SPSCambridge - Much more than just Technology

Ryan YatesConsultant

Just a dude in his 30's doing things in Tech & trying to break the stigma's around talking about Mental Health

​Well this weekend was an interesting one in which I was able to partake in some really great sibling events to the main day which was just utterly fantastic to be a part of.

The SPSCambridge/SQLSatCambs event has to be one of my favourite one to have attended recently due to the bringing together of both SharePoint Content and SQL Content under the single roof - and let me tell you it worked fantastically - Kudos to Mark Broadbent for the Ochestration of the whole event as events of this size arent easy to organise and co-ordinate.

Being able to spend some time with other IT people as part of a different technology lets you understand the differing issues that they see and especially becomes more interesting when its a technology that is crucial to all SharePoint Deployments out there.

I didn’t get the chance throughout the day to really connect with the other guys but did manage to catch up although briefly with some of the people that I met at SQLSatManchester which is what makes events like this great for me.

Now the day before the event for me was eventful - starting at 7am to go and pickup a hire car and when I got there I had a notification that my trusty laptop had been attempted to be delivered - so that ensued me to call up the courier and ask them if it could be delivered later on that morning - luckily it could so that meant that I would have it for SPSCambridge (and also PSConfAsia) - however it meant that I would need to reinstall all my Applications and force the upgrade to Windows 10 - Not my idea of fun whilst worrying about travelling/presenting.

However my day got more interesting as just as I was about to leave for Cambridge I had a message of another Speaker - Andy Talbot - who was about to jump on a train from Crewe to London and then to Cambridge. Well I said that I’d pick him up from Crewe as it wasn’t far from me and that made the journey much more interesting - else I would have just listened to Metallica the whole way.

That kind of covers the journey to Cambridge - bar getting lost in the city centre and driving around before deciding to get the trusty “Twat-Nav” to guide us to where we were going. Then once I dropped Andy off at his Hotel I headed to mine - nothing fancy and just a Premier Inn but it was just what I needed for the night and had free Wifi too - which helped.

So once I had settled in and got showered it was time to head to the Speaker Meal and as Brendan Griffin was also staying at the Premier Inn we got a taxi in to Cambridge to join the rest of the speakers at the Gonville & Caius College in the Centre of Cambridge. What a fantastic Venue it was that really did set the scene for the rest of the weekend with Cambridge being a very vivid and interestingly historical city.

Once the Speaker Meal had come to a close there were a few of us that continued into the city to get a few more drinks - myself, Andy Talbot (because well its Andy), Brendan Griffin & Chris Adkin - and it was a great couple - Nothing to heavy as both me and Andy were presenting first thing.

Then we move on to the rest of my evening - You can imagine the annoyance of setting a laptop up ready for a presentation the next morning and I was very lucky that my Prep included not much more than installing Office, a few slide deck changes and then downloading and installing the needed scripts and dll’s and that was me ready to present and being first up it meant that I needed to ready.

So needless to say that I was prepared however there was a state of panic when I got into the room and the projector didn’t display anything - hiding in the cupboard (not that you would have know it was a cupboard) was the remote for the projector and once switched on all worked out grand.

I had a good number join my session which allowed me to vey much open the session into a more dynamic and interactive session with there being some great questions being asked and I hope that the attendees took away from the session the intended giveaway and that is that SharePoint really can be used to automate and track any type of request whether this be an IT Request like a User Request or a Business Process like a Holiday request.

As I will also be presenting this at SUGUK West Midlands on September 23rd I will release slides and accompanying scripts including a fully functioning Script for the User Request after this point.

Next up throughout the day was the community interaction and as per usual with these events I ran into others from previous events but also lots of new speakers/sponsors/attendees as well. Without all of them these events wouldn’t be possible or worthwhile and it is for that sole reason alone that I attend these events let alone present at them.

I was lucky to get into 3 of the sessions that I wanted to -

  • SharePoint Business Continuity Management with SQL Server AlwaysOn - Brendan Griffin
  • Office 365 - The Art of the Possible - Al Eardley
  • Visualising SharePoint and SQL Data with Visio Professional - David Parker

However there were plenty more sessions that I had wanted to attend however until they invent the ability to clone yourself into 4/5 then I’ll have to miss some great sessions at events like this.

Now that takes us away from the event itself to the after event events. First off there was the prize ceremony in which some great prizes were given away. We then had a casual drink at the venue and then moved onto the beginning of the main after event - Punting.

Now Punting was a great experience in which we learnt a lot about the history of Cambridge and it is something that if your ever in Cambridge I would advise on getting on one of the Punting trips - great fun!

We then went for a drink in a nice local bar right by the restaurant that we were heading to and were there for an hour or so and the conversation from the day continued.

We then were at this lovely Thai place and Peter Baddley stepped up to make sure that everyone got the right meals - lets just say that organising 30+ meals will ensue in some hiccups however all went pretty smoothly and there was even a spare starter going which I nabbed. The food was all fantastic as was the service considering the size of the group and I would definitely go back there again - so perhaps there will be more calling for me to spend more time in Cambridge in future - who knows eh?