A Quick Review of Microsoft Ignite 2017
This year’s Microsoft Ignite conference was undoubtedly one of the best in recent memory. Between the plethora of announcements that Microsoft unveiled (including its A.I. vision and quantum computing) and the most successful MetaFest party to date (Jared & The Mill!), Ignite 2017 is definitely one for the books.
Over the course of 5 days, consultants, administrators, business users, and tech-savvy geeks from around the world congregated at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida to revel in all of the news, sessions, content, entertainment, and (who could forget) swag. There was so much to consume during that short span of a week that unless you were everywhere at all times, it was impossible to absorb the wealth of knowledge that was ceaselessly disseminated.
That’s why we’ve put together the top takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2017 for your convenience! Check out a quick review of what our team experienced at the year’s hottest tech conference below.
1. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft’s vision for communications within the modern workspace sees Teams as the de facto, go-to app for chat-based information management. Not to mention that it will soon replace Skype for Business!
We’re still waiting for clarification as to how and when this change will occur, but for now, we’re thrilled about the native calling functionalities and collaboration enablement that Teams brings to the table. It’s sure to make a big splash on today’s collaboration landscape, as it looks poised to disrupt Slack’s market presence.
Fig. 1: Microsoft Teams
2. SharePoint Hub Sites
What’s the buzz around SharePoint Hub Sites? Well, it can be described as the long-awaited connective tissue between team and communications sites within Office 365!
With SharePoint Hub Sites, organizations can finally roll up content, activities, and news from multiple site collections into a single view for easier consumption. (In case you weren’t there during the announcement, this was met with great fanfare!)
Starting with the “Hub” (primary site) and its associated site collections (the spokes), SharePoint Hub Sites are going to make huge impact on existing SharePoint workflows.
Fig. 2: SharePoint Hub Sites
3. OneDrive Files on Demand
With the Creators update for Windows 10 currently shipping out (that is, the #1 uservoice request for OneDrive), users can now sync the content they want available offline to their desktop computers.
With OneDrives Files on Demand, users can now choose which files to sync locally on various devices, including their desktop computers! This opens up the ability for users to view all of their content from inside Windows Explorer, before deciding whether or not to sync them.
Fig. 3: OneDrive Files on Demand
4. Microsoft’s Investment in On-Premises Products
Can we say we were even a little surprised about this? Though it follows the perpetual update for Office Server products for 2019, this update includes server versions of SharePoint, Exchange, and Skype for Business, as well as Office 2019 clients for on-premises.
Going along with the hybrid approach, Microsoft’s continued investment in on-premises products maintains that as long as there are customers who are utilizing on-premises versions, development will continue. In a “Cloud first” world, this is a big step in the right direction (and a relief!).
Fig. 4: Office 2019 Server
5. File Viewers
Organizations are consuming far more than just Microsoft Office files. In fact, the landscape of the cloud collaboration industry entails file types and formats of all kinds. Historically, specific files could only be opened and viewed when the associated application was installed on the workstation, making sharing and collaboration more difficult than it had to be.
With File Viewers, the support for viewing over 270 different file formats in OneDrive and Microsoft Teams enables organizations to view CAD, Photoshop, and a host of other file types without the need for the native app. This means the downtime between opening a file and collaborating can now be at a fraction of the time it used to take. (Quick side note: Who knew there were so many different file formats?)
Fig. 5: Microsoft File Viewer
6. Microsoft’s New SharePoint Migration Tool
All of the announcements brings us to the big unveiling: Microsoft’s new SharePoint Migration Tool. In a surprising turn of events, Microsoft officially announced that organizations with fewer than 500 users can migrate content to SharePoint Online with its free migration tool.
As much as this can help organizations begin their gradual move into the cloud, Microsoft’s SharePoint Migration Tool is still a bit rudimentary in its features and abilities. For more information on what this tool means for migration projects, check out our piece on the new SharePoint Migration Tool here!
Fig. 6: Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool
7. MetaFest 2017
Of course, no Microsoft Ignite 2017 review is complete without mentioning the incredible turnout at our annual MetaFest! It was a success beyond our wildest imaginations. From the amazing food and drinks to our wonderful partners and sponsors, MetaFest was all about celebrating in style. Thank you, Mango’s Tropical Cafe and Jared & The Mill for an unforgettable night!
Remember to register in advance next year to make it into Ignite’s hottest party! (And if you haven’t done so already, go check out the new album by Jared & The Mill!)
By no means is this an exhaustive list of the exciting news and announcements revealed from this year’s Microsoft Ignite conference. We’ll continue to post the latest reveals and insights on all things Ignite to our blog, so be sure to check back for the inside scoop.
For those who couldn’t make it to Ignite 2017, we hope to see you in Orlando next year!
Alistair Pugin is an Office Servers MVP based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has worked in various capacities in multiple verticals spanning between 50 to 50,000 users utilizing all aspects of pure Enterprise Information Management. His current position provides him with a mechanism to assist companies with designing their Microsoft productivity stack using “best of breed” proven methodologies to foster innovation and growth through an ECM framework, while incorporating a Knowledge Management strategy. With this vision, he strives to provide customers with a platform for Business Productivity Enrichment, establishing communities of practice through proper analysis and building a knowledge economy that is both quantifiable and achievable.