SharePoint Saturday Jhb – How We Did It

The first SharePoint Saturday Johannesburg took place on 26 Feb 2011 at Microsoft.  I think it’s safe to say that is was a resounding success!! What a day.

Special thank you’s to :

  • My assistant Elsie for all her help and giving part of her weekend.
  • Sandy from Letshwao Advertising who did all the swag for us.  Couldn’t have done it without you girls.
  • The wonderful Michael Lotter for his unending patience while I ripped the site apart and sent him 87 emails asking questions! Literally.
  • All the speakers who volunteered their time : Annelize Jonck, Francois Pienaar, James Avenant, Joel Oleson, Louis Yssel, Louise Michelson, Marc Lenferna, Mark Stacey, Marlon Green, Megan Hobson, Melanie Sutton, Michael Noel, Nico vd Dussen.
  • The sponsors without whom this would not have been possible : Microsoft, AvePoint, Didata, Immix, Alactrity, Pragmatic Works, Lenferna Consulting, Intersoft, Lightning Tools, Michael Sampson, SMC Enterprizes.
  • Everyone that attended and all the great compliments you paid us!

How did we do it?  I attended SharePoint Saturdays on 3 continents and made tons of notes on what works and what doesn’t.  Came back to Jhb, and started working harder than ever on bringing the best event ever to the community. Read all the planning documents supplied by and listened to what they said.  Dragged my poor brand new assistant into the deep end the last 2 weeks.  Surrounded myself with only helpful, positive and supportive people, and just got on with it.

The stats :

  • R234 000 – my consulting rate of R600 per hour x 390 hours over 5  the months it took to organise
  • R48 000 – sponsorship money raised
  • R29 275 – catering at Microsoft for 150 people
  • R12 857 – speaker and delegate tshirts, delegate bags
  • R2200 – speaker dinner
  • 3500 – sheets of paper  (sorry trees)
  • R1500 – SPS pullscreen
  • 1497 – emails
  • R1050 – SharePint first round
  • 473 – page views on website the week of the event
  • 157 – people that attended in total
  • 156 – very happy people
  • 155MB – size of my SharePoint Saturday file
  • 86 – photos uploaded (so far)
  • 85 – prizes of all sizes to give away
  • 80 – companies represented at the event
  • 64 – evaluations completed
  • 20 – number of vendors approached for sponsorship
  • 14 – speakers
  • 14 – sessions, 7 business and 7 technical
  • 13 – slidedecks sent back
  • 11- people that wanted to register at the last minute
  • 11 – revisions of artwork for tshirts
  • 10 – people that cancelled before the event
  • 9 – Microsoft staff members that we dealt with to arrange the event at their premises
  • 8 – sponsor tables
  • 8 – cartridges of ink on all the printing
  • 8 – site visits in 6 weeks to potential venues
  • 4.9 – highest speaker score – which was me! (out of 5)
  • 4.5 overall event rating
  • 4.3 – average scores of speakers
  • 4 – number of vendors that accepted sponsorship packages
  • 4 – printers and advertising companies used for swag
  • 3 – number of other vendors that volunteered to sponsor
  • 3 – sticker design reviews
  • 3 – speakers that travelled far to come and speak (2 international, 1 regional)
  • 3 – hours sleep the night before worrying that we’ve thought of everything
  • 2 – days people spent complimenting a great event
  • 2 – people that volunteered to man the registration desk (thanks Louise and Margie)
  • 2 – different tshirt designs done
  • 1 – iPhone app to called ConFab to view the schedule for the day
  • 1 – number of sponsors that paid on time
  • 1 – slidedeck submitted by the deadline
  • 1 – XBOX given away
  • 1 – less than completely satisfied customer (one in every crowd they say)
  • 1 – great present given to me by the speakers and sponsors to say thank you
  • 0 – major disasters
  • 0 – days rest after it was over, straight into post event evaluation recons and reporting
  • 0 – times I want to hear the words ‘SharePoint Saturday’ for at least a month! 😉

Lessons learnt? Tons. Next time round there will be plenty of organisational changes. One thing was clear, delegates wanted more sponsors there.  Good news for all vendors.

