I wanted to provide a quick snapshot of some of my key takeaways from the first full day of the SharePoint Conference taking place here at the Venetian in Las Vegas this week. To be honest, it was not clear to me what Microsoft’s focus of this year’s conference would be. There was some buzz generated when former US President Bill Clinton was announced as the keynote speaker – I assumed he would be talking about his Clinton Foundation work since leaving office, and while I was not a fan of some of his politics, was looking forward to hearing about the great work he has been doing to improve the lives of impoverished people worldwide. Of course, people were having fun speculating as to whether Mr. Clinton would somehow talk about his SharePoint experience. Sitting with my good friend and business partner Bradley Geldenhuys (@bradgcoza) from South Africa-based GTconsult, Brad joked “I want to know what Bill Clinton knows about SharePoint, whether he uses it, and what are his favorite and most frustrating features to use.” After Clinton’s excellent talk on the global community and the idea that as technologists, we need to do more to work together to improve how we work, and how we can work together. Of course, I also had to tweet something fun:
As part of the keynote, we also heard from SharePoint GM Jared Spataro, and CVP Jeff Teper. Jared focused on four primary themes:
- Working like a network. He talked a bit about the need to work in ways that are similar to the way we work and consume content and information in our personal lives, via the tools and devices that we are comfortable using.
- Personalized insights. This was about leveraging big data, machine learning, and the social fabric to learn more about our business in increasingly dynamic ways.
- Power of an open platform and healthy ecosystem. Everywhere you turn these days, Microsoft is talking about more support for open standards, using the tools and standards that your team is comfortable in working with. For example, the new Android SDK was announced for developing for Windows and Windows Phone devices.
- People empowered on any device, anywhere, but with corporate governance, security, and standards. Arguably, this remains the biggest gap for many of Microsoft’s plans, and presents one of the largest opportunities for Microsoft partners to meet the needs of the enterprise.
Teper touched on these same themes, but abstracted them up to the broader Microsoft ecosystem. He talked about embracing the trends of the cloud, of the new social business models, of mobile and big data – the four pillars that Microsoft is building all of their “big bets” around. He talked about working with partners and customers to transform Office, and called out the 75 new features that have been developed in Office365 since the last conference (more than a feature a week) and how they are investing in increasing that rate of innovation.
He also introduced the Office Graph, which is Microsoft’s path toward integrating cloud, social, big data, and mobile into a consumable, extensible capability that partners and customers can use. we saw a little more on this topic during Christophe Fiessinger’s session on the social roadmap, where Christophe and members of his team introduced the new interface of the project code named Oslo, which utilizes Office Graph to present a powerful real-time synopsis of the data which is most important to the end user using a Flipboard/Pinterest-meets-Live Tiles-style interface. Some cool stuff, for sure.
I’m submitting a couple articles to CMSWire later today with more in-depth analysis of a couple of the sessions I attended yesterday, and will likely post some other updates from the exhibit hall floor as I am able. If you’re attending SPC14, be sure to stop by the Metalogix booth and say hello, or find me walking the floor. I am in and out of sessions and meetings today, and will be leading the Best of Breed Awards Celebration panel Wednesday night at the Marquee. And, of course, be sure to attend my session SharePoint in the clouds – select, mix, and deploy what’s right for you (#SPC293) at 10:30am on Thursday (Executive session within the IT Pro track) to learn more about the options for moving your on prem SharePoint environments to the cloud.