SharePoint Fest Chicago 2012 recap

Last week I had a whirlwind trip to Chicago for SharePoint Fest Chicago 2012. This was my first time attending a SharePoint Fest event, but I really enjoyed its blend of business and technical sessions. I was also impressed with the attendance–the sold-out event had 350+ attendees and a huge array of community/ISV sponsors. Here’s a quick breakdown of the sessions I attended:

  • Revolutionizing your organization with SharePoint 2013 – Dux Raymond Sy
    Dux never disappoints, and his opening keynote was fantastic. He did a great job highlighting upcoming 2013 features and made a solid case that to stop being an IT toy, SharePoint has to be implemented successfully by the business.
  • Be the “Find It” Super Hero – Chris Geier
    Chris’ session offered a couch-to-success plan for using enterprise content types, managed metadata services (including terms, term sets, etc.), information management policies and the content organizer.
  • Creating Reusable & Transportable Workflows in SharePoint Designer 2010 – Asif Rehmani
    Asif’s training sessions are ALWAYS fantastic. He does a great job explaining technical concepts to a wide variety of audiences/knowledge levels. Two of my favorite demos from this session were implementing Parallel Blocks within workflows and using Visio as a workflow modeling tool.
  • A Pragmatist’s Guide to Designing Enterprise Content Types – Chris Beckett
     This was my first time meeting Chris, but I enjoyed his practical guide to analyzing and organizing content. And yes, I was thrilled to raise my hand when he asked for any “lone wolf” librarians that happened to be in attendance. Frankly, I’m surprised I don’t run into more librarians in the SharePoint community. SharePoint’s feature set and focus on content management, enterprise content management, managed metadata, structured content, business process automation and taxonomy/folksonomy management are a natural fit for our time and talent.
  • SharePoint in Practice: 15 Real World SharePoint Solutions that Drive Business Value – Ross Freedman
    Prepare for the tidal wave! This session was jam-packed with examples of successful SharePoint solutions. From New Balance’s new corporate intranet to Medtronic’s collaboration platform designed to connect scientists from around the world, this session showed (in living color) what SharePoint success looks like. Very interesting.
  • Creating Data-Centric Composite Applications Using SharePoint Designer 2010 – Asif Rehmani
    This session was all about the XSLT List View Web Part and the XSLT Data View Web Part. Asif provided background context on where they came from (yes, think Front Page 2003) and how they’ve evolved, while incorporating some great demos to show their power and versatility.
  • Hypermiling with SharePoint Data Protection – Sean McDonough
    I snuck into several of Sean’s sessions at this conference. (My farm admin would have been so proud!) Sean is an excellent presenter, but he gets the hero award for being able to teach hyermiling, disaster recovery and the joys of caching to a librarian.

I also delivered my De-Mystifying ROI calculation for SharePoint session at the conference. I had a great interactive audience, and really appreciate Dennis and Chris for sitting up near the front and serving as my session victims (uh….I mean volunteers). For those of you that are interested, I’ve posted an excerpt of my slides to SlideShare. Check them out below.

And no conference would be complete without a mention of the many SharePoint experts that I feel privileged to call friends. Thanks to Wes Preston, Sean McDonough, Richard Harbridge, Doug Hemminger, Chris Geier, Liam Cleary, Kim Frehe, Jeff Willinger and Dux Raymond Sy for the insights, the laughs and the late-night root bear floats.


  1. Sarah,
    Thanks for the nice recap of our SharePoint Fest Chicago event. I would like to point out that we had over 500 registered attendees in addition to the 150+ sponsor and speaker personnel present.

  2. Sarah,

    I had a great time in Chicago and your presentation was my favorite. I have shared several items from your presentation with my office, including that awesome ROI video…hilarious. It’s great to see presenters that are not only experts, but present with clarity and humor. I read your chapter in the apress book, now onto the rest of the book. Thanks again and keep in touch!

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