On Thursday 17th June 2015 I had the privilege of being an onsite anchor for the LIVE streaming SPBiz conference (the SharePoint Business Virtual Conference), broadcasting from a ‘unique’ studio in one of the deepest darkest corners of West Yorkshire (a place called Otley). To fast forward ……….at the end of the event it was time for the team to reflect on the success (&/or failures?!) of the day. If you were watching the LIVE war room camera at the end of the conference you’ll be forgiven for thinking that this was just an excuse to drink a lot of beer & wine………….no sir this was a serious conversation! As part of the wrap-up, Mark Jones (head honcho of the mischievous Collab365 Events team) came up with an idea – a LIVE channel for the next event (Collab365 Conference), to be organised and hosted by my good self; and so the Collab365 LIVE TV channel was born!

Now some may say that the Collab365 team and I are clinically insane……….well this might be true! But why do we work ourselves to near death to bring you these TOTALLY FREE events? Because we’re passionate about the collective SharePoint & Office 365 communities. We believe that there is such a thing as a free lunch, and everyone’s welcome to feast on it. Personally I commit countless hours (aka Months) to the cause, because when I accidentally ended up with SharePoint 2001 (yes I used to roam with the Tyrannosaurus!) frankly there was little to no help out there other than prescription medication. Those were dark days and no one should ever need to struggle like that again. Today, there are countless people and organisations sharing amazing content for free, but here’s the challenge – typically you either have to trawl the internet to find the good stuff or attend one of the many amazing regional SharePoint/Office 365 community events. That’s super awesome, but how can we can reach even more people? For me the answer is simple – deliver (carefully selected) content ONLINE, from ANY DEVICE, at ANYTIME, FREE OF CHARGE……..remember that promise of a free lunch?!

On 7th October – 8th October 2015 we held our first Collab365 Conference, LIVE from the Outsourcery offices in Manchester – England. There were 7 tracks (each running in parallel) during the course of the event, consisting of:
– Azure
– Business
– Office 365
– SharePoint
– French
– Spanish
– Collab365 LIVE TV Channel (see next section for more on this!)

Here’s what the Microsoft MVP Award Program had to say about it the event:

The first of many planned Collab365 events, COLLAB365 Global Conference, a virtual conference developed and maintained by the community for the community, kicked off at 9am NZST and followed the sun for 24 hours.  The community expanded the vision for the event to include not only Office365 but also SharePoint and Azure and garnered the collaboration of more than 120 speakers across 6 continents, including 62 MVPs, 6 MCMs, and Microsoft product managers. Office Apps senior product marketing manager Jeremy Thake and Office 365 senior product manager at Mark Kashman presented keynotes. Altogether, Collab365 drew around 5,000 attendees and an estimated online audience of 680,185. The on-demand video is available here.

As you can see above, we drew around 5,000 global attendees and we reached an outstanding 3.2 million Twitter impressions! Here’s an awesome detailed breakdown of the Collab365 Conference social media numbers by Edge Pereira.

Also on 7th October – 8th October 2015 we broadcast our inaugural Collab365 LIVE TV channel, as one of the ‘Collab365 Conference’ tracks. It was my proud responsibility to organise and lead the presentation team for this track. Below is a short intro to each LIVE session and the direct URL, all of which are FREE and available on demand ANYTIME! Don’t miss the fun ‘behind the scenes’ photos at the bottom of this page!

SESSION: SharePoint 2016 & Office 365 Hybrid
ABOUT: Discussion on the new SharePoint 2016 features, together with Office 365 integration for hybrid deployments.
WITH: Spencer Harbar, Neil Hodgkinson, Mark Stokes and Andy Talbot

SESSION: Cloud Computing with Outsourcery
ABOUT: Pre-recorded discussion on the present state of cloud computing (in the Microsoft stack) with ex BBC Dragons Den ‘Dragon’ Piers Linney, and OutSourcery’s role in the market place.
ORGANISED BY: Mark Jones & Jon Manderville
WITH: Piers Linney and Andy Talbot

SESSION: SharePoint Community Callout – South Africa
ABOUT: Community call out feature to learn what’s happening in the South African SharePoint & Office 365 communities.
WITH: Carmen Brits Nel and Andy Talbot

SESSION: SharePoint Community Callout – France & Belgium & Canada
ABOUT: Community call out feature to learn what’s happening in the French & Belgium & Canadian SharePoint & Office 365 communities.
ORGANISED BY: Mark Jones & Jon Maderville.
WITH: Patrick Guimonet, Gokan Ozcifci, Sébastien Levert and Andy Talbot

SESSION: Accessibility Live Panel
ABOUT: Accessibility discussion with regard to SharePoint 2013 & Office 365, and the unveiling of SPAAP, a free Accessibility tool kit which can be used to make SharePoint 2013 & Office 365 fully compliant with the current WCAG standards for accessibility.
WITH: Heath Groves, Chris Webb, Mark Stokes and Andy Talbot

SESSION: The Cloud Adoption Panel
ABOUT: Panel show to discuss Cloud Solution adoption within the modern enterprise.
WITH: Ruven Gotz, Adam Preston, Richard Harbridge, Mark Stokes and Andy Talbot

SESSION: Office 2016 Pro Plus
ABOUT: Exploring the new features of Office 365 Pro Plus – 2016 and integration with Office 365, with Jon Maunder – Tech Solutions Professional – Microsoft UK.
WITH: Jon Maunder and Andy Talbot

SESSION: Migrating to the Cloud
ABOUT: Discussion on how customers can migrate to Office 365 for SharePoint Online & Exchange, and what current market trends are.
WITH: Benjamin Niaulin, Jethro Seghers, Mark Strokes and Andy Talbot

SESSION: Team Sites vs Groups for Office 365
ABOUT: Showdown of Team Sites vs Groups for Office 365 with SharePoint Team Sites represented by Mark Stokes, Office Groups represented by Alex Pearce, and ‘ringmaster’ Andy Talbot.
ORGANISED BY: Andy Talbot, Alex Pearce, and Mark Stokes
WITH: Alex Pearce, Mark Strokes and Andy Talbot

SESSION: AvePoint Interview with Randy Williams
ABOUT: Interview with Randy Williams (AvePoint VP) on how AvePoint came into the SharePoint market place, drive for AvePoint to develop in the Office 365 space, and what trends they have observed.
WITH: Randy Williams & Andy Talbot

SESSION: The Dev Story
ABOUT: Expert panel session on the current and future trends of Development for Office 365 & SharePoint 2013, including the new Office 365 Patterns & Practices.
WITH: Chris O’Brien, Bill Ayres, Hugh Wood and Mark Stokes

SESSION: The Consultant Hour
ABOUT: Consultant discussion on how Office 365 can help SME sized businesses, with real user questions put forward by Sian Meeuwsen, who represented a small business that wanted to understand the benefits of moving  to Office 365 and how this could be achieved.
ORGANISED BY: Andy Talbot & Mark Jones
WITH: Lyndon Evans, Mark Stokes, Sian Meeuwsen and Andy Talbot

Just a few fun pictures from behind the scenes……..

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