SPTechCon Boston Wrap-Up, Part 1

SPTechCon Boston was held in Boston the last week of June, and I was fortunate to haveSPTechCon logo been able to attend.  For the first time in a few years, I was able to jump into several sessions. Thanks to Vlad Catrinescu of Absolute SharePoint, without whom I would not have been able to attend (I won a raffle that they sponsored).

I got to do and see a lot, so I’ll break this into a couple of posts for digestability purposes. Here are some thoughts and impressions:

The first session I attended was a pre-conference workshop by Laura Rogers and Joelle Farley, “The Power User Cheat Sheet:  Metadata, Rollups, and Search!”   Key takeaways included:

  1. Great refresher on the power of managed metadata and search, and how to optimize them by using them together.
  2. The power of out-of-the-box search web parts and search-driven navigation
  3. Best practices and boundaries between the roles of power user, designer, and developer.

My second session was “Using Office 365 Tools to Support the Digital Workplace” by Jeff Fried. Key takeaways from this session included:

  1. Some great data points/research about the importance of the mobile experience for information workers
  2. How the components of Office 365 support various collaboration scenarios, and how they fit into the “digital workplace” of the future
  3. A concept (and quote) I will carry with me for the rest of my career:  For information workers, “Work is what you do, not where you go,” supported by many statistics and research about the importance of the mobile experience for information workers.   We heard a lot of  talk about digital transformation at SPTechCon, and you can expect Microsoft to hammer home this theme at upcoming events, touting the ability of the Microsoft cloud and applications to allow people to work collaboratively from anywhere, on any device.

My third session was from old friend and colleague Chris McNulty, who doubled up, powerappsproviding an overview of “No Code Solutions for Power Users” (PowerApps and Microsoft Flow), and an in-person “AMA” about the future product roadmap of SharePoint.  The former was a good update on how Microsoft has invested in these solutions, and the latter a great opportunity to give and get real-time feedback from a well-placed, well-informed member of the SharePoint product team.

My key takeaways from Chris’s session were simple:

  1. I should re-double my focus on, and encourage clients to use, UserVoice, Microsoft’s tool where users can submit and vote up product improvement ideas  (nice example from Marc Anderson here).
  2. I will be spending some time to building my own “recipes” in my Office 365 tenant with Microsoft Flow, also informally known by some as “Enterprise IFTTT.”  A non-developer power user like me should be able to build some cool solutions with this tool.

More to come in Part 2…


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