Ignite 2017 SharePoint Cliff Notes

Cliff Notes from Microsoft Ignite on SharePoint, OneDrive, and Office 365 and SharePoint 2019

  • Microsoft 365 == Office 365 ++
  • Bing for Business – data from both on-premises and cloud resources can be embedded in the same search results list using Microsoft Graph and AI to connect relevant contextual data from Office 365 and Internet based Bing results based searches. There is a preview.  When you search for a file, regardless the file type, you can preview the file directly in the search result without opening or downloading it.
  • Linkedin data coming to profiles in Delve and Graph, more to be announced for developers
  • New Office 365 App Launcher
  • Teams is the new shizz. It is taking front and center as intelligent communications.  It is getting call in support for meetings, better SharePoint integration, better everything integration and development support for much more.
  • New Yammer Vision/Roadmap think of it as the outer ring of communication.
  • Flow deeper SharePoint integration including column list access and support in SharePoint 2019
  • SharePoint 2019 TAP and Preview is open. https://aka.ms/sptap (Code: SPT232).
  • OneDrive announcement – When you share a document with outside users, they will receive one email with the shared document and one email with a one-time passcode. Then they can access, view, or edit the document even if they don’t have an Office 365 account.
  • OneDrive Files On-Demand is also now generally available which allows you to sync OneDrive files to File Explorer and manage your files directly through File Explorer without utilizing any of your device’s storage.
  • Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool was also launched today. This allows users to migrate home directories, file shares, and document libraries to Office 365
  • SharePoint Hub sites were announced. This allows you to organize your intranet bringing associated sites together and create cohesion with shared navigation and look-and-feel.
  • New Security Controls – site classification, conditional access based on location and device
  • OneDrive UI improvements including sharing files from explorer
  • New Templates and Designs – SharePoint Mobile Natively – Communication Sites improvements
SharePoint Uzbekistan

SharePoint Uzbekistan Community Launch and SharePoint Saturday

Michael Noel and I have been planning our trip to Central Asia for years!  We knew the biggest challenge would be visas.  Around Christmas time and after our wild across South American to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana and more, I surrendered one of my Passports to Michael for 4 months to line up the most logistically challenging trip yet requiring 5+ visas. I reached out to Linked In expert Jim Bob, chief networker to help me see if I could find any SharePoint contacts in any number of the “STANS.”  Pakistan is packed with SharePoint people, but that’s a story for Michael Noel to tell, since I couldn’t get that visa in time (4-6 weeks!).

I also reached out to Timus Bazicalos was already a facebook friend and we’d be talking for at least a couple of years (maybe even five years ago) about doing a SharePoint Uzbekistan event in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.  We focused on Tashkent as the main hub of our trip, and as the anchor for the event.  Timus would help us with logistics and ultimately be a traveling companion on our tour of the silk road and help lead us to the borders of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and even Afghanistan.  His own visa requirements would keep him from being able to join us in those places, but it didn’t keep him from taking a week to tour the best of what Uzbekistan has to offer in some incredible ancient silk road cities of Samarkand, Bukhara, and Shakrazabh.  I’ve started blogging on my travel blog about the silk road adventure trip and a few photos of the fascinating places from my trip.


Bukhara Fountain

Silk Road Tashkent Uzbekistan


Tashkent is a fascinating city.  As the capital of Uzbekistan with over 2 million residents, as a city it is more populated than many of the countries in Europe.  It is a high tech city with great infrastructure and you can still see some signs from the former soviet republic.  While my travel was focused on the 12th century and prior, our SharePoint conversations were much more focused on the future of Uzbekistan.

SharePoint Saturday Tashkent Uzbekistan

SharePoint Saturday Uzbekistan.  Bottom row is Timus, Me with my Uzbek hat, and Michael Noel in the suit coat.  Far right is the Microsoft rep. He’s The Microsoft country manager and only MS guy in the country.  Akhadbek, is the one with the back stage pass.  He has been running a SharePoint forum for Uzbeks.  Minus our female SharePoint attendee.  I think she snuck out when we went outside for pictures.  You can see her in the picture below.  Why do I bring that up? Every country I go to has a mix of males and females, and Uzbekistan as well has female IT folks.  Women in IT and Women in SharePoint is important and I support their efforts.

SharePoint Tashkent

Speaking at SharePoint Saturday Uzbekistan.



SharePoint is an important part of the strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan for their Ministry of Health.


We met with the SharePoint team at the Ministry of Health following the SharePoint Saturday after lunch.  Great conversations about responsive design, and best practices discussions on infrastructure.  Yeah, most of it was in Russian and Uzbek, so I didn’t understand most of it.


