The 2009 SharePoint Conference was held last week in Las Vegas where Microsoft publically unveiled the new capabilities of SharePoint 2010.  This is the first event I can remember where the number of attendees was actually greater than advertised (7400+) and sold out 2 weeks before. This is coming off the announcement that despite the economy, SharePoint has experienced 30% growth, up to 1.3 billion in sales between July 2008 through June 2009. Unlike previous SharePoint focused events I’ve attended, this was the first where almost everyone was currently using or at least very knowledgeable with SharePoint. Being able to avoid the “What is SharePoint” and “I’m just trying to figure this all out” questions allowed us to quickly focus on real world problems (or opportunities as I like to consider them). Information Professionals are looking for ways to improve how to make their existing SharePoint implementations improve collaboration of people and information, and solve real line-of-business problems.

SharePoint is proving to be the perfect platform for building content management solutions, including scanned content. The number of companies focused on scanning and managing paper content in SharePoint was staggering. Exhibiting at the show were Atalasoft, Kodak, Kofax, PSIGEN, Canon, eCopy/Nuance, EMC, OpenText, LaserFishe, Fujitsu/KnowledgeLake, OnBase, SpringCM, OpenBee, and GoScan. Kodak and Kofax, two of the more well known companies, did not exhibit at the industry AIIM event earlier this year – which historically has been the place to be for ECM vendors. This is the first event where SharePoint meets ECM, or rather, ECM meets SharePoint!

Many of the attendees I spoke with were looking for very specific solutions built on SharePoint for their Line of Business needs including Accounts Payable/Receivable, Billing, Contracts management, and Claims Processing. This is a big step from previous years when many attendees were looking at much more basic needs. The new features in SharePoint 2010 will further the use of SharePoint for specific LOB needs.

At the show, Microsoft announced a number of great features in SharePoint 2010 that will have positive impact ECM in the Enterprise. Here are my top 5.

  • Document Sets - first class object that can contain multiple documents/objects
  • Large Lists supporting tens of millions of documents for improved scalability
  • Improved Search based on Fast (for a price)
  • Zero-Footprint Office Document Viewers (and associated API) for viewing and editing of Word, Excel, PowerPoint documents without the native office app.
  • Javascript API – will allow 3rd party vendors to build richer and more integrated UI’s in SharePoint

SPC09 VizitSP BoothAt the show Atalasoft announced Vizit SP 2.0 – the Document Image Viewer for SharePoint. We invite you to visit the re-launched website highlighting the new features at www.vizitsp.com.  The new features in Vizit SP hit a chord with many visitors to our booth when we demonstrated how easy it was to scan a single document from within a SharePoint library, find the document in SharePoint with enhanced search with thumbnail previews, open the document in a zero-footprint viewer, and index and edit the scanned document in a transactional workflow without any delay in downloading the document or installing/maintaining client software.

We heard from a lot of attendees looking to scan their documents into SharePoint, and for those with advanced scanning needs, we referred them to our production scanning partners, PSIGEN and Kodak. At the show, PSIGEN announced the PSIGEN/Atalasoft Product Bundle which for $6995 provides an end-to-end production document scanning, indexing, search, and viewing solution for SharePoint.

It was a very exciting week, great meetings with customers, partners, and prospects, and definitely the best event we’ve exhibited at this year. Expect to see us again next year!