SPC12 Reflecting on the Future

As promised here are some of my thoughts and reflections on #SPC12…….  I have certainly had plenty of time to digest the jammed packed week that was this year’s Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. I came across a quote that sums up  the overall perspective I left the conference with  “Our duty is to preserve what the past has had to say for itself, and to say for ourselves what shall be true for the future” -John Ruskin

So let’s see if I can bring us back to that at the end of this post. First I want to give the Microsoft team that planned the overall event kudos for another great conference. I have been coming to these conferences since MOSS released and this registration process, overall layout of tracks (content and location), meals, vendor hall, events and community hub were all very well put together. Granted there were some challenges with WiFi but overall it was a great experience. There was even a SharePoint Conference channel in the Mandalay Bay Hotel rooms (which I admittedly watched every morning while I got ready – yes I am that person)

ShareGate Just Damn Simple - great shirt

ShareGate Just Damn Simple – great shirt

     I always look forward to the first night of networking in the vendor hall. This year was the first year the conference had a Microsoft store that attendees could purchase Microsoft gear directly at the conference.

I got a chance to catch up with a number of friends and colleagues in the community.  I also participated in a super secret practice to get ready for the SPC12 Gangham Style Flashmob – thanks to Dux and Marcy Kellar for coordinating this!

Day 1 Observation: Holy Moly this community of ours is getting massive!

This is a great thing – challenge is that with so many people to talk to quality time with anyone person can be next to impossible. There is a tremendous wealth of knowledge in this community so my advice is take advantage of every opportunity you have to network with others, learn from their experiences (they are truly trying to help), don’t be afraid to ask for help and pay attention because things move fast with this product and its only accelerating with 2013.

Day 2 Observation: Office 365 is the real deal!

Every presentation/demo I saw at this conference was done so from Office 365. Additionally the new features of MS Project Server integration has really matured and soon to be available at an Office 365 implementation near you. Some questions I hope to soon answer include:

  • Will this integrate with on premise TFS Server installations? If so what versions?
  • Will the Agile/Scrum template be available in the cloud offering of Project Server/SharePoint 2013?

Over the last few months I have talked to more and more people who are asking ” Why Not the Cloud?” as Opposed to a year ago when I often heard “Why would I use the Cloud?”

Day 3 Observation: Planning is more important than ever – don’t underestimate the complexity of this product! (or the problems you are trying to solve)

With the improved user interface, flexibility to use different design tools for branding, social features, new app model and improved search (plus all of the great experience you have accumulated over the past few years) you might be thinking to yourself SharePoint 2013 looks easier – don’t fool yourself! This product is more sophisticated than ever and you need to spend the proper time planning for success and figuring out how you will measure the future success you are dreaming about. (this means doing more than a product demo and sending your users the link to a good SharePoint book/video/blog..etc)

Day 4 Observation: Search and Development – Better Together!

I have to admit this isn’t a new observation for me but I feel like it needs to be emphasized even more with this new release of SharePoint! If you weren’t a believer before it’s a great time to start. Search driven apps are powerful and performant with zero code – it doesn’t get much better than that folks. If the CQWP was one of your go to webparts take a look at the Content by Search webpart in SharePoint 2013 – it won’t disappoint.

Something to think about:

As organizations take a hard look at the benefits of having a better connected workforce and breaking down the silos of information and teams I believe that SharePoint can bring a lot to the table to solve these challenges.

More than ever before understanding your organizations needs, goals, culture and overall technology landscape will be very important in planning any steps towards implementing SharePoint 2013 (or any version of SharePoint for that matter).

So to bring us back around to the beginning if: “Our duty is to preserve what the past has had to say for itself, and to say for ourselves what shall be true for the future” -John Ruskin

We should learn from our past and look forward to the exciting future. Spend time planning and understanding the business goals and needs before you run out and deploy SharePoint 2013 and take time to analyze what has worked well in the past and what has failed.

Till next time….

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