Conference Notes

Opening Keynote at the SharePoint Conference in Auckland

Day one of the SharePoint Conference in Auckland is kicking off, with a two-hour Microsoft keynote.

Maria Martinez Torres, NZ Business Productivity Group Lead
Connect – Reimagine – Transform
– opening comments from Microsoft New Zealand.
– what is top of mind for business leaders? (a) enhancing the customer experience, (b) transforming to a digital business, and (c) becoming more responsive.
– … transforming? Re-thinking processes, re-thinking products, re-thinking customer interaction.
– how people spend time? Lots of moments throughout the 24×7 day – researching, sharing, finding, etc.
– are organizations prepared? The technology has run ahead of people’s ability to use them effectively.
– argument – you need the Microsoft cloud to enable the new wave of business.
– … CEO of Microsoft – connected devices, computing capacity from the cloud, machine learning.
– … Microsoft’s investment areas – productivity (more than 1 billion users on Office), social (Yammer – with 8 million users at over 200K businesses), insights (Dynamics CRM, SQL Server), and platform (Windows Server, Azure, and XBox Live).
– … the Microsoft cloud – is comprehensive and connected, allows people to use familiar tools (better adoption, more productivity, better results), flexible, and enterprise grade.
– … “Microsoft has the experience across many customers, countries, and workloads. This is why you should be using the Microsoft cloud.”
– Maria showed the video about Martin Aircraft Company, who embraced the Microsoft cloud when taking the jet pack to market.

– conclusion: “This is the Microsoft cloud. Could this be your cloud?”

Julia Jack, Head of Enterprise Marketing, Vodafone New Zealand
Mobility and the Ready Business
– Julia started with the mobility is possibility video from Vodafone …

– all of these possibilities are available now – for New Zealand and worldwide businesses.
– lots of global / macro changes – connectedness of things, borderless business, devices, unpredictable change (need to be more resilient to changes), etc.
– why is mobility so important? Because our customers want more / better / faster. 70% of customers expect a response in less than 2 hours (and this is probably getting long for some customers).
– … and also – employees expectations are getting greater (86% of employers see demand for flexible working, and 72% of employees say flexible working increases job satisfaction).
– … how do you embrace this and be more efficient? Mobility / flexible working allows – 40% reduction in property and travel costs, improved ability to meet monthly deadlines.
– Vodafone’s key messages / go to market in NZ – helping business / enterprise customers with operating efficiently, working flexibility, staying competitive, and managing security.
– the pathway to mobility – simplification, control, transformation, and innovation.
– … are you asking your employees how they could transform your business?
– Julia quoted the New Zealand Police case study – business challenge was “how do we reduce crime rate in New Zealand by 15%?” Vodafone was able to enable front line staff with mobile devices, with a set of bespoke apps, which has enabled front line staff to be more productive (30 minutes time saved per shift) … which is the equivalent of 345 front line officers out in the country.
– a ready business – is totally connected.

Vaughan Robertson, Group Manager, Technology Services, Beca
SharePoint, Integration, and Knowledge
– This is an application story.
– Beca – 3000 employees across Asia Pacific. Professional services consultancy – covering about 70 different disciplines. Work in about 70 different countries.
– Thinks we are quite good at collaboration. When collaborating across sectors – we are the best.
– Projects – tunnels, tall buildings, avionics software, project management.
– history with SharePoint usage – using SharePoint before it was trendy, over 400 collaboration extranet sites, used for both intranet and project extranets. Heading towards 2013 at the moment.
– … primarily used SharePoint out of the box. Have had trouble with complex access rights.
– … good news – the more recent versions are more flexible and allows configuration (as opposed to customization).
– … at the moment – doing project collaboration extranets, developing a Project Delivery System for Beca (delivers great consistency), and knowledge centres.
– … the knowledge centres (for Technical Discipline Groups) provides a matrix for line management; allows for authoritative validation of knowledge.
– … knowledge is core business at Beca; it’s what they sell. Our assets are our people.
– … Beca uses SharePoint to hold structured data / knowledge. They have been validated and authorized by experts. These become a foundation. But – it can be a bit grey, dull, boring, and unchanging.
– … also a great user of Yammer; can attach conversations to a knowledge centre using hashtags. These are viewed as “not knowledge,” but they contribute towards the formation of it.
– … helps with keeping knowledge fresh.
– conclusion: integrate the tools (SharePoint and Yammer and Lync), look for value in the intersections between disciplines and technology areas, and apply the tools for your purposes. Most importantly – remain agile. Go for small projects, not big ones that take ages and are out-of-date on launch.
– future direction for Beca – mobile, cloud, analytics inside and out, and social (social listening).

Chris Johnson, Group Product Manager, Office 365, Microsoft
Delve – Powered by the Office Graph
– CJ flew in from Seattle yesterday.
– Previously known as Oslo (announced at the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in March 2014)
– Back in the day, you had to know where to look to find stuff / bits of information.
– New direction – helping people to discover information; we think we can use the tacit knowledge in an organization about what’s going on.
– Delve is the first application powered by the Office Graph. Will be a Web application, Windows 8 app, and some other mobile apps.
– Three main areas – (a) staying in the know, (b) find what you need, and (c) discover new connections.
– Within Office 365, can knit together connections across data and people. Eg., what presentations have you seen, what information is trending around you, related information to other things you are working on.
– The value of the graph grows with its usage.
– Actions / signals that will be tracked – click / open, modify / save, elevate, follow, social gestures, and more.
– The Office Graph will support private and public based information. Will support the privacy that should be respected.
– The first delivery of Delve will be the Web app in Office 365 Enterprise plans.
– There is an extensibility story – with APIs for querying and displaying information. A second API is all about pushing information into the graph – from CRM, from support ticketing system, etc.
Michael’s comment – Office Graph / Delve is a good realization of Pillar 7 in my Seven Pillars framework from 2005. Good to see Microsoft bringing these capabilities to the world.

Apps for Office 365
– Trying to deliver a much better developer experience / with safety for Office 365. Need to get smarter about how we enable people to build on and extend Microsoft’s tools.
– Microsoft’s three investment areas – contextual apps, robust APIs, and flexible tools (eg., Windows Azure, HTML 5).
– Key idea – mobile friendly (write once, run everywhere).
– CJ showed the integration done between Nintex and DocuSign:

– Chris has another session tomorrow at the conference.

Dean Edwards, Windows and Surface Business Unit Manager, Microsoft New Zealand
Surface: The Most Productive Devices for Business
– We have heard a lot about big trends – mobility, flexible work style, etc.
– Lots of these trends come together on the end user computing device.
– Problem statement – “I want a laptop,” and “I need a PC.”
– Current devices – Surface 2, and Surface Pro 2 (running Windows 8 Pro). Coming soon – the Surface Pro 3.
– Dean showed the Surface video:

– a laptop replacement – in the premium market space. No hint of compromise in the Surface Pro 3.