As the rain poured (pretty much constantly) over Greater Manchester this weekend, the 2023 Scottish Summit got underway.
The Scottish Summit first started in 2019 as a Dynamics 365 conference, but has since expanded to cover the full Microsoft cloud stack. I'm reliably informed it's usually held in Scotland and that this year they went "On Tour". From what I've seen, it will be held in Aberdeen in 2024.
I'd travelled over from my native Yorkshire to attend, drawn by the pull of the Microsoft community - and I wasn't disappointed. The rain certainly didn't stop the attendees, and the community vibe was strong.
I attended some fantastic sessions throughout the day, specifically:
"Clone Yourself With Azure Custom Neural Voice", by Callum Whyte. Callum demonstrated the power, and nuances of the Azure AI speech service by cloning his own voice and using text-to-speech to have a little fun with it! I was left feeling utterly inspired to get more hands on with that side of Azure AI.
"From Diagrams to Code: Automating Infrastructure Provisioning" - by Jon Jarvis and Patricia Rodrigues. Jon and Patricia demonstrated how to translate the likes of Visio diagrams into Terraform and Bicep for automated deployment, and how threat modelling with the with Microsoft Threat Modelling Tool can be introduced into that process.
"Implement a Zero Trust Approach with Azure Active Directory" by Marco Obinu. Marco was able to fit in what could have been a full day into a 50-minute session, but in such a clear and concise way that it wasn't overwhelming. This session demonstrated a zero trust approach to a Power Platform based application using Entra ID features such as MFA, Conditional Access and Privileged Identity Management.
"Azure going out of business? Slashing cloud computing spend by over half using the power of FinOps" by Adedeji Awolesi. I'm not going to lie, I went into this session with the expectation of hearing about some basic FinOps within Azure. However, I was absolutely blown-away by Adedeji's delivery on what was essentially a 25-minute FinOps fundamentals lightning talk. I learned more in that 25-minute period than I would have done from a 2-hour YouTube video. FinOps is something I'm working on a lot at the moment, and this session really helped cement my understanding and fill in some gaps.
University Academy 92 - the venue for the conference this year.... in the rain.
This was my first time attending the Scottish Summit. I had a fantastic time, gained some great insights and met some wonderful people. My only feedback for those thinking for attending in future years is to check the session line-up once announced to ensure it's a good fit for you. It's safe to say that a majority of this year's sessions were Power Platform and D365 related, and that the majority of sessions were level 100 or 200. There's nothing wrong with that of course, just be clear as to what it is you'd like to get out of attending.
I plan to attend the South Coast Summit later this year, and I'm waiting eagerly for the agenda being announced on 1st September.
Thank you to the Scottish Summit organisers and sponsors for a fantastic event this year. Keep up the great work!