Hotel room reflections after a day at SharePoint Conference 2014 depend on the quality of one’s dinner, drinks, and notes. That’s my built-in disclaimer. Here’s what we observed.
Yes, The World Does Not Need Another Stupid App
The first world is full of apps for this and apps for that. You start to think that technology exists to make businesses efficient and teenagers happy. Then you listen to Bill Clinton talk about work his foundation is doing and how technology helps them do that.
The power of technology, Clinton said at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014, is the power “to triple the number of people you’re keeping alive in poor countries and give them a chance at having a future.”
A quiet reminder to put technology in perspective. Even though he did seem to think we all were Microsoft employees. And he accidentally referred to Microsoft as a “country.”
He asked the crowd of over 8,000 SharePoint people, “…as we look at the 21st century world, what do you think is wrong with it? How do you want it to come out? How do you think it will look like when your children are your age? Is it even possible for you to think about when you’re living in technology every day?”
The answer being, we need to think about technology. Lives are at stake.
Following a Former US President is a Tough Act
Microsoft's Jared Spataro was given the unenviable task of following Bill Clinton, and did so admirably. Luckily, he also had Jeff Teper, the "father" of SharePoint, to introduce. And Jeff had the fun part—announcing new things.
Microsoft’s Theme: We Will Transform the Workplace and It Will Occur Via the Cloud
To Microsoft’s credit, it’s honest about what it wants: It wants to push the cloud. But at this SPC, it’s doing so nicely. “Cloud” is mixed in with such terms as “social,” “mobile,” and “data.” Cloud is key to “transforming” how people work. Not because it’s more profitable for Microsoft but, as Jeff Teper said, “Because it lets us deliver more value to you.”
And if you doubted whether Microsoft would be updating its cloud products first, Jeff Teper was up front: “In the last year since the last SPC, we have delivered over 75 new features in the cloud, more than one a week, in Office 365. That velocity is increasing.’
So what is this “transforming” of how people work? “For end users, we want to help them work more like a network, so they are more responsive. Developers, we want you to build amazing new services and apps. The work for IT pros, we’re giving you the capabilities you need to protect your company’s critical information. All three are important.”
To that end, Microsoft announced several new things, including
- A Cloud Business Apps project template for rapid development of business apps for SharePoint that extend Office 365.
- Expansion of OneDrive API.
- The ability to create Workflow App Packages as SharePoint apps and new workflow activation rules based on content types.
- The ability to include apps inside Access apps for SharePoint.
- Office Graph, which uses “signals from email, social conversations, documents, sites, instant messages, meetings, and more to map the relationships between the people and things.” Code-named Oslo, the first application of office Graph helps deliver personalized “insights” to help people get their jobs done, and lets users navigate, discover, and search for people and info across an organization.
- A new server version of SharePoint in 2015.
Sheer SharePoint Creativity
And speaking of announcements—SPC14 is the place to announce to the world what SharePoint or Office 365 solution you’ve created. Today we met with and learned about new products from Jignesh Shah and Gail Shlansky at Metalogix, Kurt Mueffelmann and Mike McAuley at HiSoftware, Loren Johnson and Jeff Seacrist at WebTrends, Mark Ernstmann at Corasworks, and Eric Darbe at Akumina. More to come about those announcements.
It was great to meet with SharePoint experts Scot Hillier and Randy Williams. Scot and Megan Keller discussed some exciting things coming up for IT/DevConnections Conference in September, and Randy gave me some awesome ideas for upcoming articles for SharePoint Pro.
Did you notice I can't seem to write a noun without an over-the-top adjective to modify it?
What’s coming next? Aside from restructuring at Microsoft itself, lots of news. More later!