From September 26-30, I had the pleasure of joining 23,000 members of the Microsoft ecosystem in Atlanta, GA, for the second annual Microsoft Ignite. The diverse crowd from all around the globe included IT pros, developers, executive leaders, business users, as well as Microsoft staff and community influencers.
It was an exceptional week for AvePoint, where, as a Platinum Sponsor of the event, we established a strong presence throughout the show, celebrated with customers and partners at our famous RED Party, and sent another lucky winner home with a brand new Ducati motorcycle. The theme we introduced at the show was accelerate – and it wasn’t because the bike we gave away can get up to 120 miles per hour. Throughout the show, we had some great conversations with attendees about how our solutions can accelerate their Office 365 and SharePoint migration, management, and protection goals while driving faster, more secure, and better governed adoption of the Microsoft Cloud.
After attending last year’s Ignite and many of its previous incarnations in years past, I can say that Ignite 2016 did a great job showcasing the exciting new directions Microsoft is moving under its new “digital transformation” mantra and how the ecosystem is trending along with it. Below are three of my biggest takeaways from the event.
Ignite is Over: Here’s Your Guide to What’s Next
1. SharePoint is getting some well-deserved buzz again, and Office 365 isn’t losing any steam
After not getting as much attention at last year’s event, SharePoint played a major role in Ignite 2016. In addition to hundreds of sessions on the topic, Microsoft shared some major announcements – including the first Feature Pack for SharePoint 2016, new mobile apps, security enhancements, and new sync and share capabilities for OneDrive. Our own Dux Raymond Sy, CTO of AvePoint Public Sector, hit the show floor with mic in hand to get the word on what’s new directly from Microsoft luminaries – including Corporate Vice Presidents Julia White and Jeff Teper – in his Dux Quax video series. As one of the first SharePoint ISVs going back 15 years now, it’s exciting for us at AvePoint to see Microsoft continue to make significant investments in the platform as we continue to innovate alongside them.
Of course, Office 365 was no less significant a topic throughout the event. Many of the conversations we had involved the emphasis Microsoft is placing on Office 365 Groups and how this key new feature is making it even easier for internal and external users at an organization to collaborate in the cloud. Of course, there are still concerns around Office 365 Group creation sprawling out of IT’s control and protecting critical data within them. To help organizations eliminate these concerns, we were able to show how our AvePoint Online Services solution now delivers lifecycle management and backup and restore capabilities for Office 365 Groups.
2. Organizations are eager to get to the cloud, but it’s not always the paradise they thought it would be when they get there
Migrating to Office 365 was a hot topic at our booth and elsewhere – especially with Microsoft FastTrack helping organizations move from previous versions of SharePoint and file shares. At AvePoint, we’re also helping organizations with these scenarios as well as those that need to move more complex workloads from legacy ECM systems like Lotus Notes, EMC Documentum, Livelink, FileNet, Stellent, HP TRIM, Google Docs, and more. It’s easier than ever before to get to the cloud and do it fast. Make no mistake about it: We’re still very much in the cloud adoption phase and it’s not going to slow down any time soon.
After a week full of cloud roadmap consultation sessions that kept our booth meeting rooms occupied at all times, we still heard a common sentiment from attendees: Beneath all of the hype, the cloud isn’t always as simple as it claims to be. Data management pains still exist, and concerns like governance and information security are top of mind for the enterprise. This is where AvePoint comes in as a trusted advisor. For years now, we’ve been tackling these challenges with some of the largest and most complex customers and taking those learnings – as well as telemetry data from more than 5 million cloud users – to continually evolve our solutions to simplify management and protection in both cloud and hybrid scenarios.
3. The vendor space is thriving, thanks to the cloud
It was great to see so many more vendors fill the Expo Hall this year, and from ISVs to service providers, they really showed the diversity and energy of the current Microsoft ecosystem. Much of this growth has to do with the cloud, which is enabling new businesses to get started and scale faster than ever before with less resources required. For AvePoint, this thriving and invigorated vendor space brings exciting opportunities for new partnerships.
We were pleased to announce a new partnership with custom code analysis experts Rencore that will integrate DocAve Deployment Manager – which helps customers easily schedule, roll back, and audit application deployments to the cloud – with the SharePoint Code Analysis Framework (SPCAF) solution. Through this integration, customers will also able to scan SharePoint customizations before deployment or migration to any Office 365 environment or on-premises farm and detect potential issues and risks to the environment, operational processes, and data.
As we await next year’s event in Orlando, we look forward to continually aligning closely with Microsoft to support its latest innovations and helping you get even more from your investments in the Microsoft Cloud. To make sure you get the most from Ignite 2016 – whether you were able to join us in Atlanta or not – I encourage you to join our Lessons Learned at Microsoft Ignite webinar, where our experts will discuss even more of the major announcements from the conference and what they mean for your organization.