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  • B2B Tech's Top 5 Highlights from SharePoint Conference 2014
    28 March 2014
    3:48 PM

    Category:Cloud Services; Portals and Collaboration; Infrastructure and Messaging; Business Intelligence
    Post By:Chelsea Stephens

    ​1.     SharePoint Online and Office 365 get the love

    It used to be that SPO (SharePoint Online in Office 365) was always lagging behind the big brother SharePoint on premises.  Well the shoe is on the other foot with Microsoft developing a "cloud first" strategy.

    Products will be developed for the cloud and then made available to on premises versions -- if at all.

    In fact, Microsoft has only committed to one more release of SharePoint for on premises (available in 2015).

    Cloud-only features:

    • Power BI​
    • Extended (or Unified) Groups
    • Social through Yammer
    • Office 365 Video Portal
    • OSLO

    Microsoft has not abandoned the on-prem community and did solicit customer and community feedback.  In fact many of the cloud services can be seamlessly integrated with an on premises installation of SharePoint.

    ​2.     Power BI (or power to the people)

    Power BI is a suite of business intelligence tools available only in Office 365.  These tools really lower the bar in making BI reports and graphs available to decision makers.  The suite of tools includes:

    • Power Query – query relational tables, office documents, or even web pages
    • Power Map – make your data geospatial and explore and navigate via a 3d map
    • Power Pivot – create in-memory multidimensional data without requiring SQL Server Analysis Services
    • Power View – provide interactive, animated visualizations (i.e. graphs on steroids)

    Why is it important?  Because Microsoft bills this suite as self-service.  No huge, years-long, enterprise data warehouse project to produce cubed, financial data reports needed last week. 

    Is it truly self-service?  Well, sort of.  You still need a strong data analyst to manage foreign key relationships and understand dimensional data.  However, once the data query has done its work producing graphs are straight forward.  The best part is that the queries are saved and can be re-used.

    Did I mention that all the queries, reports, and graphs are displayed and managed through SharePoint?


    Power Map


    Power Query

    3. Social and Extended Groups

    Microsoft finally clarified the social roadmap.  Yammer has won and the social features currently embedded in SharePoint are sunsetting.         

    Yammer has had "groups" capability for a long time.  Essent​ially a user could define\invite people to be part of an ad hoc group.  This group shared comments and files via a group name and could be public or private.

    Microsoft has extended the groups concept across Exchange, SharePoint and Yammer.


    Additionally, as files in the group are accessed, the Yammer discussion appears with the document.


    4. Office 365 Video Portal

    Microsoft has finally addressed the fact that if you throw a video into SharePoint and a bunch of users access it simultaneously – say for training purposes, you run into a bandwidth issue.

    The new Office 365 Video Portal addresses the optimization, compression and rendering required by heavy use.  Additionally, it provides a YouTube-like interface to manage and find videos.

    In order to do accomplish this it leverages Azure video services.


    5. Office Graph and Oslo

    Jeff Teper the Vice President over SharePoint, Exchange, and Office 365 said that his mission is to address "information overload."  To that affect, he has commissioned Office Graph and a new dashboard interface codenamed, Oslo.

    Both tools are being developed by the same Norwegian com​pany that developed the FAST search engine used by SharePoint 2013.

    Jeff defined Office Graph as "the underlying substrate" for Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange.  Essentially, it will be an index structure that ties a user and their permissions to objects across Microsoft apps while providing an API to extend it.  The idea is that it will use machine learning to determine which information is most relevant to your working habits.

    Oslo is the cross-platform interface that displays and filters the information collected by the Office Graph.  This dashboard displays the most relevant information based on your habits and the habits of people you are connected.


    Interface is developed for PC, tablet and phone


    Submitted by Matt Tinkler, CIO

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