It’s been a whirlwind of a week. Literally, in fact. I stepped off the airplane on Sunday in Austin to learn that a tornado warning had just been lifted on the airport and surrounding area. I was traveling for the SPTechCon Austin event, and apparently the event hotel was in the direct path of the storm, which managed to uproot a few trees out in the parking lot. Missed that one. But it was the logical end to a frenzied month and quarter, for sure.
I’m sitting here waiting for a support call to (hopefully) resolve an issue with my cloud storage that has gone into you-can-see-but-not-touch mode (undocumented OD feature?) and otherwise working on a couple articles to be published next week, and remembered that I had not yet put together my monthly content summary. Oops.
The big news, for those who have not heard, is that I have stepped down as Chief Marketing Officer from Beezy, and have officially launched my own technical marketing services and research firm under the CollabTalk brand. I’m still a huge fan of the Beezy solution, and will be working with the team from time to time – and referring customer opportunities their way. However, after almost two years with the company, I was ready to expand my focus and work with other clients. CollabTalk LLC will focus on three primary areas: fractional CMO services (I’m a CMO-for-hire), content strategy and development, and marketing research (in conjunction with the Marriott School of Management at BYU). For example, I’ve been working with the tyGraph team on their launch of tyGraph for Groups (which is something you really need to check out if you’re using Office 365) and have several new customer projects kicking off this month. Ping me if you’d like more info.
As for the coming month, SPTechCon was my only show. I had planned to participate in SPS Nashville or Los Angeles (the latter of which I helped launch back in 2010) but with the company launch and family activities – and a heavy travel schedule in May with 4 road trips – I decided to stay home and enjoy the calm before the storm. Much of what I have been working on behind the scenes will take some time to be made public, and I’ll promote as various whitepapers, ebooks, and articles go live. But there were still quite a few items that were public in March, which you can check out from the list below:
The major focus of Q1 for me was the hybrid SharePoint research project, in partnership with the Marriott School at BYU, and sponsored by Microsoft, PixelMill, B&R Business Solutions, and other huge names in the SharePoint ecosystem. The customer survey was open for 28 days, and surpassed our goal of 500 respondents, collecting 628 responses from 510 different companies from 54 different countries. Very proud of these numbers, and excited to share the results of this study on April 17th. I should mention that the results will be free, and shared by our sponsors. Watch the Twittersphere for updates. You’ll also find some fun videos created on a visit to DC last month, where I hung out with Dux Raymond Sy (@meetdux) and Sue Hanley (@susanhanley) where we discussed hybrid (and dropped some Mentos candies into a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke):
- Research To Measure State of Hybrid SharePoint Market (RedmondMag) http://bit.ly/2oNLArg
- Interview with Christian Buckley on the Hybrid SharePoint Research including his views about ‘hybrid’ (Collab365) http://bit.ly/2nMLPyc
- Dux and I talking about the hybrid study from AvePoint DC (Facebook) http://bit.ly/2nTTN9O
- Talking about Hybrid SharePoint in the park with Dux Raymond Sy and Susan Hanley (Facebook) http://bit.ly/2ohQFY9
- #SPTechCon Panel: Analyzing the Hybrid SharePoint Ecosystem (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2pbAatQ
- SharePoint Summit Will Emphasize 'Connected Workplace' with Office 365 (RedmondMag) http://bit.ly/2ngln2O
- SharePoint Research Showing Strong Support for Hybrid as a Strategy (ReleaseWire) http://bit.ly/2nMUSiP
One topic which I will be writing more on is the concept of conversation-as-a-service. As you read up on the topic, you’ll see that Microsoft defines this differently than I do – and I am hoping to change that to some degree. When Microsoft talks about CaaS, they immediately jump into bots and machine-learning and AI. I don’t disagree with this positioning, but my focus has more to do with the natural language around conversation technologies, whether it be through the use of Cortana, or the instant messaging apps, like Skype. How we interact with our UX is key, but we also need to think about how these various interactions and the artifacts they create (threaded discussions, audio, video) are captured, tagged, stored, and put in context of our projects and communities. Well, I could get into further detail, or you can read the article below:
- Conversation Portability in the Age of the Digital Workplace (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/SocialPortability
Broader collaboration topics
