so, how was UCDayUK for you?

Cos it was brilliant for me. _44279618_fastshowbrilliant270[1]Everything about the day was spot on, and Andrew Price deserves hearty thanks and congratulations for organizing such a seamless, enjoyable and *useful* day.

The venue was spot on for this sort of thing – the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham. it was really plush, the staff were friendly and well organised, the food at lunchtime was great and there was gallons of free coffee, which was just as well.

The speakers were asked to be there early – 7:30am. i thought this was going to be quite a struggle, but it turns out i was so nervous i was awake from 5am – sigh. I was surprised by how big the venue was, and how many people were cramming into the room – Andrew said in the end there were about 300 people. i was expecting maybe 30…

The keynote was given by Ian Woolner of Microsoft, who is Senior Product Marketing Manager in charge of Skype for Business. it was a good presentation of upcoming features, some of which are extremely impressive, but the most interesting thing for me was his emphasis on partners and their value to Microsoft – it seemed that our main value was onboarding customers to O365…

After the keynote i watched Steve Goodman deliver a session on Exchange 2016 hybrid, which was great. i made a conscious decision to watch presentations from people that i “know” from their exchange community work, rather than technical stuff that was new to me, because i wanted to learn more about presenting, rather than product. This paid off in my opinion – if you want to learn how to do something, spend time with people who do it well. the only trouble is, i was so nervous i was struggling to concentrate.

No trouble with the second session, mind – Brian Reid did his usual fantastic job of delivering difficult technical content in a clear and engaging fashion, with a demo of using Powershell Desired State Configuration with Exchange.  The only problem was it meant i had to miss Gary Steere’s lecture on troubleshooting AutoDiscover. Gary is an MCT (and  MCM, and MVP), so i probably would have learnt a lot from watching him, but a Brian Reid session is too good an opportunity to miss.

time for lunch. it was tiptop. good buffet food, including some hot options, nice cakes that i didn’t have, because i’m not eating cake at the moment and more coffee. i had a chance to whizz round the exhibition, and would like to say a big thank you to IR software (and their Prognosis tool, which looks great) for saving the day with a moby powerbank, after idiot-boy here forgot to bring a usb cable to keep his phone charged. doh.

In the afternoon i went to watch Justin Harris’ talk on getting active directory ready for an office 365 migration. he had plenty of interesting stuff to say about directory hygiene, and the section on SIDHistory was good. After that i attended Dave Stork’s session on Exchange Tools, which was really interesting, but was plagued by tech glitches, which got me all worried again, so i spent the next hour going back over my slides rather than listening to Michael Van Hybrid’s session. i rocked up about 10 minutes before i was due to present, connected my laptop, went to put my glasses on and… disaster. they’ve gone. no glasses, and therefore no notes. I had to do the entire session from memory. I was told i appeared “slightly nervous”. Really? it’s only sheer terror stopped me breaking down and crying. still, i got through it without anyone throwing stuff at me, so i’m going to count it as a win. hopefully i wasn’t so awful i’ll not get the chance to improve next year.

All the slides from the day are available here: under the “past slides” link. i’ll put up my slides along with the audio when i get round to it. i can’t bring myself to listen back just yet, though.

I had a great time meeting up with a bunch of people I’ve not seen in ages, including a whole bunch of people off my MCM rotation – see below. there is absolutely nothing like an evening with that bunch for making me realise I’m actually thick as mince.

I cannot recommend this event highly enough. if you’re at all interested in unified comms, and the Microsoft UC technologies, then there is literally nothing better in the UK.

I’m really grateful for the chance to present, and I’m really grateful to Andrew Price and the rest of the UCDay team for putting on such a fab day. Thank you to to my various bosses who allowed me out for the day, and to Jon Wrennall for saying it was ok for me to represent Fujitsu. It’s a real pity that Mark Wilson couldn’t be there, not only cos he’s a great bloke, but because he is responsible for most of the actual work that went into what we did. A big thank you to Rob Awofadeju (not shown) an all, not only is he an ace Exchange consultant, but he’s got a great car, too

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