It’s always fun when a quickly planned event comes together. A couple weeks back, I confirmed my travel details to the middle east that began with a stop in Dubai and meetings with Microsoft and several area partners, as well as a visit to the GITEX technology conference. My next planned stop was to be the SharePoint and Exchange Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, but I had not yet locked down any activities in between events. So I sent a couple emails, and was able to connect first with Avner Rosenan and Lydia Bronze at CloudShare, who reached out to their contacts at Microsoft Israel to see about getting a space to use for a community event. Due to the holidays, the response was slow, and so I also worked with Axceler’s partner in the region, Efficens Software and CEO Gil Givati, as well as with Yaacov Cohen, CEO of Harmon.ie, with Harmon.ie volunteering their offices over near the Ben Gurion airport – which is where we ended up holding the event.
The turnout was excellent, with a full house and great interaction. I kicked things off with a review of the results of the AIIM.org survey focusing on SharePoint 2010 adoption, providing analysis on where the SharePoint platform falls meets and exceed, and where it falls short of end user and corporate expectations. One thing I pointed out repeatedly, and for those who may have not yet had time to start looking at SharePoint 2013, is that most of what 2010 users report as missing from the platform has been included within SharePoint 2013, with a strong emphasis on cloud and web content management (WCM). Get the full AIIM survey results here. And you can see my presentations by clicking on the two images below.
After my session, Yaacov and his team provided a presentation on the growing importance of social tools for improving organizational and individual productivity, including a demo of the latest Harmon.ie tools. He gave his entire presentation in Hebrew, but its amazing how much translated (the slides helped).
To wrap up the session, I then walked through my session on the top productivity features in SharePoint 2013. I always preface this session by first talking about the major platform changes in SharePoint 2013 – and there are some huge difference with previous versions, namely the WCM capabilities, the focus on social experiences, and the online first delivery model. You may have heard others make the statement – and I’ll say it again here – that this may be the last large on-prem and online release of SharePoint like this. From here on out, new features will likely come fast and first to SharePoint Online and Office 365, with a sub-set of those features being released later to on-prem environments. [This is my interpretation of the “online first” model, and I don’t have any other specifics or timelines for delivery]
The basic premise of my presentation is that your deployment of SharePoint should include consideration of the user experience, and a tight coupling of usability with business use cases. My point is that your end users do not want plain vanilla SharePoint. Your job is not to stand up some servers, add your user profiles, and then cut them loose to figure out their own way through the SharePoint landscape. Instead, you should take advantage of the many new and powerful WCM, social, search, and content aggregation features to build SharePoint in a way that will optimize the end user’s experience, making it better match the way that you do business. This might mean automating some functions using workflow and forms, or maybe providing key line of business system integrations so that you simplify the interface to all of their most critical business systems.
I’ve been writing a lot of content focusing on improving productivity, because, in my personal view, there has been little focus on it to date, and it’s a major reason why end user adoption has struggled in far too many organizations. Hopefully you will find my presentation helpful as you begin thinking about SharePoint 2013.
Following the event at Harmon.ie, I was able to spend some time back in Tel Aviv at the CloudShare offices and discuss future plans for our companies to work together. If you’ve seen me present live, then you’ve probably heard me pitch the CloudShare services as a great (and inexpensive) way to quickly get your hands on a SharePoint development or testing system, configured any way you choose. If you’d like to play around with SharePoint 2013 but don’t have the hardware – or you fear doing damage to an existing system, CloudShare is an excellent way to quickly setup an environment (in less than t5 minutes) and start playing with the features. Easy as pie.
Tomorrow I’ll get a quick tour of Tel Aviv, and then switch hotels over to Jerusalem where I’ll spend the first half of my weekend before heading to Sweden Sunday morning. For those who will be attending SEF, see you Sunday night!