SharePoint Fest Denver 2013 was filled with lively crowds, packed sessions, and dynamic speakers. Day One Keynote Speaker was the informative, Cem Ayken, Microsoft. He spoke to the masses about Microsoft’s vision with Enterprise Search & WCM in SharePoint. Ayken highlighted search & SharePoint 2013 and how it drives many different scenarios – social scenarios, wcm, etc… he then went on to describe the evolution of enterprise communication starting with phone, email, IM, voice and video, and finally, social networking. Ayken then posed a question that I find being discussed in a growing number of conversations that I’ve been having with many different organizations. “What’s your social vision?” Ayken states, “Regardless of the size of the organization or industry there is value in the social experience. There is a business value of social including employee engagement, team collaboration, a more connected organization, and agile employees.” Ayken mentioned the upcoming Yammer app for SharePoint that is coming down the pipe. He wrapped up by talking about how SharePoint 2013 search drives experience and how SharePoint 2013 is offering great enterprise search for everyone with the FAST acquisition and now integration with SP2013 search. Also stating how on premise and cloud search are basically same parity.
I left the keynote talk ready to hit up vendor row, meet & greet with the local SI’s and vendor reps, and head into the first breakout session.
I chose to sit in on Dan Holme’s “SharePoint in Action: What We Did at NBC Olympics” Dan talked about the short stint of the Olympic’s IT enterprise and how much work had to be done in a very short period of time as well as being done on a tight budget. He stated 5500 hours of content/ 300 hours per day was covered for broadcasting. He then went on to describe the SharePoint environment that he and his team were tasked in creating. He was given certain business requirements such as the following: it must be done quickly, easy for end users, byod, limited cheap resources, easy to support, very flexible, and has to scale quickly. Sounds familiar? He then showed us the intranet that was created to address these requirements. There were some interesting uses of web parts in 2010, as well as features used in SP 2013. He showed an application site, printer driver site, IT team site, FAQ site, help desk site, some uses of forms and info path, and an IT admin issue tracking system. All in all, the session was interesting.
I then ventured on into see the infamous @jwillie aka, Jeff Willinger, of RightPoint Solutions out of Chicago, IL speak on, “Mobility Solutions – Info on Demand and Where SharePoint Fits In” This talk was focused on Rightpoint’s Reach vs. Rich approach. Jeff began by asking, “What’s the best way to communicate within your organization?” He talked about how organizations should be exploring a Mobile + Social Strategy. Jeff stated, “We are currently in transition with I.T. Yesterday was different and tomorrow is too.” I ultimately agree with that statement thinking back to how the evolution of communication and computing has changed drastically in the last 10 years and seems to be ever evolving. Jeff hits on another topic that I am very familiar with as I’ve been traveling about in 2013 speaking and sharing the point on this very topic; The Consumerization of I.T. Jeff states, “Consumerization is all about experience!” Yes, absolutely, I often say in my sessions that, Consumerization is all about the “right now” I want my data now! On this device! Under my desk! Across town! Up in this tree! It’s about self service. Jeff also talks about the Cloud Datacenter consolidation and how I.T. is getting out of the hardware business which allows I.T. resources to be focused on business alignment instead of server uptime. He also pointed out some 2013 trends for SharePoint including how VPN isn’t cutting it anymore- workers need access to apps and sites anywhere anytime. Jeff also explained another trend, how collaboration over social networks brings new possibilities for work teams. He talked about how this year self service BI is a demand, and lastly, there is a real demand for a professional UX -he states that apps need to be intuitive. Jeff then gave some architecture options for mobile + SharePoint by showing some real world examples of some of the solutions that Jeff and his RightPoint team has implemented for customers. Another rock star presentation at SharePoint Fest Denver by @jwillie
Up next was Breakout Session #4 with the always engaging, Mark Miller, @EUSP, talk on, “How Unsocial is SharePoint?” Mark began by showing a very visual graphical slide of interconnected dots and lines meant to illustrate, Building Communities. He poses the question, “What does Social mean?” Mark explains how social can be defined by an emotional connection. He honed in on 3 silos within SharePoint – end users, I.T. pros, and developers which mocks the setup of the community that Mark co-founded, www.nothingbutsharepoint.com Mark shared his expertise on communities by calling them a network of interconnected relationships. He stated that organizations must take a close look at the business justification of social in the enterprise and ask themselves, “What are we trying to accomplish across teams and departments? Are we doing it because our competitors are?” Mark then went on to pick apart use cases for online social media. He did an analysis on how each of us are using online social media then went onto showing statistics that actually matched up with the room’s responses on how and what we use online social media on. Mark wrapped up with a very valid point, “End users are looking for solutions not platforms.”
I chose to conclude my day of learning in Breakout Session #5 with Ira Fuchs, Microsoft Technical Specialist in NY & NJ. His session was entitled, “Why SP Designer is your Best Friend” Fuchs stated that there are SharePoint implementations across the world where site admins have disabled SharePoint Designer in site collections. He claims that is stupid!
He showed us how SP Designer 2010 & 2013 are similar claiming that SharePoint Designer will make you significantly more efficient and effective. It was interesting to see within any site collection SharePoint Designer out of the box presents you with all the relevant information of that site such as the web address, permissions, sub-sites, how much storage in that site collection, etc… He did some demonstrations for the group including a workflow deom on creating an offer letter within an organization. Fuchs’ session definitely provided a new outlook on SharePoint Designer and it’s capabilities.
After a fun packed day of learning on Day One, I ventured out with the group to some of the SharePint’s. SharePoint Fest Denver day one was a blast.