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Debrief: European SharePoint Conference 2014

Two months ago several announcements by Microsoft turned Las Vegas into the center of the SharePoint universe. Last week Barcelona was the place to be for everybody who wanted to learn about the current state of the SharePoint ecosystem: Barcelona hosted the third edition of the European SharePoint Conference. This is the largest European event covering Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Office 365, and enterprise social technologies.

Attendees had the opportunity to be part of 6 pre-conference tutorials and more than 100 breakout sessions. Every conference day was organized around a specific theme. Wednesday´s theme was Enterprise Social, Enterprise Content Management & Best Practices. That day the keynote session was called: “Make Social Successful” by Mark Kashman, Senior Product Manager at Microsoft and Christian Buckley, Chief Evangelist at Metalogix, SharePoint MVP and Top 25 SharePoint Influencer.

They began their session by showing off the latest updates in Oslo, Office Graph, and the new Groups capability within Office365. This demo of the future of social within the Microsoft stack was very exciting, but Buckley also addressed some of the real-world scenarios for organizations not yet ready for Office365 or Yammer. For those who do not plan to move to the cloud in the near future he pointed to the options from the SharePoint partner community.

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More in particular Buckley gave a demo of Beezy. He explained that “Similar to Yammer, you can have conversations around any type of content or rich media, but Beezy allows you to customize the system based on your company requirements. Another primary difference is the ability to manage governance and compliance issues surrounding your social activities in one place: SharePoint”. Beezy partners with Metalogix for customers who want to automate their governance standards across SharePoint.

All this talk about technology is interesting for what Buckley calls ´technologists´, but ultimately Enterprise Social needs to create business value. A tool, whether it is an Enterprise Social tool or not, can only create Business Value when:

  1. The tool supports & improves (primary) processes
  2. End users use the tool

Before implementing an Enterprise Social Network you need to know which business need it addresses. Will it help serve your customers better? Will it improve your production process? Will it speed up your research and development process? Only when you know which business need you want to serve, you can select the right tool.

And your employees? People just want tools that make their life easier and more fun. Want a tool to be adopted by your employees? Create an amazing end user experience. Beezy already addressed the importance of adoption years ago.

Beezy elaborated on Social Business Value in our own session at the conference: “Social Business Value Demystified: Real-World Experiences”. Enterprise Social is worthless if end users don´t use it or if it is not serving a business purpose. Beezy´s SharePoint MVP and number 1 SharePoint influencer of Spain Edin Kapic, who was also a speaker at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, shared valuable examples of how Enterprise Social can support organizational objectives and activities.

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Ritse Klink