SPC11 Keynote: Kurt DelBene on the Future of Productivity & the Value of the Cloud

During this morning's SPC keynote, the President of Microsoft Office, Kurt DelBene presented his vision of the future of productivity, as well as the value of the cloud for customers.  Beginning by identifying some of the trends that drive the business, Kurt allowed that the nature of the workforce is changing (and is multigenerational), and that social software, the consumerization of IT, increasing support for remote work, and other trends directly affect Microsoft's approach to SharePoint development and innovation.

Kurt defined the three pillars of his vision of the future of productivity at Microsoft as being:

  • "Continue to lead in what productivity means";

  • "Be leaders in the cloud and what it means on your terms"; and
  • "Continuing to deliver for you a unified platform."

Kurt stressed the importance of "a connected ecosystem … to allow you to accomplish your goals."  Along these lines, Kurt shifted gears to discuss the cloud, saying of Office 365 that it's "where Office meets the cloud … in a 'no-excuses' format," and that "Every iota of [Office] capability should move to the cloud." 

Needless to say, in the cloud, "security is absolutely critical, [and] we take a multi-level approach," Kurt explained.  Reliability is just as key (at this point Kurt referenced Richard Riley's failover demo from Jeff Teper's keynote), as is robust support, about which Kurt said, "We've moved operation of the service directly into the product teams."

Kurt screened a video next , demonstrating how NetHope, a unique collaboration between 33 of the world's leading humanitarian organizations, uses Office 365 and SharePoint Online to more effectively achieve their goal to "help millions of people around the world."  Following the video, NetHope CEO Bill Brindley joined Kurt onstage to discuss NetHope's use of Office 365 as a unified platform to bring their teams together worldwide.

Kurt then announced that Microsoft is donating $50,000 to NetHope, and that funds would be disbursed throughout the 33 participating NetHope organizations … and that SPC attendees would make the determination of how much money will go to each organization, by voting using an app that was developed expressly for this purpose.  The app was built using Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and SharePoint Online, and Chris Anderson came out to demonstrate just how it was built.

Kurt wrapped up his keynote by suggesting some next steps for your organization as regards the cloud:

  • Try it today (30-day trials of Office 365 are available);
  • Evaluate your readiness to move; and
  • Craft the plan to get you there.


Read our complete coverage of Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011.