As SPTechCon wrapped up, some great things have been presented, demonstrated and discussed. The whole day began with Joel Oleson, Director of Business Development for Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA, walking us through Microsoft’s Mobile Strategy, and what the future holds. Interestingly, the historic view has always been cloud first, and mobile has almost disappeared as a core goal. However, during Joel’s session, it became evident that the model is now Mobile First combine with Cloud First.
With the great investments that Microsoft have made in the mobile space, albeit not their own as such, but more cross platform applications this is now becoming a reality. The great investments into the Office Store now shows the extensive list of applications that truly integrate the Mobile First and Cloud First approach together. With the release of apps such as the Office Mobile Suite, OneDrive, OneNote along with Office lens combines this together.
On top of this, Microsoft has made great investments with Windows 10, called Continuum, which ins reality means that I can now carry a Windows 10 phone, that as needed allows me to connect to a second monitor, keyboard and mouse allowing for a full blown Windows 10 Desktop experience. With their new devices and hardware devices this gives us a great tool that could replace the tablets or laptops we carry each day.
More details for this can be found here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/Continuum. The key focal message is that Microsoft have invested a lot of effort, time and resources to build this consistent functionality along with making sure that the public consumer and business offerings are identical in features and overall user experience.
To add to Joel’s message, Rob Howard, Program Manager on the Office Developer Platform Team, in his session about Office Add-in Best Practices, discussed at length the investment made my Microsoft in end user experiences, and how these are the key to success in all products and solutions. The idea of a great “First Run Experience”, is key when building solutions, whether Mobile, Cloud or On-Premises solutions. In fact, the Office Add-ins that he demonstrated have great experiences, that hide the complexity of the authentication process, or consuming of services approach.
Rob demonstrated a few Office Add-ins that really look and feel like the core applications but extend and allow great functionality.
This is true also for the mobile applications that have been released to the Mobile Platforms such as iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. It is great to see that great investments have been made even down to the Office Platform itself allowing for Add-ins to be designed and built that natively support the same user interface and experience that your end users are used to. No longer do we see such a discrepancy cross platforms, applications and services.
What we should see more of, are Cloud based services that allow you as the Business User to perform tasks over existing data, which can then be processed via connected services, truly joining the On-Premises world to the Cloud, without needing to move to a true Hybrid Environment.
SharePoint 2016 is a big part of this business change, allowing for a better user experience than what we have previously had. Now new technology does not actually fix the problem, but goes a little further to making our business solutions easier to build and deploy.
Matthias Einig, CEO and founder of Rencore, talked extensively about the need to re-evaluate the current solutions we have and decide whether they should be migrated before we even start to look at doing the work. His organization are the creators of the popular “SharePoint Code Analysis Framework (SPCAF)” tool that allows for Developers to scan existing SharePoint solutions scanning for ways to make them better, cleaner and closer to the best practice guidance provided by Microsoft. During his session their new yet to be released product allows for Developers to now scan existing solutions or customizations within your SharePoint site and then walkthrough the steps of checking and ultimately giving you the new code way of doing the same thing allowing for a more seamless upgrade and migration approach. This tool looks very promising and looks to take away some of the hard work that is often needed to move from the old way of developing and moving it to the Add-in Model which joins us to the Mobile and Cloud First approach.
All in all, we need to take time to review what we have, and then define a process for upgrading and migrating our business solutions, to where possible, now utilizing new cloud services and solutions. Once we have worked through this then the Microsoft Vision of Mobile and Cloud First together will become a reality.