SharePoint-aloozaAkumina’s Jim Manning and I just got back from the North American Collaboration Summit, also known as “SharePoint-alooza,” in Branson, Missouri. We were excited to represent Akumina, meet our customers, and be part of this celebration of business productivity and collaboration that surrounds SharePoint and Office 365 today. Here’s our report:

SharePoint invades the Ozarks

Branson has an endless supply of stages that normally host performances by celebrities and celebrity impersonators alike. While I was hoping to catch a set by your favorite Russian and mine, Yakov Smirnoff, it seemed as if he too had joined the entire town on hiatus for the winter.

The lack of shows (and the tourists who come for them) created plenty of room for Summit attendees, organizers, and speakers to mix, compare experiences, exchange ideas, and get questions answered. More than 300 people registered, and attendance in the sessions was strong—even through the last sessions of the week!

Talking Teams, digging into Groups


On Thursday March 1, SharePoint guru Christian Buckley and I co-delivered a full-day Microsoft Teams workshop to a room filled with pre-conference attendees. We shared and learned best practices for planning, organizing, governing, and rolling out Microsoft Teams across their organizations.

Organizational Change Management was a big part of the afternoon, and the session became interactive with attendees sharing their stories and I was able to share some stories that helped based on deploying Teams with some international companies. The future for Teams and Office 365 Groups is tightly coupled with Office 365.

Future-proofing your intranet

On the Saturday of the conference, I delivered a session focused on the challenges that can blindside organizations as their portals grow. For example, one lesson that has been drilled into intranet design teams over the past few years: Plan for mobile design early in the process. When you do, you skirt the costs of later having to re-design publishing templates and presentation pages for mobile support.

We also discussed some of the potential pitfalls around growing from individual to team collaboration and from team-level to department-level requirements. Great emphasis was placed on how the decisions faced and made at the organization level make the foundation of success for your portal. Without that strong foundation plus agreement on policy, your intranet may find itself supporting too many different standards and find themselves stuck, unable to grow with your organization.

It turns out that Akumina is a solid intranet platform for addressing these challenges. Once a design team knows which decisions they need to make and when, Akumina is like a highway getting them to their destination at max speed (instead of relegating them to an access road with no on-ramp in sight).

Thanks all around!

SharePoint-alooza-1I like to make my sessions very interactive, and the attendees totally brought their “A” games—thanks for the great wisdom and insights. I make it a point to integrate the comments, experiences, and feedback from these live sessions into my presentations for the benefit of future attendees and session deliveries.

The organizers, including Mark Rackley, Stacy Burris, and the awesome event committee, were examples of friendly support and efficient organization. A special thank-you shout out to all the Microsoft MVPs that traveled worldwide to support the NA Collaboration Summit on their way to the Microsoft MVP Summit the following week. It may have been too early for the vacation goers at Branson, but the Summit was packed with great experiences and lots of knowledgeable speakers.


One more thing…

Whether or not you were at SharePoint-alooza, feel free to reach out to me at with any questions.