Observations from where technology meets business

Monday At The SharePoint Conference

What I learned today at the SharePoint Conference:

  • What is SharePoint? Even Microsoft cannot define what SharePoint is. Ballmer said he is asked this by customers “all the time.”
  • SharePoint is a platform. However, during the Q&A Ballmer said, in answering a question regarding SharePoint Designer 2010 supporting SharePoint 2007, that this is a classic dilemma regarding “operating systems.” In addition, he said that Microsoft views SharePoint as “kind of” operating system (“platform” was used extensively this morning)
  • SharePoint will always favor Windows technologies. In the Q&A (again, best place for unscripted remarks), Ballmer made it clear that SharePoint will always support Windows technologies better. The questioner said he was using SharePoint with teachers, who love their Macs. In my opinion, perhaps the only major politically incorrect moment of the morning keynotes.
  • FAST search. This is the branding for the high-end search SharePoint will provide in it’s Enterprise Edition. This isn’t just search, its FAST search. This seems clear as mud to me. However, I cannot think of a better alternative.
  • Doesn’t Microsoft sell Visio and PowerPoint? At two "Overviews" today (Search, ECM), neither Microsoft speaker had a diagram explaining high-level concepts, instead each used screenshots of SharePoint administrator tools. I suspect the non-developers in the audience (“the masses” as in “ECM for the Masses” the title of one of the overview) were lost at this point.
  • We’re all developers, right? The Microsoft speakers seem to assume we are all developers. In fact, the first demo during the keynote this morning was the most technical one.

Tomorrow’s topics:

  • Business Connectivity Services. This may be the most innovative “new” capability in 2010. It is the evolution of the Business Data Catalog in (BDC) 2007 but appears to be more fully baked into SharePoint and can be used in many places.
  • FAST Search deep dive. I am interested in learning more about the processing FAST does as it is ingesting content.
  • Coexistence of SharePoint with file shares. SharePoint appears to be having more success replacing file shares than collaboration or document management solutions that came long before it. This topic is starting to show up in more of our client dialogues.