Hi all! The Microsoft Build 2022 Book of Reviews continues... The moment is finally here. Today, I will not give you background information and not tell you about the announcements from my perspective, it is time to tell you a real Build story! This is the story about a BizApps MVP who had quite a busy day on a Wednesday in May. The day was full of rehearsals and he had sessions to deliver. This is the story about Andrew Bibby, when he went to the Microsoft UK headquarters, Build 2022 UK regional spotlight, to attend Build 2022 in-person.
I had the pleasure to talk to Andrew after Build had taken place. Very exciting, since Andrew participated on-site as a speaker (subject matter expert as it was called). It seams, you can learn a lot from participating as a subject matter expert at a professional held event and also that making Build a hybrid event with regional spotlightswas a real success!
Andrew with his co-presenters Tricia Sinclair, Joe Griffin and Chris Huntingford
A BizApps MVP at the UK regional spotlight
Let us start from the beginning and introduce the main character in this story. Andrew lives in Evesham, UK. He is a Customer Success Director and co-founder at Proximo 3. He is also a BizApps MVP, speaker and Dynamics 365 & Power Platform UK User Group leader. With more than 20 years of experience from delivering software solutions and more than 15 years with Dynamics 365 CE and Power Platform, he helps organizations with their Dynamics 365 and Power Platform journeys.
Andrew at the UK regional spotlight
Attending Build 2022 in-person
As mentioned in my first post, Build 2022 was held as a hybrid, multi-country event with five regional spotlights and a digital venue as the alternative for virtual attendees. The UK regional spotlight was at Microsoft UK headquarters, just outside Reading. What was it like to participate at one of the regional spotlights? Talking to Andrew, something that kept coming up during our conversation was how much he enjoyed being able to participate in-person at this event.
“It was nice just seeing people, being able to be there in-person”
Andrew also mentions it was a good experience to be part of a Microsoft event. He talks about how it was very well done and professionally held. There was always someone to ask if you had a question and all equipment worked really well, the lights, cameras, sound etc. He also mentions that he gained good insights about the way sessions were held, e.g. to have a Teams meeting as a main track and how other tracks could be fed into that meeting and have remote speakers joining the meeting. As already mentioned, Andrew is a Dynamics 365 & Power Platform UK User Group leader, he talk about how this experience from Build and how sessions were held, might be applicable for the user group events, especially when they have remote speakers joining the meet-ups.
The digital venue has a menu item for the regional spotlights. In there you can choose UK and reach the sessions which were held at the UK regional spotlight. If you scroll down on the UK spotlight page, you will find the session scheduler from UK regional spotlight perspective. In here you can find Andrew Bibby's sessions and if case you missed them, you can catch up on-demand.
It was a full room at every session. They had two types of rooms, one taking around 20 people and one 40 people. It was hybrid sessions and about 150 online attendees on each. A possible improvement according to Andrew, would be to make it easier for the audience to ask questions in the room. Questions could not come off camera, it was only allowed in the online meeting chat. That meant the attendees on-site had to logon to the meeting before asking questions. Allowing questions in the room would probably make a better experience and a more engaged audience.
When comparing attending Build sessions as a subject matter expert to presenting at community events, Andrew mentions that it is actually very similar. One difference he sees is that at community events he would encourage people to ask questions. At Build, the audience was more reserved.
Like a mini conference of its own
Andrew mentions he was surprised how much effort they had put into preparing the event, how it was like a mini conference of its own, with lots of screens showing sessions and several floors with different activities. The UK headquarters have several different buildings and in one of the buildings they usually host events. There were some rooms where people could watch sessions live on a screen, some rooms where sessions where being presented from, and there was a studio setup with all the cameras, sofas, and they had interviews with different people.
Andrew mentions there were lots of good food, constant food throughout the day. Andrew talks about a doughnut wall, which he at first thought was an artwork but later realized one could actually grab a doughnut from it to eat and more doughnuts were added to the wall as the day went by.
Artwork or to be eaten?!
Regional spotlights for more than one day?
Andrew was so busy preparing for and delivering the sessions that he did not attend any other session than his own. He followed #MSBuild in social media and of course kept up with the Power Platform related announcements, where he would say that Power Pages was the biggest news. Andrew mentions that over the years, a lot of customers wanted to have a portal that was connected to Dataverse. However, because of licensing, and the fact that adding a portal meant a lot of work, it was not always chosen to include a portal. We also talked about Express Design, which was one other big announcement, especially Figma to app, where we can bring designers into the process of creating apps now.
If Andrew would wish for something different it would be to have the regional spotlights spanning over more than one day, so that you could both hold sessions and have time to attend some sessions and of course also a bit more time for just meeting people.
Build 2022 - you will be remembered!
Andrew’s most memorable moment from Build 2022 was standing up there on stage having the cameras on, having the audience there and just being with great people, presenting with friends. Below is one more picture, capturing the on stage moment. Here we can see Andrew together with Tricia Sinclair, Joe Griffin and Alison Mulligan.
Having fun at the UK regional spotlight
Build 2022 UK regional spotlight was both a great opportunity to learn about how professional events are run as well as an opportunity to meet with community friends. If you sign up to deliver three sessions in one day, anyone can imagine how you will have a busy day, but it seams, for Andrew it was worth the effort.
“It was a fun experience, it was a long day but I am really glad that I did it”
This is what Build 2022 described with three words from Andrew sounds like.
Fun, impressive, community
Besides looking more into the Power Platform related announcements, Andrew will continue with Dynamics 365 & Power Platform UK Users Groups related activities, the next in-person meet-up is planned for the end of June. It is very likely that you will also see him at other future community events, delivering sessions and probably also bringing his sparkly red jacket. For those of you who do not know, Andrew is not only a subject matter expert who has been loving CRM since 2007, he is also an entertainer and is usually asked to organize pub quizzes or game shows at the end of community events. The sparkly red jacket has become kind of a mascot for it.
This was the first Build story to tell from me. Thank you Andrew for taking time telling me about your Build experience! You can connect with “Mr. Sparky Red Jacket” on Twitter and LinkedIn.