When we caught up in Boston a year ago with SharePoint Technology Conference Chair David Rubinstein, SharePoint 2013, Office 365 capabilities and mobile were all the rage.  

Same conference, next year at the Boston Park Plaza hotel? The cloud. SharePoint Online. When's the big move coming?

The truth is, for most organizations -- at least those among the 1,000 at the conference this week -- they're still flying in 2010 and even 2007 air space when it comes to SharePoint technology.

"The majority of our attendees still sit on 2010 and 2007 versions of SharePoint," said Rubinstein, whose Melville, NY-based media organization, BZ Media, has put on 12 SPTechCons over the last six years. "There's where we're going to be until things change."

'Holding Steady'

Attendance at the SharePoint Technology Conference has pretty much dovetailed with interest in the technology. There wasn't a huge spike in attendance this year, Rubinstein told CMSWire. 

"I would say we're holding steady," he said, referring to the little more than 1,000 total attendees (including exhibitors). "It's a competitive market, and Microsoft just had their annual conference which might have dampened things. In 2010, it spiked when a new version came out. But we're right where we've been, and we feel good about it."

In the first SharePoint Technology Conference in 2009 in San Francisco, the issue for conference organizers was "are people going to show up?"

"Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007" had just debuted a year and a half earlier, "and there were already a lot of established conferences in the SharePoint space," Rubinstein said.

About 380 attended that conference, and now, 10 conferences later, attendance has nearly tripled.

information management, SharePoint Users Still Love Older Versions, Find Hybrid Appealing #SPTechCon

Rubinstein said larger organizations compose most of the attendee list, those with large SharePoint installations. (For instance, we heard a representative from NASA at one of the sessions talk about "not letting the Russians know what we do" as a SharePoint concern of theirs). Rubinstein said Goldman Sachs attended.

The audience almost always is split between developers, information workers and IT Pros -- about a third each.

"For whatever reason, it's always been a third, a third and a third," Rubinstein said.

Cloud Pondering

Asked about the buzz among conference attendees, Rubinstein said the big issue is the question of migration into the SharePoint cloud

"Should they go into the cloud or shouldn't they go to the cloud?" Rubinstein said. "For Microsoft, that's clearly their roadmap for the future. They want to get everybody on the cloud."

Rubinstein said he's had talks with a product manager at Microsoft about its hybrid strategy -- to offer the hybrid SharePoint option so users can get cloud access but also not abandon their on-premises capabilities.

"So they're using the cloud but still keep their documents on a firewall in their server in their server room," Rubinstein said. "Kinda get people comfortable. They can take advantage of the cloud but still have that on-premises stuff. I think we'll see more of that hybrid story with the ultimate goal of getting everybody in the cloud. People aren't really going to just shut down their servers and jump into the cloud. But if you give them a smooth transition -- that hybrid type of thing would make it easier for them."