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Thoughts on SharePoint Conference 2014

March 10, 2014 13 comments

My thoughts on the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014.  The event was a great success, held Mar 3-6, 2014, at The Venetian, in Las Vegas.  Compared to previous SharePoint Conferences, SPC14 was held at a bigger venue, it was easier to get around in, the exhibition hall was more wide open, the keynote speaker was about as big a deal as could have been had (Would Hillary have been a bigger coup?) and The.WIFI.Worked.  A tremendously successful conference.  The SharePoint and Office 365 teams at Microsoft deserve to take the next 36 hours off, perhaps attend the Las Vegas NASCAR race, and then bask in the success of their conference.

The new product announcements show some good new direction. I’m particularly excited about

  • the New Office 365 APIs that bring Office 365 closer to parity with SharePoint Server 2013 as a platform for business applications (http://bit.ly/PkMEO2),
  • the new content enablement that is provided for PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook applications (http://bit.ly/PkMEO2)
  • Improvements to Power BI across the board and the release of Power Map. (Even though this was announced a month ago, I’m adding it here (http://bit.ly/PkOvmd)
  • The concept of Working Like a Network (http://bit.ly/PkO23e). It will take a while for this to roll out, but the application ideas are already starting to roll around this one.
  • And the biggest one, for me and my new company, BluLink Solutions, will be the patterns for migrating Trusted Code solutions to the App Model (http://bit.ly/PkOXkj).

SPC14 was the 5 year reunion for those attendees of the tremendous and inimitable SPC09 conference, and it was the 10 year anniversary of the launch of SharePoint 2003, which started the enterprise-wide push and where “SharePoint” started to find its legs, as it grew into MOSS 2007 and SharePoint Server 2010.

SPC14.InfoPathFuneralOne of the things that makes for a great reunion is a strong community.  I consider myself lucky to have been able to observe the growth of the community and the depth and breadth that it contains now is fantastic.  No longer can anyone single group, or collection of groups, control, manage or “provide direction” to the community.  There are many groups within the community, and the overall group is large enough to support new groups as needed.   I attended the meetings of the MSFT Technical Communities and the SharePoint Saturday leaders and the SharePoint User Group leaders and some very useful coalitions are building helpful tools to support different locales and groups of different sizes. I heard that the Women in Technology (secondhand, as I wasn’t on the list) group overflowed its planned meeting space and that is tremendous. Impromptu activities such as the funeral procession for InfoPath, small groups such as SP FitBitters and SPRunners, or around evening events or side trips to local attractions, and countless others, are great examples of where the community is diverse enough to take care of its own.  This is so encouraging.

On the other hand, it does mark the maturation of the SharePoint community and marks the time when messages will be more and more difficult to ensure are delivered and received accurately.  The good old days of one person being able to understand all of SharePoint is gone. One person can now understand most of SharePoint, and can track most of what is goingon through diligent following of multiple blogs, RSS, and twitter feeds, but that can be difficult to maintain when we also have to work…

The early three social kings of SharePoint have changed, as well.  Mark Miller (@EUSP), it seems, has moved to greener pastures, Joel Oleson (@Joeloleson) will always continue to drive a large group of followers as illustrated by his leading a procession in a Monk’s robe through the conference, and Jeremy Thake (@jthake) has now moved to join Microsoft in leading developers to new depths. No longer are the three of them driving the community audiences (Devs, IT Pros, End Users) in a coordinated broad direction.  True, the trio has been divided for a little while now, but I think SPC14 marks the official passing of the torch back to the community as an entity.  Even at SPC12, the community booth efforts were spearheaded by a group with these three providing much of the guidance.

Moving forward, though, I think that SharePoint as a whole is too large for a single group of friends and workers and associates to be considered the leaders.  Each of us has our own path to carve out of the world of business solutions. The relay baton has been passed. SharePoint has grown up.

