March 18-21 Riley O’Brien Wolf (Microsoft Alliance Manager) and Jeff Brand (Product Manager) joined me at SharePoint FEST Denver. It was a great event, or at least it was until the fire alarm went off and we were evacuated from the conference center. I’d like to say Adlib was simply too hot to handle… but apparently the elevator maintenance welding sparked off a small fire. L
Denver’s surprisingly chilly in the morning, so the three of us ducked in a local cafe and, as is typical, talked shop… I thought I’d share some of our points. J
Roger: I missed SharePoint Conference last year… what’s the deal with SP FEST?
Riley - The SP FESTS are run by a separate organization, not Microsoft. They tend to be locally oriented so easier to access… but fundamentally the content is similar.
Most attendees are SharePoint administrators, software developers, and information architects. They attend technical classes and seminars covering Enterprise Content Management, Social SharePoint, Business Value, Infrastructure/Administration, Composites (Workflow), Search, Business Intelligence, and Development.
Roger – There was also the keynote on Search by Cem Aykan and numerous vendors in this area… why such a big focus?
Riley – As SP becomes more mainstream and more teams are using it for collaboration it necessitates a lot more information access via search. Your information is only useful if you can find it.
Jeff – The funny thing is that despite all the tools and taxonomy discussions, if your content isn’t fully searchable you’ll never find anything.
People don’t always realize that not all documents are searchable. A lot of them –PDFs in particular – are graphically oriented with text hidden in images – think signature, scanned images, captions, advertisements, etc. So the whole search emphasis bodes well for our solution.
Roger: Hey, I noticed a few partners there.
We’ve been doing SharePoint content conversion for so long we’ve built many relationships… in some cases we’re only part of the solution. Like with workflow… we don’t do full on workflows, but we plug into K2 and Nintex to complete the solution and create the final output.
Roger: So lots of good conversations, interesting uses of SharePoint … now let’s get to the most important thing… Who had the best tchotchkes?
Jeff: Well, our water bottles were a hit in the mile-high, arid, Denver environment… but my personal favourite was the rubber duckys from a SharePoint consulting/training company.
Riley: I try not to hoard too much stuff... but I couldn’t resist the mini-footballs… my husband will appreciate the gesture.