Tech Ed 2008 Wrap-Up

ToTheSharePoint Newsletter
June 17, 2008

Dan Holme
Office & SharePoint Pro
Community Manager

Tech Ed 2008 Wrap-Up

Last week, I and 7,000 or so of my closest friends converged upon the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando to partake in the annual brainfest known as Tech Ed. When vendors, press, Microsoft employees, and others are added to the mix, close to 9,500 folks experienced the event.

As you probably know by now, even if you did not attend, this year marked a departure from previous years in that developers were hosted separately, the previous week. Reaction from the unscientific sample I took was mixed. Many liked the fact that all discussions could be focused on administration, design, and troubleshooting. The smaller crowd also meant shorter lines and allowed vendors in the Expo to connect with their audience more effectively. But others missed the interaction with and the presence of developers.

SharePoint is, of course, a bit of a unique technology in that it acts both as a platform for solutions implemented by IT pros and a platform for development. It’s often difficult to tease apart the tasks performed by and the knowledge required by SharePoint professionals. Heck, even end users become both administrators and developers to some extent once SharePoint comes into the enterprise. I know there were sessions in the Developers' Tech Ed that I wish I could have attended, and there were developers who would have benefitted from architecture and administration sessions.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft moves forward with the Tech Ed and SharePoint Conference events. I’d hate to think that SharePoint devs and IT pros will always be segregated—dialog between the two is crucial for success.

Conspicuously Absent

There was a big, glaring black hole at this Tech Ed: no major new “future products” being hyped. There was no talk of Windows 7 or Office 14, though each of those products is certainly baking in the ovens up in Redmond. I found it actually quite refreshing to be at a Microsoft event where sessions included titles like “Best Practices,” and “Notes from the Field,” suggesting that products such as Windows Vista, SharePoint, and even Windows Server 2008 are well-understood enough to warrant more than adoption-focused hypefests. Even Server 2008 and the not-quite-released Hyper-V and SQL Server 2008 had real, meaty coverage.

Noticeably In-Demand

Perhaps because this Tech Ed was not “three steps ahead” of the market, sessions that covered the brass tacks of SharePoint design and implementation drew huge crowds. It seems to me that the SharePoint “wave” is now really hitting, and many enterprises are now getting serious about rolling the product out and attempting to build governance for SharePoint services. Sometimes it seems Microsoft wants the market to be further along than it is, but there's no doubt that interest and investment in SharePoint is now a very real force.

Highly Deserving

Each year, Windows IT Pro conducts the Best of Tech Ed awards, which recognize the best of class products available to the community. There are so many incredible SharePoint products being released that choosing finalists must have been very difficult, but the finalists this year were DocAve Software Platform by Ave Point, Quest Site Administrator for SharePoint by Quest, and Universal SharePoint Manager 2007 by iDevFactory. The envelope, the award, and the honors went to AvePoint. It was a good week for AvePoint, who also released an exciting new update to its backup product, DocAve 5.0. But all three finalists, and in fact all of the incredible products I saw on the Expo floor, illustrate what a dynamic platform SharePoint is. In fact, SharePoint crept into other categories this year, with two SharePoint products nominated in the Productivity & Collaboration category: Easy CRM SharePoint by BPA Solutions and the category winner, Colligo Contributor Pro for SharePoint by Colligo Networks.

Thoroughly Exhausted
That would be me. Still recovering. Wish I could say it was because I partied too hard last week, but I didn’t until the event was completely over (thanks to the Swedes for a crazy last evening!). So, until next week, happy SharePointing!

Dan Holme
danh at intelliem dot (top level commercial domain)

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