Hey, y’all! How are you doing? Hope you’re having a fantastic summer! While I certainly enjoyed the R&R in the last month, I am excited and looking forward to Microsoft Ignite in a few weeks! Make sure you tune in as we have so much goodness lined up for Microsoft Ignite.
In preparation for Microsoft Ignite, I’d like to present the latest Dux Quax interview series ” The Road to #MSIgnite” . You’ll get to hear from industry movers and shakers as they share the latest on SharePoint, Office 365, Azure and what to expect from Microsoft Ignite.
For the first installment of this series, I had the privilege to drive around the Microsoft campus in Redmond with Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of Office, OneDrive and SharePoint. I still recall the first time I spoke with Jeff at SharePoint Conference 2011 where he shared how SharePoint came to be and last year at Microsoft Ignite 2016 where he was giving a sneak peak of what’s to come with SharePoint and OneDrive.
I’m so grateful that I get to talk to Jeff again and discuss what to expect in the future from SharePoint, OneDrive and Microsoft Office ahead of #MSIgnite! Enjoy!
Dux: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Dux Quax, Road to Ignite. This is a treat for me. I’m with Jeff, and Jeff this is such a wonderful day here in Redmond.
Jeff: It is. There’s nothing like summer in Seattle and the weather’s great. It’s great to see you here. I know you’re here traveling around the world visiting customers, and glad you could stop by our neck of the woods.
Dux: Well look, I got the blue shirt memo.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. There you go, short sleeve. It’s hot here. It’s hotter than normal.
Dux: I know.
Dux: So, so Jeff, how’s summer been for you?
Jeff: It’s been great. You know we did the May event, SharePoint Summit, where we announced the road map and now we’re in that period between the May event and Ignite, and we are working hard. We have a great team and so…Ah, gosh, so many steps. Yesterday I met with Brian McDonald who runs the Microsoft Team’s group about a…
Jeff: …bunch of stuff SharePoint and teams are doing that I think people would be pretty excited that you know, we just had the 10th anniversary of OneDrive where we announced some stuff that we’re doing in OneDrive and there’s more coming. So we are, we’re pretty freakin’ busy.
Dux: I know. I mean, yesterday I saw that OneDrive is 10 years old.
Jeff: That’s right.
Dux: You believe that?
Dux: I gotta tell you. I got my wife hooked to OneDrive now because the fact that she can search her photos when she…You know how you can back it up from your phone, and she says, “How does it do it? How does it know?” Well I go, “That’s the power of machine learning…
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Dux: …You’re not in the club.”
Jeff: Hey, I have fresh off the press, a tidbit for you.
Dux: Okay. Okay. It’s a scoop.
Jeff: Yes. Yes. I saw for the first time, in the IOS App Store, we crossed over 4.5 (stars) as our rating…
Jeff: …since Apple rounds up the stars…if you go, hopefully, it’s still there. In the IOS Store, we’re at five stars for OneDrive.
Dux: Oh wow. That’s awesome.
Jeff: Huge milestone, as you know, from like five years ago with Microsoft E Cross-Platform
Jeff: …and I’m just so proud of the, you know, the team listening to customer feedback, working hard and we have a five-star app for OneDrive.
Dux: Congrats. You know Jeff, that’s one thing I’m really excited about. I want to commend Microsoft with this change and the agility and considering how big the company is…
Dux: …right? So all the new innovations that’s coming out and the fact that you’re getting feedback. It’s not just you’re pushing out new technology, but refining and improving existing technology.
Dux: I mean, look at SharePoint, right? SharePoint allowed communications sights. I think that’s phenomenal.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s been great. We’ve had, you know, some of these amazing customers like, you know, you probably saw the webcast that was done…
Jeff: …with Shire Pharmaceuticals.
Dux: That’s right.
Jeff: Even before we went into broad release, they had several dozen communication sites at a big pharmaceutical company, and normally people think wow, pharma is slow, regulations and…
Jeff: This is a company that loved this stuff, ate up the empowerment of it and is creating these great sites that live as part of a holistic internet.
Jeff: They’re indexed by the Microsoft graphs, so they’re searchable. You can browse them on your phone. So, it’s innovation central.
