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Vendor-hosted conferences like the upcoming Microsoft Ignite announce the latest products and services, serving as an opportunity for users around the world to encounter new technologies. On the other hand, technical conferences where community leaders such as Microsoft MVPs and Regional Directors—experts in technology—come together to share technical knowledge and insights, are held in various places. These conferences offer a chance to hear firsthand experiences of those who have applied the knowledge they've learned, thus supporting business development through the learning of a wide range of participants from the same industry or those using the same technologies.
In this blog, we will focus on the technical conferences held throughout France in October 2023 and introduce the sentiments of the French MVPs who supported each of these opportunities.
Rebuild 2023 in Nantes, France
The association "Les Communautés MS" hosted its annual conference Rebuild for the first time in four years, since October 2019. This Rebuild 2023 was planned with technical sessions around three captivating themes that attract users today: AI and development, Cybersecurity, and collaborative uses and their implementation.
Kévin Trelohan, an M365 MVP and the organizer, reflected on the highlights of this event, noting, "AI was the key topic of the conference. Attendees were really inspired by the researcher Xavier AIME who spoke about AI with Cédric CARTAU and Alice CARTAU when I asked them about the impact of AI in our life. After that, we demonstrated the new Bing Chat Enterprise with Copilot and Copilot in Dynamics 365. Attendees had many opportunities to talk about the latest Microsoft updates and services around security with our MVPs and experts".
Alongside the sessions focused on the three main themes, the event also offered workshops that ran concurrently, ensuring a rich and comprehensive experience throughout the day. Kévin says, “After all online events, now it's time to be on site and attendees were really happy to be with us in person ”.
Power 365 in Lille, France
Power 365 has become an indispensable community event in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France, hosting events centered around digital transformation enabled by Microsoft tools.
This year's Power 365 was set against the backdrop of the Décathlon Arena in Lille, featuring 24 professional, technical, or cross-functional sessions with technical explanations on Power BI, Power Apps, Dynamics, SharePoint, and more. There were also feedback sessions and sessions focused on business themes. Data Platform MVP Guillaume Gaudfroy, as the organizer of the event, commented, "There was lots of excitement around new tools such as Copilot, Power BI developer, AI and digital transformation".
The event saw registrations from around 200 participants, which is close to one-fifth of the over 1,000 Power 365 LinkedIn subscribers. While the technical knowledge level of these participants varied, the organizer designed this event to deepen the learning experience for everyone regardless of their technical level. This was achieved through three guest sessions:
- “Aérosols atmosphériques et changement climatique : observations et data” (“Atmospheric Aerosols and Climate Change: Observations and Data”) by Dr. Yevgeny Derimian, a researcher
- “IA - ChatGPT : un regard de pédagogues sur sa mise en oeuvre en entreprise” (“AI - ChatGPT: Educators' Perspectives on Its Implementation in Business”) by two business management experts
- “Sport automobile de haut niveau - Impact de la data” (“High-Level Motorsport - Impact of Data”) by Yoann Bonato, a four-time French Automobile Rally champion, and two-time European Rally Champion
Guillaume states that financial support is important in organizing such events. However, he says that what's most important are the participants who gather there, the opportunity to create new relationships, exchange ideas, and share experiences. Guillaume said, “It’s these kinds of events that make us vibrate, unite our communities, and really allow us to share our passion!”
Building on the success of this event, he shared his outlook as an organizer, “Next year, we would also like to bring our Belgian and Luxembourgish neighbors on board”.
Identity Days 2023 in Paris, France
Identity Days is the largest French-speaking event specialized in Identity Management and Digital Identity within the realm of Cybersecurity, organized by the non-profit organization CADIM. It captivates participants by offering an annual gathering in Paris for the entire IAM (Identity and Access Management) community.
This year's event, Identity Days 2023, was held with the support of 26 sponsoring partners, bringing together 485 participants including CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers), Identity Architects, IAM consultants, and others at a venue close to the Eiffel Tower. The agenda, organized into four tracks each dedicated to a main theme, and demo sessions, provided a day of learning focused on IAM and Cybersecurity.
Security MVP and one of the organizers, Sylvain Cortes, reflected on the event, saying, "Active Directory security and Microsoft Entra ID are always an important topic for our visitors, and we also had several sessions on different MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) technologies and systems privilege management. This year, we had a closing session covering AI + cyber couple, to better understand the issues linked to the use of AI in the cyber professions." He also noted a point of particular significance, telling us, "This year, the "Project Management" track attracted a particularly large number of decision-makers and CISOs, and it's striking to see that even if IAM practice is long-established, there's still a huge need to understand how to manage projects and learn from the experience of peers".
Such technical conferences are not only a place to learn about technology but also to foster connections between people, and this event is also aimed at providing an annual gathering for the IAM community. Sylvain, expressing his excitement without reservation, spoke about the success of this event in achieving that goal. “It's amazing and very satisfying to see the whole IAM community get together once a year to learn about new technologies. Beyond the technical aspects, it's remarkable to see that professionals need face-to-face events to meet their peers, exchange ideas and become part of the community. The community aspect of the event is truly important to the organizers, making it a unique event in the IT event panorama”.