Where will you, as an attendee of SPC14, shine your light?  Whatever you are working on, share it. When you come up with a best practice, or a new approach to using OOB features combined in a unique manner to provide new functionality, let others know.  As you see your companies using SharePoint as a platform for new vertical applications and to support solid business processes that have been rebuilt to mash up data in a new way and expose it to new business groups who couldn’t access it before, share what you see! Talk about the impacts, and help other groups realize the potential locked within their SP OOB mentality.

SharePoint Friends Don’t Let SharePoint Friends Work Only with OOB Functionality.

I had a great time at SPC14 and I hope that all of you did, as well.  If you didn’t, let MSFT know. If you did, let the community know!    I can’t wait to see everyone again next time.

SharePint at WPC12

June 27, 2012 1 comment

One of my favorite weeks of the year is coming up – the Microsoft WorldWide Partner Conference.  One of the best meet-ups of the week has always been the SharePint event.  This year should be no exception.

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This year, the Microsoft SharePoint Marketing Group has worked with Pingar and 3 other software companies, Axceler, Rackspace, and Idera, to host a meet-up for partners that work within the SharePoint ecosystem during the week of WPC12.

You know what they say…  SharePoint by Day, SharePINT by Night!

This year SharePint will be on Tuesday, July 10, from 6-8PM at the Madison Avenue Pub, in Toronto.

WPC is a huge event, and while there are some important sessions for SharePoint partners, the real significant effort at WPC should be about meeting with other partners and working to grow your company’s network and connections.  I think this is why the WPC Connect portion of WPC has grown to be (at certain times of the week) the busiest part of the conference.  While it can be hard to find open time to meet with specific partners, at least SharePoint partners understand where they can meet their SharePoint peers and enjoy some good conversation.

If you haven’t already registered for WPC12, please do so at http://digitalwpc.com.

I’ll be meeting with partners at WPC Connect, attending a couple of the sessions, and hoping to meet everyone at SharePint!  If I haven’t already reached out to meet you, please reach out to me and let’s meet at WPC12!

I’m certainly looking forward to an amazing week in Toronto.

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SHARE 2012 Conference – SharePoint Business on Deck!

April 12, 2012 3 comments

The SHARE 2012 Conference is coming up (April 23-26, Atlanta), and Pingar is a sponsor. I’m looking forward to it because of the focus on business solutions and applications that SHARE has as its primary focus.

It is well past time, in my opinion, for a SharePoint conference that is focused strictly on business-oriented solutions. The speakers and sessions have been selected by a committee of users, and have been curated by The Eventful Group, who has many years of solid conference experience.

As much as I love my SharePoint infrastructure and development friends, I think that the surface area for business solutions on SharePoint is very large and should be recognized as a significant and valuable contribution to SharePoint customer implementations.

I’ll be watching the keynotes and sessions to see how many SharePoint business “Roles” are introduced or discussed. I’m not enough of an expert to enumerate the roles that I think should exist for SharePoint business solutions, because I have a feeling that there are many more than I can describe right now. Excluding all developer, IT Pro, and infrastructure roles, I could probably describe 3 or 4 business user roles that need to exist for a “best practices” SharePoint implementation. However, I fear that there really should be 8 or more roles identified and explained. Perhaps, after SHARE 2012, I will be able to put more description behind these roles.

I notice that the folks at Bamboo have proposed a sample schedule for attending SHARE 2012. Niice!

I’m going to make an effort to be sure to see the keynotes from Dux, Michael Sampson, and Gideon Bibliowicz.

There are so many incredible speakers, however, it would be hard to list all of the sessions that I would like to attend.

I’d just like to add that the Pingar booth/kiosk in the exhibitors area will be a great place to talk about business user roles in SharePoint, as well as how business users can benefit from rich information about documents. Yes, the magic that Pingar provides to SharePoint. :-)

I hope to see you there!

Links
Share 2012 Conference US
Share 2012 Conference US Speakers
SharePoint Reviews
Michael Sampson Currents
Bamboo and Share 2012 Conference

Video – Martin Fifield – Nomadic Software

July 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I was exploring a little bit with my video camera while at MSFT Wordwide Partner Conference 2011 (#WPC11), and I ran into Martin Fifield of Nomadic Software.  Kind of ironic that he was in a booth with his companies name on it, as if he had planned on being there, but perhaps his family isn’t constantly nomadic, but only periodically.

