SharePoint Conference 2012: Notes from the Keynote

The keynote at SharePoint Conference is always inspiring and jam-packed with information, and this morning’s keynote in Las Vegas for SPC 2012 was no exception. The Microsoft team presented a program that included a whirlwind tour of SharePoint 2013 that I’m sure left the crowd excited to learn more at the over 300 breakout sessions on offer throughout the week.

Jared Spataro, Senior Director of the SharePoint Product Group at Microsoft, began pointing out how SharePoint has become a way of life. Over 65 different user groups meet each month to share best practices and networks. SharePoint MVPs and other Microsoft-certified experts abound. SharePoint Saturdays have proliferated as well, with the largest one to date having been held in Washington, D.C., and boasting more than 2,000 attendees. At SPC 2012 this year, there are more than 10,000 attendees from more than 85 countries. It’s really amazing!

The keynote focused on three main areas: Experience, Innovation, and Ecosystem. Experience referred to the SharePoint user experience. Did you know that the Microsoft team working on SharePoint 2013 from a user experience perspective was four times larger than the team that worked on the user experience for SharePoint 2010? This extra emphasis certainly shows. The interface is much cleaner than before; the new trend is to divorce the content from the page layout. I like the new look. The document management experience is getting much easier with the incorporation of SkyDrive Pro. Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President for the Office Business Platform, Microsoft Business Division, wowed the crowd when he dragged and dropped a file from Outlook to SkyDrive Pro. The new hover panel for file preview was pretty impressive as well.

As you probably are aware, Microsoft recently acquired Yammer. David Sacks and Adam Pisoni, the co-founders, talked about the integration of Yammer with SharePoint and Office. Adam discussed how social media is both the cause and the solution for many challenges businesses face today. Social tools are considered one of the catalysts that have driven the need for companies to be able to adapt to change in real-time. The name of the game today is agility, and businesses need to be nimble and faster on their feet in order to respond efficiently and effectively to the demands of the more social world. They need to be able to better anticipate change so they can address it quickly. SharePoint’s social tools will help connect people to information so they can make more informed decisions, help people organize into groups to collaborate better, and keep your employees more engaged. The prospects of the SharePoint/Yammer/Office integration are certainly exciting. I’m looking forward to learning more.

We can thank SharePoint Online for many of the innovations we see in SharePoint 2013. As Microsoft works through the challenges related to hosting multiple, large, independent SharePoint farms, those who use SharePoint on-premises reap the benefits. SharePoint 2013 marks the end of the three-year release cycle. Microsoft will now be releasing updates to the Cloud every 90 days. Upgrading your farm to SharePoint 2013 promises to be much smoother than previous upgrades may have been. Once you upgrade the back-end to the 2013 framework, you can migrate each site collection when your end users are ready. This is great news because my experience is that everyone is generally not ready at the same time. Did you know that SharePoint 2013 is 40% more efficient in its use of bandwidth than before? When you save a version of a file, in SharePoint 2013 only the delta is stored; this saves a lot of space in the content database. Another innovation is that image compression has been improved four times, which means that page loads are quicker because images are smaller. The SharePoint 2013 demos were done live from a data center in Amsterdam. I can vouch for the sub-second page refresh times… pretty impressive!

The keynote ended with information about changes in the SharePoint Ecosystem, including the Cloud application model and SharePoint App Store. This provides great opportunities for developers who want to build and distribute apps for SharePoint 2013. I know I will be watching to see how that evolves!

You can watch the entire SPC 2012 keynote here, courtesy of Microsoft.

Missed any of Bamboo Nations SPC 2012 coverage? Catch up here:

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