• What changes and enhancements in SharePoint 2013 make it worth migrating from SharePoint 2010? Speaking from a purely business perspective, there are a number of features in SharePoint 2013 that are probably worth making the investment to upgrade. There are also some features that might not be worth the effort, at least for the majority of SharePoint users.

    In this blog post we will summarize a few of the new features in SharePoint 2013 that might justify upgrading from SharePoint 2010. The features we’ll overview are: Design Manager, Device Channels, HTML5, Community Sites and Community Portal, the new Search experience, Content Search Web Part, and Web Content Management. These features can be configured by a trained in-house SharePoint developer or a professional SharePoint consulting firm can be contracted to do the work.

    Design Manager

    This tool will help make your website look as if it was custom designed, and ensure that your brand is presented how you choose rather than looking like SharePoint. Design Manager makes it much easier to create customized, pixel-perfect design while using the design tools most designers are familiar with. With Design Manager you can also optimize your site’s design for a certain class of smart phones or tablets. Depending on what device channels you define, you may want several designs.
    Design Manager lets you create your design, implement the design and manage the website design.

    Device Channels

    With Device Channels, you can render a single publishing site in multiple ways by mapping different designs to different devices. Each channel can has its own master page that links to a style sheet that is optimized for a specific device. Each channel specifies the user agent substrings for one or more devices, such as Windows Phone OS. There are rules that determine what devices are included in each channel. When visitors browse your site, each channel captures the traffic for its specified device or class of devices. Visitors see your site in a design optimized window customized for their particular device.

    HTML5 and CSS3

    HTML5 has several new features such as: the < video > and < audio> elements for media playback in the bowser’s default player; support for local storage which gives the user the ability to use web apps or read content while offline; and new content-specific elements like < article>, < footer>, < header>, < nav>, and < section>. These tags allow for better SEO content indexing, organization and standardizations for all designs. HTML5 lets developers target the most number of devices with the least amount of development effort.

    In addition to HTML5, CSS3 opens up even more branding opportunities. CSS3 includes: the @font-face property to render font file references in a live environment; the border-radius enables the ability to make rounded corners on boxes and other objects; box shadow generates a shadow on elements; and dynamic widths for proportional sizing on multiple screen sizes. CSS3 also gives designs that need dynamic widths the ability to re-size proportionally based on the screen resolution or the size of the device.

    Community Sites and Community Portal

    There is a new site template called Community Site, which is a site that promotes discussion between members based on site specific topics. It also allows for the use of common social media techniques like ‘@’ to mention and ‘#’ hashtags to tag with categories.

    The Community Portal Site Collection template automatically aggregates community sites for easy viewing and access. This is very similar to the Linkedin-groups concept. Community Sites can be created to support different subject matter and then a Portal can be created to access sites individually.

    New Search Capabilities

    Search in 2013 enables users to find relevant information quickly and easily and makes it easy for Search administrators to customize the search experience. It also provides several API sets for advanced customizations and solutions. There have been a wide variety of improvements in the Search capabilities of SharePoint 2013 from SharePoint 2010. With the newest version, Search has been re-architected to a single enterprise search platform. The search architecture consists of the following areas: crawl and content processing, indexing, query processing, search administration, and analytics.

    Content Search Web Part

    The Content Search Web Part (CSWP) is a Web Part introduced in SharePoint 2013 that uses various styling options to display dynamic content on SharePoint pages. The CSWP displays search results in a way that they can easily be formatted. Each CSWP is associated with a search query and shows the results from that search query. Display templates can be used to change how search results appear on the page. CSWP can return content that is as fresh as the latest crawl of your content.

    Web Content Management

    SharePoint 2013 includes new and improved features to manage web content and simplify how you design publishing sites and enhance the publishing process. Content authors can copy content from Word, paste it directly into a Rich Text Editor Web Part or an HTML field control on a page, and have the resulting semantically correct HTML markup display in the styles that were defined by the designer.

    In SharePoint 2013 the variations feature is used exclusively for multilingual sites. The variation feature makes content available to specific audiences on different sites by copying content from a source variation site to one or more target variation sites, and tracking relationships between sources and target content.

    Cross-site publishing lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections. When the content is changed in an authorizing site collection, those changes are then displayed on all site collections that are reusing this content.

    The overall experience of WCM combining Apps, Search, Devices, Design Manager significantly enhances our ability to manage the publishing of pages and the environment to make that happen.

