Microsoft Corp WPC Connect

Microsoft Corp

A connected approach to people and events.

The situation

Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) unites leading members of their partner network, with attendees hailing from more than 150 countries worldwide. It is about expanding networks in the IT industry, enabling relationships to form based on sharing ideas about implementing Microsoft technology for business growth and profitability.

For Microsoft, it is a showcase of what they can do, driven by the people who are dedicated to their systems.

WPC 2014 was refined to follow five major themes: Cloud, Big Data, Mobility and Devices, Enterprise Social, and Leadership, Sales and Marketing. The social platform which would complement the live interaction at the conference needed to reflect this newly streamlined structure.

Built using SharePoint 2013, Connect offers a seamless interface of messaging, search, news and scheduling capabilities – literally connecting partners to all corners of the conference.

"WPC Connect has been completely rebuilt as the best partner engagement platform we’ve ever had. Not just to support our premier WPC event, with robust session and meeting tools, but a platform allowing collaboration and connections."

Melissa Porter
WPC Digital Community Lead

The pain

In the past, Microsoft had developed and deployed a new Connect platform every year, tailoring its style to suit the needs of the particular conference. However this strategy lacked the continuity that Microsoft wanted to achieve, failing to capitalise on WPC’s annual occurrence and enable relationships which could continue from one conference to the next.

WPC’s social platform has a direct effect on the attendees’ engagement and ultimate satisfaction with the year’s conference. Past instances of Connect had revealed gaps and flaws where Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 usability and efficiency could have been improved, so it was important for WPC 2014 to do it right.

Drawing together scheduling capabilities, social networking, news and content streams into one smooth platform was vital to the complete integration of WPC and the technology it promotes. And with WPC’s particular focus on the area of Enterprise Social, Connect needed to be exemplary.

The technology

SharePoint 2013 offered out-of-the box functionality, hosted on Microsoft Azure using Infrastructure as a Service. The Connect platform leveraged internet services for greater connectivity across WPC, engaging partners even when they were away from the conference floor.

Connect is massively integrated with a diverse range of services, including:

  • Registration
  • Event scheduling
  • Rich media services
  • Syndication of web content
  • Social tracking and sharing
  • Web Analytics
  • Profile-based recommendations

By simply signing in with a Microsoft account, users gain access to the social environment that has been created by Connect. Familiar tools such as hashtags and @mentions inspire discussions and forge new relationships across the virtual space.

Event scheduling tools helped partners to become their own event managers, allowing them to structure their conference experience to uniquely suit their needs. They can register for public events and coordinate private meetings with other people on the Connect network. Users are able to message each other directly without needing to disclose personal email information.

Meeting requests can be sent and received instantaneously, drawing groups together based on shared connections, expertise or interests. Video storage holds recordings of sessions for off-site viewing, meaning that no one needs to miss out.

The gain

The result is a platform built for partners by partners that creates opportunities to extend the experience of partnering, 365 days a year. Microsoft now has an all-encompassing system for networking and personal event management, connecting partners in more valuable ways from both inside and outside the conference. Since the site went live earlier this year, it has had 430,000 views and 63,500 visits. Each visit lasts an average of 14 minutes, revealing the new levels of engagement that partners are achieving with the updated Connect platform.

Connect also blends seamlessly with Microsoft’s 365 format, establishing a year-round community of engagement with WPC. Partners who are unable to attend can experience the conference in a virtual environment, meeting other partners and creating networks from across the globe. With an emphasis on joining groups, Connect promises to establish links between people in exactly the way that an event of this size and nature should. The platform also incorporates a truly new and unique recommendations engine, facilitating connections, relevant content and discussion based on people’s profiles.

An important part of this conference is the attendees’ ability to host and attend meetings, engage in productive discussions with each other, and immerse themselves in the interactivity of the environment. Connect provides a highly integrated platform for doing just that. But beyond this, it also connects one conference to the next, building an attentive membership among the existing attendees and enticing others to join the network as it grows from year to year.

The business case

A strong focus on delivering the best possible service to WPC attendees drove the development of the new Connect platform. WPC 2014 provided the opportunity to create a communications platform, which could grow and change with the event, connecting members in new ways to provide a deeply integrated conference experience.

The business value

  • Highly integrated platform encourages communication and increased connectivity between conference members
  • Scheduling capabilities promote each attendee to personal event manager, coordinating meetings and session times to tailor their own unique WPC experience
  • Information regarding news and events is streamlined, available to attendees through a single interface
  • Scalability allows for Connect to serve as the standard conference network going forward, creating continuity between WPC events
  • Greatly increased user engagement, directly reflected in levels of attendee satisfaction with the conference as a whole.

Solutions

Cloud Services

Incorporating cloud-based services to deliver improved access, scalability and capability.

Technology

Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint is a powerful and versatile business platform for content management and collaboration, both inside and outside your organisation.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure is an open and flexible cloud platform that enables you to quickly build, deploy and manage applications that support your business.

Industry

Professional Services

Using technology to help make the most of your people and your IP.

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