Continued from the earlier post summarizing the recent SPTechCon Boston 2016 conference:
I attended “Cool Dashboards, Charts and Visualizations for Power Users,” by Sharegate’s Ben Niaulin. Ben is a world-class SharePoint and PowerBI demo jock, so I need to test for myself whether the end-to-end creation of a cool PowerBI dashboard from a table on a random web page was as impossibly easy as it looked. (homework assignment for me: try to re-create Ben’s demo using the tables on the wikipedia page for “Game of Thrones”).
My key takeaway from Ben’s session was to dig into PowerQuery (aka “Get and Transform” in Excel 2016), the “boring but important” Excel add-in for discovering, combining, and refining data across a wide variety of sources (including, of course, SharePoint lists).
My “capstone” session was Dave Feldman’s “Next Generation Collaboration with Team Sites, Groups, Planner and Delve.” A consistent theme through SPTechCon this year was that SharePoint is at the core of collaboration in Office 365, but it’s surrounded by other technologies that complement it. Dave took us on a brisk walk through some of these, including:
- Office 365 Groups, which span several Office 365 components to provide teams with a shared calendar, shared inbox, document library, team site and Yammer feed.
- Delve and Office Graph, which provide ways new ways to navigate, discover and search for information across the organization.
My key takeaway from Dave’s session is to continue to explore the Groups I have already set up in Office 365, to stay familiar with the new features that Microsoft continues to accelerate rolling out.
The other SPTechCon takeaway for me was completely new: the entrepreneurial energy of those who have already blazed the path I’m headed down — forming consulting teams that help clients collaborate better using Microsoft technologies. I got great ideas, advice, and examples from such organizations as:
- IW Mentor (Laura Rogers)
- PAIT Group (Steph Donahue and Mark Rackley)
- Sympraxis Consulting (Marc Anderson and Julie Turner)
- Timlin Enterprises (Ryan Thomas and team)
I am grateful to all of those who shared their insights and advice with me, and I learned as much in the hallways and at meals as I did from the session content. I hope to see you at Ignite in September!