Global Azure: Using Sessionize to tackle the challenges of organizing multiple-location events

One of Sessionize's earliest adopters shares his experience of using the platform to organize complex multiple-location tech conferences for the past six years

David J. Rodriguez Hernández is a CTO and a co-founder of Intelequia, a company helping customers to migrate to Microsoft's cloud computing platform Azure safely, smoothly, and cost-effectively. With himself also being a Microsoft Regional Director and an Azure MVP, he strives to be as involved in the Azure community as possible, through talks, blog posts, as a member of the Global Azure Admin Team, and by hosting local Global Azure events in Spain.  

Global Azure is a successful global hybrid tech conference taking place over six continents, bringing together communities scattered around over 100 locations worldwide. The hybrid, multiple-location nature of Global Azure brings significant challenges to its organizers. David's been using Sessionize to manage Global Azure's content for over six years, which makes him one of the earliest adopters of the platform, as well as one of the most relevant individuals to share their experience and insight.

First impressions

David first started using Sessionize when his Spanish event-organizing team started growing significantly. What initially caught his attention was the Dashboard, namely the Smart Task List – essentially a quick checklist of steps event organizers have to go through to manage their event from start to finish.

“What we initially found very attractive was the step-by-step guide on how to organize an event. It lists all the steps you have to take to successfully prepare an event, and that's something that helped us a lot when we were starting out. It in fact helped us so much that we decided to use Sessionize for all events our community members organize, including Global AI Conference and NetCoreConf in Spain.”

Global Azure Spain's growing event-organizing team needed a capable event content management platform

Favorite features

David manages similar events both locally and globally, so he finds great use of Sessionize's features that simplify the event creation process in scenarios like his.

Using existing event data to create a new event

Event organizers can create a new event by copying the settings from any of their past events, which they can then update with new data. This is particularly beneficial for events that take place annually.

“After the first meeting regarding an upcoming event, which takes place four or five months before the actual event, we simply duplicate last year's edition of the same event. We immediately know what questions we have to ask our speakers because they're all already there in last year's event's settings. In case we realize we forgot something last year, we can easily add more custom data fields to fill in the blanks. It's a really good feature that we use regularly.”

Informative and revealing Call for Speakers statistics

The Call for Speakers menu, available to event organizers in Sessionize, offers various relevant statistics, including the number of sessions and speakers, a chart with a chronological overview of the number of submissions (useful for seeing peak submission dates and determining if they correlate with promotional activities), an overview of where the submissions came from, and similar. David's team finds this data useful for internal reporting.

“Being able to see a bunch of statistics related to the Call for Speakers page is lovely! We have bi-weekly meetings where we regularly use the statistics generated by Sessionize to better steer our event. The Submission sources statistic revealed some surprising information. 

For example, we found out that a notable number of speakers visited our events directly through Sessionize. LinkedIn was another surprise, we didn't think as many people landed on our event's Call for Speakers page by clicking on the link in our LinkedIn post as they did. In general, we get a simple overview of the submission sources and instantly know which ones are worth pushing further.”

Global Azure Berlin 2023

Schedule builder with intuitive color-coding

After evaluating and accepting sessions, event organizers can use the Schedule builder tool to create a schedule in a simple, drag-and-drop interface. Due to the specific, multiple-location nature of their events, David's team utilizes the session color-coding feature in a clever way.

“The Schedule builder is very important for us, as it helps us tremendously to arrange a schedule for events taking place in multiple cities. We assign a certain color to every city; for example, Barcelona is blue, Madrid is red, and Zaragoza is yellow. Before we had to carefully examine every session to figure out in which city it was being held in. 

Afterwards we simply arrange the sessions by rooms in each of those cities while taking care to organize them by topic, so speakers and visitors don't have to move between rooms too much. It's also very easy to add virtual rooms for sessions that take place online and combine them with physical rooms in actual locations, all on the same schedule.”

A highly customizable platform with a powerful API

David recognizes Sessionize as an exceptionally customizable platform. The Global Azure development team regularly uses the API to visually fine-tune the schedule to their specific needs, as well as to create speaker biographies for the event website by pulling the relevant data directly from Sessionize. “It's an open platform that allows us to customize everything we want, and create all these amazing things. Without Sessionize, it would be really difficult for us not only to create a schedule but also to manage various other aspects of our events. The platform means a lot to the Global Azure community.”, David remarks.

David concludes by pointing out the resource-saving benefits of using Sessionize.

“If we had to do the things we do with Sessionize manually, it would take months of development to implement everything on our own, and that would cost us thousands of dollars or euros. As someone who runs a software development company, I can attest to that."

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