In This Issue:
- Report from the MVP Global Summit: No Serious Injuries
- Microsoft and Office/Sharepoint 2010: Microsoft is Listening
- Dan goes on SharePoint Tour
Last week, I spent several days surrounded by many of the leaders of the SharePoint community at the MVP Global Summit in Seattle and Redmond. This annual event is an opportunity for us to represent the pulse of the community to Microsoft, and for Microsoft to share with us their plans and activities surrounding upcoming product releases. Each product group is slightly different, but I'm happy to say that the SharePoint product group is particularly forthcoming--willing to share both their successes and the challenges they face--and also particularly willing to solicit and listen to feedback from the community. It was a phenomenal experience, and a humbling one--to be around that many SharePoint brainiacs.
The week started off with friendly warfare as many of the SharePoint MVPs took to blasting each other to smithereens in a paintball game. Luckily there were no fatalities, though I heard a rumor that Andrew Connell may not be having any more children. Not sure if that's true or just vicious rumor. The SharePoint MVPs were also rumored to have undergone brainwashing. Not the kind that happens when we are called to the mothership in Redmond for annual reprogramming, but the kind that happens when dozens of fun loving men and women get away from their homes and spouses in a town that has a few good bars.
More seriously and importantly, we were treated to a number of technical deep-dives into SharePoint 14, which I've been referring to as SharePoint 2010 on the off chance that there's a predictable pattern to Microsoft's branding and which, now publically by Steve Ballmer, has been slotted into "not this year"--i.e. 2010 may be just about right. This rite of passage begins an uncomfortable phase of the product release for people like me--a phase in which I can begin to tell you just how excited I am about the new release, but can't tell you anything really useful for a bit longer.
What I can tell you is that I am, in fact, very excited by what I saw and, moreover, how impressed I am that Microsoft has thrown a lot of investment in time, people, money, and creative energies into the future of SharePoint. It's no secret that SharePoint is a huge success, and that a number of other product lines are to some extent being asked to "toe the line" with SharePoint. It's the engine right now that will give both Microsoft and the market an opportunity to revamp the relationship we have with our information, our peers, and the devices with which we interact... perhaps even moreso than Windows. Microsoft has also publically discussed online versions of Office applications, and that, combined with Microsoft Online Services hosting SharePoint, Exchange and more, might prove to be a game changer. SharePoint is a thrilling product to be watching and working with.
Microsoft has had its hands full with a number of initiatives and environmental demands over recent months, and it has been less than forthcoming about its plans for Office/SharePoint 2010. It's been holding its cards close to its vest. But nevertheless it's clear to me that Microsoft has done a lot to incorporate the feedback it receives from customers, analysts and the community. I know we're all looking forward to a first peek at the next versions of Office and SharePoint. For most of the market, SharePoint 2007 was really their first experience with SharePoint, and all of us learned to love (ahem!) the Ribbon in Office 2007. We will all benefit from the incorporation of collective "lessons learned" into the next version of these applications! Microsoft will never do everything right--it's not possible when "everything" is defined differently for so many parts of a market--but it is doing a lot right. Its progress in this regard is marked, and a big difference from 5-10 years ago! Kudos.
I head to Orlando later this week for Windows Connections, where I'll be delivering a pre-conference full-day workshop, and several sessions covering SharePoint. If you're there, please be sure to say "hi!"
We also just announced two stops on my 2009 "Tour de SharePoint" (my own label :-) )... Lisbon and London and Los Angeles. I'll move on to "M" cities later. If you're wanting to pick up some great, independent scoop on SharePoint technologies, check out these opportunities!