Check out our latest installment of Dux Quax (mobile edition) where I ride along with Microsoft’s Senior Product Manager for SharePoint Mark Kashman to recap the 2017 SharePoint Virtual Summit! Hear Mark and I chit chat about everything from SharePoint enhancements, Communication Sites, the SharePoint Mobile App, and the road ahead for SharePoint!
Dux: Hi, everyone. Welcome to another episode of Dux Quax Mobile. I came here because of how awesome the SharePoint Virtual Summit was. I gotta hear it from the source, right?
Mark: Well, I mean, I think we were firing on all pistons, at least 99 of the 100 pistons that we had set aside for this event.
Dux: There should be a song for that, “99 of the…”
Mark: Ninety-nine pistons under SharePoint in the cloud. Ninety-nine…
Dux: What was that song “99 Problems”? But anyway…
Mark: Oh, way…
Dux: No, no, no, let’s not go there. Let’s not go there. All right. Mark, so it was a great Virtual Summit.
Mark: Thank you.
Dux: Lots of love and engagement, obviously, from the community, so…
Mark: Yeah, the team…I mean the community was great. We got tons of feedback during the event, after the event, has been really positive. Obviously, questions, comments, lots of feedback, curiosities of when’s this gonna come, when’s that gonna come? But it’s always great to get to that point because now we can say, “Oh, yeah, it’s coming soon.”
Dux: So what was the biggest thing you were not expecting that came out of the Virtual Summit, be it feedback or be it, you know, just looking at it again after the event? Anything that stood out for you?
Mark: Well, yeah, the biggest thing I just come hearing more and more and I think it’s not just because of the Summit but certainly the Summit would have triggered, I think, a different question about two years ago. But now, it’s “I’m really excited to use that and Office 365. I can see how we can immediately do that” versus, “Oh, I see it is as sort of a teaser, a carrot to get to the cloud.” But the question more is not just when is it gonna be available but we’re really excited to use it. By the way, we’re already in the cloud and this is something that we can see that’s coming that they immediately want to see the value in. So it’s not a question of “Do I move to the cloud?” A lot of people are already there and these things only encourage them to do more in the cloud.
Dux: So one of the feedback I got, speaking with another customer, is, no, this is all good but it goes back to the classic SharePoint question I get from customers, “Now there’s more stuff. There’s more stuff.” It’s good stuff, don’t get me wrong. But how do we get our heads around this, like, what do we message our users? How do we provide them proper guidance and practical guidance on, you know, what workloads to take advantage of, what features, what capabilities? So what advice would you give?
Mark: Yeah. Well, I think the advice is obviously gonna be different for everybody and I don’t wanna take the cheap cop out. But obviously, one size does not fit all. And Office 365 itself, being this amazing broad toolkit is broad. And then you take SharePoint within that world, we are also broad to your question. We’ve got a lot that we can do, that we can offer, that we support or channels and comes through SharePoint, but it is kind of that taking the practical look. Where are you at in the cloud journey? We’re not gonna dictate that, but if people are already in the cloud with their email and calendar, they’re already building apps in Azure or in other services, you know, then we kinda came along and we’re thinking about, “Well, what about moving your documents up, your sites, building new, maybe…” You know, a lot of our customers have already had an existing investments and there’s a migration path and there’s a conversation to be had about sort of what and when. And it’s kind of that, it’s not everything in one weekend so take your time. There are things that you wanna do immediately. There may be some new workloads, some of the things we announced in the Summit’s like, I think like communication sites are gonna be things that people wanna do right away. There’s no migrate to a communication site. You might wanna bring some of your sites forward from one prem, connect them in a hybrid way, or just start building new in the cloud.
Dux: Well, two things, you know, I’ve learned and really gone a lot of value out of is, you know when I did the FastTrack…
Mark: Webinar with us, yeah, yeah.
Dux: …the CIO of Microsoft, Jim DuBois, awesome guy, you know he said something that kinda struck a chord in me. He said, “You know, look, classical IT always think about let’s move exchange, let’s move File Shares, let’s move SharePoint.” But having a different view because all these are all lit up, right, in Office 365 compared to the traditional, you have to install, config, and whatever. So think about more about scenarios and use cases which ties into what FastTrack offers where the Productivity Library, I love that because if you’re in HR, you’re trying to do onboarding, this is the use case, these are the capabilities and workloads you should think of.
