UPDATED 09/29/2014 – @GTConsult SharePoint Saturday Johannesburg – VIDEO HERE
First and foremost I have to give thanks to all the Sponsors, Event Coordinators, Volunteers, Fellow Speakers and Attendees that made this event happen. I want to call out and specifically thank Veronique Palmer, Tracy van der Schyff, Alistair Pugin, Bradley Geldenhuys, Bryan Kimmel, Craig Tar, Warren from GT Consult who’s last name I cannot remember 🙂 as those individuals were instrumental in selecting me to speak and helping me get here to South Africa to present a session on SharePoint and Nintex. It is my honor to be here and represent as an international speaker, showcasing the commitment of the “global” SharePoint community and our commitment to volunteer our time to spread the word on what is our passion and our professional careers.
So, I submitted a session on “Line of Business (LOB) made easy” with an abstract that included in part, taking common business problems involving external systems and external data, and using tools such as Nintex to Business Process Reengineer/ Automate (BPR/BPA) solutions for the customer. As a BPA/BPR person, I have used tools such as SharePoint, Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer, K2 to solve those problems in the past. This time, I got involved with some of the folks at Nintex and asked to evaluate their product to see what that story is like i.e. can a person just take up their tool, and create solutions. I wanted to see what investment does it take to do that from a human cost and learning curve perspective. Well, after installing both the On Premises and Cloud Nintex solutions, I played with it for perhaps 1 month but realistically it was 2 weeks full time and was able to come up with working demos of solutions that I have done in the past that matched requirements for past projects. I was surprised with the ease of use to get to learn the product and with a few pointers from Vadim Tabakman and Brad Orluk I was able to get a grasp how to make my external calls that return my XML (though I wish it was JSON) and then how to turn that data around to gain insights into LOB systems, make decisions and pathways towards solving business problems. In the end, I came up with a deck that outlined what the product is, how to install it, configure it, in both on premises and the cloud, and tailor a solution (demo) for what is similar to an internal process we have at Planet Technologies Inc, where I work in the States.
Well the one thing I was not prepared for is the 17 hour flight to get to Johannesburg, that I have to tell you requires some serious commitment to travel. However the good flight attendants and crew from South African Air did a great job in getting us there on time and the service and food was tops.
So of course as I got here, the pranks started with Warren and Craig, they picked me up at the airport and told me to ride up front in the car… and what did i do, go over to the Right Hand Side of the car….
So yeah.. they drive on the left hand side of the road.. rookie mistake on my part… 🙂 so after a short ride on the highway which is a darn good stretch of road
we headed to the B&B where I was gonna stay and then speaker dinner.
Great job by the sponsor for the dinner, the food was great, company and dialog was fantastic. It was great catching up with old friends and making new ones. I had not seen Alistair since wow, 2011 when he came to SharePoint Saturday the Conference in DC and I had not seen Veronique or Tracy since I think SPC in Vegas.
Masterfully prepared, executed excellently, well attended, and went off without a hitch. The day started off with a keynote from Alistair and Veronique and they focused the topic of the keynote around the SharePoint Community and the history and evolution of SharePoint Saturday.
Veronique detailed what it takes to put on such events and the hard work of the organizers who take on these often thankless tasks so that folks can come and hear, learn and meet from SharePoint folks in the field. Alistair detailed how SPS started in South Africa (special shout out to Zlatan) and how that community has evolved to JoBurg, Cape Town, Durban, and a few other places I know I am forgetting. In fact we had a young lady from Kenya who is also organizing events there. The keynote was packed as you can see below
I even had a time for a selfie with Brad. The guys from GT Consult are a fun bunch who also are doing big things in South Africa. I am amazed with their journey, the team of Brad, Craig and Warren is top notch. They have built quite a presence in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
and watching him pose by his company’s banner properly positioned on the stage
My session was well attended, I had the first slot so, the minds were eager to learn, lots of great questions, interactive chats and we even had a film crew there for part of it.
I attended a few other sessions as well and the content was rich, relevant, & in all the sessions the audience/attendees are having great dialog and conversations. Veronique has my deck but you may also pick it up here as well.
A bit later on both Alistair and I had interview conducted
We then had give away and the event ended..
Tracy is a riot for all those who don’t know. this is her and Veronique giving away swag and prizes.
SharePint was awesome, we started off with one on the venue and then took it to “The Dros” again, we had a good mix of attendees and speakers
SharePint…on site above
SharePint at “The Dros” afterwards.
Afterhours (Enter at your own risk 🙂 )
After SharePint ended, Bradley and I want to Hogshead Bar to give me a taste of South African night life, its very interesting. We met some Rugby fans and had a few drinks, we met some strange folks as well.
All in all this was a very fun, educational and eye opening event. While I have done International SharePoint Conferences on site before, and I have done SharePoint Saturdays “Online” International Events in the past, this is my first SharePoint Saturday on site in a foreign country. I love it and cant wait to do it again.
I will be presenting the same session next week Saturday at SharePoint Saturday Cape Town #SPSCPT and I am really looking forward to the Cape. Looking forward to doing Shark Cage diving if i can fit it in on Friday before Speaker Dinner. Till then keep it Irie Mon 🙂 and Tek it Easy
Hey.. look.. Im in Johannesburg, my fist time in Africa
UPDATE: 1300 hrs Sept 7th 2014 – Veronique sent me speaker pic