This past week, I attended the Midwest SharePoint Conference. There were about 300 people at the conference. I heard great presentations from Quilogy, Nintex, and Microsoft. I was probably most impressed with where Nintex has taken their work flow and reporting tools. They have taken a UI based approach that makes work flows and reporting simple for users.
I also met Nintex co-founder, Brett Campbell. Brett is an amazingly sharp guy that really understands his customers. Brett and I were able to key some of our key folks together and push our partnership forward while at the conference. So in the coming months, expect to see Fpweb.net offering services from Nintex.
I spent a lot of time networking at this event – which was overall wonderful. One of my major takeaways from the Midwest SharePoint conference was that about 70% of people already had either Windows SharePoint Services or MOSS deployed on-premise. This presented an interesting conversation for us as a SharePoint hosting provider. But what I noticed was that most of the people who had SharePoint already, were very frustrated with their deployment for one reason or another. I explained to them that this is normal given that fact that Microsoft suggests up to 13 SharePoint admins for farm size deployments. So it makes sense when I hear people have 1 or 2 admins and can’t handle SharePoint. That is where we can step in at Fpweb.net and help out with some of our consulting services, or we can migrate that on-premise solution to our hosted SharePoint platforms.
Another thing that stuck out to me through conversations at the conference was that most people don’t consider Disaster Recover Backups or DR backups for their on-premise builds. That is another great area where we can assist. Why not setup a SAN or another server in our network to maintain your data? It just works and it makes sense.
Something else that seemed to have little consideration by most organizations I talked to is the concept of High Availability or full HA solutions. If you are running on-premise without redundant servers or a clustered back end, what happens if your power goes out? Or if your building catches on fire? It makes sense to have geographically dispersed servers that can take over with as little as 3 seconds of downtime. That’s where Fpweb.net can step in again and support your HA solutions. Now I’m pumped, but enough about Fpweb.net, here are the rest of my notes from the conference:
Microsoft Surface Technology
Another great part of this conference and easily one of the most eye-catching displays was the Quilogy booth with a Microsoft Surface computer. If you have not seen this technology, you are really missing out! This is the wave of the future. The new surface computer has over 50 touch points that allow you interact with the computer by touch. I was most impressed with how Winchester uses this technology at trade shows. They have a custom label for all their products. Just by touching the table on the computer, you will bring up all the media associated with that product.
One of the most exciting presentations at the conference was a 5 minute video from Microsoft on surface computing. While it sounds mostly like science fiction, the surface computer they later demonstrated had much of the technology. The great thing about this demo was that many surfaces were integrated. In the example, a salesperson was working on their desktop and needed more space to work so they moved the project right to their desk by just grabbing the image and pushing it to their desk. When they realized they needed to speak to someone in another department about the project, they just tossed it on their Microsoft phone and walked down the hall with the project. It got crazy after that, but it was a great demo.
A highlight for me was getting to speak with a lot of the Quilogy folks. I was able to meet with their National Practice Managers for SharePoint and CRM. As a result, we have struck a great partnership that you will be hearing a lot about in the coming months. The day after the conference, we were already sharing leads and working on quotes together. So I’m really excited about this partnership. Quilogy brings quite a bit of excitement and expertise to our portfolio. In case you didn’t know, Quilogy created the fab 40 templates that come with SharePoint. Much more than just an average player in the space. Quilogy focuses on customization, development, and training for your SharePoint and CRM deployment. That customization and development expertise coupled with our depth of hosting experience is going to make us great partners.
One last note about the conference, the food ROCKED! Can’t always say that about a casino, but I was very impressed with the food and the way Quilogy ran the entire conference.