    Wrap up

    If you are thinking of switching to SharePoint 2013, there are a number relevant, business-oriented, features to consider. We presented a few of the features in the blog, but to get an complete picture of all the features that might be relevant for you, it is advisable to speak to a SharePoint Consulting professional.

    SharePoint Engine

    If SharePoint experience is one of the keys to end user satisfaction, then SharePoint Engine will get a gold star. As a SharePoint Consulting company in business for the past 7 years, they have successfully completed more than 100 projects. Many of the SharePoint Engine developers have been working with the platform since it was launched in 2001. The depth of their knowledge is substantial and can be used to design and build an exceptional SharePoint solution.

    If you would like to talk to a premier SharePoint Consulting firm with the experience and vision to design your ideas and business objectives into SharePoint, please send us an email at Info@SharePointEngine.com or call 678-956-1780.

  • SharePoint haters seem to be disappearing. Possibly they aren’t as vocal as before, or perhaps they don’t complain as much. Whatever the reason, ‘hater’ rhetoric is quieting down…and that is a wonderful thing.

    In this blog post, I want to look at why users didn’t or don’t like SharePoint; why a design flaw here or coding problem there would be so magnified by unhappy end-users that they felt compelled to write about their pain. I’d also like to propose the idea that end-users are becoming happier with each passing day as SharePoint evolves and SharePoint developers evolve with it.

    Let me say right up front, the reason most users didn’t like SharePoint was because the developers that designed and built the user applications were untrained, inexperienced, or lacked vision…or all three. I’m laying the whole SharePoint ‘hater’ thing at the doorstep of developers…sorry.

    Microsoft Got the Ball Rolling

    So, why did so many end users decide to blame SharePoint rather than the developer or his lack of SharePoint knowledge? The whole thing started with problems with Microsoft and the vast array of products that people everywhere were exposed to and learned to hate. We might consider some discontinued products like Microsoft Bob, OneCare, Microsoft Chart and Picture Manager…to name just a few of their flops. These products were all discontinued because they weren’t any good. Microsoft marketing hyped them up, people purchased them, and people hated them. At the very least, you have to give Microsoft credit for trying new things. It just would have worked out better if those new things would have worked.

    If a software product is not stable, secure, or capable of performing as expected, then that the product is destined for the trash bin along with the company that built it. Given that so many of their products failed, the amazing thing about Microsoft is the brand is still incredibly strong. Microsoft certainly had its share of unstable, insecure and clunky products, but it also had a few magnificent triumphs. That said, the Microsoft brand has been stained enough times that people are skeptical of their products and quick to tell the world when something goes ‘bump in the night.’

    SharePoint and the inaugural version called Microsoft SharePoint Services or MOSS, was misunderstood from the very beginning. Here is how Microsoft described SharePoint Services back in 2006 with Version 1.0:

    Windows SharePoint Services is a versatile technology that organizations and business units of all sizes can use to increase the efficiency of business processes and improve team productivity. With tools for collaboration that help people stay connected across organizational and geographic boundaries, Windows SharePoint Services gives people access to the information they need.

    Built on Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Windows SharePoint Services also provides a foundation platform for building Web-based business applications that can flex and scale easily to meet the changing and growing needs of your business

    Most people read the marketing description above and said: “It does what?” In those three simple words, they were asking – what in the world is a foundation platform? They also were saying – SharePoint Services sounds too complicated and expensive. Obviously, SharePoint got off to a rocky start in life.

    Things are Changing

    That was then, this is now. SharePoint 2010 and the recently released Version 2013 have evolved as a solid ‘foundation platform.’ People now have a better understanding of what SharePoint can do, and people are a bit more tolerant of Microsoft since that the company regained the confidence of the masses. SharePoint earned a new lease on life, and Microsoft intends to take full advantage of the opportunity. However, developers still do the design and coding of SharePoint, which keeps the end user tethered to the skills of the developer. Will SharePoint ever meet the users’ needs? The answer to that question depends on the designer and developer.

    The SharePoint haters are still out there. As I’ve tried to illustrate in this blog post, their discontent should be with the developer more so than with the product. By way of example, what if Honda automobile company put a lawn mower engine in their new Civics? If you bought one and found the car was a wee bit underpowered, whose fault is it? Should you blame the motor, the car body, the gasoline, or the builder? Obviously, the builder. The same holds true for SharePoint.

    SharePoint haters are disappearing because a big part of the reason for the hater’s discontent has been resolved; the product itself is stable and it is much better understood by end users. This still leaves room for improvement, and that will come as the developers get more experience and are able to help the end users perform their jobs better.