Tina and Timus, our Uzbekistan SharePoint friend his lovely wife who were our guides who would show us the adventure of a lifetime.  I feel very blessed to find amazing SharePoint people all over the planet, and have incredible experiences and adventures.  Timus, thanks for being a great friend and my wish is for much success to you and your family and all of the SharePoint people we met.  The world just got a little bit smaller.

If you’re a SharePoint guy and wondering how to connect with other SharePoint people in Uzbekistan, they are working things out to build a user group that will meet regularly.  Forums: http://uforum.uz/ join the Russian speaking community in Yammer: http://yammer.com/spyam

SharePoint Saturday Jamaica

Birth of the SharePoint Community in Jamaica #SPSJamaica

I’ve personally been fascinated by Jamaica since before I started traveling.  I really enjoy the reggae music. Bob Marley and the Whalers had a huge impact on the world of music.  As a student of the world’s religions I am also fascinated by the Rastafari movement and the connections with King Solomon and have read the Kebra Negast, when preparing for my trip to Ethiopia and in understanding culture of Eastern Africa and my visit to Emperor Haile Selassie I tomb in Addis Abba. (You can read more about my travels to Ethiopia to the Rock Hewn Churches and the Empire and castles of Gandor Ethiopia. Connections even go deeper when I think about my Jamaican friends and how happy they are, and how addictive the smiles of my friends.

SharePoint Community Jamaica

The story of my visit to Jamaica for SharePoint Saturday stars with a conversation with a close friend.  Fabian Williams, a popular SharePoint personality known for his deep technical knowledge in the DC area in the federal space, but also as a popular SharePoint speaker.  I was among speaker friends at the speaker dinner in Virginia Beach, not far from where I had encountered my first Rastafarian friend in Hampton 20 years earlier.  I’m always up for a good adventure, so when Fabian asked “So, when are we going to do Jamaica?” I responded with, I’m ready and a few others expressed interest including Naomi Moneypenny.  We talked about our visit to some Jamaican stops in Fort Lauderdale, including the Jerk Chicken and goat.  Incredible food.  I looked at my calendar and realized I’d be in Orlando at the beginning of April.  So I said, if we can make it happen the weekend of March 29th, I can be there.  Others said they were free, and I set off to make it happen.  One thing about me, if I put my mind to it, I can make it happen.  My friends know this.

Later I was talking to Roger Taylor on Facebook from Jamaica, and he shared that he *REALLY* wanted to come and speak, and that he hadn’t been back in 23 years.  I knew for Roger this trip was going to mean a lot.  After I got the eventbrite page up, it was Jim Bob Howard that I reached out to.  He was there when we started planning the event.  He has an incredible passion around building community as a connector.  A lot of the early signups we had on the eventbrite were due to his work in helping us find the real SharePoint talent in Jamaica.  Jim Bob has spent many hours helping us connect with people that have a passion for technology that help us move mountains to put on successful events.

Roger really helped me focus on the event.  Every few days he’d ping me and ask me where we were at with venue, or the site, or updates on attendees.  Sadly, about a week before SharePoint Saturday Jamaica, Roger was hit by a drunk driver.  The collision could have easily killed him.  Despite the injuries to his leg, cheek and eye, he pushed through and came to speak.  His doctors orders were to not use his eyes, so he led a discussion on cloud computing.

At the SharePoint conference it was conversations with my new friend Jennifer Pearcy.  She has been traveling to the island for many years and has a deep passion and love for the people.  All of the speakers paid out of pocket to get to Jamaica, but Jennifer traveled the furthest.  She flew from Saskatchewan Canada, to Vancouver and on down to Jamaica.  She also traveled with an extra suitcase filled with school supplies and soccer balls for a school she’s been supporting every time she comes.  That’s awesome.  I got my first dose of connecting with the kids in Nine mile, when I shared some extra pens that were in my bag.  The kids really liked the yammer pen and were almost ready to fight over it.  I also emptied my bag of some of my speaker shirts, so if you’re in Nine Mile and you see a SharePoint speaker shirt, you know where it came from.

