The opportunities are endless - so much to learn at Convergence 2014

This newsletter is just the start of your learning journey with Convergence 2014. Our aim is to help you get acquainted with all the ins and outs, the options and possibilities that abound when you arrive in Atlanta for this Microsoft business community event.

All new agenda for 2014

This year’s event schedule, with the opening keynote kicking off the event on Tuesday, is designed to start off with the big Microsoft picture, and then take your learning opportunities deeper and deeper into the solutions you use. On Friday, our user group communities and Microsoft support teams provide the chance to not only help get all your remaining questions answered, but also to help you create action plans for your return back home. We know that your time away from the office is valuable, and it’s our intent to help you make the most of your time—and to make your invested time most actionable.

Breakout sessions: Your prime time learning

You’ve got some tough decisions ahead. Perhaps in your business, perhaps with your staff. Maybe even in your professional life. In the very near future, you’ve got some tough decisions to face as you sift through our Session Catalog and review all the awesome sessions we have planned for you. If you’re new to the event, or even if you need a refresher, you may want to start by reviewing our Session Overview, so you can get accustomed to our lingo—and get straight in your brain all the different session types and tracks we’ve got available. Getting comfortable with this info will go a long way in navigating the conference.

When it comes to viewing sessions, utilize the filters we’ve built into the catalog to help you sort through and prioritize where you need to spend your valuable conference time. Is it in deep technical sessions, or are you a newbie that needs introductory sessions? Is better reporting a new goal for your organization or is it all about deepening your knowledge on functionality that will make you an even more valued expert in your organization?

With over 500 sessions planned over the four days of the event, it’s pretty tough to get to do and see everything you want to, but our secured tool, Schedule Builder, will help you narrow your choices down, and ensure that you’ve reviewed all sessions relevant to your needs. With a look a feel that’s the same as the Session Catalog, Schedule Builder provides you the ability to ‘add’ sessions to your personal calendar, effectively creating your wish list of attendance. As you get closer to the event, use the tool to refine your list and make a solid plan for where you should be. It’s always a good idea to have a ‘plan A’ and a ‘plan B’ in case sessions fill to capacity. This information is also used by the planning team to help assess session interest, so your use of Schedule Builder is a win/win for us all!

To login to Schedule Builder, use the same Microsoft account used to register for the event.

Learning about the community - Enroll in our offsite Community Outreach

Now that you’ve registered for the event, it’s time to think through your travel plans. Convergence 2014 ‘officially’ kicks off on Tuesday, March 4, with the opening keynote beginning at 9:00am at Philips Arena. We encourage everyone to arrive onsite to the Georgia World Conference Center on Monday to complete your onsite registration check-in. You’ll receive your Convergence credentials and materials—gaining you access to all the activities and sessions at the event.

Over the years, hundreds of Convergence attendees have arrived early to participate in our Community Outreach activities, where we make the time to give back to our host community. This year, we’ll take our team of volunteers to Sweet Auburn, Martin Luther King’s childhood neighborhood, where we’ll get busy--and maybe a little dirty--as we focus on preservation and revitalization of the area. To read more about the specific activities, or to view a recap of our efforts last year, visit our Convergence Community Outreach page.

Participating in our Community Outreach doesn’t cost you anything but a little bit of time. Pre-registration is required, however. If you haven’t yet registered, return to your registration record and add in either the morning, afternoon, or all day Offsite Community Outreach activity. You’ll be glad you did!