Another SharePoint Conference is fast approaching! This is my sixth time attending, and browsing the available sessions and tracks is both exciting and overwhelming.
The conference continues to grow steadily in numbers of attendees, exhibitors, and topics covered. For example, enterprise social has not had much of a presence until the last conference. This year, enterprise social has a large number of sessions.
Like SharePoint itself, there’s an awful lot to talk about. Trying to take in absolutely everything as well as leaving time to network with peers is next to impossible. One needs to focus on what you want to get out of attending the conference. Trust me: the plane ride down or the first day of the conference is not the best place to start choosing your sessions!
Fortunately, conference organizers have organized the sessions into categorized tracks and audience types as well as expertise level. I’m not a developer, so I can rule out all the 400-level and a good number of 300-level sessions. It’s also a good idea to select multiple sessions per time slot in case one is a bust.
While this year may not be a new release year such as the last conference, there will still be plenty of new announcements.
I am expecting to hear some significant announcements around SharePoint/Yammer integration, Microsoft’s roadmap vision for enterprise social, updates on the replacement for InfoPath, enhancements to OneDrive, and a handful of news around Office 365.
This will also be a good year for customer-led presentations. This was definitely lacking last year. I’ll also be on the lookout for mobile solutions and scenarios as well as SharePoint 2013 upgrade lessons learned.
No SharePoint conference can be start without the hype and excitement of the opening keynote. This year is no exception. Bill Clinton will be on the centre stage. Can’t wait!
So with that, here’s my six main themes of interest that I hope to get out of this year’s conference. I’ve included some of the sessions that caught my eye, too.
1. Enterprise Social
The importance of enterprise social is quite evident in the sheer number of sessions offered this year. We’ve been working extensively with Yammer over the past year, but the missing piece of the puzzle is that true seamless integration with SharePoint to carry on from the great potential of SharePoint’s native social tools.
- SPC282 Microsoft's vision and roadmap for Enterprise Social
- SPC291 The strategy behind building a successful social intranet
- SPC107 Overcoming barriers to achieve social business success and adoption
- SPC3991 Yammer mining - dig in and "listen" to what your big *social* data is saying
- SPC246 Knowledge Management with SharePoint and Yammer
2. Office 365 and the cloud
Over the past year, we’ve seen a noticeable shift to the cloud for many of our customer solutions. The Office 365 value proposition is continuing to resonate for many organizations, especially with SharePoint 2013 On Premise’s heavier infrastructure requirements. What came through loud and clear at the last conference was Microsoft’s strategic focus on the cloud. This year, I’ll be intrigued to hear feedback on that shift from other partners and customers as well as Microsoft’s refined vision and road map.
- SPC108 The Cloud: Navigating the benefits and challenges of this disruptive innovation
- SPC238 Office 365 service communications to customers
- SPC339 SharePoint 2013 hybrid end-to-end
- SPC337 Search-driven publishing for Intranet Portals in SharePoint Online
The rapid rise of mobile extends to the enterprise. We’ve seen a steady interest from customers to support employees through game-changing mobile scenarios. While SharePoint isn’t necessarily top of mind when you mention mobile, we’ve been turning out some leading edge solutions in this space. Mobile should continue to be a dominant theme this year.
- SPC271 Work with anyone, anywhere, on any device
- SPC345 SharePoint for any screen size: an in-depth look into building responsive web design
- SPC388 SharePoint 2013 Powering Web Sites and Mobile Apps
- SPC276 Lead the BYOD Revolution: Effectively Manage a Multi-Device & Multi-Generational Workforce
4. SharePoint upgrade and migration
The volume of upgrade conversations in the market is high. Many of our customers are looking to take advantage of the features made available in SharePoint 2013 or are more seriously contemplating a move over to the cloud.
5. Customer showcases
Last year’s conference was all about showcasing what’s new in SharePoint 2013. This year, I am excited to hear more firsthand customer-led sessions. These session often showcase real world examples that dig into lessons learned and challenges from the field.
- SPC222 VF Corporation: From silos to SharePoint Online!
- SPC311 Nationwide: Building a World-Renowned Intranet with SharePoint 2013 and Yammer
- SPC278 EY: making enterprise search successful
- SPC295 Cargill: Real-world challenges and value in introducing enterprise social
- SPC296 Best Buy: The rise of the ninjas—a SharePoint 2013 user adoption story
6. Roadmap vision
In addition to hearing the roadmap vision for enterprise social, there’s also expected to be a handful of other important announcements and revelations about what to expect in the short and long term horizons.
- SPC348 Update on InfoPath and SharePoint Forms
- SPC268 What's new and what's coming for OneDrive for Business
- SPC3994 What's new in Workflow for SharePoint Online
See you in Vegas folks!
Follow Will on Twitter at @CW_Hardy for updates during the 2014 SharePoint Conference!