Baltimore Calling Too: Notes from the SharePoint Conference .Org – Day 1

This week Bamboo is also attending the SharePoint Conference .Org in Baltimore, Maryland.  A group of us are here sharing time covering Bamboo’s tabletop in the vendor area and attending sessions.  Daisy Anand and Angela Dillon will team to present a Bamboo led session on project management tomorrow.  The conference officially started with a welcome session on Sunday night – which I was unfortunately unable to attend, but things really got underway today as sessions began and the bulk of the attendees arrived.  SusQTech, the conference organizers, have done a superb job with this event.  Their communications and attention to the “little details” have made for a great experience so far.  Many of the conference attendees hail from Associations, the Gov, and non-profits – and it is interesting to hear their unique take on things.  As a vendor, having products listed on the GSA schedule and available information about accessibility standards compliance is huge as one might expect.

I thought I’d share a summary of a couple of the speakers I listened to today.  The first was David Linthicum who gave the keynote on the topic of cloud computing.  It was a really good overview of just what “the Cloud” is and why (or if) an organization might want to consider it.  The subtitle of his presentation, “No Spin, No Hype”, was particularly apt as the hype cycle for the term cloud is in full on and it is often difficult to know what someone means when they start talking about the “cloud”.  Dave’s presentation was sort of a Cloud 101 that defined terms like SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and exactly what role they play in making up cloud computing technology.   What struck me as very interesting was his market research that indicated that those considering a move to the cloud were primarily motivated by on demand scalability and high availability vs. pure cost savings.  Although I have not read his book, if your company is considering moving to the cloud or you just want to get a basic overview of cloud technology then I you might want to check out Dave’s book (linked from his InfoWorld profile here) as he referenced some of the content in his presentation from it.

The other presentation I found interesting was one given by Terry Simpson of SusQTech.  His topic was on how to plan for a successful SharePoint project deployment.   It is amazing how many organizations don’t spend time planning their deployments.  I talk to many customers that face internal issues because they simply turned their users loose on SharePoint.  Terry did a good job boiling down the essentials for SharePoint deployment planning into a few key areas.  Of those, he identified three key issues than needed to be addressed early on.  This included understanding just what your organization needs and what it expects to gain from SharePoint; how Governance of the SharePoint will be defined from a internal sponsorship and change management standpoint; and how to address end-user training, education and adoption.   Terry made a very good point when he stated that it is often end-users who determine the success and failure of a SharePoint deployment.  I believe there is often the tendency to focus on the IT challenges surrounding a SharePoint deployment rather than the business ones.  I’m looking forward to attending some more great sessions tomorrow.

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