My second year attending Share the Point was a little different to the last.
This year I got to go to both Sydney and Auckland as a speaker in a whirlwind two weeks. Having had some time to reflect after being back to the realities of office life I thought I would share my reflections from the Australian and New Zealand SharePoint conferences held back in July.
Adoption and change management: From the business and case study streams which I frequented the strong stand-out theme was about user adoption. Michael Sampson, Benjamin Niaulin and numerous other presentations that I didn’t get to see. People are really starting to take adoption seriously, realising that installing SharePoint is not enough and that the appropriate attention and resources are needed for project and ongoing success.
User centered design: The next logical step to taking an approach which focuses on adoption and change management is to take a user centered approach to design. Lou Zulli came with the best example, his cohort of high school students who develop solutions for students and teachers in SharePoint take a user centered design approach with their projects. What better message for project teams, if a bunch of teenagers can do it then what excuse do the rest of us have.
Stop calling it SharePoint: Something which I say a lot myself in reference to our own project, but I was surprised to hear from some vendors and other case studies is the idea of not calling the intranet solution SharePoint. In many cases what is being delivered is not exactly SharePoint, but a hybrid or platform solution, so to call it SharePoint isn’t exactly accurate. The other point is that giving the solution a more relevant name for staff will increase adoption.
It was great to be in Sydney to see excellent local speakers and catch up with so many from the intranet community. It was a bigger crowd than I remembered last year and a refreshing new set of speakers and case studies.
Bryce Saunders presentation Information Architecture Decisions and Rainbows was the standout presentation for me from AUSPC. Bryce shared his insights in Information Architecture, but brought home the point that when it comes to your approach with SharePoint (or any technology for that matter) how you do it really ‘depends’. He provided a spectrum for solutions across different aspects of SharePoint Information Architecture which businesses can apply depending on their unique circumstances. Aside from his great advice an important point here is that there is no on size fits all solution for SharePoint.
My first visit to New Zealand was sadly short but very memorable. I spent a couple of days before the conference sight seeing around beautiful New Zealand with a few of my fellow speakers before getting straight back into the conference action. The Auckland event kicked off in grand style with a 2 hours keynote from Microsoft featuring new technologies such as Delve (project Oslo) and the new Surface Pro 3.
My favourite presentation from Auckland was from Kristi Bernards who gave a high energy presentation about Wintec involved their staff in their SharePoint intranet development. Through a high level of education and devolving responsibility out to staff they have a workforce who loves their intranet and work responsibly with only a light layer of governance.
Surface Pro 3
A personal highlight for me was getting to play around with a new Surface Pro 3 courtesy of Darrell C Webster. I have experimented with a few styluses and applications on my iDevices without satisfaction from a drawing and sketching perspective. The styluses don’t have enough precision and the applications not responsive enough. I was pleasantly surprised by the Surface Pro 3 which I first used in Sydney for a quick session of sketchnotes and then again in New Zealand to capture the Microsoft keynote. Darrell cleverly set me up in OneNote which we synced to the conference notebook to share with attendees. I have a new found appreciation for OneNote and have added the Surface Pro 3 to my birthday wish list.
The networking event was a highlight this year. Debbie and the team went all out with a Vegas Night theme with real gaming tables (but thankfully not real money). It’s always good to be able to talk to other attendees in a less formal setting and in this case learn how to play Blackjack without affecting my bank balance.
I thoroughly enjoyed both conferences and am thankful for the opportunity to meet so many excellent SharePoint and intranet professionals. If you didn’t get to Sydney or Auckland the team will be doing it again in Singapore at the end of November with an extend subject area to include more of Microsoft’s wider product range. I have heard Singapore is pretty big so if you can get there, do it!
Check out presentations and blog posts from Australia and New Zealand: