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Of the many things I’m excited about and want to highlight for Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018are a couple of sessions in which we’re trying to create much more audience interaction and participation. Of course, audience participation is always welcome and almost always forthcoming; but for a few sessions, we’re really tailoring the format so that attendees become key to making the experience work.

To get a flavor of one of these sessions, check out this No Jitter post by Justin Haefner, a collaboration architect with Medtronic. Justin writes about how he learned the importance of APIs, even for communications folks who might not work with this technology on a daily basis. His conclusion? “By taking the path less traveled as the infrastructure person who can write code, you'll position yourself as a forward thinker who is open to disruptive change…. You can help steer the company in the right direction by using your years of experience in your field, coupled with the knowledge of what's possible with an API.”

Justin is going to take this attitude into a session he’ll be leading at Enterprise Connect, Why You Should Embrace the API Movement. Justin is a member of our Enterprise Connect Advisory Board, and last year he was the winner of TADHack’s pre-EC mini-hackathon (an event that’s returning to Orlando on March 10-11, the weekend before this year’s EC). His enthusiasm for this topic is contagious, and he’ll have some great real-world advice for anyone in the IT/communications space who believes APIs, coding, and embedded communications are going to be important to their enterprise.

We’re also running a session called Ask the Expert: An Interactive Session on Network & Systems Management, led by Terry Slattery of NetCraftsmen. Terry is  the leading expert on all things related to IP networks and management. He’ll be joined on the podium by his Netcraftsman colleague Joe LaRosa, as well as three subject matter experts with deep expertise in specific areas: Michael Finneran will be there to address questions related to mobility and wireless; Phil Edholm will answer questions about WANs; and Melissa Swartz will handle issues related to enterprise implementation. The group will be ready to talk about major issues in their respective areas, but the hope is that attendees will come prepared with specific challenges they’re facing. We’ve set up an email address, [email protected], where you can get in touch in advance and give the panel a head start on thinking through your unique challenge.

In another session, consultant Steve Leaden will bring his extensive experience to a session called Building Your Holistic UC/CC Business Case & Plan. After a brief presentation, Steve will lead an open discussion and then break the audience into teams to work on an exercise intended to put into action the skills and insights he’ll be imparting. Steve will address issues including strategic plans, implementation steps, and ROI, in a practical context that will help prepare you not just to plan your next move, but to improve your chances of achieving the benefits you’re targeting.

Finally, I want to call attention to a session that doesn’t necessarily focus completely on audience interaction, but which has an interactive component that I hope many of you will find useful. Marty Parker of UniComm Consulting is leading our session on How Cost Factors Affect Your Cloud Migration, and as part of his presentation, Marty will walk you through a tool he’s developed for estimating the impact of the various cost factors. Attendees will then be able to download this tool along with Marty’s slides, to work with post-event.

So the bottom line: A big part of Enterprise Connect every year is the chance to network with your peers and pick one another’s brains. We’ve got lots of opportunities for you to do that informally and on the spur of the moment—receptions, functions, lunchtime, etc. But we’ve also tried to build some sessions that organize and structure this experience, under the tutelage of the best subject matter experts we know. If you haven’t yet registered, it’s not too late! I hope to see you in Orlando.