Microsoft Ignite 2016 Review: Introducing Office 365 as a Digital Workplace platform
After a full week at Microsoft Ignite 2016, technology is again offering real game changing opportunities for organizations across all industries. There were many great sessions that are now available online from the Ignite 2016 site.
At the core is a cloud computing model and a new term “Digital Workplace.” Moving to a cloud model represents great cost savings and accessibility options. But this infrastructure alone does not result in more productivity and collaboration within your organization. How you apply it in your organization makes the difference.
Providing your employees with a common platform that brings together communication, collaboration, processes, and information as a Digital Workplace becomes critical. This is where Microsoft is taking the Office 365 Ecosystem, delivering many new services that form the basis for your Digital Workplace.
We at SP Marketplace have been working with Microsoft to leverage this new technology in our Office 365 out-of-the-box solutions, and here is your chance to see what is possible. At Ignite, we saw many sessions on these new services and how Microsoft is delivering a common user experience across services laying the foundation for transformational change in the way business is done.
Other sessions at Ignite 2016 covered how you can put these into the context of your organization with Intranets, Extranet and other solutions.
Office 365 Services you need to know about:
SharePoint Framework – an integrated fit into Office 365
A couple sessions covered the new SharePoint Framework for developing business solutions. The framework provides a platform for creating SharePoint sites and site structures that work within Office 365, providing better integration with Office 365 services and a common user interface for users. Sessions provided an introduction and how to take advantage of the SP Framework.
Office 365 Groups
Office 365 Groups is a key component of the group collaboration in a Digital Workplace that lets you move between tasks with cross-application group membership (managed in Azure AD). Office 365 apps that are leveraging groups include Outlook, SharePoint, OneNote, Skype for Business, Planner, Power BI, Dynamics CRM, and soon Yammer. There are several sessions that cover Office 365 Groups.
Office 365 Planner – new
Office 365 Planner is the new group work management service in Office 365. Sessions had a demonstration of Planner's features, and discussion of how Planner fits into Microsoft's work management story for every kind of work. As many organizations spend millions on team collaboration software, learn how you and your organization can increase productivity with Planner in Office 365.
Microsoft Power Apps, Flow and Connectors – No code solution tools
No-code and low-code applications by power users have been essential tools in Microsoft SharePoint for a long time, and Microsoft has added many other new tools to your palette. PowerApps and Flow are services for building and using custom business apps that connect to your data and work across the web and mobile - without the time and expense of custom software development. Imagine connecting the Digital Workplace with line of business applications like Salesforce, ERPs, HR etc. using Flow. Sessions reviewed the road map and best practices for Flow, PowerApps, and more.
Power BI – the central point for business analytics
A key component of a Digital Workplace is the ability to gain visibility into the analytics of the business. Power BI is becoming the key Service for dashboards, charts and reports in the Office 365 platform. Across several sessions, Power BI use, features and road maps going forward were provided.
Intranet solutions – bringing the Digital Workplace into the context of the organization and user
Several sessions were provided that introduced the new role of an Intranet in Office 365 as the structure in which to deliver Office 365 and other services to employees and business partners in the context of their role, team and organization. Without an Intranet, the Office 365 platform is just a powerful set of services. An Intranet Structure done right provides an intuitive approach for your employees to adopt the Digital Workplace concept. The Expo also had a number of vendors’ show off their out-of-the-box solutions such as SP Intranet from SP Marketplace.
Additionally, Microsoft announced new Office 365 Administration capabilities, a new App Launcher in Office 365, and new security options. If you did not get a chance to attend Ignite, you can view many sessions on-demand on the Ignite 2016 website and later on Channel 9.
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