SPTechCon SF: Jared Spataro’s Keynote on ‘Your SharePoint Journey: Maximizing Your Investment’

SPTechCon kicked off this morning with a keynote from Jared Spataro, SharePoint Product Management Team Lead at Microsoft.  Jared explained that his focus would be on "How you're using SharePoint and how you can get more out of it," specifically by looking at how the most successful Microsoft customers engage with the platform, and the best practices that can be gleaned from their experiences.

Jared said that his own journey to SharePoint began with his first exposure to the platform in 2003, when he was working at Open Text.  Jared admits that he was initially unimpressed with SharePoint and remained in that frame of mind until it went from being "an annoyance to a disruptor in the space."  At that point, he realized that Open Text needed a SharePoint strategy, and met with Microsoft to discuss partnership opportunities.  During that meeting in Redmond, Jared was given a glimpse of what would become SharePoint 2007, and said of the experience, "Slide after slide, [I was] slowly falling in love and thinking 'now this is a product.'"

Jared shared that two out of three workers in the enterprise today have SharePoint, and that most of them use it every day.  As a result, Jared stated that "If you took SharePoint and ran it as a standalone business, it would be bigger than Salesforce.com, and one of the top 50 companies in the world."

Going back to the core use case of SharePoint, Jared said that, "As the name implies, SharePoint really is about sharing things with anyone."  Initially the focus was on documents, but now it's about sharing information in its myriad forms.  In a hyperbolic moment, Jared went so far as to say that "[SharePoint] really has become a way to share anything with anyone." 

Shifting into the stated focus of his presentation, which also included a couple of demos by a colleague, Jared began looking at the trends that Microsoft has observed in those customers who have been most successful with SharePoint.  Jared defined those trends as falling into three categories: ramping up (workload-based deployments), building momentum (information management / ECM), and creating business applications (to improve efficiency).

Discussing the ramping up category, Jared stressed the importance of realizing that SharePoint is two things in one: "SharePoint is a platform you can build on, and an application… actually a series of applications."  Jared explained that the three most important areas of focus for a successful SharePoint experience in this ramping up phase include: identifying your organization's top priorities, scale, and governance.  The most successful SharePoint customers all focus on these three ares from the very beginning of their engagement with SharePoint. 

Moving into a discussion of the building momentum phase, Jared shared that the three differentiators for success here include:  vision (creating buy-in), information governance (establish policies), and a deployment roadmap (articulate the relationship between SharePoint and any other content/collaboration investments your organization may have made). 

Introducing the final phase, that of creating business applications, Jared said that in Microsoft's experience, the "Customers who use SharePoint the most like it best."  As well, Jared said that the highest satisfaction is seen in those who are building applications on top of SharePoint.  The standout behaviors among the successful customers in this third and final phase include: key business processes (identify, prioritize, and target), partners (engage with experienced SharePoint partners such as third-party providers and consultants, to help get the most out of your investment), and application lifecycle management (create a standard taxonomy and establish policies).

Jared concluded his keynote by suggesting that attendees consider "Where are you on your SharePoint journey?  Think about where you are, where you need to go, and consider some of these best practices," stating that "You have to take some time to be successful with SharePoint, but when you do, you can be incredibly successful with SharePoint." 

Read our complete coverage of SPTechCon San Francisco 2011:

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