The year ends tomorrow. Typically I was doing a recap after Directions EMEA but to be honest I did not have time just after Directions and many great recaps already had been published.
Nevertheless, the new conference season will start soon therefore I want to answer questions that I am getting many times during the year:
“Which conference should I attend as a developer/consultant?”,
“Is it worth going overseas for the conference?”,
”Is it worth going to the conference if I can watch everything online/read the news?”
That are very valid questions especially now when we have so many conferences and some overseas and some of them just around the corner.
2022 – crazy year for me
For me, 2022 was great in terms of joining the live events. I had been on four main ones and was a privilege to speak at all of them: Directions NA in April (Orlando, USA), Days Of Knowledge in May (Odense, Denmark), BCTechDays in September (Antwerp, Belgium), and Directions EMEA in November (Hamburg, Germany).
However, I do not know many other people who went to all the conferences (I think there is only one other person that I know – not counting people from Microsoft). Also if you attending the conference (and not speaking) I do not know if makes sense to go to all of them. Do not get me wrong but being everywhere is a big cost and also time-consuming.
2023 – plenty of opportunities
Next year it will be even harder to decide where to go – Days of Knowledge will not be hosted only in Denmark. You will be able to join the event in UK, Germany, and US as well.
So first let’s see what we have before diving into each event. I would not put exact dates since they can change. Note that I put on the list only conferences that are dedicated to the partners (there are a few others that are a mix for customers/partners or only for customers).
Days of Knowledge UK – Birmingham, UK (March)
Directions NA – Orlando, USA (April)
Directions ASIA – Bangkok, Thailand (April)
Days of Knowledge Germany – Dusseldorf, Germany (May)
Days of Knowledge Denmark – Odense, Denmark (June)
BCTechDays – Antwerp, Belgium (June)
Days of Knowledge USA – Atlanta, USA (September)
Direction EMEA – Lyon, France (November)
Directions NA – for US partners, consultants and developers
Each conference is different and unique. Starting from the top: Directions NA (this year was my first time) I will remember as a nice but smaller, more cameral event (around 1000 people) conference compared to EMEA (around 3000 people). It was not so much focused on technical topics but a lot of management and consultants joined. The event is in a very good period – mid of April allows Microsoft to talk about the new major release. So you can learn a lot of things before or just after the Launch Event. Till now there was no event in Europe around the Wave 1 release.
In 2023 I am planning to attend Directions NA. This is because companies, where I work, have a strong relationship with US partners – and so far there is no other event for partners where we can meet. I would also recommend it to all developers and consultants that are based in the US – I think this is one of two places where you can learn something new.
Directions Asia – only one event in
I am really sad that I will not go to Directions Asia since I heard a lot of good things about this event. However, going from the US to Thailand in a such short period would not be possible for me. Nevertheless, I am glad that finally there would be an event in Asia since the last 2 years it was postponed. If you live in that part of the World I think it is worth investing in and taking the opportunity to learn.
Days of Knowledge – more local events
I like the concept of Days of Knowledge as a local event – in 2023 UK, Germany, Denmark, and the US. Why? The local events cost much less and therefore companies can send more people. I remember times when companies didn’t want to send developers or consultants to Directions EMEA since it was a huge cost. The DoK events fulfil that gap in my opinion – If I would need to choose to send 3 people to EMEA or 15 to any of the local Days of Knowledge I would choose the second option. In 2022 Odense edition was in my opinion successful – a lot of learning opportunities and a lot of content balanced for consultants and developers.
BCTechDays – a must for many developers
BCTechDays are BCTechDays – I mean there is no other event like this therefore it is hard to describe it. Indeed, it is only for developers – if you are a consultant I think you could more benefit from other events. I know some developers who just waiting for this event for the whole year. This time it will be at the end of June. What is so unique? First of all workshops – if you think of going make sure to book a spot on one of the great workshops that are before the conference it is not only a place where you can learn something, you can also find new friends and be inspired by how things can work in your organization.
Most sessions are 90 minutes deep dives. All recordings you can later find on YouTube. BCTechDays is only one conference doing so but trust me watching the recording you cannot feel the great atmosphere of this event even in 5%.
Directions EMEA – the biggest event for partners
The conference in Hamburg had almost 3000 attendees. This is huge – for some, it was even too much. To be honest I found out that some of the people are at the conference after I came back home. This is why I love the idea of Days of Knowledge as smaller events.
However from the content perspective, this is the most exciting for me conference – there are not only development, a lot of functional but also management topics. Everyone can find something which will suit him or her. I also like the idea that the committee is open to more Power Platform topics this year and hope next year will not be different. In the past, I heard developers saying there are not so many sessions for them but I have a feeling that at least for a few years it is not true – every person would find something that suits the role.
Where I would go if I could pick only one? That is the hardest question. It all depends on who you are and where you live. If you are a consultant living in Europe I would go to Days of Knowledge if it is near your place if not I would wait for Directions EMEA. If you are a developer living in Europe – BCTechDays or Days of Knowledge (if it is closer for you and then to that your company can send more people).
I think for Europeans it is worth it to go to the US only if you see interest in it – not just to learn but a business opportunity. But I think many US people who can afford to go to Directions NA and Directions EMEA should think of it – first of all, it is an amazing experience second that those two conferences are just after new releases of Business Central.