    SharePoint Engine

    If SharePoint experience is one of the keys to end user satisfaction, then SharePoint Engine will get a gold star. As a SharePoint Consulting company in business for the past 7 years, they have successfully completed more than 100 projects. Many of the SharePoint Engine developers have been working with the platform since it was launched in 2001. The depth of their knowledge is substantial and can be used to design and build an exceptional SharePoint solution.

    If you would like to talk to a premier SharePoint Consulting firm with the experience and vision to design your ideas and business objectives into SharePoint, please send us an email at Info@SharePointEngine.com or call 678-956-1780.

  • Developing a SharePoint Strategy
    Having a thought-out SharePoint strategy in place improves company output and simplifies project management. This article provides a guide on how you can implement an intelligent strategy for your company.

    Identifying the Areas for Your SharePoint Strategy

    The areas of importance will vary from company to company, but as a general matter of principle there are eight core and four secondary areas for developing a strategy. The core areas are project management, testing, policies/permissions, deployment/initial training, code management, site architecture, maintenance, and security. The secondary areas are branding, social, operational concerns, and post-deployment training.

    There may be additional sectors where you company needs increased focus. Likewise, some secondary categories may be core for your company while some core features may be resolved by other means (for example, hiring out maintenance and testing can simplify the strategy for select companies).

    Build a Strategy Committee

    The reason it's important to build a SharePoint committee isn't that the creation of a strategy is a large project requiring a great number of labor hours. Rather, it is a complex project that will have different implications for individuals in different roles. Having representatives from different parts of your company will help you foresee problems and discuss potential resolutions.

    Having a committee will also help each group or department feel invested in and committed to the strategy. Numerous studies have found that strategies developed and implemented by multiple groups within the company are far more effective than edicts that come from the upper echelons of the corporate ladder.

    Define Roles, Scope, and Outcomes

    Once you have brought together your committee, the next step is to define the important terms. In this case, the important items to define are 1) the roles of each member of the committee, 2) the scope of the strategy (and the projects the strategy may imply), and 3) the goals that the company hopes to achieve by implementing these strategies.

    While the exact roles will vary from company to company, it's suggested that you assign a "champion" who will pitch the value of this strategy to the various departments and, if needed, to the executive level of the company.

    It is also important that, within the roles being established, there is a clearly defined pathway for communication. Who will be communicating with whom? When will news and updates be given to each group or department? And so on.

    Set Time-Lines

    For those developing a strategy during the initial deployment of SharePoint, the need for a time-line should already be evident. However, setting a specific, workable time-line is no less important for companies that have been using SharePoint for years. Without setting specific dates, the project—including the development and implementation of the official strategy—can linger in the ether for months or even years.

    The specific time-line will vary dependent on the size of your company and the scope of your SharePoint projects. As a general guideline, however, it's advisable to select a time somewhere between two weeks to three months as your target completion date.

    Creating a strategy for your company may seem like an arduous and, at times, even an unimportant task. However, its central element is an exercise in communication, group-thinking, and inter-departmental cooperation that will set a precedent for many projects yet to come.

    For more information about Sharepoint implementation and customization contact our sharepoint consulting firms experts here.
  • Tools for SharePoint Administration
    One of the major benefits of SharePoint is that it remains compatible with dozens of other professional tools, including both free and premium options. Many of these tools make the lives of SharePoint administrators far easier. You can only take advantage of the tools you are aware of, however. As such, this article will walk you through some of the best SharePoint-compatible tools that are especially helpful for administrators.

    1. CardioLog Analytics [Free Edition]

    IntLock is an analytics company that has developed some powerful tools for SharePoint. The best news is that, as long as your pages have fewer than 250,000 views each month, the free edition will be able to meet all of your needs. Full-featured releases of CardioLog are available for SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

    2. Microsoft Administration Toolkit

    This tool is especially important if you're using a version earlier than SharePoint 2013; as of the 2013 release, many of the features of this toolkit are built directly into the interface. The toolkit includes features like adjustable test loads for deployment testing; an advanced security configuration wizard; an improve diagnostics and statistics utility; and improved reporting.

    3. McAfee's Network Discovery for Microsoft SharePoint

    While Microsoft has done a good job with its built-in security (especially if you keep your version up to date), there are elements of network security that are better handled by an outside service. The best part of this McAfee utility is that it has an inventory and tool-set built specifically for SharePoint. You will be able to easily find SharePoint environments and get detailed reports on the network.