Mark: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, we kinda get two types of questions and I think the one that you’re talking about I think is always an interesting way especially for sort of the new, “How do we take more advantage of Office 365?” But like an older question, still a very valid and good question is, “How do I build an externet on SharePoint online?” Tons of ways to answer that. There’s obviously a little bit more than SharePoint that you can pull into that. But then the other question that would be almost identical platform answer but really more broadly in scope is, “How can I better work with my external partners? How can I take advantage of getting information to my clients and operating with them better?” That may not all be SharePoint. That might be shared calendars. That might be documents. That might be just literally, you know, assigning people different things because you’ve got a virtual team that is coming from, you know, lots of different places.
I actually remember a long, long time ago, even in the early days of BPOS, I think the value is there. BPOS being what came before Office 365…
Dux: So for those who aren’t born yet, at that time, BPOS, Business Productivity Online Services.
Mark: Yeah. So we’ve obviously been in the cloud for a while. These last two years have been unbelievable growth and new experiences and really amazing things the team has been doing. But the value of being able to bring people together quickly. I remember there was a scenario where they had a huge event that needed to bring five very distinct, very large teams on a catastrophic level. And obviously, they did what they did for their job roles but they really shared their information on a SharePoint team site. Within days, they had five of these large entities engaged, sharing information…
Dux: Hundred percent?
Mark: Hundred percent. And then when their done, they were…
Dux: And that’s the thing, right, like SharePoint’s been around for a while and I know a lot of government institutions, non-profits around the world, you talk about calamities and disasters, SharePoint is mission-critical. I mean, how much more that now is in the cloud all the capabilities, how much more you can do in a shorter period of time.
Mark: Yeah. And I think the biggest enhancements that the team has been making is, how do you do that without having to plan for three to six months to stand the thing up? And that could be at the farm level, of course, in the past. But now it’s, how do you create a site very quickly without having to spend lots of money and time on design and the arrangements of how it’s gonna look like on a mobile device. You know, that’s kinda all built in there.
Dux: So I know one of the favorite things you guys talked about, at least for you Mark, is around security and around protecting data.
Dux: Can you speak more about that, especially now we live in a, you know, highly-compliant global world, right, where there’s GDPR near, for example, there’s requirements with different government entities. So you know, can you speak more to about what you guys just announced and how could that be very valuable to organizations worldwide?
Mark: Yeah. There’s a lot that we’re doing, obviously, in a very reactive way. You know, everything’s encrypted now, at rest and in transit. The data centers are highly protected in every way from every level of the stack, from the software, from the hardware, to the physical entry in the doorway. When it comes to guarding your files, obviously, we wanna take a pro-active measure. Some of that just is use policies. You know, how can you best guide people to be aware of the site that they’re on has a certain policy that applies to it. The file, when you start to attach it to an email, that integration without looking awareness to the end-user, you know, it really gives them the tools to be able to apply their digital…you know, their DLP policies to be able to manage their devices better. You know, I think earlier from Dan, you heard a little bit about what we’re doing with customer key, giving them more control at every level. And with SharePoint, certainly the biggest thing that people are storing there is their data and their documents.
Dux: Well, speaking about security, right, I had the privilege of listening to Scott Guthrie a few weeks ago at Build. He talked about the data center security. He said, “For example, if we have devices that need to be replaced, there’s no refurbishing.” He was saying that every data center has these massive shredders, that hardware like we shred papers, you shred hard drives.
Mark: Hard drives, awesome.
Dux: Yeah. I’m like, “Wow, that’s pretty cool.”
Mark: I always had this in my head, this image that Scott Guthrie just went around with a giant magnet, just went, “Woooo,” with his red shirt and the giant red magnet.
Dux: Right, right. So now, it’s good. What else is, I think, what is the most exciting part for you?
Mark: The most exciting thing for me, really, is two things, the communication sites. I mean, when people start to go create site and they really out of the gate, get this beautifully designed, easy to work with, add your content. The concepts of saving your work, getting ready to publish it out, to be able to turn from collaboration to communication, these sites are really easy to build and work with. You really are just configuring parts on a page. Two things, you can use multi-column, awesome. And when you drop a Web Part into place, you’re not locked there. If you wanna move it up, you wanna move it down two columns, three columns, they’re real friendly and you can change them even as you’re going. So to get your message out when you’re ready to communicate, super easy and you can build these sites and really meant for users and sort of team leads to be able to build out those sites.
