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SharePoint Saturday Chicago Suburbs Experience (6/11/2011)

Well I didn’t (and wasn’t eligible) win a Xbox 360 with Kinect or multitudes of free raffle prizes at my first SharePoint Saturday, but the experience was very worthwhile. SharePoint Saturday is a great place to make connections, meet people from all aspects of SharePoint, and as always, try to learn something new about the platform.
I have been working deeply with SharePoint for the past six months, and everyday there is something new and exciting (or unusual) that I manage to pick up. The sessions that I chose and attended were geared towards areas of SharePoint that I had little knowledge about and/or were topics that I found interesting and unique. I highly recommend expanding your knowledge of SharePoint by choosing and attending sessions that are interesting and new to you. If you have a general knowledge of how SharePoint works, then you won’t have to worry about attending a session with a topic sounds ambiguous yet cool.
Getting to know multiple facets of SharePoint is only part of the experience. At SharePoint Saturday there are multiple sponsors and many people who come from diverse areas of SharePoint. This is a perfect place to make connections, and market yourself to the SharePoint community. At this conference alone, I was able to speak with people from the Boston and Washington D.C. area, as well as people ranging from all over the United States. Far from being just a local event, SharePoint Saturday is a place to talk to people across the country about SharePoint.
I highly recommend SharePoint Saturday to anyone who is working or has an interest in SharePoint. The atmosphere is helpful, the food was splendid, and it is a great place to meet and make connections with other like-minded people. Below I will quickly recap the sessions I attended, and hopefully I’ll see you at the next SharePoint Saturday!
How SharePoint and Paper Work Together – Putting Paper to Work Inside SharePoint (Jeff Shuey)
Jeff gave a great presentation about the benefits and limitations of achieving a paperless office through SharePoint. He demoed a cool piece of software called KODAK Scan and View, which allows users to scan in paper documents and view them as PDFs within SharePoint. The viewer portion also has a document preview, which works seamlessly with documents in Lists and Libraries (as well as search), allowing you to preview those documents before opening them.
Windows Phone 7 and SharePoint 2010 (Darrin Bishop)
Mobile computing and development has been an extremely hot topic of late, and I was interested in how SharePoint development for the Windows Phone 7 was coming alone. Darrin gave us some great demos of some of the things that he had developed, and also showed us some of the limitations with security within Windows Phone 7 (Only FBA is seriously supported and working at the moment, Claims is not and Anonymous is limited). Hopefully we will see some great updates from Microsoft as Windows Phone 7 progresses.
Deep Dive: Breaking down the SharePoint IA Silos (Virgil Carroll)
Virgil gave a great deep dive of Information Architecture, or sometimes the lack of IA in SharePoint solutions. He places user experience as a priority in order to create successful IA in SharePoint, in which users do not reside in their own “Silos” or “Units” and that users span over multiple groups and require the proper IA to function effectively. He presented excellent case studies of IAs that have failed, complete with users attempting to locate their way around websites and getting lost trying to locate simple items. Whether large or small, having a great IA will bring promised results for your business.

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