Goal? Get 500 people to attend and have 5 concurrent tracks.  Bigger, better, best!  Big plans in the works.

When is the next one? We will advise soon as we have the event calendar from Microsoft, we don’t want to conflict with other events. Planning will commence in April.  But there will be one in Cape Town shortly.

Feedback on our speakers from the evaluation forms :

  • “Great to have some info that includes practical examples from the corporate world.”
  • “Interesting! Speaker very charismatic and entertaining to listen to.  Presentation humourous and interesting.”
  • “Well informed speaker and was very informative.”
  • “An eye opening experience. Answered a lot of questions on mistakes normally made.”
  • “Great tips and advice on improving communication.  Nice to see / hear about tools that will soon be available to our mobile / remote teams.  Very interesting / involved speaker.”
  • “Very proud of a non-technical person to have such a beautiful site.  Encouraging indeed.”
  • “Great info and very interactive.  Especially Q&A! Great!”
  • “Brilliant, exactly what I expected.”
  • “Good ideas on how to start and what to have in mind before you start.  Great ideas and understandable.”
  • “Great session.”
  • “Informative and effective!  Great user campaign / engagement tips!”
  • “Awesome presentation. Great content. Very technical but easy to understand.”
  • “Made me appreciate the fact that SharePoint can be used across any industry with great benefits.”
  • “As always brilliant advice! Presentation very interesting! Great end to a great day.”

Feedback on the whole event from the evaluation forms :

  • “I award you with the Knowledge Sharing Award. Real cool and connecting knowledge champions to create new knowledge.”
  • “Communication around the event was great. Next time it will be great to hear a bit more about how SharePoint works with other MS technologies like CRM and EPM.”
  • “Well organised.”
  • “Glad SPS came to Jhb! Thanks V.”
  • “I had a lovely time, thanks Veronique!!! :)”
  • “Sweets / chocolates with afternoon tea please.  Many of the speakers referred to SharePoint 2010, which we as users may not have been exposed to.  Might have been nice to have general overviews of both 2007 and 2010 and possibly obtain beta version or upgrade offers free or to be purchased on site to take home and try out.  Perhaps include a speaker who is able to relay to user principles and practical help or tips and tricks.”
  • “Thank you very much for a well organised event.  It was very empowering.  I would however like you to take us through a topic / session on SharePoint 2010 branding, InfoPath forms and Nintex workflow.”
  • “I found this session useful.  I am new to SharePoint and it is very encouraging to know that there is so much support and there is a community willing to assist and share information.  Am feeling positive.”
  • “Record sessions and make available like PDC does.”
  • “The event was very much helpful.  Keep doing what you are doing.  Many thanks to the sponsors and everyone, I have learned a lot from this.”
  • “It was fabulous and I learnt a lot.  Maybe if we give the speakers more time like an hour to present and 15 minutes questions.”
  • “Good planning made the session a huge success.”
  • “Thanks, very enriching!!”
  • “Quality assurance, testing.”
  • “Very satisfied.“
  • “The overall event was very informative and I learnt a lot on the day.”
  • “Great event, awesome food, great speakers and most of all it was free.  Will definitely attend the next one. Networked with a lot of experienced people.”
  • “This my first SPS event.  Within minutes I was on Twitter, saw all the interest and knew that my Saturday was well spent.  SharePoint will really take any business to the next level!”
  • “Need more exhibitors.”
  • “Keep up the good work, looking forward to more sessions.”

Download all the slidedecks …..  See all the photos on Facebook …..  Read all the tweets

Download all the slidedecks …..  See all the photos on Facebook …..  Read all the tweets


  1. Hi V,

    Love the stats and totally appreciate you giving me the platform to present at. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be keeping my eyes open for other opps to spread the gospel of SharePoint!

    You may have a little downtime in the knowing that you put on a world class event.

    **I knew it was going to be classy when the speakers dinner was at Metropolitan.


  2. It was the best day I have had in a long time. I can’t wait for the next one, and now you have a proven track record the next one will be even better!!


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