Thoughts on my way to the SharePoint Conference


As I write this week's Editor's Corner, I'm on a plane on the way to the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas.

Truth be told, I had planned on skipping this conference. I don't like Las Vegas-based conferences all that much. Sure, it's a fun place to visit when you're on vacation, but when you have to work and deal with the daily data dump that is conferences, it's just a bit overwhelming to walk through the cacophony of the casino to get back to your room, decompress and try and process everything you've heard.

The thing about Vegas is there is no place to just sit and think, and gather your thoughts.

But this isn't just any SharePoint Conference. It's the one where they take the wraps off SharePoint 2013 and much like everything else that's going on at Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), this is a pivotal release as the company tries to make the transition from a desktop/enterprise, on-premise software company to a cloud-mobile one.

By now, you're no doubt aware of the overall strategy. We have Windows 8 for the desktop and we have Windows 8 tablets lead by the new Microsoft Surface. And we can't forget Windows 8 phones. On the enterprise side, we have the Azure platform and Office 365 to take it to the cloud.

And of course, Microsoft now owns Yammer, a cloud-based enterprise social tool, which built its customer base via the freemium model where end users can use it for free, but enterprise customers pay for the types of administrative controls IT craves.

After paying 1.2 billion for Yammer, it will be interesting to see how Microsoft plans to incorporate it into SharePoint. We've already heard how Yammer is being incorporated into other applications including Microsoft Dynamics--and ways Microsoft is offering to build Yammer social functionality into just about any application.

And that's where the new SharePoint 2013 comes in and why I'm anxious to learn about it. Unlike the previous versions of SharePoint, this is not strictly an on-premise solution anymore, and Yammer makes it more social and more cloud-centric.

I have a meeting planned on Tuesday with Jared Spataro, senior director of SharePoint product marketing, and Adam Pisoni, who was a co-founder at Yammer. I look forward to asking them about how the marriage between these two very different companies is progressing.

On Tuesday, I'll also be getting a two-hour deep dive session into SharePoint, so I'll get some hands-on time with it and I hope to report back to you what I learn.

SharePoint has a hefty partner ecosystem, and I'll be meeting with several partners including Daniel Kraft, CEO at NewsGator. I'll also walk the exhibition floor and see what I can learn from chatting with partners.

And of course, I'll go to the evening parties. Jon Bon Jovi is playing on Tuesday evening and I'm looking forward to hearing him perform. Vegas may not be my favorite place for a conference, but I'm not a monk either. 

Watch for some conference coverage this week and next, as we watch Microsoft attempt to make this massive transformation from the desktop and enterprise to the cloud and mobile. Whatever happens, we'll let you know. One thing's for sure, it won't be boring. - Ron