As I do every month, I also generated a few posts on various collaboration topics. A couple of the posts on the Beezy blog point to the final stage of the Measuring Collaboration Success community initiative, which is well worth the read:
- Never Underestimate the Power of Praising Your Employees (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2oNLqQM
- Building a Collaboration Hub (Medium) http://bit.ly/2oLxuXO
- Mitigating Content Management Issues Through Community (LinkedIn) http://bit.ly/2ohTSac
- The Power of Employee Engagement (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2obc44K
- The Art of Collaboration Implementation (Beezy) http://bit.ly/2nUvAQm
- How do you implement successful collaboration? (Beezy) http://bit.ly/2oblyx2
- The Power of Employee Engagement (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2obc44K
- Brief Musical Interlude (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2nnDohs
Last month's #CollabTalk tweetjam topic
The CollabTalk tweetjam continues to grow each month. What started back in January 2012 as a collection of my community friends as more of a roundtable chat on various collaboration topics has turned into an online event of epic proportions, with hundreds of thousands of profiles reached, and 5 to 6 million impressions, AND we trend nationally on Twitter every month. If you have not had a chance to check out the tyGraph stats for CollabTalk, take a look. The March tweetjam was sponsored by tyGraph (@tyGraphTweets) and tweetjam newcomer Exclaimer (@Exclaimer), and the focus was the role of email in the digital workplace. We had a tremendous turnout, and achieved our second highest stats since tracking started last fall. You can read the blog post with questions below, as well as read through the entire tweetjam (over 900 tweets in an hour).
- What is the Future of Email? (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2nnPes5
- The Future of Email in the Digital Workplace (Storify) http://bit.ly/2nnJNJL
- (and February's summary) Gauging the Organizational Impact of Office 365 Groups (Storify) http://bit.ly/2nnHcz9
The Digital Workplace
One of my other Beezy activities this past month was a webinar on planning for the Digital Workplace which really stemmed from a question I’ve received a few times: where do I start? There’s so much content out there to try and convince people to make the move, most of which are focused on specific technologies, that many people struggle to understand where to put a stake in the ground and prioritize the use cases that should move from analog to digital. With my background in technical project management, I walked attendees through some PM best practices for identifying their target business use cases, prioritizing them, and then building a plan for moving forward using a systems-planning approach. You can find the entire webinar on-demand below.
- Planning Your Digital Workplace (Beezy) http://bit.ly/2oNRwjZ
- Webinar: Planning Your Digital Workplace (YouTube) http://bit.ly/2oRXoG5
- Planning your Digital Workplace: A Systems-Based Planning Approach (SlideShare) http://bit.ly/2nnEUjK
- On-Demand Webinar: Implementing Successful Collaboration - Community Feedback (Beezy) http://bit.ly/2oLzQWt
Mentions and some self-promotion
I have quite a bit coming up this month and next, and was telling my sister this week that things really don’t quiet down for me until mid-July after I get home from Microsoft Inspire in DC (formerly known as WPC), only to heat up again in late August when I head down to Australia, then Ignite in September, and 3 weeks in South Africa in October. To help keep my own schedule and activities straight in my head, I like to publish a list of events with links, which helps me remember what I am presenting on at any given event. I’ve also included here a couple mentions from friends within the community:
- Hitting the Road -- My Event Schedule through June (buckleyPLANET) http://bit.ly/2obpGgj
- How I Prepare for Tweetjams (Jeff Shuey) http://bit.ly/2o7jN2b
- Office 365 Message Center: The week that was 17 Mar 2017 (Re:Office 365) http://bit.ly/2oLzDms
- Measuring the Impact of Office 365 Groups (CMSWire) http://bit.ly/2oLATWn
And that was March. On a personal note, there’s a lot going on with the family. My daughter and her husband will be moving to Minnesota this summer where she’ll be pursuing her Masters in Public Health Administration at the University of Minnesota, the #2 program in the country. My oldest son is taking a summer job on the east coast, leaving as soon as the semester winds down, and my middle son Nick received his LDS mission call to serve in the Stockholm Sweden Mission (video http://bit.ly/2oNRp84) entering the MTC on June 7th. With my youngest son planning to serve a mission following high school graduation next summer, this means that after this month, we won’t all be together for over 3 years. Really proud of my kids, but its going to be tough to see everyone go. Then again, less fighting over the remote….