As the final official event of the inaugural Sharing the Point tour, an Ask the Experts panel was held in Ho Chi Minh City following the formal sessions. Each presenter had taken questions as the end of their individual sessions, so there weren't a great many questions held in reserve for the Q&A, but several excellent questions were asked before the Sharing the Point tour drew to a close with an impromptu photo session.
One question asked of Joel had to do with upgrading from other platforms to SharePoint. In his answer, Joel talked about hoarders, people who like to keep everything, and how in "Corporate culture, everyone's afraid of deleting files." With regard to migrating to SharePoint, Joel says the "real key here is that you don't just grab your fileshares and dump them into SharePoint … do an analysis first" of what will be used for collaboration. Joel availed himself of the opportunity to humbly plug Quest (his employer), also saying that "There are 40 migration companies that build tools to help people get their data into SharePoint."
At this point, Rob asked Mark to explain how the four speakers and their areas of expertise connect together, putting him on the spot without warning. Rob helped start the discussion by saying that "Dux works with project management, and [stressing] the importance of that." Dux jumped in to suggest that, ultimately, "Everything is a project, so my one statement with SharePoint is plan, plan, plan … [and figure out] what do you need SharePoint for?" From his business process management perspective, Mark added that you "Need to talk about what business problems do you need to solve, and once you know that, the technology is easy." Rob then jumped in to say that "SaaS is just a small piece, there's a lot of planning and training that needs to be done first." Joel then chimed in, saying that, "In SharePoint, the role is not just run the farm, run the servers … you are pulled into the business, [when they say] 'we have problems and you have to help us solve those problems' … you need to bridge the gap between business and IT." In your role as a SharePoint administrator, Joel suggests that if you're going to be successful, "You better get out of the trenches, as somebody who sits between the business and IT." Finally, Dux addressed the "How do I get started?" question with a tip: "The person writing the check… you've got to make them get it."
Following on that last statement, a question was posed for Dux regarding how to get trained, and where to start. Dux replied that you should "Find somebody who gets SharePoint to tell you potentially what you can do with it, in the company or not." Next, with so many resources out there, "give the business a simple thing to look at [in SharePoint] that solves a specific pain point." Finally, Dux stressed how important it is that "IT needs to understand what the out-of-the-box components are [and] needs to become an expert on the out-of-the-box aspects."
It was also asked how to get developers excited about SharePoint. Rob, as "the guy who signs the check," said, "You guys, your country, you guys are fantastic coders… understand what the business needs are, and develop solutions to those problems." Dux added, "If I can save people from working two days to one day [by extending and building upon the out-of-the-box functionality], that's exciting."