SharePoint Saturday Denver: Online Dating, Riot Police, Yeti Sightings, and the Inexorable Migration of Legacy ECM to SharePoint

My SharePoint brothers and sisters, your faithful herald has finally broken free of the bonds of merriment and camaraderie sponsored in snowy Colorado our friends at Planet Technologies.  First and foremost, high fives and fist bumps to Clayton Cobb who, as Dux Raymond Sy did this past summer with SharePoint Saturday: The Conference, evolved the standard one-day SharePoint Saturday format into a 3-day business/pleasure extravaganza including virtually everything but Cirque du Soleil.

SharePoint Saturday Denver 2011My admittedly poor estimation puts the attendee count at well over a hundred.  Though the Denver business community was well represented (I had great conversations with the National Renewable Energy Lab, DOE, the City of Aurora, and others), I was also impressed to see a decent turnout from folks outside of Colorado.  The food was great, plentiful, and drew the conference goers to the 20+ vendors arrayed across the ballroom.  The ice cream social each afternoon was the highlight of Friday and Saturday and Clayton was quick to take credit saying, “You can’t just throw this type of event together.   It took me three days just to pick the right toppings.”   Based on the mad throngs clanking scoops and spoons like medieval weapons, I’d say his effort paid off.  The best part was that the tubs were uncovered before the attendees entered the ballroom each day which gave vendors first crack at the mid-afternoon glycemic infusion.  Combine this with hangovers from the night before and you’ve got the makings of an epic sugar crash!!

I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t get to attend any sessions since I was the lone warrior from Bamboo at this event, but based on informal reviews from the attendees and some of my fellow vendors, the presentations were very relevant and well-received.  An old buddy of mine -a legacy ECM expert from a previous life- attended a good number of sessions as a SharePoint newbie and was very impressed with the quality of presentations focused on architecture as well as on other topics.  Speaking of legacy ECM experts, I want to mention that at each SharePoint event I attend, I see more legacy ECM alums at SharePoint vendor booths – empirical evidence that the world is migrating apace to SharePoint.  Clearly, many institutional ECM customers will continue to run in hybrid mode (i.e., SharePoint on the front-end with Documentum, OpenText, FileNet, etc. behind the scenes) and some of these legacy repositories will persist for years, but osmosis is pulling many old school ECM stalwarts (your humble narrator included) to the “light side.”  Exhibit “B” would be the popularity of migration/federation/viewing products from our friends at AvePoint, BA Insight, SeeUnity and others.  Tucker Hall, Director of Strategic Alliances at BA Insight, mentioned, “Our Documentum Connector that seamlessly extends retrieval capabilities from SharePoint across legacy ECM repositories without coding is one of our strongest offerings.”   Exhibit “C” would be the uptick in SharePoint/Legacy Integration services being awarded to System Integrators.  Not surprisingly, long-term Documentum and OpenText services providers openly admit that their SharePoint practice business is growing as fast as their legacy ECM business is shrinking.  I’m personally thrilled to be part of an evolutionary trend that will essentially rebuild the legacy ECM stack – from capture and workflow to WCM, RM, and DAM – on SharePoint.  Exciting times ahead!

Which brings us to the most important part of the conference – SharePint.  Saturday evening found your favorite blogger meandering aimlessly down the “16th Street Mall” in Denver in search of the SharePint event at an Irish Bar whose name had long ago been washed out of my memory.  While wandering, I was inadvertently swept up in an “Occupy Denver” rally on the main drag and came face-to-face with dozens of unhappy police in full riot gear.  My first thought was that Clayton had called to warn the local authorities that I would be drinking at an Irish pub (worthy of citywide alert, I suppose) but, come on, I hadn’t even bellied up to the bar yet. The whole event left quite an impression and made me remember that outside of our “SharePoint bubble” where business is booming and customers are buying, there are some serious economic issues surfacing.  In any case, the police disbanded and I retreated to SharePint where the only protests heard came when the Guinness keg ran dry.  At the pub I was reminded that some of the world’s greatest ideas are revealed on cocktail napkins as I witnessed a couple of SharePoint gurus (emboldened Jameson) hammer out the idea for a SharePoint-based dating site for techies.  I think it was called “SharePair” and sported tag lines as original as “taking collaboration to a whole new level” and “grant extended privileges to someone you like today.”  Insanely great or just plain insane?  You decide.

Sunday morning, a group of us shook off the night before, gathered up our ski gear, and headed to Loveland for a day of winter fun.  Once again, Clayton rocked the event providing complimentary lift tickets.  Early on we faced power outages and top-of-the-mountain gusts that approached 80 knots but we came to ski and ski we did.  And drink.  And ski again.  I suspect the drinking may have led to the unusual number of Yeti sightings.  A few falls, no major injuries, and multiple toasts to Planet and all the other sponsors that made this such a great event.

One closing sentiment, inspired the Veteran’s Day weekend and my son who is a Lt. in the Marine Corps: Let’s extend a special thanks to those that have made, and those that continue to make tremendous sacrifices to serve this country.

Roger out.  See you all at SharePoint Saturday Austin or sooner!

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