My Atlanta Ignite

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fullsizerender4I’m passing the time while sitting in a coffee shop in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta thinking about the past week at the Microsoft Ignite conference.  To say it was a busy week is an understatement – there were lots of great sessions, interesting discussions, vendor demos, product expert talks, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. (Not to mention the not-to-be-missed official and unofficial evening events and parties!)

The people that make up the SharePoint/O365 community are one of the main reasons I like to attend these types of events in person – the networking opportunities and friendships built are invaluable and what makes this premier conference a “must-do” in my calendar every year.

During my long trip home today my plan is to complete this post to capture my key takeaways from the week before the “post-conference euphoria” starts to fade…

There were plenty of announcements this week particularly in areas I’m focused on in the SharePoint and O365 space.  Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of OneDrive and SharePoint, wrote an excellent blog post covering them with links for more details within.

SharePoint innovations further advance intelligence and collaboration in Office 365

My Ignite Keynote spot


I’ve come up with my top takeaways I feel will  benefit customers I am currently working with. This is certainly not an exhaustive list of everything announced this week but a glimpse of what caught my eye.

In no particular order…

Integration of Yammer with O365 Groups

Naomi Moneypenny

Yammer strengthens team collaboration through integration with Office 365 Groups

“Work where you happen to be”


A Yammer group will now have access to a SharePoint site, document repositories, a OneNote notebook and lightweight task management with Planner. When you share a link to a document from within Yammer, the FilePicker control will allow you to select from a personal OneDrive, ODFB, or a SharePoint site. This will allow documents that are linked to from the SharePoint site to be able to tap into the features available to a document library such as document retention policies and workflows. This is fantastic news for incorporating governance into the Yammer fold.

Note: Depending on where a group is created from (Yammer or Outlook) the conversations will be held there. i.e. the conversations will be in EITHER Outlook or Yammer, not both.

When will this happen? This feature is rolling out in the coming months to O365.

My thoughts: I was concerned about the trajectory of the Yammer product and this was shared by many around me as well. The future direction of the product was not sufficiently addressed by anything I had heard from Microsoft prior to Ignite.  As a result, I was very pleased to hear this Group integration announced this week and I feel fairly confident recommending Yammer for the long-run in O365.  I believe the integration will only get better from here on in.


New Security Controls (Site Classification)

Enhanced conditional access controls, encryption controls and site classification in SharePoint and OneDrive

fullsizerender2“Microsoft continues to make investments in security, privacy and compliance. Information Governance is one of the five pillars Microsoft is investing in its Enterprise security in SharePoint and OneDrive. Information Governance allows you to govern your data retention, discovery and deletion policies.”

You can now apply a custom label to a SharePoint site and its associated O365 group during provisioning. This label will appear in the header of the site and group pages and serves as a reminder to users how they should use and share information on the site. In addition, you can programmatically access this site classification so you can apply additional security policies if required.

Also announced at Ignite are location-based conditional access policies that govern access to files based on endpoint location. This means policies can differ if you’re on your mobile device accessing a file versus on your laptop connected to the corporate network.

In the future, we will be given the ability to link O365 information policies directly to site classification without the need for code.

When will this happen? Site classification will enter First Release in October.

My thoughts: I’m all about having a solid information architecture and governance underpinning so this was very good news.  I particularly like being able to set additional policies based on a site’s classification.



Feature Pack 1

Todd Klindt & Jason Himmelstein

Announcing Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016—cloud-born and future-proof

Although the announcement of Feature Packs is not new, we were told what would be included in the first Feature Pack and 2 key things caught my attention.

First, there will be a “modified” min-role feature rolled out in this Feature Pack in an effort to minimize the number of servers required to deploy a small SharePoint farm.

Second, for hybrid customers, Feature Pack 1 will deliver a unified taxonomy to support a single information architecture across SharePoint Online and SharePoint Server and comprehensive unified auditing in the O365 Report Centre.

