After a week in London, the Fpweb.net crew is back at work and reflecting on our first major European conference. It would have been our second, but that silly 2010 #ashcloud got in the way. Now that the jetlag has faded away, expense reports have been filed, and we’re all caught up on emails (okay, almost), I wanted to take a moment to look back on the week.
The Conference Sessions:
I find it very interesting that the most valuable sessions for a complex technical product like SharePoint are the ones almost entirely about theory, planning, scale, and case studies–but that’s certainly the case. SharePoint needs so much planning and design. It doesn’t matter how much you know from a technical standpoint… if people don’t use it, it’s not worth anything. There were still a lot of technical sessions for those of us that like that sort of thing, but it’s really cool to see that people are seeing the value in the non-technical stuff as well.
The Conference for Fpweb.net:
Our team had a blast! We just opened a new data center in the UK so it was fun to be able to discuss how to fill that thing up with SharePoint. The people at the 2011 European Best Practices SharePoint Conference were really enlightening to talk to. There is so much going on right now with data sovereignty in a cloud business and every country/company seems to have a different take on it. With so many people from all over the world attending, I learned a considerable amount more about how we (Fpweb.net) need to handle these situations.
We also found that there were a lot of people just beginning to look into cloud SharePoint services. In the US, we find that most people are already testing it out or redefining their internal processes to prepare for it. Most of the folks I spoke to in London knew it was coming, but were still early in the process of learning about it. Getting in there and letting them know all the different options they had seemed to really open their eyes. Cloud-based SharePoint is not just Office 365. Office 365 is a great product-but it is hardly a one-size-fits-all solution. There are several other alternatives out there (including ours) when that cookie-cutter Microsoft solution isn’t enough.
Our New Consulting Division:
London finally gave us a chance to test out the messaging for our new consulting services. We are so protective of our relationships with other consultants that we don’t want to overlap onto their services, but we are also finding a need to fill in the gaps between hosting SharePoint sites and providing typical consulting services. Getting to talk this through with our friends in other consultancies was extremely helpful in maturing this message. Essentially, we always want customers in the cloud to have someone to turn to when they run into issues… whether that’s the service provider, our consulting group, or someone else’s. More details on that later…
Good times with great friends:
As a vendor, it’s sometimes hard for folks to get past the stigma that we are always trying to sell you something. Hey, don’t get me wrong, if you are in the market and we can help, we are more than happy to do some business… However, we are also proud members of the fantastic worldwide SharePoint community.
I love talking shop with other SharePoint admins out there, sharing war stories, learning, and even just having people to hang out with on the road. In London, once again, we had the opportunity to just sit down and enjoy the company of some community members and friends. To me, this is really what it’s all about. Being able to sit down with people you respect (and sometimes even compete with), and just put work aside for a while to enjoy each other’s company.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by and said hello at the conference. It’s always great to see familiar faces so far from home and to make new friends along the way.
Next stop Tech-Ed North America 2011 in Atlanta. See you there!