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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.

Metalogix Gobbles up Pieces of Axceler

August 28, 2013 4 comments

Interesting news this morning.  Metalogix gobbled up the SharePoint products and offerings from Axceler.  Rumors have been flying for months about an acquisition between the two parties, and both directions were mentioned – either Axceler doing the acquiring or Metalogix doing the acquiring.  In the end, though, it didn’t come out either way – Metalogix only acquired a portion of Axceler’s business.  

Image  The SharePoint products from Axceler have driven Axceler to be one of the fastest growing ISVs in the SharePoint ecosystem.  A darling of growth, and of product innovation, the Axceler ControlPoint products have illustrated that there is potential within the SharePoint ecosystem for Management, Administration, and Governance tools.

At least, there used to be lots of potential in the SharePoint ecosystem in the Management and Administration spaces. While I think there remains lots of potential in the governance space, I think it’s fair to say that with the shift to Office 365, the room for growth in the SharePoint Management and Administration space feels like there is a cap on it.  We don’t know exactly where that cap is, but there is no doubt that the open range for Administration and Management of SharePoint On-Premise is now a fenced in corral, and the ability to run free is limited.

In the short term, this will put Metalogix in a very powerful position for SharePoint On-Premise solutions.  Every SharePoint On-Premise solution will either be in the AvePoint camp, the Dell camp, the MetaVis camp, or the Metalogix camp.  Metalogix does have a very compelling set of offerings.  This is a very busy space for SharePoint users to wade through, and the removal of one of the players (Axceler), simplifies the space a little bit, but it is still confusing when there are 4 strong providers to consider and many little providers.  

Do you think that Axceler realized that 1. the space was very crowded, and 2. the Office 365 future was limited?  I think that the leadership of Axceler realized this and pulled off an amazing feat in this divestiture of their SharePoint business to Metalogix.  I think that Metalogix is being driven somewhat by optics and not by the realities of the SharePoint ecosystem in this case.  I hope that the price that Metalogix paid takes into account that the market for SharePoint On-Premise in 3 more years will only be the largest SharePoint customers, and that their Long Tail market of small and medium SharePoint customers will be dried up.

I found myself joking with some colleagues that while we used to refer to Open Text as the CA (Computer Associates) of the Document Management world, it now appears that one could consider Metalogix as the CA of the SharePoint world.  CA, in this case, as a euphemism for the place where software companies go into eternal maintenance mode…  I wonder how true this might turn out to be.

In the meantime, congratulations, Axceler, and we will be watching with interest to see how Metalogix takes advantage of this bundle of riches that their combined offering now provides. Can Metalogix turn this into a productive acquisition and gain significant market share against the other SharePoint management and administration tools?

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

SharePoint and Azure at PDC10

October 27, 2010 1 comment

Tomorrow is the start of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, PDC10. Every SharePoint ISV should have one or two developers or architects in attendance, virtually, if not physically.

This edition of PDC is important because much of the focus will be on the Windows Azure platform, and Cloud Computing concepts.  I don’t think there is a bigger question that SharePoint ISVs have, than “What are the Cloud and Azure implications for SharePoint, and for my business?”

Now is the time to learn about Microsoft’s direction with the Windows Azure platform.  There are bound to be a number of announcements about the Windows Azure platform, and because the integration with SharePoint 2010 is not a direct integration, but is an indirect integration, most, if not all, SharePoint solutions will need to be re-architected.

Even if you have selected a different cloud provider than the Windows Azure platform, you will benefit from understanding Microsoft’s direction around Windows Azure.  Windows Azure focuses more on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, and is not an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.  This implies that more or less services are available to you as a solution builder.

There won’t be a lot of sessions about SharePoint specifically, but most of the Azure sessions will have a bearing on SharePoint development. There will be one session on SharePoint Online, but it will be viewable on demand, and not live.

Use http://player.microsoftpdc.com/ to see the agenda, and to play the sessions in a live streaming mode and for replay after the conference concludes.

I should stress that development for SharePoint Online and development for SharePoint and Windows Azure are different things at this point.  SharePoint solution builders need to understand that they need to have two approaches to deliver their solutions, or pick the best approach and work to deliver well through that channel.  I would love to be able to update this post to announce that a SharePoint solution builder can target SharePoint Online and the Windows Azure platform with the same approach, but that will not be true for a long time, if ever.  SharePoint Online is Not SharePoint on Windows Azure.

The timing for this event is also interesting, given the new announcements of Office 365 as the new name for the Business Productivity Online Suite.  I’m not sure that we’ll see much about Office 365, given that the PDC is owned by the Developer side of the campus, and not the Business side, but there should be mentions and maybe some additional information in the high-level keynotes.

 

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