Dux: And then you talk about digital transformation, right?
Dux: That’s a prime example, because back in the day, you know, when we would think technology and upgrading traditional industries…
Dux: …I would say like healthcare or government…
Dux: …or financial services. They would be like the stragglers…
Dux: …and the last people in new tech, but now with the Cloud and this idea of innovation transformation, you just change the game.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. You bet. Years ago I did this slide that was this teeters-totters slide of empowerment in governance.
Jeff: And that is the key with transformation, because if you go completely to one extreme or the other, you know, it just doesn’t work with no, with no empowerment. You really can’t transform…
Jeff: …and be responsive with no government, you have haphazard, random behavior and you might break policies if not laws and regulation, and I think in Office 365 we’ve got that balance right where we’ve got things like power apps and communication sites and Teams where people can create, be agile and work together, change the culture, but then, you know, of course, we’ve got encryptions and…
Jeff: …certifications and auditing and E-Discovery, and multi-factor authentication and occasion mobile…
Jeff: You know, so I think we’ve got that teeter-totter that we had on a slide 10 years ago, finally just about right.
Dux: It’s funny you say that. So, I was doing a workshop yesterday.
Dux: This workshop was about how do you drive sustainable adoption? And I had a slide that says, “Office 365 equals governed empowerment.”
Dux: Because back in the days, you know, when people hear the word “governance” oh it’s a bad thing. It’s hard.
Dux: It’s too much. It’s difficult. But my point is, look, for example, we live in a phenomenal country. We have freedoms, but we’re governed to certain extent.
Dux: So we won’t do bad things, and we’ll do the right thing.
Dux: And Office 365 provides us that benefit. And I don’t have to worry about setting up a big team in my IT organization, hiring a lot of security people or privacy people. It’s already there, and the guidance is there.
Jeff: Yeah, and in fact the time and money you would have spent in the past on setting up servers and patching and so forth, you can really put that energy and IQ and passion into how do I help users be more productive?
Jeff: Or what are the governance policies that are appropriate for my industry, my company, my particular projects? And so I think people are able to do a better job of this because the Cloud takes care of the other set of problems that should just be invisible.
Dux: So having visibility to all this, especially with what’s coming and the feedback you’re getting. Anything that stands out for you, Jeff, that really you would just sit back and it’s like boy, this is really meaningful work we’re doing. Lives are changing, or we’re helping companies do bigger and better things and focus on their core business.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, there’s a few things. One is just the access to technology of different organizations. You know, I can imagine most people who would watch a podcast like this tend to be in a medium to large-size organizations…
Jeff: …where they have the time and the day and the interest to follow what’s going on in tech, and which is great. It is great. I know there’s also probably lots of people from smaller organizations, but the thing the struck me yesterday. You know, I know you’re here for the SharePoint Fest…
Jeff: …event, and somebody said, “Wow.” You know, and you said it earlier that it’s, you know, good attendance this year. It’s growing. I did the math and we’ve got at least five, if not more, times the number of unique organizations using SharePoint, Exchange, Office 365 and the Cloud than we did at the peak from the on-premises only world.
Jeff: And I thought, wow. You know, five times as many organizations can get access to the technology that usually only the very largest organizations can do.
Jeff: And so I…You know, I was in Switzerland in December of last year and met with a 2,000 person company. Two IT people and everything else they did was Cloud Services, and they were just spinning up collaboration sites…
Jeff: …around the world, creating application after application, empowering their users when they could, and the sort of two IT people were more technical strategists, consultant types were just…You know, it was all a leverage model and an organization like that, you know, couldn’t have had access to all the technology we deliver. So I think that’s the biggest thing that whether it’s a school or an emerging market…I was just in India a couple of weeks ago.
Dux: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Jeff: All these people are able to get at, whether it’s SharePoint or actual machine learning.
Jeff: Yeah, think about that. Like, you know, what a hard core data scientist you need to be to set up all the [inaudible 00:08:07]…
Jeff: …tools from Oracle or Microsoft or IBM like 10 years ago, and now you can get in the Cloud like the very best machine learning, data science tools. So it’s great.