The other side of it is just the work that the team is doing in mobile. The SharePoint app is maturing really every week, month, visually, externally. If you were to look at the app in the updates, about every quarter, they’re coming out with pretty significant updates to be able to…while you’re out on the go, like if we wanted to post, “Hey, we had a great time with Dux today.”
Mark: A little selfie, a little texting. If we had a document that goes with it, you know, you can really start or even publish your news from your app. So it’s really incredible, the work that you can…the way that you can access SharePoint data and documents on the go is really powerful through the app.
Dux: Yeah, Dan, you should get like a backstage view because from your perspective, you get the cameras here, right?
Dan: Yes, seriously, so I can open my SharePoint app and post a news article to our site. In fact, that’s what I’m doing right now.
Dux: Right now, yeah.
Mark: But I think the important thing about mobile is to remember, we’re doing it for IOS, Android, and Windows. We’ve already got a great browser from PC to Mac and all of the current browsers. It’s a great experience. The team is really optimizing for not being specific on what device you’re connecting to but where are you connecting from? What’s your connection like? And optimizing for performance and responsiveness.
Dux: Forgive me for not knowing this but is there an app for Windows store as well?
Mark: Yeah. There’s a Windows store app. When they first launched, the target was mobile. But they’re also working on enabling that to be something at the Windows 10 desktop level as well.
Dux: Because I’m thinking Windows 10s, right, with the new Surface laptop that came out.
Dux: Yeah, awesome, awesome. Now, what’s ahead? Ignite’s a few months and that’s a next big opportunity to land an announcement?
Mark: I think if we just look like…if you look between May 4th of last year to then this summit, you know, that’s a good year where the primary focus was collaboration. This year, there’s a lot of focus on extending collaboration, new team site functionality, ease of access and connectedness, to teams and to groups and really being able to bring some of what their workload is into our world, but also being able to more easily push our information and pages and experiences through to something like a new teams tab. You know, you can share on SharePoint content pages and vice-versa. So with groups, we’ll be able to easily bring in, like we have a new group calendar Web Part. Or you can add and link planner as a left-hand navigation in about two clicks. So a lot of that work will continue. And of course, this year being a big focus for a big part of what we announced being around communications, so collaboration, communication, and into the future how can we double down and make communication better? You know, we’ll have V1 soon out the door with communication sites.
News is a big, big service for us to be able to create the news, consume the news, have or aggregate and connect to the Microsoft Graph so you get my news even though you might not have followed me or subscribed to me in that old sense. But the news service will certainly enhance in terms of the broader reach of news, how it can create news, you know. More of the platform apps will get the ability to create news. And then just every team that we connect with, you know, really does wanna build a first-party Web Part. And now with the new SharePoint framework maturing, you can build highly-connected web parts that are, you know, kinda mobile-ready. You don’t have to build in responsiveness. So we think there’s gonna be a lot of traction around new web parts, new extensions, and you know, anything that the SharePoint framework enables. It really goes to both web and mobile on day one.
Dux: Awesome. Well, thanks, Mark.
Mark: You’re welcome. Thank you, sir, for the time and the lift. I think we’re here.
Dux: Yeah. You gotta give me a good rating, though.
Mark: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Dux: So do I need… Yeah, meaning…
Dan: Is that the Goober app?
Dux: That’s right. No, it’s the… Yeah, Goober, right? There should be a Web Part for that, you know. Next year, it would be great if I can order a car from a SharePoint site.
Mark: The thing that I actually want if I could just have one last request before we cut out.
Mark: I would like a Dux bot. Anytime I need good advice, SharePoint advice or life advice, I just wanna call up my Dux bot.
Dux: Dux bot.
Mark: You like it?
Dux: Yeah. I gotta talk to the AI team now. I’m gonna go and see Harry, maybe they can help me. Or Paul Stubbs [SP], you know, he and me…
Mark: Paul Stubs is the right guy. Absolutely.
Dux: All right. Thank you, sir.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely.
Dux: Thanks, Dan.
Dan: Hey, thanks, Dux.
Dux: See you, guys.