    4. Microsoft's SharePoint Designer

    For those looking to improve the aesthetics and functionality of their SharePoint pages, there's no better tool than Microsoft SharePoint Designer. Simple WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") modifications combine with workflow integration and other administrative features. If you're working with SharePoint, it's vital that you get comfortable with this tool.

    5. SharePoint SUSHI

    For fans of open source projects, the most impressive offering is SharePoint SUSHI. This "Swiss army knife for SharePoint" combines intelligent, customizable automation and reporting for a variety of common SharePoint tasks. Permision management, profile management, group management, and backup/restoration are all simplified by this tool.

    Are you looking to magnify your productivity in SharePoint? These tools, and many others, are well worth looking into.

    If you have any questions about sharepoint, feel free to contact sharepoint consulting firm experts here.
  • : Is SharePoint On-Premise Dead?
    Microsoft has made it clear that its cloud offerings are a high priority. The release of SharePoint Online and Office 365 have been accompanied by major promotional pushes and, overall, a positive reception. But the rise of these cloud offerings has also raised questions about the future of SharePoint on-premise. Is SharePoint on-premise likely to stay alive and well in the coming years? Or is 2013 the final non-cloud release? Should we expect diminishing support for on-premise releases as anything outside the cloud gradually approaches the status of "zombie software"?

    The question of the "death of SharePoint" has been circling the community since SharePoint Online was originally released. The motive for Microsoft focusing on the cloud is, after all, largely financial; on-premise installations are less profitable and have higher per-capita maintenance costs. The cancellation of the "Microsoft Certified Masters" programs, which took place near the time of the SharePoint Online roll-out, seemed to be a confirmation of the death of on-premise releases.

    The good news? At a minimum, it has been clear that Microsoft is still on board for supporting on-premise releases, at least for the time being. Bill Baer stated, "We remain committed to delivering support and solutions for our customers whether in the cloud or on-premises." He further outlined the various expected modes of support, including cumulative updates, service packs, and new content releases.

    Baer's response did little to allay fears about the inevitable demise of on-premise releases, however. As the discussion continued to make the rounds in the professional SharePoint community, Jeff Taper (a project lead for SharePoint) confirmed that new off-cloud versions will be released for SharePoint. Whether or not this will include the sort of "next version" we've come to expect (a SP 2016 similar to SP 2013, for example) is not entirely clear. However, Taper has been specific about plans to release new versions of Windows Server, SharePoint, and Exchange. He further indicated that these releases would happen with "a comparable cadence to past server releases."

    So is SharePoint turning into a zombie? The best answer at this point is "not yet." While there are still signs that Microsoft is shifting its focus toward cloud-based offerings, 2013 is unlikely to be the last on-premise version of SharePoint available. At a minimum, we can expect a future release that would officially bridge the gap between those dwelling inside and outside of the cloud.

    Feel free to contact our Sharepoint Development team here.
  • SharePoint Conference 2014 – Planning

    Whether you're new to using SharePoint or you've been a high-level administrator for years, SharePoint Conference 2014 will be a powerful learning experience. While it will be a few months until the conference itself, there's a lot you can do right to ensure you get even more out of the experience. Here are some tips for developing your plan of attack.

    Plan Your Timetables

    As we've discussed in earlier entries, there are more than 200 sessions currently planned for the conference. This includes keynote speakers on each day of the conference, but a number of additional presentations are also on the docket. While some of the workshop experiences will be available more than once throughout the conference, the presentations and panels are one-off opportunities that will serve as the staples in your schedule.

    What about the rest of your opportunities? How can you plan in ways the ensure you don't miss out on any of the events you're most excited for? There's good news on this front: Microsoft has uploaded its full lineup of speakers and currently scheduled opportunities for SPC14.

    Use the Advanced Search Features

    You can now use an advanced search and filter setup (powered by SharePoint Search) to find the sessions that you want to attend. You can filter by track type (which audience the session is designed for), the track level (how advanced users are expected to be to understand the materials presented at the session), the time of the session, whether the session is cross-technology or cross-audience, and much more.

    Check for New or Revised Sessions

    Even though more than 200 sessions have been uploaded to the Microsoft site and integrated with advanced search filters, bear in mind that more sessions are being approved all the time and some sessions may be revised prior to the conference. As such, re-checking your schedule from time to time in the coming months is advisable.

    With tracks designed for four major audiences (Developer, IT Professional, Power User, and Executive), there are sure to be sessions that suit your professional role. If you're looking to empower yourself and your company in years to come, SharePoint Conference 2014 is the penultimate resource. Be sure you don't miss this opportunity.

