BrightStarr's SharePoint conference experience

Microsoft's SharePoint Conference is the biggest event in the diary of anyone invested in SharePoint technology.

Colourful chairs at a conference

Whether a developer or an end user, this is the place to be for all the latest​ SharePoint developments and with so many SharePoint Experts in attendance, the pressure was on Microsoft to deliver.

And deliver they did!

Building on the success of previous years and the growing success of the technology itself, the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas was outstanding. Everything from extravagant and exciting parties​, to Bill Clinton's opening address, Microsoft went all out and they even managed to deliver a bit of SharePoint news along the way!

Whilst BrightStarr enjoyed the incredible parties and the glitz and glam of Vegas, 'Content Is King' and all joking aside there was a lot of it. Everything from the latest in social trends and Yammer integration, right the way through to Office 365 product roadmaps and latest SharePoint developments, and we loved it all. So without further ado, here is the BrightStarr SPC14 experience, with all the key insights delivered by an amazing roster of speakers and even a few photos too. Enjoy!

The Keynote

The keynote address was pretty special this year (not that it isn't always) with Bill Clinton addressing the amassed crowd that waited with bated breath to hear what, if any SharePoint knowledge he had. Sadly it was very little as far as we could tell, but he certainly inspired everyone in the room to do more with technology through his evaluation of it as a tool for the betterment of people world-wide​.

The Clinton Foundation works very closely with Microsoft and The Gates Foundation to use technology to try and battle global poverty. His great example that he described at length was of how cell phones had enabled fishermen in Southeast Asia to increase their revenue by 30% simply because they were able to call throughout their markets and find the best prices.

Bill was followed up by Jared Spataro General Manager of Product Marketing for Microsoft and he started to deliver a vision of Microsoft's core goals and their vision for the future. He placed a lot of emphasis on the idea of 'the network' within business, and how this will continue to inform Microsoft's solutions so that the individual's voice can deliver insight by cutting through organizational noise. But he also informed us that with the increased globalization of organizations and their operational locations, the only way that technology can keep pace, is through empowering the workforce to be able to work securely, at any time and from anywhere. It seems the Cloud is the future.

Big Reveals

  • BrightStarr's very own breeze launch was brilliant showcasing everything you can achieve with Office 365. Find out more​ here.
  • A new fascinating personalized insight experience called Oslo Windows App, Oslo Office 365 Web UI, and Office Graph. Available in Office 365 around summer according to Jeff Teper – Oslo and Office Graph are the best innovations from Microsoft since SharePoint. ​​​Find out more here.
  • Next generation pre-built portals like the new Office 365 Video Portal, with many more pre-built ​portals are coming down the road in Office 365.
  • Office 365 Power BI capabilities – Already available on Office 365.
  • Integrated Yammer Group experience in OWA and Office Online (formerly known as Office Web Apps) – Soon available on Office 365.
  • New Office contextual applications support introduced in SP1, Office 365 REST APIs for files, people, lists, mail, tasks, and calendars, new Android SDK for Office 365, newer version of Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013.
  • Cloud on Ramp features like Yammer and OneDrive integration for Hybrid scenarios in SP2013 SP1 and OneDrive for Business Standalone edition – With standalone edition of OneDrive, Microsoft has declared war against other players in this field like DropBox and Box.Net.
  • Major Office 365 announcements & reminders like Access Services for no-code cloud Apps, 1 TB Site collection limit, limitless tenant, Multi-factor authentication support, and investments in new Office 365 unified Compliance & Discovery center across SharePoint & Exchange and industry known standard certifications like HIPPA.
  • Early Access to Office 365 changes for testing - Office 365 in the past used to have quarterly releases, going forward it will have higher frequency updates (monthly). If anyone is interested in previewing functionality prior to general public availability, they can register here. Even more, you'​ll have the ability to switch this functionality on or off for each of your tenants.

BrightStarr Sessions

BrightStarr was selected to deliver a total of four sessions at this years SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, the highest number of any independent software integrator. This really was a great honor for us and we wanted to live up to the expectations of the attendees by delivering the very best content we could.

All of our talks were received brilliantly, with packed out rooms and insightful discussions, which wouldn't have been possible without the great audiences and participation on site. A big thanks to everyone who joined us for our sessions. Below you will find very brief re-caps of these four presentations, some more awesome images, and some buttons that will take you directly to the session recordings on the Conference site should you wish to watch them!

