service on a 24/7 basis, alerting you as soon as performance degradation is experienced with its robots which are running in each of your critical locations.
  • Martello often gives you advance notice of detected outages prior to the Microsoft notification being issued. Every second counts.
  • Martello tells you which workloads and which features of the service are unavailable or degraded and in which location.
  • Martello gathers data from your existing monitoring tool and correlates them into a Microsoft service delivery map to quickly pinpoint the root cause of the issue.  
  • Martello lets you go further and check your infrastructure to identify if there are any additional issues.
  • With Martello, you can quickly identify which users are being affected by the outage in each of the locations you have selected.  

Don’t wait for the next outage to start laying the foundation for an exceptional Microsoft user experience. The time to act is now.  

Want to improve your monitoring? Start with looking at this Microsoft Teams performance guide that describes the 8 metrics you need to be measuring. It also outlines Microsoft’s best practices and more “actionable nuggets” from Martello dashboards so you can improve your Teams user experience. Martello helps you identifying where the problem comes from, what is affected, where, and who is really experiencing its effects.

>> Download the Teams Performance Guide for Troubleshooting & Optimization <<

Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon 2021 Insights

It’s hard to put to words what Microsoft 365 Virtual Marathon as an experience was for me and many others. I’m sure everyone had a different experience, but what started not this year but last year at the beginning of the pandemic brought a great need to find a way to help the community find connection through technology. Last year it was pushing Microsoft Teams Live events to host an event that brought so many of us together. This year, a year later it was the evolution of Teams Meetings leveraging the community tenant, using Presenter mode, videos on Together Mode, attendee, Microsoft Teams.

I’m happy to share a number of statistics in the spirit of transparency. Only just a few short weeks ago there was a plea for less virtual events. I know and realize many are exhausted of virtual events. So many of these events and there’s already fatigue. How and why would we possibly run a 60 hour event? We had 5150 wonderful attendees register for event with over 20,000 express interest. When we started this was to meet a need and we’ve evolved the event to focus on the purpose of “By the Community For the Community.” Last year we were able to help out sponsors who were looking for help with the transition to virtual from a number of failed events. This year we decided we wouldn’t focus on money and instead focus on any sponsor money would go toward marketing the event and getting the word out. None of the Executive Producers pocketed a dime from this event.

My proudest moment of the event was seeing just how far the reach went. As a traveler I was super excited to see in our attendee reports that we had over 115 countries represented across our attendees. Japan really took on the vision of the event as the #2 position with Mexico, Canada, Germany and India all with over 200 attendees. It was the fact we had participants joining from Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Maldives and Faroe Islands helped us realize we truly are a global community.

LESSONS LEARNED

We learned a number of things running an event of this size… here are a few of my key takeaways:

