The SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas was a wonderful experience on all fronts. I am invigorated by the community, challenged by all the new technology and slightly overwhelmed by the amount of work that is headed our direction. There was a large focus on 2010 technology but the most relevant information for me was gleaned from conversations with other customers, architects, analysts and Microsoft staff. I'm happy to note that in the Twitterverse the sub-title of this post was my highest re-tweet - well, next to the picture of my Twitter t-shirt which said, "What Happens in Vegas Stays on Twitter". The sense of humor in our community is alive and well!
I am pleased to say that my presentation was greeted with warm remarks by those who attended which I very much appreciated. My focus was on the Skechers MOSS 2007 deployment and how we've leveraged & continue to build out the BI solution stack within it. I felt a little like the salesperson selling the "old" car instead of the bright shiny new one since I was not demonstrating 2010 features. I felt much better when a very smart attendee said, "I feel like I got a new toy at Christmas but no batteries!" in regards to seeing so much tech that we can't even test run for ourselves until November. That feeling, though not as wittily put, was reiterated by many people who are very excited about the new features but know we have some time to wait until we can test and deploy them.
If you missed my presentation you can see me at SharePoint-Unleashed in Irvine, Ca on November 3rd. That one day SharePoint conference will provide a lot of the information we got here in Las Vegas for a reasonable price in a local location. I'm exited to be a part of it and I will have some additional time to delve more deeply into ECM architecture and iterative deployment models.
In 140 character TwitterSpeak here are my post conference plans:
@Karuana Post Conf. Plan: Rest, Assimilate, Blog, Update Strategic Plan, Stand up Dev 2010 farm, Upgrade Enthusiasm, Share with all! #SPC09
If you've got a longer attention span than that - keep reading! Here are my thoughts on my conference take-aways in no particular order:
2007 Technology is Still Relevant:
It is my belief that while we must revisit our strategic plans to prepare for the 2010 release we can not and should not abandon our users who depend on our 2007, and in some cases 2003 deployments. We have an obligation and an opportunity to get the most out of our implementations while we prepare for the welcome relief that the SharePoint 2010, PowerPivot and Office 2010 feature upgrade will bring.
Time to Audit Usage, Update Strategic Plans & Budgets
My strategic plans, which often exist in their most updated form in my own head, need to be discussed and updated. As a part of that it will be wise to audit usage with a eye for what can and should be upgraded and what can be migrated to a new solution built with 2010 tools from the ground up. There will also be additional budget requirements to detail out in the areas of hardware and labor costs.
The SharePoint Community is My Most Powerful Tool
The people that I met at the SharePoint Conference are my most powerful tool in navigating the technology over the next few years. We are facing a time where the collaborative decision making process, social networks, and business intelligence will converge in our environments. This is a herculean task that will require a host of intelligent minds to successfully wrangle. I met those minds in droves at the conference and will make it part of my mission to stay connected via blogging, user groups, other conferences like SharePoint-Unleashed and the SharePoint Technology Conference and Twitter.
Invest in My Team - Their Knowledge is My Success
Never has it been more obvious that people are what is driving this technology forward. Its time to sit down and do some additional skills mapping of what will be needed to reach our vision for implementation. Spending time to mentor my developer, and web designer to get relevant certifications and increase their knowledge will ultimately be time well spent along the road to maximizing what both 2007 and 2010 can do for the enterprise. I can not be successful without the right team. Period.
Complete Design Review
In 2010 the ribbon is an integral part of the design. All current site designs need to be reviewed for how the ribbon will integrate with them. Also its time to leverage themes and the master page design even more strongly than I already do on my implementations.
Desktop Upgrade Planning
The true power of 2010 is unleashed when a user is also running Office 2010. I don't know about you but my users are still running 2003. The path to this upgrade has a myriad of costs associated with it so my enterprises dollars, for hardware, licensing and training need to be well leveraged.
Lockdown SharePoint Development Processes
We currently have in place a process for maintaining version control of all code deployed to the implementation however these tools have gotten an upgrade in 2010. Its time to revisit that process, both human and system, and smooth out any rough edges to be ready for the future. Of course, code control is an important part of any development process but this also extends to solution configuration. We have had to be creative to document the manner in which our solutions or user tools have been configured and this process must be refined to be ready for an upgrade of this nature.
Upgrade Project Management Tools for SharePoint Team
The PM process has never been more important. With all the tools available for deployment to end users, the solutions sets available and the timelines that will inevitably come with all these changes it is critical that we be focused on the top priorities and execute them well. The end user community does not appreciate false promises and it will rely on both our project and change management skills to deliver what they truly need and what we told them they could have.
Embrace the Broad Definition of Business Intelligence
As I stated in my conference presentation, business intelligence is not just charts and graphs from back end data. It is any distributed information that allows users to make more informed business decisions, to gain true insight into how the business is performing. If we look at all of our tools, including lists, libraries, report portals and full PerformancePoint feature sets we can always keep the relevance of our tools in sight. Then we can plan for using Excel 2010 as the analytical client and utilizing PowerPivot where required.
Governance and Compliance Are More Important than Ever:
As we revisit our strategic plans for SharePoint solution deployments we must take this opportunity to tighten up our belts in the areas of governance and compliance. We do not want to take broken or lax processes with us to the new farm. I have approximately one year to polish up the 2007 deployment before we would be move to 2010 in production. That timeline is my guess-timate based on when Microsoft might release its first service patch for SharePoint 2010. While I have every confidence in the SharePoint Product Team over my technology career I have found it wise to wait and not deploy a dot-zero product.
More thoughts will come to me over the next few weeks as I delve into more details about the new solution stack. I'm very excited about what this all will mean for us and mindful that my communications skills, team and ability to deliver is what will make these visions a reality. See you all along the way!