    Looking for Sharepoint Consultant. We are here ready to help you!
  • The Evolution of SharePoint
    SharePoint has evolved dramatically over the last decade. This entry looks at ways the platform and our approaches to it have developed over time. Perhaps more pressing than any other question, however, is whether or not you have fully evolved in your own approach to SharePoint.

    An Incredibly Brief History of SharePoint

    While other Microsoft offerings foreshadowed the eventual destiny of SharePoint, it was when Office SharePoint Server 2007 was originally released that the platform really took shape. With the option to create team sites, navigation, and advanced workflows, the 2007 iteration gave us a fully functional enterprise content management system.

    When SharePoint 2010 was released, it did more than improve the design. It enabled and empowered employees at all levels by providing business connectivity services, improve business intelligence, and improved automation throughout the workflow process.

    Then, with SharePoint 2013, we saw dramatic improvement in the social offerings. The ability to collectively store, source, and share information resources within the content management system allows SharePoint to work as the spine of your enterprise social efforts.

    Where Did You Get Stuck?

    You may have noticed that we moved beyond simply being an enterprise content management (ECM) system in 2010. Yet many users—including, or perhaps even especially, long-time users—settle into preconceived notions about SharePoint that interfere with really taking advantage of what the system now offers.

    SharePoint expert Marc Anderson, in a November presentation at the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM) conference, showed some of his research into how users were adopting the various functionalities of the platform. Even amongst users who were fully upgraded to SharePoint 2013 or SharePoint Online, there were notable omissions in the types of tasks completed.

    Veteran users were more comfortable customizing the interface, training users on the platform, improving the infrastructure, and gaining improved insights on their business operations. However, these same veterans were less likely than new users to take advantage of internal applications and search features.

    The research didn't merely point to a group of "dinosaurs" who failed to adopt the new bells and whistles. In all groups, limited use of new collaborative options, social features, and advanced integrations shows a saddening trend. Many stop their evolutionary journey short of its maximum potential when it comes to the use of SharePoint.

    Anderson jokingly talked about the stages of SharePoint acceptance, likening them to the stages of grief. For many, there are stages of denial and frustration as it becomes more clear that the out-of-the-gate version of SharePoint will not magically do everything for you. This eventually becomes an acceptance of the effort required to take advantage of the tool. Indeed, such effort is vital for a full SharePoint evolution.

    So where are you stuck? How expansively do you use the various resources that SharePoint has to offer? And how can we at SharePoint Engine help?

    Looking for Sharepoint Consultant. We are here ready to help you!
  • Flying Blind in SharePoint
    So you've launched your own deployment of SharePoint, figured out how to set up basic pages and site architecture, fine-tuned some basic settings, added a couple web parts, and gotten yourself into business. Well done! For you, and many others like you, it can seem like the process is finished and you have no need of any further work—let alone expenses.
    Well, let's not beat around the issue: Hiring SharePoint consultants comes with a cost. Yes, companies like SharePoint Engine do provide a free consultation that can be of significant value on its own. However, most initial consultations can do little more than review your current strategy and point you in the general direction of improvement.
    Why bother with a SharePoint consultant? In many ways, working with a certified expert in the field of enterprise content management is the same as working with a personal trainer as you try to improve your overall health. While it's true that consultants won't be "working out for you," they have three other major purposes: First, to educate you on the best areas and strategies for improvement; second, to make sure you don't injure yourself unintentionally while trying to improve matters; and third, to keep you on target.
    Your content management system, workflows, business intelligence, and system security are vital—but they're not urgent. It's easy to be swept into new tasks while dismissing any potential work on SharePoint as a less crucial task. Eventually, you reach a point where you've left the system unattended for months or even years. This opens potential security gaps and, when given an honest analysis, drains a great deal of potential earnings by decreasing your operating efficiency.
    There's a lot you can do to educate yourself on SharePoint, complete tasks independently, or even make sweeping customizations with no educational background outside of your access to free informational resources. This isn't just acceptable: It's a great idea! However, being able to educate yourself doesn't give you the same vantage point as a SharePoint experts.
    Years of practice and education give consultants a big-picture view of the situation, allowing them to help you understand your options, evaluate potential improvements, and prioritize effectively. The amount of time saved by working with a consultant often amounts to a higher value than the cost of the SharePoint consultant's services.
    If you're still feeling hesitant, we encourage you to try out a free consultation from SharePoint Engine today. We'd love to discuss ways in which a partnership between our companies can benefit all parties involved.