Over time, the registration grew and we had 20, then 30, then 40 registered.  After SPC14 (the SharePoint Conference in Vegas) I ran into Craig, the organizer of SharePoint Saturday Bermuda.  Which itself was a great event.  When I chatted with him about what I was doing in Jamaica he wanted to help.  He connected me with George from Microsoft over much of the Caribbean.  George connected us to  Marcelle Smart, the Microsoft country manager in Jamaica.  Over the course of the next few weeks we’d work out a venue (JAMPRO), and almost lost the event when we found out it was going to conflict with the countries largest and most important sporting event. CHAMPS.  I continued to push for the event despite the conflict, and we kept it on track.  Marcelle from Microsoft, really took care of us.  When we were setting up our Speaker dinner she invited us to join the IT Community dinner fish fry in Kingston.  This is where we met some of the most influential IT folks on the island and would have an opportunity to promote the event event further.


I’ll save my travel photos of the beautiful island for my travel blog (post coming soon), but we really had an incredible time connecting with the people.  I rented a car and drove from Montego Bay to Kingston and had a day of adventure on either side of the event in my travels to Ocho Rios, hiking Dunns River falls, and visit to the Bob’s houses on Hope Road, Trench town, and deep in the jungle in the hills in Nine mile.  All of which I recommend.

Hope Road Bob Marley Experience

When we first arrived at the venue on Saturday morning. I was starting to get a little nervous.  Would anyone show up?  Slowly but surely we had a solid showing which included a great diversity of talent with many of the people there showing real depth and experience in SharePoint with more than a few going back as far as SharePoint 2003.  In addition we had real records managers, admins, developers, and people from some of the most important companies in Jamaica.  This wasn’t a room of students with no connection to SharePoint.  All of them had powered through on their own, so meeting others had that much more of an impact each other.  It was fascinating at lunch to listen to them get to know each other and quickly have a ton in common.  I love being in a position to help build a community and what I witnessed here was the birth of the SharePoint community in Jamaica.  Microsoft has lent their support, and all of the people who attended raised their hands in interest in joining the user group.  Afterwards, I connected with Renee who traveled over 2 hours to be there.  It doesn’t take many of those to make me feel and know that my little sacrifice of my time and money was worth it to help these awesome people get further in their careers and in their lives as technology in nations like Jamaica means opportunity and change.  It transforms the lives of people.  It’s cool  to be part of that transformation and help enable the change.


IT Community SharePoint Speaker Dinner

If anyone has doubts about the impact of building community.  All they really need to do is visit a SharePoint Saturday event.  These events are built by the community for the community.  No one gets paid and everyone sacrifices their weekend and these are the strong ones.  You meet the ones that sacrifice the most to share their passion for technology and changing their families and communities.


After the speaker dinner a few of us went out to Mas Camp, a festival leading up to Carnival.  While there I met a randomly met a SharePoint Admin named Richard, he recognized my SharePoint shirt.  Richard spends his time working on SharePoint and has spent many hours writing powershell scripts and doing support and maintenance for the platform.  Amazing.  You didn’t think that could happen in Jamica, did you?  He even reads this blog! Don’t underestimate the power of technology and community.  Out of Chaos comes order or better said, out of many one people.  I see that in our community…  When we come together as one, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.


My new friend Chris Reckord and his awesome yammer shirt!  Yep, Yammer has fans in Jamaica too!  The power of social!!!

My hope is for the Jamaican Community to grow and flourish.  It will help the careers of many and strengthen the companies as it grows.  It is now in the hands of the locals.  Next time I go to Jamaica it won’t be an event that I’ve organized, it will be the SharePoint Community in Jamaica that will be hosting and inviting speakers from around the globe to come and visit this amazing island and becoming one people from many.  In the words of Bob Marley… “One Love, One Heart… Let’s get together and feel alright!”

SharePoint Hike

Next version of SharePoint in 2015 and other things I learned at SharePoint Conference #SPC14

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.


SPDev brain power

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.

3. Office 365 has a new within tenant self service provisioning engine supporting custom branding and a javascript injection approach with API.  Essentially supporting the idea of keeping branded sites and custom navigation.  This can really be a huge boost in adoption preventing the out of the box exhaustion of having to start from scratch every time.  Corporate branded sites and richer cloud APIs all around is a big step in the right direction.

4. Cloud APIs with a significant emphasis on a never give up approach to making Office 365 work.  I refer you to the many new cloud and Office 365 APIs and Azure integration.  Great example is the Office 365 Video portal.  I heard from more than one developer they need to shift their toolset to developing in Azure.  There were additional subtle conversations I had with Chris Johnson and Jeremy Thake which ended up being the biggest news.  Having those guys both commit to joining a new Office 365 API like DPE team led by Arpan Shah really means business.  That may have been the biggest announcement.  These guys are some of the smartest dev evangelists who already have serious credibility in the community.  There were more than a few sessions on these new APIs.  Key takeaways from me a non dev… make sure you guys are ramping up on Agile, learning to work as a network, drinking from the Javascript fire hose.  There are so many frameworks which can make your life easier.  Client Object Models and Cloud development is NOT going away.  You’ll need to understand how to build apps whether you are on premises or not.  Even many on premises deployments will be using the improvements that happen to apps and the APIs.  Don’t rely on me for all of the developer updates.  Follow guys like Mark Anderson and check out his update on the #SPC14.

