Share Conference 2012 Wrap up

Late last month I was fortunate enough to attend Share 2012 in Melbourne. I went in with mixed expectations with my initial impressions being that the presenters were a mix of well known international personalities, business leaders and vendors with the topics having a focus towards social SharePoint and business-relevant concepts around successful implementations. At the end of the 3 days I have to say my expectations were easily exceeded. The conference was professionally run and the majority of sessions I attended were well delivered on relevant topics with a scattering of world-class presentations thrown into the mix. The number of valuable takeaways from the conference was impressive.

I’ve attended a few conferences in the past, most being large scale Microsoft run Tech-Eds or low-key single day events. Surprisingly, at the end of the day I felt that I got more out of my 3 days at Share than I had at any other conference I’ve experienced. There were certainly areas for improvement with the social networking night events lacking in comparison (possibly a factor of the comparatively low price or lack of major Microsoft backing/subsidising) but overall from a quality and value standpoint the conference was top-notch.

A previous bugbear of mine when attending conferences was that the sessions I really wanted to see always seemed to clash and at other times I had no particular interest in any of the topics available to select from. Thankfully Share managed to avoid this with the major international ‘headliners’ rarely if ever clashing and a clear delineation between session tracks which meant that almost always there was a clear choice for me. Whether this was down to the fact that the conference had less sessions to schedule compared to other major conferences or whether it was all down to the planning I’m not sure, but it was certainly appreciated.

Rather than turning this post into a gushing review of the conference I want it to be more about the sessions I attended and the takeaways I got from each one. If you ever have the chance to watch a webcast or view these sessions at another event I’d highly recommend it.

Opening Keynote Presentation: Deliver SharePoint Success – Achieve Organisational Buy-In to Transform Your Enterprise

Dux Raymond Sy, Innovative-e, Inc. (USA)

I’ve always wanted to see Dux in action. My only exposure to him in the past has been over twitter with a constant stream of tweets, but the feedback and aura he seems to have made it worth it alone. I wasn’t disappointed. This session was a great start and set the tone for a great couple of days – plus a little Gangnam style never goes astray.

Key takeaways:

  • The 5 steps to achieve Organisational buy-in
  1. Gain executive engagement
  2. Educate & engage the business
  3. Assess enterprise readiness
  4. Establish SharePoint roadmap
  5. Promote sustainable adoption

Keynote Presentation: How eBay Built One Integrated Social Network to Increase Adoption on Collaboration With SharePoint!

Ramin Mobasseri, eBay Inc. (USA)

This one was a really interesting presentation to see how a major company like eBay was leveraging social and building upon SharePoint. The insights were great and inspiring, identifying how much can be achieved by integrating other networks into a SharePoint hub.

Key takeaways:

  • Develop a world-class intranet and don’t be afraid to integrate multiple tools

IM – Bridging the Gap Between the Technology and the Business

Megan Skapin, Santos Ltd

This session was a bit of a surprise packet and an excellent case study into how a major organisation implemented their information management strategy on SharePoint. Megan came across as someone who has gained so much experience from the process and had so many valuable insights into the lessons learnt throughout.

Key takeaways:

  • Executive buy-in is critical for success
  • Identify technology champions to promote the system internally
  • Start small, manage scope and continually add value in phased roll outs

Managing Demand, Responding to Change and Sustaining Adoption

Andrew Jolly, OBS

Continuing the theme of how to successfully implement a SharePoint solution, this session was another which helped ram home some of the key concepts and themes that were being delivered at this conference. It was good to get an insight from someone in a similar consulting situation as our company.

Key takeaways:

  • Changing perceptions, setting expectations and educating users is a major key to success
  • Don’t fear change, ensure that the system is able to change to meet business needs

Achieving Accessibility in SharePoint

Neil King, Vision Australia

Accessibility is a personal interest of mine and this was one of the sessions I was most looking forward to. Unfortunately, having previously read the white paper in which this presentation was largely based upon, it didn’t offer too many new insights – but the benefits were there for the crowd which hadn’t delved too deeply into accessibility, and the greater the awareness is amongst business the better.

Key takeaways:

  • Accessibility is achievable in SharePoint 2010 with appropriate customisation and governance

Other takeaways:

Aligning SharePoint to the Business – Why It’s Important

Garth Luke, AvePoint, Inc. (USA)

I loved this presentation. I was curious to see how it would pan out considering we at Ignia are AvePoint partners, plus I’ve had some exposure to Garth via twitter. Overall the content was thorough, expansive and well delivered – I really have no idea how it all fit in to one session.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand the business vision and goals – map the technology to the business
  • Ensure compliance and governance is in place
  • Build a structure, process and change management methodology to sustain growth

Leveraging the Power of Social Media, Without Using the F-Word

Josh Sewell, Velrada

While I’m already a convert to the Benefits of Harnessing Social in SharePoint for the Enterprise, I thought I’d come along to this one to support a fellow Perth-based consultant. It was good to see another consultant peddling a similar message, the more it’s heard around Perth the sooner organisations will start embracing social in a big way.

