SharePoint Conference 2018 (SPC18) - What You Need to Know

Last week one of the most important events in SharePoint community took place - the revived and long awaited SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas.

As with any major event, there is a lot of buzz from Microsoft and community. In this post, I'll focus on key items which help understand where the product is going in next 2 years. I'll back this up with Microsoft public sources and some analysis.

Key Themes

Product is evolving - Faster than you think

When Jeff Teper gave a demo of new SharePoint spaces he mentioned something that stuck with me: it took ~18 months from writing the idea on a paper to having it demo on the stage. Now think about it, that's incredibly fast to integrate SharePoint, and VR equipment, and create authoring experience all ready to be demo'ed in such a quick timeline. What this means is that important features you see these days requested on user voice will make their way into the product in a very short time. This creates much more attractive environment for Office 365 and many customers are seeing these advantages. It also creates fast paced environment for 3rd party ISV's like Origami to innovate but not over-engineer.

Modern UI is getting more modern

Microsoft continues to invest in modern UI, picture is worth a thousand words so take a look at some of these highlights (open in new window for larger picture):

 Planner Integration into modern lists

Planner Integration into modern lists

 New list creation experience

New list creation experience

More here on how to Enrich your SharePoint Content with Intelligence and Automation in a post by Chris McNulty

SharePoint 2019 On-Prem is still relevant, but customers are transitioning

During the keynote, Jeff mentioned that Microsoft is still committed to on-prem and some of the major features such as modern sites are coming to SharePoint 2019. After my sessions I spoke with a customer to whom SharePoint on-prem is the only option due to regulatory requirements. However, many more customers are now looking to transition and it's becoming lesser of an obstacle for them. Microsoft's new strategy to win users over with better and new features in Office 365 is paying off and customers are considering this less pushy environment also.

PowerBi - everywhere, effortless

PowerBI has always been interesting  but unless you've set it up before it was a pain to set up to even give a demo to a customer. Few new features are coming which include PowerBI integrated and woven directly into the UI fabric.

power bi integration.png

My favorite : Lists will soon have intelligent graphs with data discovered from your list, how cool is that, no code required it's just there.

This is great for ISV's and developers since you get this new feature without having to code anything as long as your data is stored in the list, your customer will get this feature automatically.

Teams

Microsoft continues to heavily invest in Teams. It's interesting, that, from my experience, only large organizations are truly jumping on using Teams but it's still major area of focus. Few key features are coming to Teams that look interesting:

  • Ability to Add Planner (Schedule and Chart Views) into Teams
  • Coming soon ability to add custom WebParts into Teams as tabs
  • Full Document library feature integration

Extensibility, Workflows and Integration

As ISV, we constantly look at integration and extensibility features that platform like Office365 has. These are freebies that we don't have to spend time on. Few major announcements that make SharePoint Online more attractive in terms of extensibility include (more highlights here):

  • Extending search with custom sources
  • Run custom scripts when site is created or associated to a hub site (Powered by Flow)
  • Coming up: row formatter to extend how your lists look like (more here)
  • SharePoint FX has new capabilities to extend modern pages, lists and even sites

Should I come to SPC next year?

As a speaker you might say, I'm biased. As an advisor, my recommendation is the following.

SharePoint Conference Las Vegas.jpg

If you're a Microsoft shop - keep a close touch and attend SPC. It's not about whether the technical or upcoming release information is available online. It's about being able to ask speakers, vendors, insiders questions that can influence your strategy. Much of the content you see posted (after the session) online get filtered. By attending live event you get bits you wouldn't know otherwise.

So, yes, do come to SPC19 in Vegas next year!

 

Hope this helps in your upcoming intranet design strategies. Post your comments below, would love to hear!

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Yaroslav Pentsarskyy is the founder of OrigamiConnect, a rapidly growing service and product offering which enables organizations to get an intranet 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.

@spentsarsky