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

InfoPath Funeral

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

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Erbil Iraqi Kurdistan

SharePoint in Iraq? Community Building in Iraqi Kurdistan

In my research on building community and travel, I found that I could get a visa on arrival to Kurdish territory in northern Iraq.  When I chatted with Michael about this idea, we agreed we needed to be careful about how we promoted this event.  We needed to work on building participation through social channels, but without the normal openness of our previous events in building IT communities.  We reached out to Jim Bob Howard, the friendliest guy online you’d ever meet.  He is an awesome networker.  He has a great approach at contacting people in a way that is inviting and un-invasive.  He is an expert connector… you have to read his experience with getting Nairobi SharePoint Saturday to happen and the craziness that happened on the Miracle of the second SharePoint Saturday in Nairobi.  You need to read his blog about Nairobi to understand how divine intervention plays into all of this connecting.  It does.  I’m 100% sure that we aren’t alone in our pursuits.  Connecting people around the world has changed lives and will continue to.

In the searches performed, we had many that simply fell on the floor, but then we had a few breakthroughs and finally found the one contact with a connection at the University of Human Development  (UHD) in Sulimanie, Kurdistan.  While this wasn’t Erbil our intended destination, it looked like an incredible opportunity that would meet all our goals. We were cautious about any travel we’d be doing and wanted to make sure we were traveling through Kurdish controlled areas for our own safety.


Erbil (Also referred to as Irbil or Arbil) is an ancient Assyrian city from the 5th millenium BC.  7000 years old or even older.  The citidel that sits atop the hill is one of the longest continuously inhabited city in the world.

Citadel Iraq


Ako Jafaar organized a meeting for us to meet the faculty and students in the computer science department at UHD.  Our normal SharePoint presentations weren’t going to fit the needs of the students, so I took a modified copy of my recent presentation on Finding Business Value in Social Media with the intention of helping the students understand the new market of employment around the needs around cloud services, development in enterprise social, and how to “sell” enterprise social networks with emphasis on “engaging” employees and armed them with dozens of thoughts around business value.




The questions we got were quite fascinating.  Some asked about cultural challenges of hierarchy and concerns over the empowerment of employees.  Others brought up thoughts around open platforms and open source development in and around concerns over Microsoft’s proprietary SharePoint and yammer platforms.  We then talked about sales around services and the open APIs that could be developed against.  It was obvious that there were some Google and Linux fans in the crowd of 70 or so faculty and students.  Discussions around Google Drive and the contrast of consumer services with enterprise platforms was discussed around the topic of security.


After the sessions, we talked with the Dean of the school who was impressed with the topics discussed and the engagement with the students and faculty.  He invited us to present to the entire school on the following day, but unfortunately our schedule wouldn’t support that.  We were flattered by the offer and agreed “next time” was the right answer and appreciated the open invitation that was extended.

We had dinner with an associate professor from the school.  Interesting menu.



We were able to have some local kurdish foods and talk more about living as a Kurd.  I couldn’t believe how every person we met was affected by the genocide committed by Saddam Husseins army.  It wasn’t distant relatives either.  When we first arrived in Sulimenia our taxi driver asked us where we wanted to go.  We looked at Virtual Tourist, one of my favorites for recommendations on crowd sourced Top places to go in most cities around the world.  One of the suggestions was the second largest museum in Iraq.  Closed.  The next suggestion was of a prison turned museum.  THE Infamous Prison… Amna Saraka.




This prison was infamous for the torture that went on there.  It has become the thing that foreigners talk about when visiting Iraqi-Kurdistan.

There are amazing things to see in the Kurdish region, the history of this place is amazing.  The world’s Abrahamic religions all appear to have roots here. Old testament prophets Daniel and Jonah are both buried in Kurdistan.  The people were really quite open… we made some great friends.  I’d love to go back.



In the end, we did meet some faculty who had supported SharePoint and were very anxious to learn more, but both Michael Noel and I were more than satisfied with the people we met and the experiences we had.  We made some friends and the region really made an impression on our minds.  Next time I hear about the Kurds, I will think about my friends.