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As many of you have just experienced, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) features a large range of experiences, from structured networking to hundreds of sessions to informal evening events. You can get a taste of all that WPC offers when you read my blog about the top moments from this year’s event or head to the new WPC 2016 highlights page.

Many long-time attendees stress the importance of early preparation—and we agree. While thinking about WPC 2017 in Washington, D.C. now might seem early, but now is actually the ideal time to begin.

Plan to bring colleagues—or the whole team

Bringing your whole team to WPC might sound ambitious, but one partner plans to do just that.

Keith Flynn, CEO and Co-founder of RtTech—a company that’s all about industrial-grade apps for manufacturing, power generation, and mining—joined the Microsoft partner community at WPC for the first time in 2016. After the event, he wrote to tell us how he was convinced of the value of the conference: “I feel more knowledgeable about our own company’s objectives plus new potential partners we can work with.”

He also mentioned that he would be bringing the whole team next year to WPC 2017.

RtTech has an upcoming launch in October of an end-to-end IoT infrastructure built on Azure, so when asked why he’s bringing everyone, Flynn responded, “We have a team where the strengths are truly divided. For instance, I would see value in having discussions directly related to our products on Azure architecture, security, SQL storage, BI visualizations, etc… I also realize that they would gain more knowledge in three days than they would in six to twelve months of poking around online….having direct access to experts in person on topics we work on daily is immeasurable.”

“Having direct access to experts in person on topics we work on daily is immeasurable.”
-Keith Flynn, CEO RtTech

We also asked Flynn how he defines a successful business conference. He said, “If I walk away from a conference excited and loaded with questions challenging our approach to the solutions we provide, then I know I have gained something new. I came away from WPC with challenging questions for our design team based on just the general information I gathered. I can only imagine if our team could take in all the sessions relevant to our IoT solution.”

Being able to divide-and-conquer helps each attendee focus on your company’s objectives. Flynn compared going alone to WPC to “trying to take a picture of the moon and being disappointed that you cannot capture what you see. You can try and share what you’ve seen with others but it’s just not the same.”

Build WPC into your business plan now

Veterans of many WPCs tell us that building WPC attendance into their business plan for the year is one key way be prepared to get the most out of the conference.

It ensures you have the proper budget for expenses and understanding of your team’s bandwidth. It also forces you to think about what you want to accomplish earlier. That’s a big benefit, as it makes it easier for you to take those critical first steps in reaching out to other partners and Microsoft employees you want to meet with at WPC.

Plus, by planning and registering for WPC early, you’ll get an even better price on registration. Since the conference sold out for the first time in 2016, we expect excitement for next year’s event to be high and recommend that you reserve your spot well in advance. Beyond the lower price, early registrants also get notified in January first when hotels become available at our discounted rates—we’ll announce those exact details as we get closer, so be sure to stay tuned into the MPN blogs and social channels.

We hope you’ll join us in Washington D.C. for WPC 2017!

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