11 Things to Know About...WPC 2010

If you're attending Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference 2010 in Washington D.C. this July, here's 11 things to keep you eye out for.

The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) is coming up July 11-15 in Washington, D.C. We caught up with Pam Salzer, Microsoft senior director of Worldwide Partner Marketing, to nail down 11 things Microsoft partners need to know about WPC 2010.

  1. Cloud Computing. The message lately from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and channel chief Allison Watson is that Microsoft is "all in" when it comes to the cloud. Expect a lot more detail on what that means for partners this July.
  2. Awards. Categories, geographies and pageantry are all expanded this year when it comes to partner awards.
  3. Large Group Networking. New tools will give people a way to stay on top of big events during the week based on professional and personal interests -- say a SharePoint reception or a group run through the city for joggers.
  4. Business Models. In the past, Microsoft Business Groups owned the first few days of the conference, while business models (think hosters, ISVs, SIs) got sessions late in the week. Partners told Microsoft to flip that around a bit.
  5. MPN Content. The Microsoft Partner Network goes into full swing this year. A lot of sessions will help partners navigate the changes.
  6. Product/Program Launches. Attendees will get the news first and be able to corner their Microsoft contacts for details.
  7. Interactive Sessions. Of some 400 sessions this year, around 100 will be "300-level-style" discussions. Microsoft will put the experts up front, and partners will get to take the sessions wherever they need them to go.
  8. Embassies. Washington, D.C., has one of the highest concentrations of foreign embassies in the world. Microsoft is working to combine D.C.'s international flavor with WPC's international audience.
  9. Sales from Marketing. The old track was Sales and Marketing. Partners asked for more distinctions, so they got separate tracks for their separate professionals.
  10. Day Passes. With all the public sector partners in the area, and the proximity of East Coast partners, Microsoft added several one-day options to the ticket mix this year.
  11. Touring. Arguably no city has as much to do for free as D.C. Microsoft will be organizing sight-seeing tours for early arrivals and late stayers. And we didn't even get to the parties. If you're going, sign up quickly. Salzer says the conference looks like it could sell out this year by late this month or early June.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.