Introducing “Integration User Group”

The landscape and importance of integration is constantly evolving year after year, and it’s becoming more than critical to know about upcoming integration technologies, challenges in this area, paradigm shift etc. Gone are the days where an application can live and function on it’s own in silo. These days whether you are building a consumer focused application or a B2B focused solutions, there is a definite need for applications to talk to one another. The popularity of modern connectivity applications like IFTTT/Zapier and world moving in the direction of “Cloud first, Mobile first” are the proofs.

One of the challenges we have seen in the technical community is the lack of knowledge in the integration space. It’s very different experience for a C# or Java developer to understand the way integration works and understand the semantics like schemas, messages, contracts, API’s, Microservices etc. The only way to bridge the gap is by creating a strong community, where people can share their experience and learning.

Me (Saravana Kumar) and Michael Stephenson (Microsoft Integration MVP’s) are successfully running UK Connected System user group since 2006. We ran the user group originally under the name “BizTalk User Group” and later renamed it to “UK Connected Systems User Group” when the scope of the integration was expanded beyond just BizTalk in Microsoft world to things like Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Work Flow Foundation, AppFabric, BizTalk Services, etc. Now we are in a pivot stage again, where the scope of integration is even wider. Hence we decided to call it “Integration User Group”.

In the past we mainly focused on conducting in-person/face-to-face meet-ups. Typically one event every quarter somewhere in Central London. It was great fun to meet-up with people and we definitely build up a strong community and some close friends over the years in this space. One of the challenge with in-person meetings is, it usually happens in the evening and for people who work outside London it became a challenge to come to the event. Last year we started to experiment conducting online events in addition to face-to-face ones and seen tremendous success, people were able to join from everywhere, not just UK, we had attendees from USA, various countries in Europe and even from Australia and New Zealand.

So this year we decided to do more on-line webcasts in addition to our normal face-to-face (we will still continue to do one per quarter), to be precise we are going to be aggressive, we have planned for one event (webcast) a week and we call it “Integration Mondays”. i.e on every Monday between 7:30 to 8:30 pm (London time). We have already lined up speakers from around the world till end of April, you can see and register for the event here. Over the period we will continue to bring world class speakers from the community, from product group and from different vendors who all work in the integration space.

To join the user group, you simply register for one of the events, and you’ll automatically enrol in our mailing list. We promise not to spam you and keep the content relevant.

Author: Saravana Kumar

Saravana Kumar is the Founder and CTO of BizTalk360, an enterprise software that acts as an all-in-one solution for better administration, operation, support and monitoring of Microsoft BizTalk Server environments.

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