What I learned at the European SharePoint Conference, Day 1


Here’s an update from  from the stimulating European SharePoint Conference in Berlin. There are 800 attendees, a lot of vendors (3 exhibit halls) and many interesting people to talk to. The Estrel Hotel and Conference Center is a good venue, very comfortable and although huge also human.

Here are the sessions I attended today:

Keynote – Bjørn Olstad – Overview from Microsoft

Bjorn is the erstwhile CTO of FAST, the Enterprise search company bought by Microsoft and integrated into SharePoint. He spoke mainly about Microsoft and SharePoint rather than diving deeply into search, which would be fascinating to hear. Main takeaway from me is that Microsoft is moving resources from SharePoint as a platform to SharePoint as an application – making it easy and powerful to use for end-users. Also that the Cloud is very much here to stay; the same team develops SharePoint Online as SharePoint On Premise.

Measuring Social Learning in SharePoint with Assessments – John Kleeman (@johnkleeman)

Always good to get your speaking session out of the way at the beginning of the conference I think, so nice to be one in the first session group after the keynote. I had a good turnout and the session seemed to go well – here is a picture of me presenting (thanks @emalvass for the photo).

kleeman in berlin

Visio and SharePoint – Ian White from Microsoft

Ian spoke about Visio and how you can hook it up to SharePoint. I use Visio for basic drawing of charts, and it’s clear there is much more you can do with it. Visio can connect to data sources and live within SharePoint and show dashboards or other graphs which can update in real time – your end users don’t need Visio, just the people creating graphics. Looks very interesting and worth exploring, perhaps we could display assessment results this way?

Selling your solution to your users – Edin Kapic (@ekapic)

Edin is a SharePoint expert in Barcelona and gave a well-structured talk on how to get  users to adopt SharePoint. Will download his slides and refer to them as they were well thought through. Main takeaway – give your users a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) reason to adopt SharePoint. Connect what it provides them to what they want.

A key message for all of us who communicate or need adoption – make sure you think about What’s In It For Me for each person in your audience.

Office 365 – Mirjam van Olst (@MirjamvanOlst)

Mirjam is a MVP and MCM from Holland and gave us a capable tour of SharePoint Online in Office 365. Most of it I knew already as Questionmark uses Office 365, but there were some ideas particularly on charting that I want to experiment with.

Interesting to think where Office 365 will be used – obviously to replace On Premise Intranets  is one area. But also talk of it being used for extranets – with Microsoft pricing and ability to login externally, it could be attractive for some companies to use it for extranets even if their Intranet is On Premise.

Business Processes – Andreas Berthold-van der Molen

Andreas manages the EMEA Power Utilities sector for Microsoft, and this was an insightful session explaining some of the value utilities companies get from SharePoint – including how it can expose SAP information – taking SAP data into SharePoint and then into Office. A key benefit of SharePoint is that it allows you to visualize data, and he showed some dashboards utility companies use. Utilities companies are big users of assessment, and there seems a lot of eye-opening stuff here.

SharePoint’s Social Computing Scorecard – Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet)

Christian has a long history in social computing and gave a strong talk comparing different social media software (a slightly older version of his PowerPoint is here). He gave a nice precis about Jive, Yammer, Salesforce, Google+, Facebook and many more. His conclusion was that SharePoint, especially with add-ons beats them all, though Jive is very credible if you work outside the Microsoft stack. Wish we’d had time to hear more.

Keynote – Social Media Strategy in SharePoint – Joel Oleson (@joeloleson)

Last but not least, was Joel Oleson, the first ever SharePoint admin, as he worked at Microsoft before SharePoint was released. He seems a very authentic figure, and he now runs SharePoint for the LDS Church. Some philosophical thoughts – the most interesting for me a reminder that the more we can get people to share in the workplace, the more beneficial this is for all.

In between the sessions …

Like any conference, it’s the space between the sessions that’s as valuable as the sessions themselves and I met many people today I’d only met virtually before. There is also a busy exhibition – company stands I found interesting included AvePoint (SharePoint admin and very strong marketing premise here), Bamboo (powerful web parts) and HiSoftware (interesting compliance angle).

Which reminds me … it’s time to head to the AvePoint party at Checkpoint Charlie in the centre of Berlin … I’ll give a further update on what I learn soon.

Update: See further post on the conference: I love SharePoint so I love to answer questions

This entry was posted in Commentary, Community and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.