First Day of School

March 25, 2008

This past week I began a two year part time MBA program at Babson College. The Fast Track program is designed for the busy professional who doesn’t want to give up his/her day job to become a full time student. It includes both distance / e-learning and face to face classes.

Our kick-off week entailed about 55 hours of classroom discussion, learning our way around the IT infrastructure supporting the classes and meeting our new classmates. Our 2010 class has about 95 students, broken into two sections. From here on out its mainly online with a couple weekends of face to face time.

It was great to meet all the new students, everyone was excited to begin their new MBA classes. Never having been a fan of school, it was refreshing to attend classes with students actively participating and really adding valuable insights based on past experience to some of our discussions. Perhaps this is the difference between undergrad and graduate courses. The average work experience for a student was 13 years! So its great to be able to absorb and learn from such a deep pool of knowledge.

It should be a very interesting experience, and I hope to apply all of what I learn to furthering my personal KM objectives as well as those at work.


SharePoint Conference Wrap-Up

March 14, 2008

Well the final 3 days of the conference went by very quickly. Overall I thought the conference was very good. There level of presenters was great. Especially the Microsoft MVPs who presented. Most had a very engaging style of presenting, while there was still a lot of powerpoint, the speakers did their best to make it interesting. The presentation from McKesson, ‘How SharePoint can make you a RockStar’ was very amusing. They’ve even created a site to help others become rockstars!. A lot of the MVPs who wrote ‘Real World SharePoint 2007‘ presented at the conference.

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation on the Community Kit for SharePoint (CKS). Here communities of developers across the world have given away their time to make some valuable improvements to some of the base webparts of SharePoint. Specifically, the Enhanced Blog Edition (EBE) and Enhanced Wiki Edition (EWE). The EBE turns the basic blog part in MOSS 2007 into one that looks like a blog as opposed to a sharepoint site, see this example. The EWE also takes the basic wiki webpart in MOSS 2007 and it comes much closer to a real wiki solution. The EWE folks are working on a production ready version. While most of the MS software is not open standard, it is refreshing to see that community developed content is possible in MOSS 2007. Making it more attractive to some of our KM objectives.

One of MS customers Skanska USA gave a presentation on how they’ve leveraged MOSS 2007 for collaboration across their company and with their many partners, contractors and customers. The presentation featured Allen Emerick, Director of IT and his developer Steve Lineberry. It was interesting to see an IT led effort to help the business improve its overall collabortion and KM goals. In digging into how sharepoint becomes successful, there is always a ‘vision’ guy/gal and a ‘nuts and bolts’ guy/gal. Both McKesson and Skanska demonstrated this trait. Even our own HDS HR sharepoint team functions this way. I’m really looking forward to see some of the cool stuff they’re planning to do in MOSS 2007.

While I went to the conference a little jaded on SharePoint, after the short comings of 2003. I perhaps have drunk too much of the cool-aid at the conference and now think, there’s nothing you can’t do in MOSS 2007! Which of course is not true. While you can do many things in MOSS 2007, it still needs customization to truly make it fit in at HDS. Reality will soon set in I’m sure.

SharePoint Conference 2008 – Day 1

March 4, 2008

Yesterday was the first day of the 2008 SharePoint conference held in Seattle. The keynote speech was provided by Bill Gates. He announced greater availability for their Microsoft Online Services Beta program. Previously it was limited to customers with more than 5000 users. Now its open to everyone from the big to the small. The conference itself was sold out with about 3800 attendees, so many that some were turned away from a couple sessions because they were full.

After the morning keynote speeches, there were three breakout periods with about 30 sessions for attendees to choose from. I attended a “Deep Dive into Microsoft Online Services” with John Betz, “Buzz: Build End User Excitement” with Bob Suttan, and “SharePoint Workflows out of the Box” with Thomas Rizzo. All 3 sessions were pretty good, some of the stuff I knew, some I didn’t. The Buzz session pointed me to a site I was unaware of, their Gear Up site. Which steps you through the process of getting your users ready. The Workflow session was also quite helpful though when it comes to workflow design in Sharepoint you can use SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio or a plethora of 3rd party software. The conference has about 5 such companies. The most interesting one has to be K2.

There are six sessions today so stay tuned for more.