It’s always about, “What’s next?” isn’t it? In the SharePoint community, such is life.

SharePoint end users, vendors, IT professionals, developers, designers and all stakeholders descended upon Boston at the SharePoint Technology Conference this week with a common goal: moving forward and staying on top of their changing environments.

They have to, because SharePoint is doing the same. 

SharePoint Advancements

SharePoint 2013 is out, and as Monday’s keynote speaker Joel Oleson pointed out, it’s fully adapting to the mobile world. It recognizes that both iOS and Android exist, and it’s released three Apps and now has Windows Phone and iOS versions for 3.3 with Android 2.3.  

“He was very interesting talking about taking SharePoint mobile and some of the challenges organizations face in doing that,” SPTechCon conference chair David Rubinstein told us in a video interview from Boston.

Rubinstein notes from Oleson’s keynote that many end users in organizations want to “do more work” on devices like smartphones and tablets. Applying SharePoint and other productivity applications on those devices “is going to allow them to do that kind of work.”

Shop Talk

Chatter in Boston this week is about moving forward:

  • How is your organization doing with the migration from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013?
  • Have you considered the move to Office 365?
  • What is the culture of your organization surrounding SharePoint, and has it embraced SharePoint over email?
  • What are the struggles for organizations that haven’t moved away from SharePoint 2007 or 2010?

Progress Delays for Some

That last bullet intrigues us, particularly. During Monday’s conference, we caught up over coffee with two SharePoint developers from the Toronto area who work for the Canadian military. So stringent on information security -- and naturally so -- the military “barely” moved recently to SharePoint 2010, one of the developers said.

The developers struggle with their existing programs, they say, because they feel they’re a bit behind on their platforms and applications. SharePoint Joel’s keynote address on moving to SharePoint mobile? Their organizations are seemingly ages away from that, and they didn’t attend. Mobile Apps and SharePoint are not on their menus back north -- yet.

Industry Vision

If the conference has a theme this week, it’s the time is now to move forward with SharePoint. Go Mobile. Get on SharePoint 2013. Consider the move to Office 365. Most of the questions from attendees in sessions have to do with migration, adjustments, planning, mobile Apps and dipping into new programs like Office 365. 

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, in a July memo to employees about internal changes, encouraged his company leaders to “reimagine email and other communication vehicles as the lines between these vehicles grow fuzzy, and the amount of people’s digital or digitally assisted interaction continues to grow.”  

Common SharePoint Goals 

Getting there through SharePoint is the goal, something this week’s SPTechCon attendees understand. Boston is their destination this week because they’ve “encountered some difficulties in implementing SharePoint and understanding SharePoint,” Rubinstein tells us. “They’re trying to figure out how they best can use SharePoint, and what the business value is of SharePoint. Those are the kinds of classes that seem to be resonating very well with attendees.”

The other hot topics from this week’s SPTechCon? Developers looking to create applications, put them into an App store, or deploy them live into a portal solution. IT professionals looking for the latest best-practices in creating farms, setting it up, maintaining it and allowing permissions and controls on who can access information. 

“Those are pretty much the top challenges people are facing,” Rubinstein says, “when trying to do their SharePoint.”