It has been a few weeks since Microsoft’s Ignite conference in Chicago. I hope you had as much fun as I did meeting peers, technology leaders, and long-time friends (both personal and professional). I was fortunate to be selected by the Microsoft Office 365 Team to staff the Delve, OneDrive, SharePoint and Office 365 kiosks during the conference. I met many amazing people, all of whom asked excellent questions around every product. Based on those conversations, and what we heard from Microsoft, these are my Top 5 takeaways from Ignite:
The First ISP Backbones Offer ExpressRoute for Office 365
Azure ExpressRoute connectivity offers Office 365 subscribers the ability to connect to a Layer 3 MPLS network via ExpressRoute for Office 365 to internet backbones like AT&T or Equinix. A listing of all Azure ExpressRoute partners is available here.
So what does this mean in layman’s terms? It provides your company with a private, faster, and more secure way to connect your cloud and on-premises applications in both Azure and Office 365. This feature will be generally available in Q3 of 2015, and you can find planning tools here.
Groups in Office 365
A group is a shared workspace for email, conversations, files, and calendar events, where members can conveniently collaborate and quickly get projects done. Groups can be public or private, and are easily managed by GUI or PowerShell for Azure Office 365. Groups will work with all Office 365 products and more in 2015.
Benefits of Using Groups
- Single Definition – Groups are determined by defining Teams
- Self-Service – Enable Instant Groups discovery of information from Outlook, OneDrive, Delve, Calendars and SharePoint Online
- Context & History – Includes versioning, who has joined, base level auditing
- Simple to Manage – Easy to manage, invite, and collaborate
The screenshot above offers a look at the Tahoe Partners Mentors Group, a place where volunteer mentors and mentees can collaborate with other participants in the program. This is an example of a public group that lets others find the group; for private groups, permissions are gradually controlled.
You can find more information on groups at Office 365’s support center.
Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search
SharePoint Hybrid Search is set to arrive by end of CY2015; some highlights include:
- Index on-premises sites (2010 & 2013) with Office 365
- Office web previews work from on-premises
- File shares can be included
- DLP Sensitive Data Search with Hybrid
Delve offers another option to search for relevant information.
Mobile First: iOS and Android are First Class Citizens
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s mobile-first and support all devices mantra was evident throughout both the Build and Ignite conferences. A noted departure from earlier, Windows-only, messaging, the vast majority of demos showcasing mobile ran on iOS devices. Further indication can be found in the steady release of compelling iOS and Android native apps ahead of Windows platforms, such as the Delve app. In fact, iOS already has Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint.
SharePoint Server 2016 is not the Last Version of SharePoint On-premises
It’s no secret many people are worried that SharePoint as we know it is over. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Julia White, Microsoft GM, and Bill Baer, SharePoint Product Manager, both reinforced previous statements we’ve read and heard: that Microsoft will create SharePoint Server as long as customers want it. However, you can expect to see very little hardware in your office other than your tablet and internet connection. Cloud is here and becoming bigger, faster, more secure and it’s not the future, it’s now. SharePoint Server 2016 is set for public release by Q2 of 2016. For me, the biggest takeaway was the ability to upgrade to 2016 and jump past the 2013 schema changes. Another big win for on-premises is the announcement that Delve is being released for SharePoint Server 2013 on-premises this fall.
How are you going to upgrade your SharePoint?