Dux: I mean talk about fulfilling your mission statement, right?
Dux: Empower every person, every organization, the world. And then really if you look at Microsoft, Microsoft’s done a phenomenal job of democratizing technology. I mean, start from the early days of Office.
Dux: I was thinking about this. Like in the 80s, before everybody else was born, who would have access to a spreadsheet software?
Jeff: That’s right.
Dux: Only accountants.
Jeff: That’s right.
Dux: Never in my wildest dreams I’ll be using a spreadsheet software, but today, I don’t think about it, and then the next evolution was SharePoint, right?
Dux: I’m sure you were instrumental in that, but…
Jeff: Everybody gets a website. It was sort of a crazy idea the beginning.
Jeff: But, you know.
Dux: Well what dawned on me is I was working with my colleague just a few weeks ago and internally, you know, we use SharePoint obviously for our internet.
Dux: And I was telling her that, look, for our marketing calendar that’s seen on our intranet, you can actually connect it to Outlook.
Dux: And suddenly a light bulb came on. She’s like, “Wait a minute. Are you saying that if the calendar shows up in Outlook, I add a new marketing event, it’s gonna show up on the intranet?”
Dux: I go, “Yeah.”
Jeff: It’s sort of such an obvious thing that, but when you do it, you show it to people.
Dux: No, and then she’s like, “I never really thought about putting something in Outlook calendar so it will show up on the intranet.”
Jeff: Well even…I’ll tell you a little secret, even us internally, this week, we rolled out to the core Office engineering team, that’s about 2,500 – 3,000 people…We moved our previous version of SharePoint internet to a set of communication sites.
Jeff: And we did it timed with the support for the communication sites in the SharePoint App, which is…You know, it’s readable.
Jeff: It’s incredibly fast. And so we took all these sort of new articles that were sort of news post-y like before.
Jeff: Turned them into news posts and then communication site, and then you open up the app and they’re all in your phone and you can zip through them.
Dux: Right. It’s like a feed.
Jeff: And even in the team, people are like, wow, this is magical. I can be in line in the cafeteria…
Jeff: …and I can sort of read the latest market research report from the Office research team.
Jeff: I can do that on my phone. I can get my intranet on my phone. I thought that was somehow not something that was possible with the…
Jeff: …laws of physics, so.
Dux: And that’s where you see now the lines between…because in our personal lives, right? We’re used to that.
Dux: We open Facebook. We go to feed.
Dux: Or look at our news readers, but now that same experience is made available.
Jeff: And it’s simple and fast. You know, as you know, I’ve sort of done probably, I don’t know, eight to ten SharePoint Saturdays in the last two years.
Jeff: I get to the point where the first demo I do is bring up SharePoint on my phone because….
Jeff: …there’s about half the room that is using SharePoint 2013 on premises, and so they think of SharePoint as that UI, and I show it on the phone and there’s just a couple of buttons there where you know, here’s news, here’s sites, there’s people, there you go. Look at the performance of it, and people say “Wow, you know, that’s great.” and I say, “Now let’s go make a page or make a site”
Dux: On top of that, you’re showing them on an iPhone, right?
Jeff: Yeah, and so it’s…even for the people who think they know SharePoint, you know, their eyes pop out of their head, and say, oh, I want that. That’s like some different SharePoint thing.
Jeff: I almost want to, you know…anyway.
Dux: So speaking of SharePoint, all this goodness, anything you can share? Are big things coming up for Ignite people should look forward to or maybe participate in?
Jeff: Yeah, the things we announced at the SharePoint Summit… Clearly, we promised some stuff it’s up to us to deliver and show the next step of availability, as well as, new things that we didn’t show yet, so.
Jeff: So I’d sort of go back to the big things we showed. OneDrive, files on demand, if you’re not using it as part of Windows Insiders, it’s just great. In particular, it’s great with SharePoint. Say you have ten SharePoint sites. They may be stand alone existing sites or things you created with Microsoft teams. The fact that you can browse all of your files in the Windows Explorer and then selectively take them down when you get the…It’s just magic. So that’s in preview now. We want to make that broadly available.
