There are a few things that I learned from SPC. First off many saw this as a non launch year. After day 1 I was so overloaded with announcements that I couldn’t keep up with them. I was trying to tweet every announcement I came across, and after dozens of tweets I realized I was missing many as the track keynotes each contained more announcements, and I’ll have a lot of work to do to dig into those. I plan to make a series that dive into the various areas, but there are some big takeaways both subtle themes and messages that while they may not be pointed out directly, there are key insights to gain. For simplicity I’m going to give you a list of 5 key biggest takeaways from the SharePoint Conference #SPC14. I’ll be doing a further drill down on the big 5 social features that were announced on the ViewDo Labs Blog. So this blog serves as the overview. I really should give the low down on the parties, hikes, dam, forts, and kareoke, but much of that is already on Facebook and twitter @joeloleson. AvePoint Red Party didn’t disappoint great energy and some of the best music and dancing of the year, and the Metalogix party was pretty good as well (until they wouldn’t let us dance on the platforms… come on that’s what we do!), but the best club on the strip was Hakkasan. After the speaker party, all of the speakers had access to the after event and Fergie DJ was incredible passion and energy and the club was the best on the strip. You want more on the parties and social? Let me know I could easily do a few pages with photos on that.
Lots of social announcements as well. Chris Johnson and Jeremy Thake are headed to Redmond to work for Arpan Shah at Microsoft on a special team (Devs, if you’re not convinced about dev’ing with the cloud, they will get you there… No doubt.) Andrew Connell was named the #1 Influencer this year by an independent study. Congrats to AC, in my book he’s always been one of the biggest influencers. His books, blog, and tweets and classes have been bringing up the education of the community for many years.
1. Office 365 & Yammer will be the focus and continue to get significant updates over the next year. While a few of us hoped to get real concrete info on the next version of SharePoint on premises, the message was… the next release will be in 2015. While I almost heard a groan, as many of us were hoping to see previews of the new version, I think the pregnant pause of not hearing anything significant about the next release other than the fact that it will continue to support server solutions.
2. Service Pack 1 included a significant switch to support hybrid OneDrive and Yammer. You could say the most significant announcement for On Premises customers was in the announcement and demo of the simple control to point at your yammer and or One Drive environment. Essentially on a single page designed like a wizard, you can hook up your yammer environment so it seemlessly integrates into Office 365. Additional yammer enhancements are on their way to support cross navigation between Office 365 and yammer making it simple for users. The new OneDrive license with Office 365 allows one to start with a simple start of just OneDrive. I like to think of it as dipping your toe in the water. OneDrive has great sharing capabilities that help it compete with Dropbox and additional announcements for OneDrive including a new API for building solutions against it, and significant announcements with support for MAC and iOS.
Other SPC Conference wrap ups I’d recommend:
Gus SPC Wrap up from old Jersey – Nice Overview
Fabian Williams shares his Conference Wrap up Day by day wrap up
Cimares Wrap up – more detail on dev and keynote announcements
5. InfoPath is dead. One of my favorite events of the conference was leading a funeral march through the exhibit hall and screaming InfoPath is dead, what will we do! You could say I had many motivations in leading this parade. One of those motivations was to ensure people not only had heard this news, but also to ensure that Microsoft was serious in positioning the messaging loud enough to the community to help us understand the direction of web forms. There was a session on the future of web forms, and you won’t understand what to build without digging into the new Access, new Excel surveys, and app forms. InfoPath is farm from out of use or end of life. We’ll see InfoPath use way beyond 2014, but most of the items in the product roadmap support a streamlined set of forms based on the user scenarios which start releasing this year. Expansion of OneDrive API. The ability to create Workflow App Packages as SharePoint apps and new workflow activation rules based on content types. Workflow is one of the larger considerations in any upgrade and migration project.
There are many solutions beyond this not simple technical roadmap diagram.
Jennifer Mason, while not a fan of the funeral, put together a CMSWire article that covers these Navigating the Microsoft Forms Roadmap. I’m not sold on InfoPath support on any future versions of SharePoint, but at least we know it works up through SharePoint 2013. I do see InfoPath support as a key consideration in many workflows and forms story. Both Nintex, K2, Bamboo, and a dozen other partners out there would love for you to consider their solutions as alternatives as well.
5. Enterprise social continues to be a huge investment with Yammer and Office 365. Organizational transformation through change and “working like a network” was a big theme in the social track. There were many announcements and a lot of positioning. If you think that Microsoft isn’t innovating you aren’t talking to the enterprise social team.
- 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.
- Groups – a new feature which grows out of a combination of team calendars, team mailboxes, team tasks and sites and conversations allowing users to work together and gather and share knowledge in Office 365. Takes the power of having email, sites, conversations and weaves these worlds together with new features.
I’m going to do a full post on this… lots to talk about…
Special thanks to the #ShareHike crew! I