SharePoint Saturday – Atlanta, GA

SharePoint has a growing presence in the enterprise.  Once upon a time, the primary intersection between SharePoint and SQL was that SharePoint ran on a SQL back-end and as such required the care and feeding that you’d expect for a SQL server.

Today, things are changing and SharePoint is becoming a much bigger presence on the Business Intelligence side of SQL Server, with features like PowerPivot, Power View, and PerformancePoint becoming increasingly popular.

Having a free day and having never attended a SharePoint-centric event, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and attend the free SharePoint Saturday event hosted at the Georgia State University campus downtown.

For anybody not familiar with a SharePoint Saturday, it was organized in a similar manner to how SQL Saturday events are typically organized.  The morning started off with check-in and then a welcome/keynote, which I missed due to parking issues, then the day launched into sessions.  The event was comprised of five sessions and a lunch, which choices from eight different tracks.

As I am not currently deeply immersed in SharePoint — I built and administer our internal SharePoint 2010 Wiki platform and am currently setting up a new internal SharePoint BI platform to enhance our internal BI capabilities, I had a difficult time choosing sessions in each time slot.

One of the stranger presentations I attended was “Leveraging SharePoint to Survie the Zombie Apocalypse” by Patrick Hankey (B | T) and Ryan VanOsdol (B | T).  Their premise for this presentation was using SharePoint to coordinate resources in a zombie apocalypse situation.  I loved the unique premise of this presentation and only wished that they had somehow found a way to work live demos or mockups of the systems into the session.

The session I enjoyed most of the day was Kevin Grohoske’s (BT) “SharePoint BI — The Combined Power of PowerPivot and SharePoint.”  This is partly because, as a data professional, this topic was the most relevant to my day-to-day and additionally because I am currently really ramping up my PowerPivot skills for a few internal projects.  Kevin performed a ground-up build of a PowerPivot data model using data from the Windows Azure marketplace rather than using the typical picnic or car sales demos, which was great.  I learned a bit about the free datasets available in the Windows Azure Data Marketplace, including a DateStream for Time Intelligence.

Unfortunately, the last session of the day which I was looking forward to, “Self-Service Business Intelligence with SharePoint 2013” by Ivan Sanders (B | T) was cancelled, which was a bit of a letdown as it was one of only two BI focused topics at the event.

All in all, it was an interesting experience and the event was very well done. The vendor participation was great, and I saw a lot of familiar vendors from the SQL Saturdays I typically attend.  Thanks to the SharePoint Atlanta User group, volunteers, and vendors for all the hard work!

Vendor Row at SharePoint Saturday Atlanta at Georgia State University