SPTechCon Keynote: Microsoft’s Christian Finn Shares ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful SharePoint Customers’

Christian Finn with a soon-to-be flying SharePoint monkey at the SPTechCon Boston keynoteMicrosoft Director of SharePoint Product Management Christian Finn began his keynote at SPTechCon this morning with a "Thank you" to conference attendees for having contributed to SharePoint's success, citing such statistics as SharePoint is the fastest growing server product in Microsoft history, there are over 100 million licenses, and over 17,000 enterprise customers.  Shortly thereafter, Christian was launching flying SharePoint monkeys into the crowd, as is his trademark, but I'm going to try and not get sidetracked by flying monkeys.

Christian then shared with the crowd the slide that was used to pitch SharePoint to Bill Gates back in 1999, the key categories of which were: a great integrated solution, out-of-the-box web workspace, compelling Office integration, and easy and flexible deployment.  Showing a new slide to demonstrate what's available today in SharePoint 2010 that didn't even exist back then to address each of those categories, Christian called out:  BI, ECM, WCM, and social (a great integrated solution); support for many browsers, mobile (out-of-the-box web workspace); Office Web Apps (compelling Office integration); and Office 365 (easy and flexible deployment).

Christian then said of Microsoft's accomplishments, "That's all fine for us, but 'How's by you?'"  Referencing the results of a 1,500 customer survey, Christian explained that three common patterns of usage emerged while analyzing the data: individual workloads, business platform, and unified infrastructure.  From those patterns emerged the seven habits of highly successful SharePoint customers that Christian went on to share:

  1. Deployment is NOT adoption. "They're not synonyms," Christian said, pointedly.
  2. Begin with the end users in mind. Chrisian showed a screenshot of an Accenture My Site, explaining that in solving an existing problem at the company involving employees having difficulty finding the right people, My Sites were able to solve a business problem.
  3. Governance is policy and process, not a feature. "It's about the interplay of the operating environment of your company, and the technology." Using screenshots of the Pfizer portal, Christian stressed their "thoughtful governance both on the creation side and entire lifecycle."
  4. Make SharePoint your own. Citing the oft-cited Ferrari public-facing site ("If you're going to build this kind of brand experience, you optimize for the user who comes there"), and EA's customized My Sites as shining examples.
  5. Consolidate IT with a platform approach. The example here was Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which began as a student resource with report cards and such available online. The site has grown to serve not just students, but parents and staff as well.
  6. Create business value with solution thinking. "Connect your people across the organization for the efficient communication of knowledge." As an example, Christian shared the Microsoft internal Academy portal, an enterprise podcasting tool, and in particular, a "Gannotti On the Go" webcast, which featured "Employees talking to each other about what they're doing."
  7. Prepare for the future. Christian noted that "Office 365 will launch at the end of this month" and that you can sign up for the beta now.

As an only-in-Boston treat, Christian then brought to the stage Steve Conley, Boston Red Sox Director of IT, for a Q&A about the club's SharePoint deployment, and since I think that such an occasion merits its own post, that report is available here.


Read our complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2011:

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