International SharePoint Conference – Wrap Up

Last month was the International SharePoint Conference in London. I was honored to be invited to be a speaker at the conference. The format of the conference was great. Not only were there different tracks, but within each track, there were continuous solutions being built from one session to the next. I absolutely loved this, because an hour to cover a topic never seems like enough. Here’s what we did as one of the solutions in the information worker track: Jennifer Mason, Darvish Shadravan, Matt Hughes and I did 4 sessions throughout the day, all around building a travel request site in SharePoint.

  1. Jennifer and I taught the basics of how to build the travel request form using InfoPath.
  2. Matt and I taught how to create a workflow which includes an approval process for each travel request.
  3. Jennifer and Matt taught how to build a nice user interface by placing web parts on pages and creating needed list views.
  4. Darvish and I taught all of the ways we can report off of this travel request site data, using KPIs, Excel Services, PerformancePoint, and SSRS.

How did we do it? How did we collaborate on the creation of this solution? Funny story behind that…

At first, we just figured we’d use Office 365, but then some of the business intelligence solutions in the 4th session can’t be done in Office 365. We figured we’d just copy the site and do that last part on someone’s virtual machine on their computer. Easier said than done. After we had created the solution in Office 365, we discovered that you can’t simply save a SharePoint Online site as a template and then put it in an on-premise version of SharePoint. Good to know! This doesn’t work because SharePoint online has a feature that SharePoint on-premise doesn’t have, so you get errors when trying to add a site using the site template. Yes, there are some hacks we found online to accomplish this, but it turned out to be faster to just re-create the site from scratch and just publish another copy of the InfoPath form to it.

Darvish and I still needed to be able to collaborate on an on-premise SharePoint site, to build our reporting solutions. Rackspace to the rescue! With a couple of days left to go before leaving for London, my amazing colleagues whipped up a cloud SharePoint server for us! It was absolutely terrific, like “Okay, here’s your whole SharePoint server, all built and configured, ready to go!”. PerformancePoint was working correctly, SSRS was installed, and everything, so all that Darvish and I needed to do was to start building out our reports off of the travel data. Thanks to Jeff Deverter, Javier Barrera, Todd Klindt, and the rest of the SharePoint admin team!!

Here is an example of one of the charts that I created off of the SharePoint task list, using SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS):


Below is one of the scorecards that Darvish created using PerformancePoint:


As you can tell from my enthusiasm, the last session was my favorite. We had a blast, and it went really well!

All in all, it was a fabulous few days in London. Steve Smith and the crew at Combined Knowledge sure put on quite a conference! Here’s the group of speakers at the wrap-up on the last day:


We arrived in London a couple of days before the conference started, so we had some time to go sightseeing. Here is a picture of me, riding the London Eye:



Leave a Reply