clip_image002How many lessons can you draw from a single 3-hour event? Hopefully, enough to make an interesting blog entry. I was going to write about an amazing last minute twist to our Inspection Report processing project, but I am not sure where that is going to take us. I know one thing; it will have a significant enough impact to cause me to update my presentation for AIIM Expo in three weeks (see sidebar). As exciting as that news is, I am even more excited about the event that I just returned from. The AIIM New England chapter sponsored an event on March 2nd in Waltham, MA on the subject of Interoperability. In the interest of transparency, I’ll start by saying that I am a board member of AIIM NE. On the other hand, I was at this event because I was interested in the content.

The first speaker was Scott Jamison, CEO of Jornata. I missed the opportunity to hear Scott speak at SharePoint Saturday in Hartford, but I got lucky today. I was even luckier, because Scott’s topic was something close to my heart lately, SharePoint BCS and the ways in which you can expose and interact with back-end data in SharePoint. Scott talked about several concepts that serve as validation for the way we are approaching SharePoint, including the benefit of having everything a user needs within easy reach. Hmm, I think I’ve written about that before, oh yeah, proximity, that’s the tag. One of Scott’s customers joined him on the stage to show off a pretty cool application they have built. If the event had ended at that point, it would have been worth the ride; but it didn’t end there.

Next up, Cheryl McKinnon, CMO Nuxeo talked to us about broader interoperability concepts, efforts and capabilities. She introduced us to the Content Management Interoperability Services project (CMIS) and she talked about the work that has been done to help move that project forward. I know, this is SharePoint Stories, I’m a SharePoint guy, but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to worry about things like “what if my successor chooses a different content management system? or “what if we wanted to share information with a client?” I suffered through the days of proprietary structured data, and I saw some relief through conventions like ODBC and XML so I know that work like this is important. I am grateful to companies like NUXEO, IBM, Microsoft, etc. and organizations like AIIM that take on these massive projects that result in benefits for everyone. I loved the part of Cheryl’s presentation where she sought to “remove the stigma around silos”. She talked about having grown up on the prairie and how silos were beneficial, how they protected the fruits of your labor. She made the excellent point that  silos aren’t bad, if you can access all of them.

Finally, it was great to sit through an event that wasn’t all SharePoint. I mean, I do love the product, but there is more to life – just sayin. The reason I mention that, is to highlight the benefit of AIIM. If you want to know more about SharePoint, there are at least a thousand SharePoint events a year. Some SharePoint expert is probably giving a SharePoint presentation right now, somewhere. If that’s not enough, there are more SharePoint blogs than there are stars in the sky (by the way, thanks for reading this one). OK, there are actually more stars, but only because they just discovered that there are three times as many stars than they once thought there were. If you want to know more about the things that SharePoint does – collaboration, business process management, content management, records management, etc. – you can’t find a better place to go than AIIM. Go to AIIM Expo and see all this stuff in one big room. Listen to experts and end users talk about all these fascinating subjects. If you just can’t stand to go a day without SharePoint, don’t worry, there is a ton of SharePoint at AIIM Expo. If you can’t make it to Washington, DC in three weeks, join your local AIIM chapter. The amazing event I was at today was a Chapter event, and we have four or five of these every year. Great events, with great speakers like Scott and Cheryl sharing their thoughts on important topics that you really should know more about.