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Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and the Windy City: SharePoint Fest Chicago 2012 Keynote Preview

​Next week – from Tuesday, September 25 to Friday, September 28 – SharePoint community members from all over will gather in the Windy City for SharePoint Fest Chicago 2012. With more than 80 technical classes and seminars – taught by Microsoft Certified Trainers, Microsoft engineers and Microsoft MVPs – the event is designed to arm attendees with the knowledge and resources necessary to meet their specific SharePoint needs.

AvePoint is a Silver Sponsor of the event, and attendees can visit us at booth S4 to speak with our SharePoint experts and learn about our latest innovations. On Wednesday, September 26, AvePoint will host two book signings at its booth:

· AvePoint Enterprise Trainer and Evangelist Randy Williams at 12:30pm CST
· SharePoint MVP Dan Holme at 1:05pm CST

Additionally, Randy Williams will present sessions on two separate days:

· “Getting Started with SharePoint 2013 Development” at 10:15am CST on Wednesday, September 26
· “The Future of Social Collaboration in the Enterprise” at 3pm CST on Thursday, September 27

Leading up to the event, we checked in with one of the keynote speakers, Innovative-e Managing Partner and SharePoint MVP Dux Raymond Sy. Dux’s keynote speech, entitled “Revolutionize Your Organization with SharePoint 2013”, will be delivered at 9am CST on Wednesday, September 26. He shared some insights on the presentation, thoughts and advice around the release of SharePoint 2013, and some of his favorite spots in the city of Chicago.

Could tell us what your keynote is about and why you chose it for SharePoint Fest Chicago?

Dux Raymond Sy: My keynote is titled "Revolutionize Your Organization with SharePoint 2013". With the buzz around the upcoming release of SharePoint 2013, I chose this topic for three reasons:

1. Demonstrate what’s new in SharePoint 2013 and why organizations will benefit from it. I’ll show new features and key business benefits.

2. Show how SharePoint 2013 is a shift for the enterprise today. Obviously there are a lot of good new features, but it’s a shift because we’re in an age of social collaboration, multiple technologies, the mobile platform, new tablets coming out form Microsoft, and, of course, the iPad. So we’ll be looking at shift in terms of how people are working, but also this concept of the multiplatform, Bring Your Own Device type of world we live in and how SharePoint 2013 plays into that.

3. Looking at existing systems that companies have and how that can work with SharePoint 2013. From a business perspective, how does SharePoint 2013 work with existing platforms and technologies that companies have?

What is one takeaway you want attendees to walk away with after your keynote?

DRS: One key takeaway for attendees is to really have a hard look into their organizations and think about the value that SharePoint 2013 can bring. When I say “think about”, I don’t just mean at a high level such as, “We can implement social features and we can use Yammer.” But think about it from the perspective of, “Wow, with the SharePoint 2013 application model, we can streamline and release new solutions quicker.” While SharePoint is already a great development platform, the application model expedites the process of development even more because now we have all of these applications that we can easily deploy. People need to think about what the business value is in that.

Which aspects of SharePoint 2013 are you most excited about?

DRS: There are two things that stand out to me.

First, it’s much more cross-device, cross-client, and cross-browser compatible. While SharePoint 2010 was already compatible with different devices, SharePoint 2013 is much more compatible and the overall experience is much more fluid. That also includes the usability aspect of the platform, which I will certainly demonstrate during the keynote.

Second, the app model and the app store: We know that Apple kind of spearheaded this whole concept of apps, but what we have not seen today is an established app store or app model for the enterprise. I think with the Office app store is very exciting because it brings that whole concept to the enterprise. Now, we still have to see how that concept plays out, but it’s very exciting nonetheless.

As organizations make plans to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 once it’s generally available, how do you suggest they prepare in advance?

DRS: I have five suggestions, in order of sequence:

1. Really evaluate the organizational need for the upgrade or migration. As technologists, we get too caught up on the latest and greatest gadgets and cool new features. But we need to step back and ask: What is the organizational need, how does this affect the bottom line, and how does this affect adoption? We all know that, with any new technology, change management is the hardest thing. So, the organizational need will tell you if you need an upgrade or a migration.

2. Identify and prioritize the upgrade scope. Just throwing everything out there is not a good idea. For example, if you’re a large organization with SharePoint as a platform for intranet as well as different point solutions for different business units, how are you going to prioritize what you upgrade first? (e.g. Is it the intranet or the point solutions first?) Then, how will we handle training? How will this affect day-to-day business operations? Is the current information architecture taxonomy well defined so that we can replicate it in SharePoint 2013, or is it something that needs to be re-done? Think about what the upgrade scope would be. And, as a part of that, think about how much it would it cost. A lot of us think about cost in terms of SharePoint licenses and servers, but the bigger cost is the act of the upgrade.

3. Allocate realistic budgets. Be intentional. You don’t do this willy-nilly and say, “Oh, IT will do the upgrade when they get to it.” It has to be a budgeted initiative and a staffed initiative, meaning the people carrying out the upgrade should know something about SharePoint 2013. For the upgrade to be successful, it ties back to the business need, whether that’s saving money or improving and automating process.

4. Develop a schedule and make sure it’s realistic. Proper planning and managing of an upgrade initiative is critical.

5. Treat the upgrade as a project. You have to be intentional. SharePoint, at the end of the day, is not an IT toy. Rather, it is business tool upon which we can build. Like anything else, to be successful, it has to be treated as a true project and a true initiative.

How do you feel an event like SharePoint Fest Chicago benefits the SharePoint community?

DRS: I think the SharePoint Fest team has done a great job in bringing a conference like this to metropolitan areas like this that typically didn’t have SharePoint-related conferences in the past, such as Chicago and Denver. I think that’s the key benefit to the community. SharePoint Saturday events happen, but some people can’t make it on Saturdays or sometimes the content that SharePoint Fest can provide isn’t covered in SharePoint Saturdays.

Outside of your keynote, what is one thing you’re looking forward to most at SharePoint Fest Chicago?

DRS: I’m looking forward to seeing Dan Holme talk about his experience with the SharePoint intranet during the London 2012 Olympics for NBC Olympics. I think that’s a great, relevant story.

I’m also looking forward to delivering a pre-conference, full day workshop on “How to Effectively Plan, Manage and Control SharePoint Projects” on Tuesday, September 25. I’ve run this workshop the past couple of years during conferences, and it teaches the “people side” of managing SharePoint projects. It will include information on practical ways to plan for a SharePoint project, how to get your head around budgeting for a SharePoint project, how to manage customers, and how to handle changes in your SharePoint project.

What do you recommend conference attendees see and do in Chicago when they’re not at the event?

DRS: I’m a big foodie, and Chicago is a great foodie town. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the restaurants that I haven’t been to yet in Chicago, including Isla Pilipina, Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar, The Publican, and Le Colonial.

As a recommendation, if folks haven’t tried molecular gastronomy, one of the first restaurants that did this is in Chicago. It’s called Moto and it’s in the meatpacking district. I had the opportunity to try it out a couple years ago and it was a great experience. You can read my review of the restaurant on my website.

For more information on SharePoint Fest Chicago, please visit the event website.

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