PointFire CEO, Martin Laplante’s “sessions to see” at ESPC20 Online

Martin Laplante, CEO, PointFire http://pointfire.com/

The schedule is out, so I thought I’d point out a few sessions that I personally find interesting, other than the keynotes of course.  I’m not concerned about schedule conflicts because I can watch some of the sessions on demand.

On Wednesday October 14th, I would definitely want to see Implementing Customizations for Microsoft Teams with Azure PaaS services by Laura Kokkarinen, at 10:45.  Whenever there is some development topic I find too complex to understand, I check to see whether Laura’s blog talks about that topic and her explanation is always so much clearer than anything else I can find on the subject. Listen to her talk, she always makes complex things easy to follow.

I highly recommend Improving the Performance of your SharePoint Framework Solutions by Elio Struyf, at 13:00. I’ve seen an earlier version of this session at the last in-person conference in Europe in early March this year, and it was very useful, packed with a lot of tips, some of which I applied a few days later. If you’re a developer you have to see this.

At 15:15 I would see Ed Musters talk about a Case Study: Successful Records Management in Canadian Federal Government. I remember the first project I did with Ed, how easy he was to deal with, how well he understood the client’s needs, and how excited he was to help resolve their problems with innovative solutions. Nothing fell through the cracks. I will definitely listen.

Another Canadian at the same time is Joanne Klein talking about 10 Ways to Apply Office 365 Retention Labels to Meet your Retention Needs.  I’ve been following the story episode by episode on her Twitter feed, this will be like seeing the movie after reading the book series.

Number one recommendation for me is Project Cortex by Naomi Moneypenny and Chris McNulty on Wednesday at 16:45.  Some of the other sessions and keynotes will touch on Project Cortex, but these two really know their stuff and communicate well, and this is the deepest you will get into this important project, right after the big Ignite unveiling.

On Thursday at 9:00, I would see Building Solutions for Teams, SharePoint and Office with the SharePoint Framework by Bill Ayers.  Bill is the SharePoint Doctor, and he has taken an oath to do no harm. Again, I have seen him before and he patiently lays out all the bits and pieces that you need to know about, and then ties them together to build  something that is actually useful.

At 10:45, I would see Building Tailored Search Experiences in Modern SharePoint by Sébastien Levert. Seb is a great speaker to learn from. He gets positively giddy sharing the excitement he felt when he first discovered the feature he is talking about. He’s actually like that, it’s not an act he puts on for show.  And your users really need a better search experience.

At 11:30: How to Overcome the Chaos Teams Causes in SharePoint Document Libraries by Melanie Culver.  Is it disloyal to Microsoft to agree with the premise?  Melanie tells it like it is, and I want to know the solution to that problem.

At 14:30, I would definitely go to D&I Session 1 – Title Coming Soon.  What an odd recommendation, since there is no title or description at the time I write this. But it’s Heather Newman, now with Microsoft, and Karuana Gatimu, and I’d listen to either of those two describing how paint dries. Both of them together? Wow.

At 16:45 I would watch Build Responsive Applications at Scale using Microsoft Graph Change Notifications with Resource Data by Vincent Biret.  Microsoft Graph has been evolving, bringing some needed consistency to the chaos of disparate APIs, and who better to explain it than Vincent, one of the best speakers in the industry. I guarantee you will learn a lot.

There are so many others, I haven’t even mentioned several of the other great Canadians and honorary Canadians, not to mention a lot of the others, but I’m told I should limit how many I recommend.

Pre & Post Conference Tutorials

My top picks for Monday 12th:

Everything You Wanted to Know About Power BI (But Were Afraid To Ask) by John P. White.  I don’t even like Power BI, and yet I would go see John White’s tutorial. John’s soft-spoken passion for the subject is contagious, and after I see his talks I always think this sounds like something I could enjoy. I go back to not liking it a few days later, of course, but I can just imagine how it would be for someone who finds the topic interesting in the first place.

Learn PowerApps and Power Automate in 1 Day by Serge Luca and Ahmad Najjar.  There’s a reason they call Serge Luca “Doctor Flow”. He is encyclopedic and he has a great bedside manner. He will tell you what you can do with it, but also what you can but shouldn’t do.

As for Friday 16th:

Introduction to Information Architecture: How to Organize an Awesome Intranet by Susan Hanley.  Susan is relentlessly practical, she thinks through all the possible outcomes, good or bad. You can’t just dump all the information somewhere on your intranet and hope that the human beings will find what they need with the help of technology.  You have to know what they will do, what they will consider easy and what is useful to them. Get it right before you start.  She will explain how to achieve this, and you will feel smart for anticipating things that others don’t think of.

So there they are, my top picks for ESPC20 Online, to see these and all the other great sessions be sure to check out the full programme at https://www.sharepointeurope.com/conference/schedule/

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