A key theme at today's SharePoint User Group UK meeting at our Victoria office was, " WE NEED MORE PIZZA!" It really was a site to behold with the lines wrapping around the meeting room doors while people were scrambling for pizza. I make it sound more chaotic than it really was. If I could sum up today's meeting in a single word, that word would be "vibrant."
Since the release of Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 (MOSS 2007), it has been the fastest growing Microsoft server product in history. It is Microsoft's next multi-billion dollar eco-system. Every industry from every corner of the world is thinking about SharePoint. There, however, is an unfortunate reality which is that with such rapid growth, there are simply not enough qualified, competent, and innovative professionals in the marketplace *there are many incompetant ones though*.
Over the years, Microsoft has developed and cultivated influencers and professionals through various programs like the Microsoft Valued Professional program. The model has served the community well. We need to do more. Microsoft needs to do more. The community needs to do more. In order to overcome this next generation of business challenges, communities and businesses will have to come together in unique ways, sharing knowledge, and do more outside the normal business hours. Problems are global, and as such, so must be the solutions.
User groups like this one, run by Steve Smith (Combined Knowledge) [his blog here]and Nick Swan (Lightning Tools), are leading the global movement to cultivate SharePoint expertise and are driving deployment satisfaction. If you are a SharePoint professional who has never attended a user group, or if you a developer looking to break in to the next big enterprise development movement, do yourself a favor start attending. Start attending and networking because the results may surprise you! It has for me, in fact I just found one the guys who did the NHS UK website; yes the NHS is running 100% SharePoint.
And as a promise to you all, if you come, we'll try to make sure we have enough pizza!