Key takeaways:

  • For social to be a success, in needs both organisational buy-in and the right organisational culture
  • Measuring the benefits of social will be a key to future social success

Discussion Session 2: How to Best Develop Requirements for SharePoint Projects

Dux Raymond Sy, Innovative-e, Inc. (USA)

This was a bit of a different type of session and based on the track I attended could be deemed to be a success. The discussion-based way of delivering the concepts worked well, and while I don’t think it was particularly better than if it was done as a presentation or workshop, it added value in terms of getting attendees talking to each other and networking.

Show Me the Money – A Practical Framework for SharePoint Metrics

Susan Hanley, Susan Hanley LLC (USA)

Somewhat sheepishly I must admit that this was my first introduction to Susan as a presenter or even as a ‘SharePoint personality’. What an eye opener – brilliant presenter, absolute gun on the topic and clearly world-class. I enjoyed this session immensely and if I was having any doubts about attending the closing keynote later in the day this session put that to rest.

Key takeaways:

  • Identify the business objectives, stakeholders, the metrics and how to collect them
  • Metrics should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound)
  • Have a baseline and a target
  • Metrics should be used to optimise and improve the process

Other takeaways:

Microsoft Purchase Yammer: What Does This Mean to My Social Strategy?

Ramin Mobasseri, eBay Inc. (USA)

I attended this session because I wanted a little bit of an insight into what Yammer was, how it was being integrated into SharePoint and the story moving forward. It only touched on these things briefly – the session was decent, however with the other social sessions across the conference and the keynote session Ramin presented the previous day, it may have been overkill for me.

Key takeaways:

  • Yammer will only grow and be more widely adopted moving forward
  • Reinforcement that part of the reason for the Yammer acquisition was to gain insight into their rapid release cycles

Deliver Project Management on Your Terms With SharePoint

Dux Raymond Sy, Innovative-e, Inc. (USA)

What can I say, Dux is a gun. Little did I know that his keynote from the day before was just a warm up for what I considered to be one of the most valuable sessions of the conference. In terms of inspiring and educating the audience about project management on SharePoint it was top-notch. If you have any desire to pursue SharePoint as a project management tool, give this session a watch as a starting point.

Key takeaways:

  • Too much project management is dealt with in emails and file systems – SharePoint can help alleviate this issue
  • You can start small or with Project Server reach Enterprise levels
  • Using familiar tools will help adoption and ultimately success

Other takeaways:

A webcast of this session has found its way onto the net, take a look

A Brave New Hybrid World – What SharePoint 2013 Really Means to You

Dan Holme, Intelliem (USA)

Just when I thought the conference had peaked, up stepped Dan. This was my other highlight session of Share 2012 and one which inspired me to come back to my client and fight the good fight. Dan came across as a world-class presenter with a consistent message which was highly relevant to me right now.

Key takeaways:

  • SharePoint 2010 is essentially based on 2006 trends – 2013 bridges that gap
  • There will forever be a push to the cloud, but on-premise is not dead yet
  • Gone is the 3-year product release cycle, the cloud will be up-to-date and on-premise will catch up in stages
  • Don’t wait for SP1 – RTM quality is very high, Microsoft is now catering for a larger client audience and therefore has to mitigate initial take-up pain
  • Migrate from 2007 to 2013 – skip 2010

Other takeaways:

  • Dan has released a blog series regarding why you should migrate from 2007 to 2013 if you’re in that position: read parts 1 and 2

Closing Keynote Presentation: SharePoint Governance – Love It or Hate It – You Can’t Live Without It!

Susan Hanley, Susan Hanley LLC (USA)

It was a great way to end the 2nd day of Share with yet another fantastic presentation in a row – 3 of the best to bring the whole thing to a close. Governance has always been an interest of mine and it’s an area I tend to throw myself into significantly in the near future, so this closing keynote was perfectly timed.

Key takeaways:

  • Governance requires planning and commitment
  • Start with something worth governing, empower a team, have the right conversations
  • Align governance around business goals and policies
  • The final output should be limited – no big documents!
  • Incorporate governance into training – governance does not replace training

Other takeaways:

Workshop 2: The Practical SharePoint Business Analyst and Information Architect

Ruven Gotz, Senior SharePoint Consultant & Microsoft MVP (Canada)

The third day of the conference was based around 2 parallel workshops which, at a guess, were attended by 15-20% of the conference crowd. The others definitely missed out – the workshop was a highlight of the conference and definitely delivered as much if not more value than the 2 days of sessions combined.

The only downside was limited time, but Ruven did a great job condensing a full days worth of content (maybe even 2!) into the 5 hours or so we had to absorb it. As a bonus he introduced the audience to a couple of tools (one which I’ve had exposure to before) and gave us a copy of his book Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture which will definitely be on my reading list.


  • Mind mapping – xmind has a free version to use
  • Wire framing – Balsamiq is a great and relatively inexpensive option (one I can personally recommend)

So overall the conference in my opinion was a complete success. Not only was it hosted in one of my favourite cities in the world, it was a highly valuable 3 days of business-relevant content with a high number of practical takeaways. If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of these conferences I’d highly recommend it, and hope that I’ll get the opportunity to attend again in the future.