Its been a few weeks since the International SharePoint Conference London 2012 came and went and I thought it would be useful to capture my experience and thoughts while they are still fairly vivid.
My take on the conference is going to be somewhat different to most as I had the pleasure/job/challenge of leading the new for 2012 Business Track. Having spoken at the previous conferences (excluded last year when new baby duties took precedence) Steve Smith invited me to help out on the developer track.
As you may be aware my focus over the few years or so has moved very much away from the coding side of things, I still promote and encourage good development techniques, I just don’t write much code for people today. This left me with a challenge, do I dust off Visual Studio and step up to the plate or do I stick to the path I have chosen and look to help business get real value from their investment in SharePoint?
The decision was easy – leading the business track it was.
Planning for this event started, for me at least, about 8 months before the event. Steve was keen that ISCLondon would not be just another conference, he wanted to build on the the success of previous events and to do this needed to shake things up a little.
The biggest single change in approach was to allow the Business, IT Pro and Dev tracks to create a journey that did not just last 1 hour or a couple of sessions. These tracks would be a full 16 hours, 3 days of joined up end to end story taking the audience from start to finish – no more here’s one I made earlier, or we don’t have time to cover this really important bit.
So the business track was a single thread, with 7 speakers (there were some last minute changes to add to the fun) covering the things that business need to consider and do in order to take a project from inception to success. Drawing on the experience of the speakers to provide a journey – a “how to” guide for business people.
Do I think it worked?
Yes – absolutely – the fact we had 120 people pretty much camped in the same room for 3 days was a testament to this.
One of the greatest additions we made to this track was the introduction of Chris Shipton to do graphic recording of all the sessions.
The best way is to slideshow the visuals from Chris of each of the sessions. Some of the pictures here were taken by Matt Groves, you’ll see more of his great pics from the event on his blog.
As always the event organisation was brilliant and the parties continue to amaze (although I missed the main one as I watched Chelsea beat Barcelona to reach the champions league final )
Having a joined up session track that brings all of the speakers together to link back to a common topic was hard work, but ultimately proved a great success. The feedback I received both personally and from others confirmed this.
That we built a small community of 120+ people who took part in the sessions and engaged throughout was wonderful.
Unlike other conferences Steve doesn’t do speaker feedback so i don’t have any quotes or stats to provide – if you attended and have a view please add you take on the business track below.
Even before this years event ended we had ideas for next year, I know I will plan the serious games session earlier if we do it – running around London on Tuesday was not my idea of fun.
So in summary, I personally believe it was a great success, it demonstrated the value of doing a dedicated business focused track and is something I will look to help improve on for next year.
I welcome any feedback or thoughts on how that could be done.