My visit to the International SharePoint Conference London

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Last week Myself and Adam Burcher  visited the International SharePoint conference at the QEII conference centre at Westminster in London. The three day conference which is held every year attracts some of the best speakers in the SharePoint world to speak to around 550 delegates. The conference is split into tracks to cater for different target audiences from business users through to programmers. With 6 hour long sessions a day, there really is a lot too learn and with 6 tracks that adds up to a total of 36 hours of learning across the 3 days. As it is impossible to be in 6 places at once, luckily there is DVD recordings of every session, which I will definitely be reviewing when they arrive in a few weeks.

The conference was different than ones I had attended previously, each session in each track worked through a hypothetical scenario of an Oil company who had merged with another company, and needed to implement SharePoint to solve a number of business challenges. In fact each of the developer sessions was built on a SharePoint Server Farm that was hosted in the conference centre. Each session followed on from the last, building out a complete solution by the end of the conference.

I started the conference in the business track and saw some very good talks from Andrew Woodward and Bill English. The business track was extremely useful because often, why SharePoint is being deployed is overlooked by IT or the business users. My one takeaway from this is to ensure the business users are driving the project and to link the project to the mission, vision and values of the company, whilst ensuring the ROI or the reduction in the cost of doing business is known.

Andrew Woodward started off with “Do we need SharePoint?” looking at the business context and mapping out how we would get to the decision point.

Bill English introduced us to the words putability and findability in his first session, if your not putting it in the right place its hard to find. Organise your content and ensure it is findable at a later date.

The second day I fleeted between tracks, I popped into one track to see what one speaker was doing with branding SharePoint using custom CSS and how they package branding up for deployment, I then went to a case study on BI and using Analysis Services with SharePoint to surface data that could be used in reports, which was really good. At the end of the second day my mind was full with SharePoint knowledge.

The third day concentrated on the Azure and Office365 which is going to be Microsoft’s big push next year.  I visited the developer track to learn some more about Azure and deploying on-premise solutions to the cloud. I did find these sessions useful and they gave me further understanding of the technical challenges of moving solutions to the cloud.

It had been a busy 3 days at the end of the conference and I had plenty of ideas to take back to work and implement. I will definitely be reviewing the DVD’s to jog my memory and also to catch up on the sessions that I missed. It was a really well run conference with a lot of people from the industry and some great speakers, I can't wait to  go back next year.

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