November 2014 Content Wrap-Up

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Another blockbuster month in the history books. With my travel, client commitments, and offline activities (like moving into our new GTconsult office in downtown Bellevue), I didn’t think I’d have much of a chance to write this month. And yet I was able to push out a few interesting tidbits, listed below. The month began with the annual MVP Summit on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington campus. It’s an opportunity for MVPs from around the world to come together to network with the product and service teams at Microsoft, and with each other, and to hear a bit more (and provide some heart-felt feedback) about the future product roadmap. Always an action-pack week, for sure. From Summit to a semi-working vacation with my wife and in-laws in Kauai, Hawaii for a week to celebrate my 24th wedding anniversary. I got some good rest, only checked email 2 or 3 times a day, and got to play on my favorite beach – Polihale.

Of course, the week flew by incredibly fast, and I was home for almost 11 hours before I was back at the airport, heading east to Amsterdam where I keynoted the SharePoint Connect 2014 conference. I gave two presentations, the slides from which are included below, and have a summary article on some of the topics covered in my keynote coming later this week from the European SharePoint Conference blog. More on that when the link is available…

From a consulting perspective, much of my time and focus is around many of the same topics that I’ve covered for the past 5 years while working for ISVs, but there’s certainly been a trend toward the cloud and social, as that is what our customers want to hear about, and that is where the industry is moving. As I‘ve mentioned previously, I switched my MVP from SharePoint to Office365 as of October 1st – not because I am not focused on SharePoint any more, but because SharePoint is now just a piece (albeit the largest piece) in many organization’s cloud strategies. In October, I co-hosted a webinar with GTconsult co-founder and CEO Bradley Geldenhuys (@bradgcoza) to showcase our managed services offering, Umlindi. And this past month, I again hit the airwaves with the other GTconsult co-founder and COO Craig Tarr (@craig_tarr) to talk about our A-Team services, specifically for Office365. That topic fits in nicely with my heavily promoted #CollabTalk tweetjam last week, with a panel of my fellow Office365 MVPs and several folks from the Microsoft product team. If you missed either the GTconsult webinar or the tweetjam, it will be worth your while to go through the links to the slides below, as they’ll help your organization to better prepare for your own move to the cloud – whether in the near term, or in the future.

Similar to the Office365 topic, the broader topic of transitioning to the cloud is an important one – especially for CIOs and business owners who are struggling to make the transition away from managing their own infrastructure, giving up perceived control of their environments. Some of that concern is justified, for sure. My guidance has always been to go into this transition with eyes wide open, and with understanding of what processes and overhead improves, and what becomes more complex and convoluted. I wish it were as easy as drag and drop to move to the cloud, but it isn’t. It’s going to take most organizations a lot of time and planning effort to make the move. That’s ok. It’s not a race – it’s a journey.

As always, I try to cover a broad range of social topics. Aside from my #SPcon14 keynote slides, I wrote a couple articles that garnered a lot of attention. The first was a blog post on the announcement surrounding Badgeville’s latest SharePoint solution, including gamification tools. Badgeville is certainly one of the leaders in the space, and certainly the most well-known, but what stood out to me about their release was how labor-intensive it is to ensure social is successful in an organization. Because we’re all so accustomed to point-and-click consumer solutions through our favorite websites, we expect social tools in the enterprise to work much the same way. But its not the technology itself that takes time (for the most part) but the cultural change and training required. I touched on this in my keynote in Amsterdam. But the second article that got a lot of attention was my take on Facebook’s plans to release a business platform. I got some hate mail from the anti-Microsoft crowd, but I stand by the points made. Having a HUGE brand name behind a product release does not guarantee success.

Of course, I can’t go a month without talking about measurement and governance, and have a few more on these topics in the pipeline for December.

I’m looking forward to minimal travel for the next couple months as I work on getting this new GTconsult office established, and continue work on this book…which I think I’ve mentioned in the past? If not, just a heads up that I am co-authoring a book on the social journey for APress, working with two of my favorite people in the SharePoint ecosystem, fellow MVPs Michelle Caldwell (@shellecaldwell) and Ruven Gotz (@ruveng), both from Avanade. We’re planning to have the book published and in stores in time for Ignite in May. If you have never participated in writing a book, let me tell you – it’s a lot of work. And now you know how I’ll be spending my Christmas vacation. Smile 

nov 2014 mvp summit

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.