SharePoint Saturday Chicago

While many of my colleagues were set up at SharePoint Saturday D.C. this past weekend, I was at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago, which was also playing host to a SharePoint Saturday Chicago.  I took the scenic route as I drove north on highway 55 from St. Louis to join in the community event as a Bamboo sponsor.  As many of you know, it takes a team of dedicated community-minded individuals and organizations to pull one of these free events together.  The team led and  assembled by Chris Geier and Kris Wagner did a fabulous job.   What I liked most about their approach was that any funds left over from the sponsorship fees was donated to a few local charitable organizations that are dear to their hearts.  You can read more here, but the effort was a true example of the community spirit surrounding a group of SharePoint professionals who are also working hard to drive fantastic solutions into the market, and saving organizations time and money in the process.

The day started off with a big Chicago welcome from Chris Geier and Kris Wagner, followed by keynotes from Asif Rehmani and Karuana Gatimu.  Asif promoted the no-code building approach that we proudly support here at Bamboo.  With the numerous tools and technologies available out of the box (in addition to those provided by third party vendors), the need for custom development by SharePoint customers is becoming minimal.  Karuana shared her personal journey through her IT career at Sketchers, highlighting the role of Change Agent and the contagious enthusiasm that needs to be present to drive change and end user adoption throughout an organization.

West Monroe PartnersIn the hallways of McCormick Place were the sponsor tables for many of the organizations that financially supported event.  I spent most of my time with one of our local partners, West Monroe Partners, where I watched Jamie Storey and Lou Crescenti in action (pictured at left) enthusiastically sharing the SharePoint solutions they are bringing to market throughout the Chicagoland area and beyond.

RackspaceI also spent some time with one of our favorite hosting partners, Rackspace (can I hear it for fanatical support?!).  Javier Barrera (pictured on the left in the photo at right) also presented a session on Enterprise Content Deployment and why you should use it. Other sessions throughout the day included ones targeted around End User adoption and use, Development, Architecture and Administration.  The theme of the day focused on getting to know the platform and what you get out of the box before you start investing in any custom development.

Luckily, I got out of town before the Chicago Bears were handed their second loss this year from the Seattle Seahawks and before the enthusiasm built up in the city from SharePoint Saturday started to fade…..

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