    For more information about Sharepoint implementation and customization contact our sharepoint consulting firms experts here.
  • Keys to SharePoint
    SharePoint is a powerful tool, but using it right is key to unlocking its full potential. If you're looking to gain a lot more from your enterprise content management by investing a little bit of time, this entry is for you. We provide four keys to maximizing the value of your SharePoint deployment.

    Key #1: The Conceptual Shift

    The first key was hidden in the paragraph that begins this entry. SharePoint is often conceived of as a "product." In reality, the out-of-the-box product you receive is only the most insignificant piece of SharePoint's value. The true value is in SharePoint's nature: It is a tool and is also a platform.
    As you approach the platform, it's wise to recall what a platform is: It's something you build on top of. SharePoint is a strong platform that will support your efforts in a variety of ways, but you remain responsible for building an architecture of your own. Similarly, SharePoint functions as a tool. It is limited by how skillfully you use it, but in the right hands, SharePoint can create amazing results.

    Key #2: The Building Blocks

    Viewing SharePoint (especially SP 2010 or 2013) as a platform leads us to the next key: Finding the right building blocks. While you can custom-build just about anything you can imagine on this versatile platform, you can also take advantage of the parts and pieces built by others.
    "Web parts" are the most useful piece to build with. You can find free or premium web parts, including several use-oriented developments from SharePoint Engine. The SharePoint 2013 marketplace allows you to find a variety of tested web parts that integrate seamlessly with your interface.

    Key #3: The Power Source

    You can use SharePoint to polish up any number of your company's facets, but the best use is in empowering your intelligence workers. Communication and business intelligence are the keys to improving the quality of work your staff gives while simultaneously improving the sense of reward they receive.
    Regardless of your industry, automated workflow communications and business intelligence are integral to a successful SharePoint strategy.

    Key #4: Continued Renovations

    Once you've built a powerful structure for your company, it's important to continue expanding the resources, upgrading the architecture over time, listening for and responding to employee feedback, and otherwise renovating your SharePoint structure.
    Microsoft hasn't stood still on this product line over the last decade. Rather, new iterations have dramatically expanded the resources you can take advantage of. Learn about new features and deploy them whenever they seem fitting for your company.
    These four keys may seem simple, but they'll help you to unlock the full potential of your enterprise content management system. For more information on how we at SharePoint Engine can help, get in touch with us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
  • SharePoint Conference 2014
    We've talked about SharePoint Conference 2014 in previous entries, but now Microsoft has released critical information about the conference itself. While we previously knew about the location, dates, and general plans, we now know about the different attendee tracks, the major workshopping sessions, and the core speakers.

    Topic and Attendee Tracks

    While some conferences have only one or two tracks (for example, a "developer track" and "general public" option), SharePoint has four different tracks and a number of different "topic tracks." As an attendee, you'll be able to choose:

    1.IT Pro
    3.Power User

    The conference topics will include a number of different categories with different levels of sessions. Sessions will be labeled with a number from 100 to 400, with the higher numbers representing "deep dive" sessions meant to help even the most experienced of professionals while 100-level "overview" courses are meant to accelerate basic learning and familiarity.

    As to the categories themselves, the usual suspects can be found (architecture, business intelligence, governance, etc.). However, the topics go well beyond those standards too. Every SharePoint topic you could want to learn about will be represented, including far-reaching topic tracks such as "related technologies," "social," "office development," and "hybrid topologies."

    There are enough topic tracks that it would be a waste to try and skim over all of them here. If you're ready to find out more, you can read the full list on this official page, which goes into detail on what each track includes.

    Major Speakers

    When SharePoint Conference 2014 was announced, there were a great many names suggested as likely speakers. While Microsoft has given themselves room to expand the list of speakers, a core lineup has been confirmed. Without a doubt, the lineup includes a range of "MVPs and certified masters."

    Microsoft is bringing in many of their own elite, including Jared Spataro, Jeff Teper, Bill Baer, and Adam Pisoni, but many recognized experts from outside of Microsoft will also be in the spotlight. This includes Laura Rogers of Rackspace, Sam Hassani of BrightStarr, and Rita Zhang of GE. In total, there are more than 60 confirmed presenters.

    Even if nothing is added to the lineup we've received so far, SharePoint Conference 2014 will be the biggest event that we've ever seen for professionals in the field. Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on the conference, our analysis of some of the Microsoft announcements, and more. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas this coming March.

    Looking for sharepoint consulting companies, contact to our sharepoint experts here.
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