Dux: I got to tell you though, it was there before somewhat. It’s a different flavor because I remember OneDrive way back when, I’m like, wow I don’t have to download the whole thing. I can pick and choose.
Jeff: Yeah. You had to sync it, and…
Dux: That’s true. You do.
Jeff: So going back to this site we created in the Office team. Do I really…I have this site with that acts like a family of sites with, you know, for a couple of thousand people. Do I really want to sync onto my machine the work of thousands of people every day? Oh, my God. You know, like, I’ll kill my battery and so forth, right?
Jeff: This way, I kind of can. I can browse all that stuff from Windows. Go grab a file and boom, there I got it. So files on demand…We’ve got a bunch of sharing stuff you’ve seen coming in fact, Omar right now has a SharePoint Fast showing. He’s showing the sharing dialogue that we’re putting in Window’s Explorer, Mac Finder.
Jeff: The Office mobile apps. Sorry, the OneDrive apps and SharePoint. We’re showing today that, that same sharing you want is going into the Office apps. We’re gonna sell that point.
Jeff: So, we’re gonna deliver from the Cloud a simple, simple sharing experience that goes across all our apps and all the platforms. So we have things like that. Communication sites you talked about. We are, I believe, announcing today that we’re 100 percent in general availability for that in Office 365. We’ve been in first release for a bit. We’ll have more stuff coming there. Power apps and Flow. You know, we’re continually doing stuff there. We’re taking the next step on search with the Microsoft Graph Technology to go beyond things like Delve and Discover…
Jeff: …to truly personalize search. I mean, you know, you work at AvePoint and you’re a big organization. If an engineer in one location searches on something…
Jeff: …and a marketing person in another location searches on the exact same term, should they really see the same content all the time? Shouldn’t there be any context for their role…
Jeff: …and their peer group, their geography.
Dux: Yeah. Yeah.
Jeff: And so, you know, that’s gonna be a big lead. SharePoint Framework, big adoption on that so far. We’ve got more coming. And then I guess, you know, as I was sort of saying before we jumped in the car, a few minutes ago, I took responsibility for the core Office applications and the design of, you know, the core Office Suite, Excel PowerPoint, Office.com and so forth, and we’re gonna do some things to simplify the experience, improve the performance and have much richer collaboration between Word, Excel, PowerPoint, uniquely with OneDrive and SharePoint.
Jeff: And so we’re gonna take that to the next level. So we have some…Ignite’s gonna be busy. As I said, the team’s working pretty hard. I think there’s 40 days, 41 days until Ignite. I’ve been counting them down.
Dux: Who’s counting?
Jeff: I don’t know like you. You’re probably counting from like how many days until the big AvePoint red thing. I’m like, oh my God, I have to get some code ready to ship and some other code ready to demo.
Dux: And demos, right.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah, so.
Dux: Well the way you’re describing this, right? Like, it kind of…it dawned on me, you know, a few weeks ago, there’s Microsoft Inspire.
Dux: And the big announcements are all Microsoft 365, but as you’re describing the integration, the streamlining you know, OneDrive with Windows and all that. Sounds like that’s where the division is around Windows 365. At the end of the day, the whole modern work place experience would be seamless and easier for…
Jeff: Yeah. Because you know, we went from one extreme, which is chipping methodically like clockwork every three years, to another extreme with just letting 1,000 flowers bloom in the company. Where there’s like a million things coming out every day from Office 365 and Azure. And we got a lot of feedback that couldn’t you like come up with the best of both worlds? So I think, you know, as sort of the part of my team that focuses on design, we’re really trying to get that balance right.
Jeff: And so one example I would give is the work we’ve done with SharePoint and Flow, Microsoft Flow. And rather than having 1,000 different features in the SharePoint UI, we stripped out the ribbon. We made a minimalist so that SharePoint doesn’t feel overwhelming to people, but there is this magic button there called “create flow.”
Jeff: And we’ll have some flows like for document approval and getting feedback, but if you say “customize flow,” it opens you up to a world of extensibility and integration. And so that’s a way where we’re have a way to innovate fast, enable customization, but still have the user experience actually get net simpler and lighter.
