What to Expect at Microsoft TechEd 2014

What to Expect at Microsoft TechEd 2014

With the Microsoft TechEd 2014 conference closely approaching, we've been covering top SharePoint vendors to watch at the Tech Expo. We've also parsed through the massive TechEd content agenda, pulling out what we believe to be the most relevant sessions that are worthy of your time from a SharePoint and Office 365 perspective.

And now, I'd like to spend some time analyzing potential directions that Microsoft might take at the show. This commentary piece is based on the company's recent announcements and messaging that has been very focused on providing a clear picture of where the company headed.

Based on recent announcements from Microsoft, we're expecting cloud services to be a primary focus at this year's TechEd 2014 conference. And although we don't have any official word from Microsoft spokespersons on this, I'll explain what we know to make such a prediction.

Looking back at the Microsoft Build developer conference that was held earlier this year, it was undoubtedly clear that cloud services are a priority for Microsoft. The conference itself focused heavily on Microsoft Azure, where Microsoft not only touted impressive adoption statistics of Azure, but it also announced of new features and improvements to entice developers to continuing using Azure for their development needs.

Additionally, Microsoft has been busy on the consumer front with Office 365 announcements, where the company announced a new, lower-priced Office 365 Personal subscription that includes Windows and Office for iPad. On the enterprise front, Microsoft also made recent announcements to its OneDrive for Business offering, where the company is increasing storage from 25GBs to 1TB per user in a move to entice organizations to make a move to a business solution in the cloud.

And although these bits and pieces of news may not immediately amount to much by themselves, the story begins to look much fuller as a whole. And when you do take the time to see Microsoft's messaging from the broader perspective, it makes sense that this would be a natural direction for Microsoft. With Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella's mantra on how he intends to drive the business toward a mobile first, cloud first strategy, along with the company's effort toward "ambient intelligent and ubiquitous computing," we wouldn't be too surprised if Microsoft provides a slew of announcements that follow this mindset.

When I asked my colleagues on what they'd like to hear from Microsoft next week, Windows IT Pro community manager and writer, Rod Trent said, "Personally, I'd love to hear how Microsoft will be investing in the normal company -- those companies that still retain on-premise servers and software.... The majority of Microsoft's customers are still heavily invested in internal datacenters. The industry buzz and marketing is completely contrary to what's actually happening in the real world."

Rod brings up several notable points from the IT pro persptive. Although investors generally seemed pleased with Microsoft's latest earnings call, this doesn't tell us much in terms about IT pros' perception toward the company's cloud-centric direction.

As we've seen from this year's Build conference, where Microsoft made a geniunely effort to rebuild trust for its developer stakeholders (and although this might seem negative to bring up -- it is not intentional -- because Microsoft truly did a great job of listening to its developer community at this year's Build conference), I'm simarily interested to hear IT pros' thoughts on the Microsoft TechEd conference next week. Are IT pros convinced of Microsoft's new direction? Hopefully we'll learn more at next week's conference!

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