This past Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in SharePoint Saturday Los Angeles. I founded this event with Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet) and this year it was wonderfully led by co-chairs Nedra Allmond (@nedraallmond) and Wahid Saleemi (@wahidsaleemi). Attended by over 250 people it was held on the same weekend as the Long Beach Grand Prix the committee selected the theme “Race to Collaborate”. Our keynote provided by Mark Miller of End User SharePoint (@eusp) gave us some wonderful insight on the nature of social, collaboration and the trust we build as content providers in this industry.
The most important lessons I learned however were in the class I taught, Getting a Green Light – How to Pitch a SharePoint Project and those I attended later in the day.
1. Everyone has Valuable Experience: There were many new people to the SharePoint community who attended this event. Often when you are new at something you think you have nothing to contribute. This is far from true in our community. While you may be learning the in’s and out’s of this complex platform, your business experience and knowledge of your own company is critical to your successfully implementing any SharePoint project. Don’t underestimate how important this is!
2. Enthusiasm for this Technology is Everywhere: While there may be conversation about the health of the SharePoint community out in the blogosphere I think that is all rubbish. Users, developers and business people are excited about the business transformation that can be achieved by properly leveraging SharePoint and other Microsoft technologies. I think those of us who question the health of the community need to look at it from a users standpoint more often. They are far less jaded.
3. The Education Gap Remains: There is still a gap between the vision that Microsoft is painting and the ability within the community to execute that vision. That’s where we come in! It’s remains extremely important to educate members of the community on the balance between technology features & real world implementations. SharePoint is only valuable when it solves a real business problem.
4. The Cloud is Up-incoming not Adopted: Business is still trying to figure out how to make the most of the on-premises implementations that they are wrangling. Now, we are asking them to move to the cloud and hosted solutions. The gap in strategy between those two implementations must be addressed, not only by Microsoft but by the partner community that supports the technology. Cloud based solutions, like everything else, have to make sense for business.
5. Help is Available, Even for Free: The good news is that there are many talented, smart people who are actively thinking about these issues and developing smart plans. These people do not just work at Microsoft or at partners. Some of the wisest, most savvy people I met at SPSLA were the users themselves who are on the front lines. It is important, for me at least, to help develop these people into the next wave of speakers and consultants who will bring that real world experience into the community and share what they’ve learned.
I encourage everyone to get and stay involved in this burgeoning technology field. Collaboration and the cloud are both here to stay. It’s up to us to deliver true business value to our organizations!
I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at more of these events. If you are in the area come out to our Los Angeles SharePoint User Group on April 26th at the Century City Microsoft Store and hear a case study by some of these talented members of the user community from Cedar Sinai.