MySPC 2014 Summary

It has been 6 days since I returned home from SPC14 but mentally I’m still ‘recovering’.  Like the previous SharePoint conferences in Vegas it has been an amazing week with some very interesting days and truly Epic nights. It was great catching up with existing friends and I had a lot of pleasure in meeting new.

But in retrospect, what did I like best about the conference..?

Microsoft is becoming more and more open
I loved the messages Microsoft was delivering during the conference. I have been visiting Microsoft TechEd’s, SharePoint and Partner Conferences for 14 years, and some things are really changing. Microsoft is becoming the ultimate ‘Open (cloud) platform vendor’ which is fully device-agnostic, and I love the growth in openness regarding roadmaps and future plans.

Here are some facts from the conference:

  • iOS and Android devices are fully accepted as platforms (for users and apps). Apple and Android demo’s during many sessions. New SDK for Android.
  • We get to see upcoming features and roadmaps much earlier. Examples are the future of Forms (FoSL), Office Graph and solid directions regarding the future of Enterprise Social (which isn’t SharePoint;)
  • Microsoft is asking us to actively and openly participate in product direction (by using the uservoice platform)

It’s all about Online Services (SaaS) and API’s now!
I was hoping for this to happen. Microsoft has been pushing the ‘Software and Services’ mantra since 2009. But now, 5 years later we really see the effects in everything that Microsoft does. The SharePoint Online API is becoming more complete every month and new API’s got introduced during the Conference. I planning to write a separate blog post on this topic in the coming weeks.

Here a summary of the SPC14 news related to the SharePoint Services world:

  • Office 365 is clearly becoming the most important platform for Microsoft (It has beaten SharePoint as being the fastest growing Microsoft product ever)
    • Triple digit growth in the past 18 months (a 485 percent growth in user access and a 500 percent YoY growth in customer content storage, since April 2013)
    • About 20% growth every month
    • 1.5 Billion dollar in revenue last year
    • 1 TB Site collection limit and Limitless tenant size (‘unlimited’ users)
  • New Powerful API’s, sample code and API tools are being released
    • New file API (Direct access to OneDrive)
    • New Discovery API (find the SharePoint and Onedrive namespace and endpoint of logged on user)
    • New Site provisioning API (Create Site Collections with options)
    • New Site provisioning and branding options
    • New People API (show stuff like “out of the office status”)
    • New monitoring APIs, like this ULS log SCOM endpoint
    • NEW PowerShell Commands
  • It doesn’t matter if you are a C#, Web, Windows, Android or Apple developer, Microsoft is providing SDK’s and Sample code to help us build cool Apps using these services
  • Services will be deliverd and updated much more frequently. No longer we have to deal with “3 year updates cycles”. Last year Office 365 went from a 12 week to a 4 week update schedule and currently they are preparing for weekly updates (just like yammer has been doing for many years)
  • More Integration
    • With the new Groups functionality we will get the ability to connect data in Exchange (mail and Calendar, SharePoint (Documents), Lync (messages) and Yammer (Social Updates) in a very powerful way.
    • The new type of “Contextual Apps” will be able to run in Office, Office Online and all device related Apps (like OWA for iOS and Android) to help you get all the data you need to make informed decisions.
    • Improved authentication integration (Azure oAuth / SAML 2.0 support)

And last but not least…  The Office Graph.

I’m preparing a separate blog post on this topic in which I will digg much deeper I what the Office Graph could bring to the Microsoft Platform. I have to be careful with my enthusiasm regarding this topic since I have been a big fan and ‘believer’ in the Semantic Web since 2004 (and still waiting for big breakthroughs;). Basically the concept of the “Office Graph” is the same as the Semantic Network Model, only at a smaller scale.  The Microsoft Office Graph will map all data in the enterprise, where the Semantic web (Tim Berners-Lee is now calling it the Giant Global Graph) will probably become the ultimate Graph, which one day will allow you to ask very complex questions ‘to the internet’. Check my blog in about a week to read about my vision on this Microsoft technology.

SPC14 was an inspiriting event, which lots of great moments. It’s just too bad we will have to wait another 1,5 year for the next one (I’m guessing October or November 2015).
I must say that the Conference was perfectly organized and the Venetian Convention Center was a great location for the event.  And yes, I really love Las Vegas, It’s the ultimate adult amusement park!


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