Office365: Still figuring it out?

In a world of Office 365 and the cloud, are you still figuring it out? So are the majority of poll respondents we surveyed last week.

Naturally, we're curious about the companies out there who succeeded at finding the right way with the cloud. I spoke with Asif Rehmani, from VisualSP and David Chappell, Principal at Chappell Associates, to gain their insights.
Here is what they say (for more check out the full video):

[Yaroslav Pentsarskyy]
With rapid Office 365 new feature releases, how do you keep the focus on what's important?

[Asif Rehmani]
It's not about the tool it's about getting your job done. There is a whole pack of services out there. Just because there is a lot of different things that are available to you, doesn't mean that you use everything. These days you can have a conversation via Teams, Yammer, Skype, Outlook, and you can also text, what do you chose and how do you archive if needed?
There is not one specific answer that is going to work for everybody, it has to be addressed as a culture vertical not the horizontal of "here are all the different things that we have, let's use everything".
You also have to remember that and filter the noise, otherwise you'll be in the same spot again next year thinking "we did all this last year and now everything has changed".

[Yaroslav Pentsarskyy]
Is cloud still seen as a disruptor?

[Asif Rehmani]
It's definitely coming to a point where government institutions, banking, financials and sectors with traditional heavy regulation are getting more and more comfortable. They know that this is the right answer, due to costs, updates, and even security. Additionally, more of the similar features they have on-prem are now available in the cloud, whether it's a private cloud or public cloud, and it's there to help them compete within the industry.

[David Chappell]
I see often that technical people and developers tend to make decisions based on features. -"which one gives me VM's that are fastest", and I think that it's totally wrong.
What we have to do is to make assessments about the long terms strategy, fit, and motivations between our cloud platform partner and the organization. If you chose based just on features, one day Amazon has a better offering and the next day Azure is better, but the fundamental strategic differences remain longer over time.
For example, Amazon is very public cloud focused; Microsoft's strength is in the hybrid story, with Azure stack; this is an example of the fundamental difference that seems to be unlikely to change quickly. 

[Yaroslav Pentsarskyy]
When can we expect for AI to start making ripples in a modern workplace?

[Asif Rehmani]
AI is in it's infancy for sure, it's been talked about, and there are a lot of proofs of concepts out there but I have big doubts in my mind that it's going to be a true replacement for individuals in a workplace in next 3 or 5 years or maybe even longer. It's a really awesome toy at this point. However, just as with any innovation in the past, it took a while for it to get adopted but eventually it was and the curve was pretty steep.

[David Chappell]
One of the most common things you see today are Machine Learning processes that create predictions for things like credit card fraud. Some of the more interesting cases could start including customer retention scenarios. Suppose you are a mobile phone company with a call center. Some of the customers that call you are happy customers, others, not so much, but you still want to retain them. What if you could based on the usage, past history of call flow and behaviors determine how likely it is that the customer is going to walk away and offer them a retention deal. With all the data available to the organization like this, Machine Learning is a really powerful tool to find patterns in a large data set like this.

[Yaroslav Pentsarskyy]
What are some of the upcoming trends you expect to materialize?

[David Chappell]
The focus on Machine Learning is going to get stronger and stronger. The focus on data in general will also get stronger and with it, data visualization tools, data analysis tools, and finally more archiving solutions etc.

There you have it! What do you think, do you agree?

Leave your comments on what are some of the things you're curious about and we'll try to get an expert insight on the topic


Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is a founder of OrigamiConnect, rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get the intranet that's designed for them, without starting from a blank page. He's also 8 time Microsoft MVP, speaker at many local and worldwide tech events, and a published author of several SharePoint related books.