SharePoint Conference 2011–Day 1

I’m at the SharePoint Conference in sunny Anaheim CA this week. First day of sessions is in the books. Keynote and most sessions are heavy on cloud services (particularly Office 365) and end-user empowerment. Not seeing a whole lot of developer-specific sessions this time around. Attendance is similar to the last trip through, around 7500.

This morning, 20 minutes before the keynote, a company called huddle showed up with a marching band. And cheerleaders. And signs and flyers featuring ‘SharePoint’ with a line through it (a la no-smoking signs). I can’t speak to their product’s legitimacy as a true SharePoint competitor, but I can say that their marketing department is ballsy. I mean, showing up with that kind of fanfare at one of the biggest conferences of the year? That takes some fortitude. To that end — watching people in black shirts descend upon them (complete with SharePoint logos and talking into their collars) was definitely a new level of entertainment.

I attended three sessions today — the first, past the keynote, was focused on Knowledge Management and creating knowledge communities. The session was definitely business oriented, but shed some light on what other businesses are struggling with to generate user adoption of knowledge systems. There are a lot of sessions, blogs & books out there about increasing user content into SharePoint, but no one really focuses on innovative ways to get that data back out. That’s a void that I imagine the community will fill soon, but it’s a big opportunity, and one of SharePoint’s biggest ‘out-of-the-box’ weaknesses.

After lunch I went to a session that had ‘iPad’ ‘Android tablet’ and ‘Windows Devices’ in the title. I was expecting something sweet. I was disappointed. It was basically OCT (Office Customization Toolkit) 101 — and how to tell your users ‘NO.’ Had to bail early on that.

I couldn’t really find a third session that looked useful today. As I said earlier, there is a lot of focus on O365 & end user experience. Ultimately, I started out in document management, but bailed and had a few phone calls and conversations that were far more encouraging.

So day one wasn’t bad. Here’s hoping day two has some more dev-central things, but that’s ok if it doesn’t. End user adoption is important, and something we should all embrace, developer, administrator or business user.

I’m floating around — normal looking guy with a beard in jesus sandals. Say hello.