April 17, 2014

What to Look Forward to at SPTechCon 2014

SPTechCon is an annual conference covering all things Microsoft SharePoint. The conference is aimed primarily at active SharePoint developers, or project managers. We recently spoke with David Rubinstein, the conference’s chairman, in order to give you an insider’s view on what to expect at this year’s event. You can hear the full interview above, or read our summary below.

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At this year’s SPTechCon (taking place April 22-25) there will be a keynote from Microsoft speaker Olaf Hubel. David anticipates that the talk will focus on Office 365 and their cloud system. It continues to involve, and has now incorporated social elements. The challenge, he said, is to transform the way people work.

The educational portion will primarily be for those running SharePoint on premise, and helping those businesses solve related problems.

David says that the future, though, is moving away from on premise technology. After his one-on-ones with Microsoft insiders, he feels comfortable saying that Microsoft will be toting the new functionality built into Office 365, and encouraging people to subscribe to the full suite. At Microsoft’s conference, there was a heavy emphasis again on the cloud, and only one mention of a new on premise version (which is scheduled for a 2015 launch). The emphasis will be on the cloud, and the new capabilities that come along with it.

SPTechCon attendees have a lot to look forward to. One the conference’s biggest attractions is the availability of the speakers. They don’t, in David’s words, “parachute in” and then run off. After each talk, the speakers make themselves available, essentially holding “office hours.” This is what differentiates SPTechCon from similar conferences. Speakers are committed to spending time with attendees to answer questions and discuss industry events. It takes time to find those who really want that greater level of interaction. Now in their eleventh year, the organizers know which speakers are willing to participate in this model and which aren’t.

They also know how to do peer networking right. Throughout the conference there are a number of networking opportunities, including special opportunities for women. As part of the conference, they host a Women in SharePoint luncheon. David says that they noticed women were being under-served in these settings, and endeavored to rectify the issue. Now, conferences all across the country are starting to host their own “women only” luncheons.

Along with the networking and high-profile speakers, there will also be a series of “lightning talks.” They’re in the form of “ask the expert” panels, but executed in a fun way, says David. It’s a chance to hear targeted messages while having a good time.

In the past, attendance has ranged form 1,200-1,500 people, and he anticipates a similar number this year. Because they are able to accurately predict the number of attendees, they are also able to find venues that are, in David’s words, a “perfect fit;” the best locations strike a balance between having enough room to feel comfortable while still maintaining a sense of energy.

To learn more about technology conferences just like this one, visit our Tech Conferences events calendar.

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