December 2015 Content Wrap-Up

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With the new year already fully underway and the laundry list of content, events, and demo requests stacking up, I can’t push off these summary posts too long. I thought December would be a quiet month for content with an almost 2-week vacation with my wife to Rome (pictured above) and Jerusalem to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary….with no laptop. I had a few items go live while I was out (thank you, Mr. Automation) but caught up with a fury when I returned to the office, posting a number of articles that had sat partially-completed in OneNote for weeks or months. Going through the budget and planning exercises now as my company, Beezy, ramps up to support what is already looking like a record-breaking streak. Always exciting to be a part of a team and company experiencing massive growth. Much of what I am organizing now is all about building out a rhythm of the business around content, with tools being rolled out through the first half of the year to help us better manage and automate our marketing activities. You’ll see us at the major events this year, for sure – but we’re also ramping our online presence. Of course, none of this should interrupt my writing cadence, with regular posts for this blog, the Beezy blog, CMSWire, ITUnity, RedmondMag, SharePoint-Community.net, the SPTechCon newsletter, LinkedIn, and a handful of other sites.

Before I jump into last month’s themes and content, I wanted to outline an otherwise quiet travel month this month. I’m heading up to Vancouver BC this week to meet with a couple partner organizations – Softlanding (hanging out with Oliver Wirkus) and Bonzai Intranet, and possibly pulling together a SharePint this Friday evening (if you’re in the area and would like to participate, ping me for details or watch Twitter). On the 13th will be the next webisode of the CollabTalk show IT Unity (register here for reminders), and on the 19th I’ll be co-presenting a webinar with Tal from CardioLog Analytics on SharePoint online and on-prem analytics (the second of a three-part series, register here). On the 20th you will find me co-presenting a public demo of the Beezy solution at 7am (register here) and again at 10am (register here) – so if you have not yet seen our social collaboration solution and are wondering what its all about, come take a look. And finally, at the end of the month (need to book travel, but it’s happening) I’ll be traveling out to Montreal to hang out with the Sharegate team for a couple days to record some videos, remotely guide my monthly tweetjam, and play with Benjamin Niaulin’s dog. Looking forward to that.

In February and March, you’ll find me at a few events, including SharePoint Saturday Utah, SPTechCon Austin, speaking at the Dallas SPUG, and then SharePointFest Denver. All great events, and looking forward to a road trip from Dallas to Denver with Benjamin and the team from Rencore. Should be a hoot!

Ok, so I thought I’d kick off this recap with links to the most recent CollabTalk show on IT Unity. Being the end of the year, we thought it would be appropriate to focus on what we thought were the top stories in the SharePoint and Office 365 community for 2015, and then share our predictions for 2016. I shared the slides via SlideShare so that people could more easily ready through our lists, but I highly recommend that you take the time to watch/listen to the show recording, as you’ll get much deeper insight into each of our predictions – and see a few of the sparks that flew when Benjamin and Naomi shared alternative views of the future of Yammer (and Ben tried to drag Marc and I down with him). The December tweetjam had a similar focus, with 40+ MVPs and community members participating – all of which was captured in the Storify page:

Now that the vast majority of the community *finally* recognize that SharePoint on-prem is not going anywhere anytime soon, more and more organizations are beginning to figure out their strategy for vNext, whether that is moving to SharePoint 2013 or 2016 on-prem, or starting to make the move to Office 365. In the coming months, I’ll be writing more on planning strategies for SharePoint.

At the beginning of any technology deployment there is (or should be) a business analyst activity to help you better understand 1) what you want to accomplish, 2) how the technology can help you accomplish those goals, and 3) how to best measure success. The business-side of collaboration is the most often overlooked aspect of any deployment, because playing with the technology is a lot more fun that justifying what you’ve purchase by aligning it with specific business outcomes. Bo-ring. And yet I write a lot about that.

A sub-set of business alignment is identifying and capturing the right metrics. It’s what I’ll be co-presenting with CardioLog later this month: the idea that there are good metrics and bad metrics, metrics that  show you a bunch of useless data and metrics that show you how your systems are actually being used – and how they are driving innovation and/or revenue. All stuff your CEO and executive team are interested in seeing. So while showing a performance dashboard with five nines of up-time is a great thing, being able to show how the system actually increases revenue or decreases the mean time to resolution for customer tickets are even better.

If you’ve looked around the Beezy site at all, there is a lot of content about improving the user experience (UX). The topic of UX gets a lot of lip service, but we’re trying to get below the surface and share some of the social science underneath. Adoption and engagement are certainly factors within any UX strategy – more people using the system and, more important, being productive on the system – are tangible results of a strong UX.

Sub-sets of the UX topic are the network science and cultural issues that make collaboration work – or keep it from being successful. Most of the issue that derail collaboration have absolutely nothing to do with the technology. I am fascinated by the topic of network science, and especially the area of social informatics, going back to the late 1990’s when I became involved in creating a custom instant messaging platform for my former startup. As I’ve mentioned before, I had even planned to pursue a doctoral program on the topic….but I digress.

I wouldn’t be me if I did not write the occasional governance article. But this past month, I also collaborated with Melinda Morales (@trulyMelinda) over at GTconsult and the team at @ContentPanda on a governance whitepaper.

Occasionally I enjoy pushing out an article or two on some kind of management or leadership development topic, as with this post:

Of course, there’s always room to do some dissing on the competitors:

And finally, some blatant self-promotion (which you can always find on my personal blog listed under “Blatant Self-Promotion””)

As you can see, my abbreviated content month ended up being quite the full month after all. More of the same here in January. Looking forward to it!

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.