Reporting from the first day of this week’s four-day Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 (SPC11) in Anaheim, CA.
This is the first time Microsoft has held this event since 2009, which Adlib also attended, and a lot has changed since then. At that time a lot of attendees seemed to be in the investigation phase – trying to figure out what this SharePoint thing was all about, what it could do, what it couldn't’t do, and whether they should jump in and try it.
This week, attendees at Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 are much more informed, and virtually all of them have implemented SharePoint at their organization and made it a fundamental part of their business.
Discussions that I and my Adlib colleagues are having with people at SPC11 are a reflection of this progression. Show attendees are coming along with very specific business problems that need to be solved that can’t be done in SharePoint.
Conversations at our booth (right) have included:
- “I have a sh*tload of scanned document image files that need to be converted to searchable PDF and loaded into SharePoint – and we need it right away.”
- “I need to capture web pages and save in PDF format for sharing with external partners.”
- “We are using [Microsoft form builder tool] InfoPath as part of business processes and need to capture the form in PDF format and store it in SharePoint.”
The use of InfoPath forms to capture information and drive business processes in SharePoint is really picking up steam! Discussion about this need to take a snapshot of the form at some stage in a business process came up again and again during the first day of SPC11.
Sessions available to attendees of the conference are also a reflection of how the industry has matured. There appear to be far fewer introductory sessions on the basics of SharePoint and far more on focussed business needs, such as sessions on:
- Automating business processes with workflow
- Records management
- Optimizing search
- Cloud, cloud, cloud!
Not much new on the product front, though; that will no doubt be the theme of the next SharePoint Conference with the highly anticipated release of Wave 15.