Category Archives: General IT

MMS 2017 Review

MMS 2017 is over, and as always, it lived up to the hype. I promised a review of the conference the month before last, so here it is.

This year marked my fourth MMS to attend. I swear each year gets better as the sessions consistently get better, the schedule becomes more streamlined, I know where all the good places to eat are, inside jokes increase, and most importantly, I have more friends to catch up with and meet.

During the conference, a fellow attendee tweeted the following:

Spot on, Julia! MMS is a chance to catch up with the people who help you solve daily problems in your work environment. It’s a chance to meet them, learn from them, pick their brain, thank them, and simply enjoy their company – they’ll enjoy yours as well!

This particular year I made a stronger effort to network and in the process made a lot of new friends. MMS is made for the community, by the community, and I tried to embrace that as fully as I could. The conversations were great and I learned more during those conversations than a lot of the sessions. Not because the sessions weren’t incredible, but because the conversations were meaningful and validating. There are more people in the same boat than you realize, and it shines when we are all thrown in the same conference center at once!

Some important takeaways:

  • After a great session on how to begin and improve user groups, many folks were inspired, myself included! I’m on the board for the DFWSMUG and hopefully we can get some more consistent meetings scheduled soon. Stay tuned.
  • Women in System Center – this is cool! When this gets going, let me know how I can spread the word more, and I will!
  • Peer-to-peer technologies are important to the future of Microsoft, Windows, and your enterprise/school district. Embrace them! I had the great pleasure attending “2Pint Friday at MMS” sponsored by 2Pint Software. Fantastic session with some really cool tech. Again, their product is free for education (except required support), so be sure to put it into your budget! I will be implementing over the next couple of weeks at my district. I’ll be sure to write up something on my experience implementing on this blog.
  • In the Focus Group: Education and IT session there was a lot of discussion over Office 365 Device-based Activation. See my previous blog on how to deploy Office 365 Device-based Activation with SCCM if you’re interested. Don’t forget to mention to your TAM you want an easier process. 🙂 We also discussed other Office 365 issues, Office 365 vs G Suite, compliance, old hardware/software, and more.
  • The Hackathon was a major highlight again this year with the ConfigMgr product team demoing some amazing *possible* features they have been working on. CTGlobal and Cireson also demo’d code that could make lots of sysadmin’s lives easier. Thanks for sharing your skills and passion with us, guys!

A big thank you to all the speakers and sponsors who make this conference possible, especially Brian Mason and Greg Ramsey. I would say your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, but it kind of does because of how effortless you make putting a conference of this size look and feel together. Thanks for everything you guys do.

Mark your calendar down for MMS 2018! The price of admission is nothing compared the knowledge, experience, and friends you leave with.

Until next year, MMS-er’s.


MMS 2017 – See you there!

If there is one conference I try to make every year, it’s the Midwest Management Summit aka MMS. For those who aren’t familiar with the conference, it’s hosted by the Minnesota System Center User Group at the Mall of America. The conference is 4 days of exceptional content focusing on systems management presented by Microsoft MVP’s, real-world professionals, and even some folks from Microsoft’s own product groups. Recently this year’s conference sold out (again). Awesome!

Here is my current schedule, tentative to change at any moment:

One session I am particularly excited for is the Focus Group: Education and IT which allows attendees who are employed in K-12 or Higher-Ed to collaborate and share their experiences and knowledge. Nash Pherson (@kidmystic) will be leading this discussion (trust me, he’s good). If you’re in K-12/Higher-Ed and will be at MMS 2017, I would encourage you to register for this focus group. Always great discussion.

I will also be attending 2Pint Friday that sponsor 2Pint Software is hosting. Check out the details here: There are a few tickets left! Attendance of the special session is free, so if you have the time, join! If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out their technology, spend some time and do so. They are very kind and make their products free for education customers (minus support) that could alleviate some shared headaches. Shout-out to those guys! We are looking to implement their solutions over the summer.

I’m hoping to interact with and meet a lot of new people this year, and of course walk away with a heap of new knowledge and tips and tricks to implement in my own environment. I always welcome discussions about K-12 technology and struggles therein. My plan is to post a full review of the conference when I return. See you soon, MMS-ers!