Wednesday, May 5, 2010

ShareFEST 2010: SharePoint momentum in life sciences is palpable

If I could sum up the ShareFEST conference in one word, it's passion. Passion for SharePoint. Passion for new ways to collaborate. Passion for driving innovation. It literally was a "share fest."

I've had a chance to gather my notes from the show and put some thought into how it went and what I learned from it. Here are my high-level takeaways.

The energy at the ShareFEST was exhilarating. As I said, the show wasn't dull by any means. SharePoint evangelists and users are a very vibrant community. They live and breathe the platform. You could see and feel the excitement around SharePoint, and how life sciences companies were committing to the technology and looking forward to the new ways they could leverage it.

SharePoint is becoming increasingly pervasive in life sciences. SharePoint is becoming the standard for document management in life sciences, if it hasn't already been established as such. It's particularly popular within the clinical research trial space, where scientists have to validate documents and ensure they're following certain approval processes and procedures through their product life cycles. All of the top life sciences companies were at ShareFEST, and it looks like most, if not all, have made a commitment to Microsoft and SharePoint. Now they're looking for ways to get it off the shelf.

The challenge now is to foster SharePoint adoption. Based on my conversations and interactions at the show, it seems most life sciences companies have at least bought SharePoint. Some are using it, whether that be in just one or two divisions or throughout the entire organization. The major adoption challenge they're facing is consolidating dispersed content from across their organization into SharePoint. They're looking for ways to unlock their information silos (like SAP, e-mail, document management systems, etc.) and centralize content in SharePoint.

We stuck out like a sore thumb, in a good way. I am a sales guy, but I don't mean to toot our own horn when I say this. ;) ShareFEST vendors largely showcased extensions to SharePoint that make the platform more social and less of just a storage area. ProtoSphere stuck out as the only virtual environment that integrated with SharePoint. No one else at ShareFEST was making SharePoint more social and collaborative in this manner.

The SharePoint market is exciting, and brimming with new innovations for helping life sciences companies get more out of their SharePoint investment. If you weren't able to make it to the show this year, I'd recommend you put it on your list for 2011. It's a hot spot for life sciences companies who are turning to SharePoint and integrated technologies to drive collaborative decision-making and productivity.

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