What’s your plan for making the most of Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC) in Los Angeles this month? In the most positive way, WPC offers an astounding amount of networking, learning, and the opportunity to prepare your business to succeed with Microsoft. As Microsoft’s largest annual gathering for our valued partner community, it’s an incredibly exciting event and your options while attending may seem limitless.

I encourage you to define a clear and strategic objective for attending (or sending professionals from your company), because what gets planned is more likely to get done. With a distinct business objective in mind—whether that be training, getting hands-on with product demos, or charting your own company’s course in the context of Microsoft’s technology roadmap—those limitless options to attend sessions, keynotes, and networking events will naturally delimit themselves. Let your objective be your guide. 
A good strategic plan is supported by a “to-do list” of critical tasks. So that your time at WPC is as productive as possible, below I am sharing the top five things your company should check off that list right now to ensure you can focus, be inspired, and connect at the Conference.
  1. Make It Official! Make sure you are registered to attend WPC. You don’t want to miss receiving guidance to win with your Microsoft-based solutions, learning about Microsoft’s priorities for the partner network over the next 12-18 months, and the other great business opportunities offered by this event.
  2. Understand the Vision. Check out the keynotes, and decide which of them you are interested in attending. CEO Steve Ballmer, COO Kevin Turner, and Corporate VP of the Worldwide Partner Group Jon Roskill are delivering the vision keynotes that will start each day of the Conference, but there are many other top Microsoft executives keynoting throughout the event. How to decide which of these you must attend? Align their corporate function to your objective at WPC, and beyond the Conference, to your business.
  3. Track Your Tracks. Review available track descriptions and select those that are most exciting, relevant, and strategic for you and your business. Use the Session Catalog to filter WPC sessions by audience, track, session type, or speaker and then sign in to Session Scheduler to add your preferred sessions to your agenda and build a customized event schedule with your guiding objective in mind.
  4. Collaborate and Connect. WPC offers Microsoft partners the opportunity to connect with other like-minded partners and collaborate with them to offer complementary business solutions. This networking is the top reason partners tell us WPC is so valuable to them. Opt in to WPC Connect when registering, or update your current registration to opt in, and you’ll find nearly 4,000 attendees have done the same. You can see them on the Connect Wall.
  5. Socialize and Stay Informed. Connect with the U.S. WPC Community through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to receive the latest news and offers leading up to the Conference. Bookmark the U.S. Partner Team’s WPC blog that we are frequently updating now and throughout WPC to help keep you informed about U.S. activities there and notify you of any changes to schedule, location, etc. We will be tweeting live from @WPC11US during the event as well, using the hashtag #WPC11 to be part of the conversation.
I am looking forward to seeing the global Microsoft partner community come together in Los Angeles. In addition to all of the great learning experiences you may come across at WPC, there is no question that L.A. has an amazing list of things to do and see. If you have not been to the City of Angels before, I hope you’ll take at least a little time to enjoy the world-class art museums, theme parks, beaches, restaurants, and other attractions. Los Angeles offers a perfect reason to come a bit early to WPC and leave a bit later.
Jenni Flinders
Microsoft Vice President, U.S. Partner Strategy and Programs​