When will this happen? Generally available November 2016.

My thoughts: Information architecture is clearly an important underlying framework across both SharePoint Online and Server and the fact that a unified managed metadata taxonomy will be delivered in the first one bodes well for more robust hybrid capabilities in the future.


Mobile, Intelligent Intranet

img_2869People Cards

Connect to expertise and content with new people experiences throughout Office 365

People cards allow you to intelligently surface your colleagues’ profile details in SharePoint and ODFB. From a people card you will be able to see details about the person as well as content they are working on. It brings profile information, organizational relationships and content from your colleagues right into the context of your work. These “intelligent” people cards are powered by the Microsoft Graph – so smart!

You will see people cards in Outlook on the web, SharePoint document libraries and lists and ODFB when you hover over a person’s name and sounds like over time these personalized cards will be surfaced throughout other places in O365.

When will this happen? Rolling out now.

My thoughts: Having information available to you right where you’re working is key. Not having to disrupt your work to find information about a colleague is a significant productivity gain.


Team News

Enriching the mobile and intelligent intranet with team news, apps for Android and Windows and more

The new “Team News” feature will surface information about what your team is working on and things to be shared in SharePoint Online modern team sites’ home page. This is done by adding news item pages to the News web part on any team site home page. You will be able to see all of the aggregated news across all teams you’re working on, sites you’re following and sites your colleagues are working in using the intelligence of the Microsoft Graph in the SharePoint mobile app

When will this happen? First release in October 2016

My thoughts: As we find ourselves working on more teams across our organization I think this is a really smart way of delivering content we need to focus on. Eventually mobile and email notifications of changes will also help keep you up-to-date.


Microsoft Graph and SharePoint

t-shirt swag

If you were at the conference and attended any SharePoint/Delve/O365 sessions, you likely heard the phrase “Powered by the Microsoft Graph” a lot!!


Graph-powered content is starting to appear in numerous locations across O365 both on the desktop and in the mobile app.



Some examples:

  • the new Discover view in ODFB surfaces relevant files based on intelligent recommendations from the Microsoft Graph.  Imagine – instead of you finding the files, the files find you!
  • the SharePoint homepage shows graph-powered activity in groups.
  • aggregated team news for teams you’re working on, sites you’re following and sites your colleagues are working in
  • “Tap” in Word and Outlook will curate content for you based on the Microsoft Graph and allow you to select elements from within those files to add to the document or email you’re in.

Specific to SharePoint, a new set of APIs were introduced this week at Ignite for SharePoint sites and lists from the Microsoft Graph in early beta format (Microsoft is looking for our feedback – if you have some, give some at UserVoice)

My thoughts: I’m blown away by the power of the Microsoft Graph and how the “discoverability” aspect of Search is growing in leaps and bounds by this powerful technology. I’m excited for new and intelligent ways the Graph will be used to deliver content across the product.


Some Randoms

Relaxing on the Adirondacks
  • 25TB of storage per site collection (i.e. Group)
  • Click-and-drag to resize columns in modern document library views. Yay!!
  • You will be able to embed PowerApps in SharePoint pages in 2017.
  • “Quickstarter” in PowerPoint and Sway will curate content in order to create an outline automatically for you based on a topic you provide (powered by the Bing Knowledge Graph).


It’s about Community!

img_2867The Microsoft Tech Community was out in full force at Ignite with a huge presence in the community lounge.

This new community supports multiple Microsoft products and solutions – all you have to do is join the ones that are of interest to you! It’s an excellent resource for getting involved in the community for news, discussions, contests, events, and for sharing your expertise with others! You can ask/answer a question or start/respond to a discussion in your community of interest.

You can sign up to join the community by going here:

You can also follow them on Twitter at @MSTCommunity




I’m back home now gearing up for a very busy Fall excited to share some of these new capabilities with companies I work with.

Before I go, here is a parting thought…are you pre-registered? Do it here. 🙂


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