Like the rest of the AIS team, I’d thought I’d share one of the most interesting sessions I attended during SPC12. It was called SharePoint Center of Excellence: Why you need one. Those IT Pro and Dev guys/gals might have missed this one because it was in the basement (politely known as the conference’s Business Section), but I found it extremely valuable.

The session was run by Andrew Woodward from App 21 on the usefulness of (and strategies for) successfully operating a Center of Excellence within an organization. For those that have never had the pleasure of actively participating in the evangelizing/educating/promoting of technology in reshaping workforce processes, Centers of Excellence serve as visible and real recognition by organizational leadership on the commitment of the investment. In other words, they help put weight behind the words.

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This week, many AIS team members are attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. We’ll be posting blog posts from each of them as they learn what’s new and what’s exciting during sessions, demonstrations and other conference highlights.

During yesterday’s breakout sessions, I attended Sean Livingston’s session on SharePoint 2013 Upgrade.  A few minutes into the presentation, Sean offered up a quip that is certainly true across any platform level migration: “Upgrades lead to unpleasant feelings between the users and the IT staff.”

To be fair, upgrades bring “new stuff,” which often the users are clamoring for.  However the process of designing, engineering, implementing and provisioning the upgrade tends to be long running, particularly where large blocks of content must be migrated from one version to another. Upgrade plans must carefully balance the run times required to upgrade the content, training time for users and other background tasks against the need to keep serving up content through the transition. Migrations can be a headache from start to finish. However, several features in SharePoint 2013 aim to ease the upgrade process, if not completely avoid all headaches.

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