The sixth Annual Midwest Management Summit (MMS) wrapped up earlier this month at the Radisson Blu of Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For longtime folks in the industry, this conference was a replacement for the Microsoft Management Summit that used to be held annually in Las Vegas until its demise through consolidation into TechEd and later Ignite. MMS 2019 is where we went this year for all things Configuration Manager.
What separates this conference from the others is the purposeful limit of available seats to just 750 attendees. This keeps the conference from feeling too large and ensures access to the speakers, MVPs, and the product team (I even shared a cab back to the airport with Microsoft’s Director of Engineering for Configuration Manager).
The classes are deep technical dives into real-world issues that impact all of us who are involved with System Center. The length of each session is just enough to have interactive discussions, with plenty of time for Q&A.
While the May conference is the main one, there are now other, even smaller conferences held in the fall (locations/dates vary), like this year’s Jazz Edition in New Orleans, Louisiana. This allows even more folks who may have scheduling conflicts with the May dates to attend.
This year’s themes tended toward “Transformation not migration” and “Better together” for the Cloud and ConfigMgr. When Microsoft first announced cloud, it did a poor job properly describing its intent. Thus, the vast majority of management assumed (incorrectly) the demise of ConfigMgr. But if you look at the stats over the last four years since the inception of ConfigMgr current branch, you will see a tremendous amount of engineering effort being put into the product:
- 11 major production versions
- 51 technical previews
- 75K+ customers, 140+ million devices
- More than 71% of customers staying current on a build < 6 months old
The announcement of MBAM support being added to the product was a huge win for customers. It took seven VPs of Microsoft to come together and agree to overcome different product groups and licensing SKUs. That is not something you do to a product that is going to be shelved.
So ConfigMgr is here for as long as customers need it. It is about extending functionality into the Cloud and taking advantage of what each does well. It is not a lift and shift approach, which is not a good ROI for organizations. It must be about more and that is what extension into the Cloud provides.
Another unique aspect of this conference worth mentioning is the camping tent sessions. Throughout the week, you had the opportunity to have one-on-one time with speakers, MVPs and the product team in fifteen-minute sessions in a campfire-style, relaxed atmosphere.
Overall, MMS 2019 was a great conference. I am thankful to have been able to attend over the years and pass on the insights to our clients.