SharePoint Saturday East Bay Snapshot

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Nothing like releasing a major product in-between hosting two major out-of-state events. This past weekend, I helped coordinate the very successful inaugural SharePoint Saturday East Bay event in San Ramon at the Marriott. We had 30 speakers from around the globe, a beautiful venue, 21 sponsors, all 4 regional user groups, and 2 in-kind technology sponsors on hand from 7:30am until 6pm, and then followed up with a great SharePint dinner and drinks at Izzy’s off of Bollinger, sponsored by Rackspace.

Friday night before the event, the speakers got together for dinner at the incredible Blackhawk Auto Museum. We ate, we networked, we drooled over rare and unique cars.

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On Saturday, Michael Noel and I kicked things off in the morning with keynote addresses from Bill Baer, Technical PM for the IT Pro space on the SharePoint team at Microsoft, dialing in remotely. Bill gave a little bit of perspective into the history of SharePoint and scope of the latest platform release. Bill was followed by Owen Allen, who recently left Microsoft as the ISV PM, and who now works with independent software vendors (ISVs) and strategic integrators (SIs) through his own company, SharePoint Directions LLC. Owen talked about the increasing business opportunities around SharePoint (and will be presenting at the upcoming SharePoint Saturday in Los Angeles on 9/18).

With that send-off, the breakout sessions began. My first session was Enabling Social Media through Metadata. The intent of this session was to help users understand

  1. what social computing is, and why it is important,
  2. that metadata and taxonomy make social computing in SharePoint possible, and
  3. what social computing features are available within SharePoint 2010 (and 2007).

My second session was 11 Strategic Considerations for SharePoint Migrations, in which I showed attendees that 85% or more of any migration has nothing to do with the actual technical moving of content and bits. Migration is more about planning and transformation. I walked through 11 areas that must be considered before you execute your migration. (I am giving a live webcast of this session on Thursday, Sept 16th. You can register here)

In the afternoon, Ken Allen and I conducted a vendor session, providing demos of the ControlPoint and Davinci Migrator products. As I mentioned in that session, we have live demos happening daily, so please ping me if you would like to see our products up close.

Late in the afternoon, Mike Watson and I co-presented on our newest topic, SharePoint’s Social Media Scorecard, in which we walked through a short history of social computing, and then gave an in-depth review of the leading social media vendors, including SharePoint, scoring each on 9 different dimensions. The purpose of the presentation was to give attendees a broad overview of what is out there, and how SharePoint compares. In most cases, features are apples-and-oranges when up against SharePoint, but our goal is to prepare people for the inevitable questions that pop up when looking at collaboration options. Hopefully people found it informative.

At the end of the event, Michael Noel and I returned to the front stage to thank our attendees, speakers and sponsors, and to raffle off a number of prizes. There was a bit of controversy in that one woman won a new iPod from a sponsor (they drew from business cards) and then also won the iPad. Hey folks, it happens. It was painful, but legitimate. I was so careful to mention that speakers cannot win prizes (a point of contention at some prior SharePoint events) but neglected to include a rule – if you win once, that’s it. Sorry folks!

All-in-all, it was a fantastic event in the east bay, and we hope to repeat it this time next year. There’s also talk about a SharePoint Saturday in San Francisco (down by the airport) and Sacramento, so please keep checking the SharePointSaturday.org website for updates.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.