Valo Intranet’s Sari Soinoja cherry picks her way through the ESPC20 Online Programme

Sari Soinoja, Product Owner, Valo Intranet

With just under 3 weeks till ESPC20 Online, Europe’s largest gathering of the M365 community in Europe… it’s time to start browsing the programme and build your agenda for the week.

In this blog, I’ll highlight the sessions I personally find the most interesting. In addition, I recommend watching all the keynotes as well, since they give the structure to the whole event. The speaker in most of the sessions I picked is not just the very best in their field but also very enjoyable to listen.

Introduction to ESPC20 Online

So now let’s check out which sessions are available and what to go to. I’ve limited myself to selecting only 4-5 sessions per day since, as a busy Product owner, I need to be able to pick the cherries or clone myself to do more. And it’s so much easier to do the cherry picking 😊  

Pre & Post Conference Tutorials

My top pick for Monday would be Mark Kashman’s Working with Microsoft Lists (Tutorial Time: 13:00 – 18:00 CEST). This is a no-brainer since Microsoft Lists is a new and shiny member of the M365 family and if anyone can make you a “list maker”, it’s Mark 😊 Also, it’s always not just educating but also entertaining to listen to Mark.

For Friday 16th my pick would go to Susan Hanley’s Introduction to Information Architecture: How to Organize an Awesome Intranet (Tutorial Time: 11:00 – 18:30 approx. CEST). Whether you are working with out-of-the-box SharePoint intranets or ready-made intranet products on top of SharePoint, you will benefit from Susan’s tutorial. It doesn’t matter how beautiful and full of features your intranet is, if the information architecture hasn’t been done with some serious thinking, planning and including the most typical end user point of view. The session takes time but so does building your intranet without any guidance. 

The main conference days

Now we get down to the actual business!

Wednesday 14th offers a total of 48 sessions, so it was incredibly difficult to pick only 4! After a lot of debate with myself, here are my top picks for Wednesday sessions:

  • 13:00 – 13:45 Karoliina Kettukari: Intranet with Teams: Dos and Don’ts from a Real Life Customer Case. During the last year, I believe that many organizations have been thinking about it: should we ditch the intranet and use Teams instead? Well, here’s one case to hear how it might happen in real life. 
  • 14:30 – 15:15 Mark Rackley: Customizing SharePoint Using the Column Formatter. There are so many ways you can use the SharePoint lists and libraries, but very often they end up being just containers of important hidden data. You could take that data and visualize it in a way that it will give you more information with a single view. Mark will give you good examples how to achieve this.
  • 16:45 – 17:30 John P. White: 6 Ways to Gain Insights on your Microsoft 365 Usage. As we all know, knowledge is power. During my career I’ve noticed that too many organizations trust that when the information, let’s say a document, is there, people will read it and after that everyone knows the information. And too rarely they actually follow up how many users the information has reached or how to make it to cover more people. Like John says, the information is all available, you just need to learn the tools how to harvest it. And by understanding the information you get, you make better decisions.
  • 17:30 – 18:15 Vesa Juvonen: Kick-Start your Solution Development with Microsoft 365 PnP. Attend this session to hear what kind of amazing things you can develop with MS 365 PnP and to see Vesa in action. I promise you won’t get bored!

Thursday 15th also offers some very interesting sessions and these are the ones I’ll be watching:

  • 10:45 – 11:30 Sébastien Levert: Building Tailored Search Experiences in Modern SharePoint. Microsoft search is getting better and better with each release, but if you really want to help you users to find what they are looking for, you need to tailor your search. Sébastien will tell you how to do it.
  • 11:30 – 12:15 Melanie Culver: How to Overcome the Chaos Teams Causes in SharePoint Document Libraries. If you have been using MS Teams for a while now and are a member of multiple teams, you must have noticed how it gets more difficult every day to find the documents you don’t work with every day. I bet we could all use these tips from Melanie how to tame the document chaos in Teams and SharePoint.
  • 12:15 – 13:00 Gokan Ozcifci: Zero to Hero: Microsoft Teams Tips and Tricks that Empower Everyone. Out-of-the-box MS Teams works just fine, but if you really want to get the best out of it, Gokan will give you the best tips for that.
  • 14:30 – 15:15 Vlad Catrinescu: Creating Approval Flows with Microsoft Power Automate. Let Vlad’s soothing voice guide you through the world of automating the approval process that’ll make your life easier.
  • 17.30 – 18.15 Susan Hanley: Your Intranet Shopping List: Must Have Capabilities for Your Modern, Intelligent Intranet. If intranet is your business in any way and you are not able to take part in Susan’s Friday tutorial, this is the session to go to. Squeezed into 45 minutes the most important modern intranet capabilities. Remember to take notes!

For more on these and all other sessions check out the full programme or ticket info here.

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