On the most recent edition of Dux Quax (mobile edition!), I took a ride with Microsoft’s Director of Product Marketing for SharePoint Dan Holme to recap the 2017 SharePoint Virtual Summit! Get a front row seat as we discuss announcements made at the summit, like the new SharePoint Admin Center and hear what Dan has to say about data security in Office 365, and Microsoft’s plan of attack moving forward!
Dux: Hey, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Dux Quax mobile. We’re mobile today. I’m here in the mothership with our good friends Dan and Mark. And the reason why I’m here is, boy, what a Virtual Summit! First of all, good job guys.
Dan: Thanks, man.
Dux: Awesome, awesome, So, Dan, I got to pick your brain here. So, what’s the initial feedback after the Virtual Summit?
Dan: It’s been really good. You know, we had our May 4th event last year and people had very high expectations about this one. You know, would be able to deliver great new stuff, and I think we did. People are really excited and they’re excited we’re talking to the business value of SharePoint and OneDrive.
Dux: And boy, that’s the thing, just looking at the social feedback and engagement and, you know, at one point, I thought, “Man, this will trend on Twitter,” but we’ll see, maybe next year. But, overall, it’s good. A lot of good feedback, not only from the community but I’ve spoken to a couple customers as well. For you, what do you think one of the top announcements you guys did that you think resonated very well, landed very well to customers?
Dan: I think one of the big ones is what we’re going to allow anyone to start automating by business processes so that a business user who spots a problem in their organization or finds something that’s just not quite as smooth as it can be, can now use SharePoint lists, PowerApps and Flow to really take that process to a whole new level. So, what we announced was, among other things, that you can create forms and custom digital experiences with PowerApps and have them show up right inside a SharePoint list or library.
Dux: And that’s one of the overarching messages I’m seeing, not just with SharePoint but across the ecosystem. I mean, two weeks ago at Build, boy, if you guys didn’t watch any of the sessions or keynotes at build, I highly recommend you go to channel 9.
Dan: It was a good event.
Dux: Yeah. Just looking at the keynote Satya, Joe Belfiore, Terry Myerson, but, you know, you talk about one Microsoft, right, all the technologies working together, there’s still a ways to go but you can see how all these things are coming together, you know, with Microsoft Graph, and all that good stuff, and with SharePoint and the Virtual Summit last week, we’re seeing all this.
Dan: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s exciting for us to see it as well because we know that there have been times that there have been two or three solutions, even within Microsoft for a specific use case, and now we’ve got Microsoft Flow and PowerApps, which are driven by Azure and Dynamics but really service Office 365 and connect to third party services, which is another part of it, right, it’s not just the fact that we’re one Microsoft, it’s the fact that we’re one everybody.
Dux: Yes. That’s true. Yeah, I mean, who would’ve thought of boom tubing the Windows Store.
Dan: Absolutely. You get a PowerApp and you get a PowerApp and you get a Kinect.
Dux: Hey, hey, we need a meme for that. So, what else? So, you know, the automation business process, using a lot of these technologies that, again, you’re empowering the business users, but from a perspective of, you know, from let’s say an IT Admin, a resource for example, what are some of the top goodness that was announced?
Dan: Well, I’ll tell you what I think is going to be the most popular and I’ll tell you what I think is the most important.
Dan: The most popular is going to be newest Sharepoint Admins Center because Admins have been living in an Admin Center that simply didn’t give them access to all these settings and sites they wanted to control and the new Admin Center gives them this wonderful, modern, list-like experience where they can see all their sites, configure them and really have control, as well as have insight into activity and important messages. It used to be only available to Tenant Admins. So, that’s going to be the most popular. I think, probably, what’s the most important is some of the work we’re doing to actually enable an organization to manage security more effectively. Yeah, so, and I mean you know how important that is, right?
Dux: Sure, sure.
Dan: So, we talked about a couple of things. The ones that I think are the most important are that we’re going to be allowing customers to host a key, an encryption key in Azure that will be used to further encrypt their data and what that allows that customer to do is know that should they ever leave Office 365, which of course we don’t want them to do, they can revoke the key and the service will no longer have access to the data. It is one additional assurance of privacy.
Dux: Absolutely. And how does this tie into Hybrid in that scenario?
