The Dynamic Owl team was fortunate enough to attend the SharePoint Conference 2012 last week. It was a great conference and it was amazing to see how large the SharePoint community is becoming with over 10,000 people attending and a huge array of vendors in the vendor hall.
We did stay a little too long (7 days in Las Vegas is way too much) but learnt a ton that we will be able to leverage with our customers. As always there is good stuff, bad stuff and some ugly stuff that happens in conferences so here are my highlights, low lights and head scratchers!
SharePoint Mobile and Apps
This was really interesting and pleasantly surprising. There will be two flavors of support for mobile applications for SharePoint 2013 – native apps and mobile optimized views. Both of these focus around the MySite capabilities and include the Newsfeed and SkyDrive Pro features.
I had a look at the iPad experience and also at the Windows 8 native app and was super impressed! I know that an iOS version is in the works which is great as well although with Android having a huge market share (around 60%) surprised that this was not mentioned.
What I think this will mean is more of a business value story around the social features of SharePoint 2013. Imagine being on the road and being able to ask a question through your newsfeed via one of these apps and connecting with a colleagues that knows your answer? Some very interesting scenarios now that social and mobile have some combined power behind them.
Project Server Capabilities
I only went to a couple of sessions on Project Server 2013 but I was amazed by the maturity of the product, particularly in the cloud. We always have clients that are looking for basic Project Management capabilities and this could really be the answer they are looking for.
I really loved the new reporting features using Powerview, the simplicity and the integration with Microsoft Project. For more information check out the Microsoft Project Blog.
Lots of great sessions on apps and I think that the SharePoint developers out there are starting to get how this will work. It is a paradigm shift but I think that Microsoft communicated the changes quite well and you could see how important this is when Scott Guthrie was part of the keynote.
Personally I love the new App model and think it will open up a new world of possibilities in SharePoint. To see an example of the power of App check out this recent post by Richard diZerega
Finally licensing has become easier and much more effective for organizations. Here are my takeaways:
- No need for Extranet users to have CALs: This is a huge change and will encourage the usage of Extranet since it is basically free for external users.
- No more FIS license for public sites: Once again huge news! You want you public facing site on SharePoint 2013? Pay for the SharePoint server license and you are ready to roll. I think that Microsoft wants to target the WCM market and with this change it will make it very cheap for many organizations.
This really means that Extranets and public facing websites will become very cost effective for many organizations.
Yammer and Social – what is the story here?
I really like Yammer and I really like the social features in SharePoint 2013 but I am terribly concerned about the integration that is being touted. During the keynote we were shown that a user can socialize a piece of content in Yammer easily from SharePoint through the press of a button. That’s cool but what about the native social SharePoint 2013 features?
I think that this will confuse users horribly and lead to a very strange experience whilst true integration occurs. For example if I want to share a document do I do that in Yammer or through my SP2013 newsfeed? How will search work? If I want to update my profile do I do it in Yammer or SharePoint?
We all know that the social features can be a difficult sell to many organizations and people need simple tools. I really hope that we don’t get into the scenarios where they is two disparate pieces of functionality the mimic each other, that will only confuse users and stifle adoption.
Content By Search Web Part only available in Enterprise SKU
Looks like the Content By Search Web Part will only be available in the Enterprise and Plan 2 SKUs. This is really concerning as the CBS Web Part is probably the most powerful new feature in SharePoint 2013 that allows you to do many interesting things.
Hopefully this will change in the future or that I am just plain wrong!
This was plain ugly and didn’t work. I think that this caused lots of stress for attendees and presenters and made many of the demonstrations go horribly wrong. You put in 10,000 nerds in a technology conference with an average of 2 or 3 devices means you need capacity for about 25,000 devices. Lets make it happen next year guys!
Only one session on InfoPath with no official word on its future. With so many companies making extensive use of the technology to me its really concerning. I asked a few of the product team members and no real official word either so hopefully we get some guidance sooner rather than later.
Seven days in Vegas means lots of eating for Denise and I! Along with all that fatty food means weight gain and time to hit the gym. However we ate at some fantastic places including:
- Gordon Ramsey Steak
- Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (Best meal of the trip)
- L’atelier de Joel Robucon
- Raku (off strip but amazing Japanese food)
- Todd English Olives
- Border Grill
I think that the future for organization using SharePoint is very, very bright indeed. The move to the cloud, new licensing and mobile support where part of many improvements to the platform that where showcased in this years SharePoint Conference. I would love to hear what some other impressions were so please leave a comment and thanks for reading!