SharePoint Spotlight: Fabian Williams on TechEd 2013, IT/Dev Connections and More

SharePoint Spotlight: Fabian Williams on TechEd 2013, IT/Dev Connections and More

Today, we're highlighting Fabian Williams, who is a Microsoft-recognized SharePoint Server MVP and has been working with SharePoint since 2003. He'll also be presenting great SharePoint content at our IT/Dev Connections in September and is presenting at next week's Microsoft TechEd 2014 conference in Houston, Texas. Here's what Fabian had to say:

Fabian Williams
Fabian Williams

Can you tell us a little more about yourself for those who are unfamiliar?

FW: I am originally from Jamaica and a former U.S. Marine. Although I’m known for being a SharePoint developer who focuses on Business Connectivity Services (BCS) and workflows, I started out as a systems engineer and database administrator who created a website once and got the developer bug.

I got started with SharePoint in 2003 and have been living the SharePoint dream ever since. As of April 2014, I was awarded the Microsoft SharePoint Server MVP recognition for my community work and evangelism. I live in the Washington D.C. Metro area and when I am not blogging about SharePoint or Azure at, speaking at a community event, or working, you can find me and the rest of the DC Metro SharePoint crew at a Washington National’s or Capital’s game.

BG: You’re presenting two different sessions at Microsoft TechEd this year. One on setting up your on-premises environment for app development, and another for implementing Microsoft SharePoint 2013 hybrid for search, business connectivity services, Microsoft OneDrive for Business and Yammer. Can you whet our appetite on what to expect from those sessions?

FW: Certainly. The first session that I am delivering will be on Tuesday, and it is the one that is about SharePoint hybrid. Interestingly enough, I delivered a similar talk at SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas a few months ago. This session, however, is more IT pro focused and incorporates messaging around SharePoint Service Pack 1 enhancements, specifically Yammer and OneDrive for Business. The key takeaway for this session will be how organizations can bridge the divide between maintaining an on-premises environment where things are tightly managed for a variety of reasons, such as compliance and data sensitivity, and also having an expansive always-available presence in the cloud using Office 365 SharePoint Online. We will discuss how information can be seamlessly shared in a secure fashion and consumed easily by end users.

The second session will be on Thursday, and I am co-presenting with Jeremy Thake who recently joined Microsoft as the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Office 365 Pro Developer. This session is focused on the developer and how that role has evolved with the introduction of the App Model. Our message is around setting up their development environment, such that they can build for an on-premises situation using apps, specifically around provider-hosted apps, as well as building apps for Office 365. So, this session also has a hybrid component to it as well.

Both of these sessions should be a lot of fun, where the audience will have a blast and come away learning quite a bit. Of course, it is a pleasure and honor to have been selected to deliver both of these sessions.

BG: What are you looking forward to at the Microsoft TechEd conference? Anything you’d like to see from Microsoft?

FW: Every year that I’ve had the pleasure to go to TechEd, I’ve been blown away with what Microsoft is doing and where they are heading.  For the last two TechEd North America conferences, I’ve been there focusing on Azure, so what I look forward to most from TechEd is the narrative around the entire story of the cloud and how it permeates through all these different technologies.

In essence, it gives me a chance to look outside the SharePoint bubble that I spend most of my time in, the benefit I get from that is that I can see with greater depth but more so breadth as to how the entire ecosystem fits and works with each other.  I get a chance to come back home and share that message with both work and the community. As far as what I’d like to see from Microsoft, well, I want to hear more about what’s going on with Visual Studio, I want to hear more about Big Data, and I want to see and hear about the investments in SharePoint and Azure in those areas.

BG: We’re also so glad that you’ll be a speaker again this year at our IT/Dev Connections event later this year. What are you looking forward to at the conference?

FW: I am very happy and honored to have been accepted to speak at IT/Dev Connections this year. In fact, I will also be delivering two pre-requisite seminars, focusing on the developer, leading up to the September event in Las Vegas. These pre-requisite seminars are to be delivered in June 18th and 19th.

To your question of what am I looking forward to, well, that’s two-fold really. As a speaker, I am very excited to be talking about SharePoint 2013 workflows and all the new capabilities surrounding working with external data, especially with the new REST API and all that can be done using the new tooling in SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio offering both code and no-code solutions.

The niche that I find interesting where I spend a lot of my time is in business process reengineering (BPR), whether it is using SharePoint BCS or workflows. I love how the story can be told using these two workloads in SharePoint. Second, I get as much as I give, it’s great interacting with all the other speakers and attendees, it gives me a chance to hear what’s going on in the field so to speak, it allows me to hear about the different challenges and successes that other folks are having as well. I can take these thoughts back to my professional world and build on that both in my work life as a SharePoint architect and in my community work back in the DC Metro.

BG: Thanks so much for your time, Fabian! Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

FW: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to your readers, I appreciate it very much.  Well it’s a little too late to tell them to sign up for TechED since it is sold out, but there is still time to sign up for IT/Dev Connections; I’d encourage them to come out and participate in these events. I’d also like to encourage folks to get out and play a part in their local user groups, whether it is SharePoint Saturdays, Code Camps, Hackathons, etc. Get involved, and bring someone with you. Cheers.

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