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#SPC11: Day 2

The SharePoint Conference is in full swing! Despite a groggy start for some attendees (thanks to AvePoint‘s late-night “Red Party”), Tuesday continued the great stream of content.
While a peek at the next version will have to wait until at least SharePoint Conference 2012, excitement and innovation around SharePoint 2010 are still in vast supply.
Six Key Themes from SharePoint Conference 2011
I’ve attended a mix of sessions focusing on IT, business, and development and six common themes have stood out:
  • The Cloud– Office 365 and Azure are everywhere at SPC. We heard during yesterday’s keynote that over 50,000 organizations are already paying subscribers to Office 365. It seems like every session I attend has people asking “how does this fit into our SharePoint Online” strategy?Andrew Connell demonstrated Azure playing nicely with Office 365 and I was blown away by the speed. As Andrew pointed out, both services operate in the same data centers, so integrations feel native. There have been plenty of hints, both subtle and not, that knowing Azure is going to be increasingly important in the world of SharePoint.
    The most exciting news for me so far is that Office 365 will support external BCS connections by the end of the year. That opens a lot of doors.
  • Mobile– Guess what the first mobile device shown during the SharePoint Conference’s keynote. An iPad. Yes, Microsoft acknowledges the reality of IT consumerization and the mobile seems to be everywhere at SPC11.In addition to the tablets I see open to Twitter at every session, the community keeps asking “yeah, but does it work on mobile”? The answer with SharePoint isn’t always yes, but it’s clear that Microsoft and the ecosystem are working hard to bridge the gap.
  • HTML5 and Standards– Is Silverlight dead? I think saying so is a bit premature, but the new belle at the ball is definitely HTML5. As Ted Pattison demonstrated today, HTML5 with a bit of jQuery can be as beautiful and functional as any proprietary app.Along with HTML5, a few other standards keep popping up. Know OData? How about JSONP? If you’re a developer, you should.
  • Enterprise Search– As a huge fan of FAST Search, I’m delighted to find that it’s everywhere at SPC11. At the keynote yesterday, we saw FAST return results from tens of millions of documents in <0.2 seconds. We’ve since witnessed SharePoint and FAST used to slice and dice every kind of data possible, including video.Amongst all the types of sessions at the SharePoint Conference, I love the real-world client debriefs most. EA showed off one of the most impressive intranets out there and search is integral to every step of the experience.
  • Social– A number that’s been thrown around a few times is that over 60% of SharePoint deployments include social networking. The implications of that are amazing. At SPC11, we continually hear about empowering users to collaborate, self-service, and organize content in relevant ways. Adoption and education are tricky, but several sessions on change management have rounded out the technical components.Every time I glance an attendee’s screen, people seem to be tabbed to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. On two occasions, I even saw people posting away on their internal NewsGator streams.
  • Governance– In many ways, SPC11 reflects a giant leap in maturity for SharePoint. While other conferences sometimes get swept up in features and technology, it’s refreshing to hear the word “governance” all throughout the SharePoint Conference. Some great sessions have tackled governance plans, compliance, and building the perfect SharePoint team.My favorite takeaway may be from Dan Holme’s session this afternoon:
    “Don’t train your employees to use SharePoint. Train them to do their jobs.”

Great conference. If you’re around, please say hello.
Oh, and SharePoint Conference 2012? November 12-15, 2012 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Can’t wait!

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Bert Johnson

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