Nomadic Software provides middleware to being information and data to mobile devices.  The also create mobile applications, but they’re real magic is in the connections to line of business systems.

We spoke for just a few minutes, and it seems to me that he is approaching the confusion and the dynamic nature of the mobile device market from a good position.

Categories: Event, Mobility

Lars Kolberg – Team Portal at NetConnect ASA

July 16, 2011 Leave a comment

While at WPC 2011, I had some time to sit down with Lars Kolberg (VP Sales), and Pal Storehaug (CEO), of NetConnect ASA (Norway).

NetConnect sells a product called Team Portal, which is a hosted version of SharePoint that is dedicated per customer. One element that I really liked about Team Portal is that NetConnect has integrated an application marketplace within the SharePoint instances that they provide to customers.  From this application marketplace, customers can rapidly install project management apps, workflow apps, crm apps, etc.  Team Portal also has an iPhone client and a desktop client to make accessing and browsing SharePoint sites even more convenient in specific scenarios.

I am not a customer yet, but I will probably need to give this a try.  It’s exciting to see that they are including solutions on top of SharePoint in this way.

And, the partner list that they already have is impressive.  Brightwork, NewsGator, Nintex, 21apps, Equilibrium, Office Talk, and ELearningForce.  Good stuff.

I know that they are looking for additional solutions to add to their marketplace, and so if you are a software company (ISV) that is interested, please reach out to Lars.

Erica Toelle – New Evangelist at Fpweb.net

July 15, 2011 2 comments

While at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC 2011) this past week, I ran into Erica Toelle (@ericatoelle) and she shared that she had just that day changed roles at Fpweb.net, and has become a SharePoint evangelist for Fpweb.net’s great hosting services and offerings.  We recorded a brief video about her role and about what she was expecting from WPC 2011, and here it is. Congratulations, Erica, on your new role, and Good Luck!

SharePint at WPC 2011

July 3, 2011 4 comments

It’s the best time of the year again. (If it seems to you that each year has about 5 or 6 ‘best’ times of the year, then, congratulations! – you must be a regular to the blog.)

This time, is the MSFT Wordwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC). (www.digitalwpc.com | #WPC11)

It’s the time of the year when Microsoft partners of every stripe get together to celebrate the end of twelve months since the previous WPC, and to start anew.  They meet together to make all sorts of business deals, to recruit the best people from each other’s organization, and to get an eye and an ear on what their competition is doing to make the big bucks.

Microsoft sets the direction by sharing the marketing direction that they will take for the next twelve months, and this helps the partners understand where Microsoft will be laying down the marketing air cover for the partners.

I expcet that in the SharePoint world, we’ll hear a lot about Office 365, and then some strength around enterprise success stories in large on-premise SharePoint installations.

I hope that there is some new discussion about the strength of the solutions that are being built around SharePoint and that are carrying SharePoint into new green fields around and within and in-between enterprise customers. I’m a firm believer that SharePoint still has a lot of growth remaining in it.

Back to the topic of the blog post, though.  One of the best off-the-floor activities of the week is the partner SharePint!  A SharePint is a meetup that is arranged at a recreational establishment, and a date and time are published.  There usually isn’t a main title sponsor, but from time to time different partners will stand up and supply a prixe or a t-shirt and buy a round of drinks.

Together with the SharePoint product marketing team, I’ve helped arrange the last two WPC SharePint events, and we got our heads together to make it three.

I tweeted an early location last week, but we’ve had to change the location. The SharePint will NOT be held at the YardHouse, but instead will beheld at the Weiland Brewery Underground.

Here are the details:

Weiland Brewery Underground

At the corner of S Flower and 5th Street
underground of the City National Bank Building
Tuesday, July 12 — 5:00-8:00PM

Please stop by and join us.  Some partners will have prizes to raffle off, and this is the best place to meet your SharePoint peeps and friends and other contacts in a casual way.

I look forward to seeing you there!

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