Ok now that we’ve had a little more time to digest the conference, here are a few non-SharePoint-specific thoughts from the conference.
Twitter is still the preferred social network of the SharePoint Community
For an entire week we heard all about Yammer and its successes as an enterprise community builder and social networking tool. However, I monitored both the official/unofficial public yammer group for the SharePoint community (SPYam) as well as the #SPC12 hashtag feed on Twitter, and at least in my opinion there seemed to be no question that more content, more live conversations were being had, and more connections were being made on Twitter.
I would speculate that just the ease of simply just using a hashtag instead of having to join a Yammer group (if you weren’t already in it) led to a lot of this disparity. For me personally, it was also nice to spin off into a smaller conversation with 2 or 3 people, and not necessarily have everyone else involved (although they could join if they wanted). I thought the biggest differentiator though was people using a separate hashtag for the session number (i.e. #SPS078) which was great to read the conversation going on specifically about the session you were in. The most active session I attended was Dux Sy‘s presentation on "Lead the Enterprise Social Revolution" (go figure, huh) but it was really cool and helpful to see specifically what parts of the talk were resonating with people, how people were responding, and to be able to engage with those same folks on the session content.
The more things change, the more they stay the same
It obviously goes without saying that the biggest story at the conference was the new version of SharePoint 2013. Nearly all of the sessions talked about new features of 2013 and the best ways to get value out of them. But given that SharePoint 2013 is SO new that there are hardly any customers using it successfully in the marketplace, it’s hard to really say what exactly are the Best Practices. As a result, many of the talks were in reality a discussion of lessons learned from 2010 and how they are applied to 2013, or, in some cases, the best practices for ANY sort of change management in general.
However, it shouldn’t take away how valuable this information is. SharePoint 2013 in many ways will break ground in a number of ways, but ultimately though, it’s still human beings learning to adapt to a new tools, something we have been doing for thousands of years.
Some times less is more
Among these "lessons learned" truisms is that Microsoft works hard to make SharePoint "everything to everyone." But that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone’s everything has to be everything to you. You need to be strategic and surgical to find which features and components meet your needs, your pain points, and your existing business processes.
Likewise SPC – and Vegas in general – just has SO MUCH going on because they are trying to accommodate a wide range of visitors all coming here for various reasons. However, I learned that just because there is a lot to do, it does not mean that you have to do everything. It’s totally OK to pick and choose, take some time to figure out what you want to get out of your time there, and leave some of the things on the table for next time.
When travelling, drinking water and eating vegetables are key
Ok I actually knew this before, so it’s hard to say I learned it at SPC ’12, but given how I promptly ignored it at the conference as well as Thanksgiving vacation the week after, it’s hard to say whether I ever learned it to begin with.