  1. Teams “bombing” comment spam is real – We had a spammer who started the comments somewhat benign saying things like “I have a question,” but before long the meeting was spammed by hundreds of comment spam adult themes including ascii art. Blocking the user didn’t stop the comments as they’d pop in with another account within seconds. Turning off comments in the meeting was the only way to stop it, which we did for the duration of that meeting. We ended up turning comments off across all rooms for 1 hour. The spammer didn’t come back for the duration of the event, and we were able to turn comments back on in all rooms.
  2. Even though a room may seem persistent they only last 24 hours – We wanted the rooms in our event to last 60 hours which ultimately we were able to do, but at least once every 24 hours we needed to fully end and close down a room and start it back up (which only the organizer can do). The impact of a room reaching 24 hours any guest presenters will be kicked out of the room as the room is reset.
  3. Recording requires the Moderator or Presenter to be Logged in the Tenant – We delivered the event from the Microsoft Community Tenant. We had 75 moderators, but only a few of them were using their community accounts so many were unable to start and stop the recordings. With recordings now going to OneDrive, it can be a bit more complex to manage the more than 200 recordings vs. Live events where all the recordings are saved and managed in a single place. Live Meetings allowed us to automatically record all sessions with no babysitting. Meetings required someone in the tenant start and stop recording for every session.
  4. You CAN moderate Teams Meetings and present from Teams Mobile App – It was really with meeting options to configure the tiered roles in Teams meetings, and not only from the desktop but from mobile… it was very nice being able to elevate users from attendee to presenter. We setup a structure where the executive producers (organizers) were able to elevate moderators, and elevate speakers making it very simple with a single link for all users and presenters then only elevate those we want. This was a big improvement over mobile for Teams Live events which had an attendee only experience on mobile. Desktop allows you to be connected to 4 meetings simultaneously, but only one on mobile. We were able to see chat and activity across all the meetings in the tenant.
  5. Attendee getting started video and “How to attend” – You’d be surprised how many virtual events are not clear for attendees on how to attend. Making sure you have a good plan for handling support tickets and helping people who are attending. Communication can be a real challenge even for Teams Meetings. We ultimately had 145 support tickets over the 60 hours even though we had videos, and a big button on how to attend.
  6. Have a Communication Plan – We also were running the event when a global Teams outage occurred. Lesson learned, we will be integrating a website based alert for communicating issues out of our control where the platform fails to perform. By the way I’m sure it’s very rare, and 90% of network and infrastructure issues are NOT related to Microsoft, but it’s important to have a good backup plan or a good plan to communicate in the case where you need to communicate to all speakers, moderators and attendees. Email is a half way acceptable plan, but how much better if you have a big banner in the schedule…
  7. Start Recruiting Early for Moderators and Volunteers – If you’re running a large event you want to get really good volunteers who are willing to make themselves available for blocks of time. We had very few who took the day off, those were our super heroes! It was easier to find people willing to handle a single track for 1 or 2 hours, but this requires even more coordination. We had over 100 volunteers with 75 specifically named Moderators. When coordinating this with 250+ speakers who also making changes really encouraged us to have room checks being done by the exec producers to ensure the moderators were in the rooms really early. We were saying at least 25 min early with speakers at least 15 min early. A solid schedule that’s communicated and is a living document. Sessionize makes it easy to organize speakers, but gathering volunteers and moderators is a lot harder. We started with MS Forms used multi user spreadsheets. It’s easy for speakers and moderators both to be frustrated if they get scheduled for a time that doesn’t fit their schedule.
  8. Time Zones are your Friend or Your Enemy – We doubled down on dividing up the world into 3 areas. Americas, APAC (Asia Pacific & Australia and Greater Oceania), and EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Most speakers chose a preferred Area of the 8 hour zone, but many chose 2 or even all 3. This allowed us to simply put a given speaker into an area zone and not have to worry about individual time zones. This single preferred area reduced the amount of changes. When we first published the schedule there was some confusion, and sessionize does NOT make it easy to know who made what changes and if they were committed. All it takes is for 2 exec producers to be making changes and it will overwrite any changes that were not committed. If two have the schedule builder open it will only commit the last save. If both are making changes and click save, the last one wins and it won’t refresh the other person’s screen. We are sure this bit us a couple of times. There’s no multi user editing in schedule builder. In addition, users who view the schedule see it in their own time zone. We had an amazing schedule and finder interface built by Yugi, but most attendees and even speakers don’t know how to change to their own time zones in UTC or GMT (which is even more confusing with Daylight Savings Time), so relying on the sessionize schedule was our best bet despite the lack of search finder features. Anything that might mean an inconsistency in timing was very concerning for the speakers.
  9. Teams Meetings and Scale – One of the organizers of a previous event was worried about our strategy of elevating speakers from attendee. Despite the concern of 300 attendees interactive, we never ran into any debilitating issues even when we scaled into close to the 400+ range. We are looking forward to the Teams webinar and registration features for next year including the announced 1000+ attendees with interactivity. We were a little annoyed we couldn’t disable video on attendees when we were playing video, but more of these features have already been announced. We successfully were able to use Teams Meetings at scale for every session. No need to fall back on Teams Live events for this event.

One of the more interesting things about an event like this where you have hundreds of MVPs and community leaders providing sessions is the variety of sessions. Getting over 100 power user, end user, business level sessions as the largest topic is very powerful. Often the Microsoft focused events focus exclusively on Admins or Developers. Finding sessions focused on the users and power users are harder to find.

I was also pleased to see from an attendee perspective that the technologies they were most interested in were all of them. Right at around half of all attendees checked all the boxes when given a choice between individual technology focus. There’s a lot of interest in Teams right now and that’s totally understandable. I was also excited to see the panels and diversity and inclusion topics have gained a lot of momentum in the past few months. We have encouraged more panels and think those can reduce the online exhaustion. Our AltSpaceVR community sessions still have a long way to go, but one session on mixed reality was conducted in VR and while we had a dozen or so attendees, it was a great start at doing more community events in mixed reality with an even more immersive experience.

The session recordings that were allowed will be posted to the Virtual Marathon Youtube account at http://bit.ly/M365VMVideos the best way to get info on the recording availability is to subscribe.

Thanks so much for attending. We couldn’t have done this without you! We hope you will plan to join us next year… Will there be a next one? Yes, this event is not like other virtual events that are simply virtual due to COVID. We plan to keep up the tradition of getting the global community together once a year and we hope the interest continues… see you next year on May 4, 2022!

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