Next generation solutions with Office 365 & Yammer

Cloud computing has marked a significant change in the world as we know it. Businesses especially have seen the immeasurable benefits of cloud technology and Microsoft’s Office 365 and Yammer platforms are a brilliant example of their adaptability to today’s user-centric work environment. BrightStarr has extended Office 365 and Yammer by leveraging the best-of-breed features these platforms provide into a deliverable solution for today’s agile workforce. Introducing Breeze; the out of the box intranet that is simple, cool, adaptable and most importantly, works around you. Find out all the details ​​​here.

Watch the session here.

​SharePoint 2013 Hybrid end-to-end

BrightStarr's Microsoft Certified Master Sam Hassani is a veteran speaker, frequently attending SharePoint Saturdays around the world to share his extensive knowledge of SharePoint. His Hybrid end-to-end session was packed out and covered one of the most topical areas of SharePoint deployments.​ It was a really great session as Sam covered everything you could want to know about Hybrid deployments and how they might work for you.

Watch the session here. 

Understanding and maintaining SharePoint Apps for IT Professionals

Sam Hassani MCM was lucky enough to be chosen to host two sessions at this years SharePoint Conference and he wasted no time in jumping into his talk on the very latest insights onSharePoint A​pps, which inspired a very attentive audience and some great feedback. This session allowed attendees to learn about the different flavors of Apps, the underlying Apps architecture, how to configure an on-premises environment to support Apps and how to maintain Apps in your environment.

Watch the session now

Trends in designing portals for sharepoint 2013

Eric Lytle MCM and Kanwal Khipple MVP were quite the local starrs after their session on designing portals for SharePoint 2013. The session was really busy with people queuing up to grab a seat and then hanging around at the end to have a chat. A big thanks to everyone who attended this session and especially those that opted to stay behind and chat to u​s as we love talking technology!

Watch the session here

BrightStarr's Best Bits

At a world class event like the SharePoint Conference it is incredibly difficult to try and pick just a few moments that were memorable but we have done our best to select our favourites. 

Webtrends Lunch​ & Prove It! Book Launch

Our close working partner Webtrends (who we have just co-authored a case studywith) were on site at SPC this year with a fantastic looking booth that got plenty of people intrigued. Luckily for us their booth was right across the way, so we had a chance to meet up and they even invited us to co-host a very special lunch with them.

You know it's a good day when you get to spend Mardi Gras lunch at a nice steakhouse at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, complete with beads and masquerade masks. It's even better when the star chef at Emeril Lagasse's Delmonico Steakhouse, Ronnie Rainwater, demonstrates live how he's created the lobster salad, blackened sea bass, luscious steak, and King Cakes – baked complete with a surprise baby toy in one lucky diner's desert. When you add more than 90 other SharePoint Conference attendees, including top community influencers, book authors, partners, clients, and customers, it'​s a special occasion indeed. For Webtrends and BrightStarr, hosting this lunch was truly one of the highlights of the conference and a real joy to attend.

The book, Prove it! Using Analytics to Drive SharePoint Adoption and ROI, was a big hit at the SharePoint Conference. Written by top SharePoint community thought leaders and industry experts – Mark Miller, Susan Hanley, Sadie Van Buren, Agnes Molnar, Brian Culver, and Christian Buckley – along with a key SharePoint customer – Unisys – and BrightStarr and Webtrends, the book represents the latest and greatest thinking about how analytics and measurement are essential to getting the most out of a SharePoint deployment. Whether you'​re looking to identify problem adoption areas in your deployment, the best strategies to drive adoption, and the latest techniques and thinking about how analytics drives value, the Prove it! book should be your first best stop for getting you on the right track.

Metalogix Best of Breed Awards​

The Metalogix Best of Breed Awards Celebration party invited over 2000 of SharePoint's best and brightest to enjoy the night at the Marquee Nightclub located at the Cosmopolitan. In addition to our Gold Sponsorship of the event, our own Microsoft Certified Master, Eric Lytle, served as a VIP judge for the competition which included Brightstarr'​s client Abt Associates as a finalist for the Best Global Deployment of SharePoint.​​​​​ What a night! ​

All in all BrightStarr thoroughly enjoyed the chance to connect with so many great people on site at SPC, it was amazing. If you're reading this and you met up with some of our Rockstarrs on site then why not drop us an email at and if you didn't see us or weren'​t at SPC at all, then still get in touch. We love talking about what we do but we understand that it's not just about the technology, it's about the people that use it and the SharePoint Conference was yet another great opportunity for us to meet the people that make the technology work​ and worthwhile. ​​​​

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