Dux: Right. Right.
Jeff: So that’s like the craft we’re really trying to push on is how can we bring the pace of innovation to the Cloud but also bring, frankly, more simplicity to the Office and Microsoft experience? That’s the mantra I guess I’d say.
Dux: So beyond, you know, between now and like you said, 41 days, Ignite.
Dux: Beyond Ignite, right? I’m sure there’s more.
Jeff: Oh my God.
Dux: Don’t even get me started. But I’m sure that’s a focus, but I’m sure there’s a lot more goodness that’s coming. Anything that you can highlight for folks and especially for those who are not able to attend Ignite?
Dux: Tech Summit. I know there’s tech summits coming up.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. There’s tech summit’s coming up. I’m gonna go to the European SharePoint Conference.
Dux: Oh, there you go. Yeah.
Jeff: In Dublin.
Jeff: Like, I went a couple years ago to Stockholm. It was a great event, and you think, okay, how can I miss a share pint over a Guinness in Dublin?
Dux: Have you been to Dublin?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s great.
Dux: You’ve done the Guinness tour and the Jameson tour?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s great.
Dux: Yeah, it’s a great town. Yeah.
Jeff: Small quantities, but nonetheless. And then that same week I’m going to SharePoint Saturday in Oslo. We have a great community in Oslo. You know, I’m excited to be there. Um, we are working on some stuff for 2018. We’re probably not ready to beat the drum about it yet, but you know, I guess I would say, I feel pretty good about the last two years in a row in May. I think we blew people away about the amount of new thinking that we were doing.
Jeff: And not just SharePoint but Office 365.
Dux: And being able to deliver on it.
Dux: It’s one thing saying we’re gonna do it.
Dux: But delivering quickly. That’s the impressive part considering how large the team is, the organization is.
Jeff: Yeah, so, you know, we’ll have…The other thing, I just did a little video shoot yesterday for Rob Howard and our developer team.
Dux: Yes. Yep.
Jeff: They’re gonna be doing some Office 365 developer events with the community around the world coming up.
Dux: Got it. Got it.
Jeff: And I don’t think that’s launched yet. I probably leaked something I shouldn’t, but nonetheless, we will have the big events like Ignite, but we also really want to support sort of the medium-sized events like…
Jeff: …SharePoint Fest and the European SharePoint Conference and local events. You know one thing that always gets me excited is when I see a first time SharePoint Community event. Last year I went to the first SharePoint Saturday in Geneva.
Jeff: I think they have the first Zurich one this year. Cuba had one for the…Joel Olsen went too. So we want the SharePoint Eco System…
Jeff: …the Office 365 community all over the world to have access to this stuff. Not just people who go to the big party.
Dux: In even the big events, all the content are made available on-demand as well.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah.
Dux: So even for folks who aren’t able to attend, they have access to it.
Jeff: Yeah. Absolutely.
Dux: That’s great. That’s great. So do you have time for your personal life with all this stuff going on? Like any guilty pleasures you want to share?
Jeff: Well certainly I love spending time with my family.
Jeff: That’s a little generic. But I’m sort of wonderfully blessed with the support they’ve given me.
Jeff: I do have two hobbies. I occasionally play guitar and record a little music, which…
Jeff: …I would not share in public, but I have fun with that, and then as you probably know, I run. In fact, one of the things I pushed myself last year. I had run a bunch of half marathons, but I never ran a marathon before.
Jeff: And then last May, you know the May the 4th.
Dux: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. The Summit.
Jeff: The SharePoint Summit.
Jeff: I said, “Let me do something crazy. This is the big re-launch of SharePoint. We’re gonna do that in my professional life. Let’s combine that with something crazy and ambitious in my personal life.”
Jeff: So I ran the weekend before of that event my first marathon at the Vancouver Marathon and I think I’ve run three since, and I’m doing the New York one coming up, health permitting…
Jeff: …this fall, so.
Dux: So when do you find time? Do you run in the morning or at night, or…?
Jeff: I’ll do both. Most of the time I’ll do it in the morning, but I’ve got it down to a very efficient routine that would work.
Dux: There you go.