Dan: Well, the customer key applies to Office 365. So, it doesn’t necessarily directly relate to Hybrid, but what it does do demonstrate that in the cloud we iterating and innovating so quickly, not just for business users, but for IT pros that they’re able to do things in the cloud that simply aren’t possible on PRO. And it’s one more reason why this, sort of, intelligent and very dynamic security we’ve got in Office 365 is really the best place to put important company data.
Dux: Absolutely. So, I’m curious, right, like, obviously, a lot of the things you announced have been in the works for the last, I don’t know, 12 months or longer. What’s the decision making process? Like, do you take customer input or partner input or the community to decide what you want to release next? How do you prioritize what features or what bets you’re going to place?
Dan: That was a really, really good question. There’s obviously a long list of things we want to do and it really comes down to prioritization. And we take all of the feedback inputs you mentioned. We listen to customers on UserVoice, we interact with customers directly through events like Ignite and through our field. We have our own strategic decision making and sort of thought leadership because we see directions that we can go that customers don’t even think about yet.
Dux: Exactly, like, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Dan: Right, exactly. So, we take all of those inputs together and determine about a year in advance what our course of action is going to be and what the priorities are for the coming year.
Dux: Now, is it harder? Like, now, you have all these channels that people can communicate, like from UserVoice to Twitter to even Facebook. Right? I mean, I see some of the Facebook posts, “Why did you put this or why’d you put that?” Does that make it harder?
Dan: NO, I think it makes it easier because there’s so much transparency between what’s happening in customers and what’s happening with our product team that we’re really able to make better decisions. It helps a lot.
Dux: And even the roadmap you publish, right, like, a lot of customers, at least the customers I work with, large enterprises, government they don’t know about that roadmap. And when I said, ” It’s there.” They go, “Wow, like they’re actually publishing this, letting us know?” I go, “Yeah.”
Mark: Filter down on SharePoint…
Dux: That’s right.
Dan: You got it, Yeah. In fact, we just released a whole bunch of stuff into the roadmap, which if you go see it is actually different than it was two weeks ago. it’s a brand new, awesome new roadmap tool behind the scenes and Microsoft is really leading as far as how transparent it is about our roadmap. We want our customers to be able to make informed decisions as quickly as possible. So, we try to give guidance wherever we can as early as possible.
Dux: So, okay. So, you talked about some of the major announcements, important…especially, the Admin Center, for you what’s your favorite, what’s the favorite thing you guys announced or talked about or did during the Virtual Summit?
Dan: For me, it is probably what we’re doing with OneDrive because as I, like just about everyone who’s probably watching, I do a lot of work with files. And so being able to use files on demand, to see all of my files right inside of explorer and not have to worry about opening up a web browser or anything else, it’s juts there without taking up any disc space, it’s kind of magical to me. And then to be able to right-click and share a file and right from Explorer and be doing a, you know, proper single-source of…
Dan: Share from OneDrive or SharePoint is amazing.
Dux: And just like you, especially what I saw at Build, I can’t wait for Project Roam, you know, cloud…
Dan: Yeah, that blew me away.
Dux: A clipboard cloud. They should call it “Clipboard “as a service, you know.
Mark: I think it should be “Clippy” as a service.
Dux: I don’t know about…
Dan: Go Clippy, go Clippy.
Dux: Do you work for marketing? But…
Mark: I’ll be taken down very soon.
Dux: No, no, no. Yeah, yeah I mean, all these innovations are just exciting. You now, I talked to some customers about this already, they go, “Well, I have an Android, I have an Apple or iPhone.” I have an iPhone. I go, “It doesn’t matter.” Right? It doesn’t matter.
Mark: Right. We say, “Yes.”
Dan: yeah, we do. In fact, let me show you something. I’ll show it to the camera so everyone can see it. The thing that I find most amazing about Microsoft these days is exactly the fact that we really care about, you know, letting you work wherever you are. You know, I’ve got probably two dozen Microsoft applications across two screens on my iPhone.
Dux: There you go.
Dan: And it’s pretty amazing.
Dux: You know, if my wife sees your phone, she’ll be upset because, “How come you have all these unread messages?” She can’t stand that. Anyway, Dan, thank you for your insights. You know, really the Virtual Summit was awesome. I can’t wait to see more goodness and, next year, you guys have to trend on Twitter. I tell you.
Dan: We certainly will. Thanks for letting me come and go for a ride and thanks for not killing me along the way.
Dux: No, no, no, we’re good. Thank you, sir.
Dan: Thanks, man.
Dux: All right, ciao, bye.