*Update January 21, 2014: The brand new WPC Connect will launch on January 30, 2014.

 
On the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) planning team, we are all committed to improving your experience at WPC every year. We take this very seriously, and consider every opportunity to do so carefully. One such opportunity, which presented itself in the days immediately following WPC 2013, was to take WPC Connect in-house and build out our own year-round community, collaboration, and event platform on SharePoint 2013. We felt that it was the right thing to do for our partner community so decided to migrate.
 
The advantages of the SharePoint 2013 platform for the WPC Community include:
  • Mobile responsive for all devices
  • Integrated communities and reputation
  • Built-in moderation features
  • Custom platform that allows greater freedom to build the right features for the community
  • Activity feeds
  • Integrated “follow” feature
  • Robust security, grouping, and controls 
  • @ Replies allows you to tag users in microfeeds
In the months since WPC we have been meeting with partners, and other internal and external stakeholders  to find out what really matters to our WPC Community. Sure, there were tactical pieces to address – outlook integration, meeting notifications, and calendar free/busy (to name a few) – but the recurring theme for the community was “make it relevant to me.”
 
Which means that WPC Connect for WPC 2014 and beyond is going to be a lot smarter. Your profile is not only going to let other community members get to know you and your company, but will also guide Connect to make the recommendations – people, groups, and sessions–  that we think you care about. 
 
Collaboration is also a key component of Connect for 2014. We will be introducing robust discussion and collaboration groups divided into topic areas so you can get advice, give advice, and grow your business. Don’t see the group you are looking for? Ask us and we can create a new one for you!
 
And finally you need better people search capabilities. So, in addition to keyword searching, you will be able to filter on a number of fields, such as competency, company size, and industry.
 
Of course, we know that we still have to provide excellent onsite event tools. With over 75,000 sessions scheduled, our session scheduler performed its job well, but we are improving the platform with recommended sessions and session packages.
 
We know how valuable this tool is to your WPC experience; we saw 97% of registered partners logged in with over 75,000 sessions scheduled. Based on your feedback, we see a great opportunity for us to provide even more value to you through WPC Connect in 2014. We will be re-launch the community functionality of WPC Connect in late January 2014, followed by the event tools in the months following.
 
We hope this preview into WPC Connect for 2014 has you as excited about it as we are. Expect to hear more as we get closer to launch and looking forward to seeing you on the inside!