SPTechCon 2014 Keynote: Microsoft’s Olaf Hubel Shows us the Future of Work

Back when the cloud was just a fluffy thing that resided in the
sky (i.e., when this blogger was in college), working together meant trying to
herd team members into a room at the same time with print-outs of work to
distribute to each other.  There was no
Facebook, only the wealthy kids had laptops (that weighed 20 lbs), and
cell phones?  What's a cell phone?

How did we seriously get anything done?!?

Obviously, collaborating as a team was no easy feat.  Luckily, thanks to advances by Microsoft,
there is a quicker, easier way to get work done.  In his keynote presentation The
New Way to Work Together
, Microsoft
Senior Technical Product Manager for Office
365
, Olaf Hubel, introduced the future of work and its three pillars: Office 365, OneDrive for Business, and Enterprise Social.  As the way we interact and do business
has been changing, so too have the tools that we utilize day-to-day to get work
done.  Microsoft's new services and
capabilities within Office 365,
according to Olaf, have been expertly developed to help you meet the challenges
of a rapid changing workplace and increasingly sophisticated employee
expectations.

Olaf began his keynote with a discussion of Office 365 and its benefits.  Specifically, he noted three key high-points:

  • Continuous innovation;
  • Provide insight to manage change; and
  • Office 365 trust.

With the rate at which technology is evolving; it
becomes imperative to make sure that software updates are not only rapid, but
readily accessible.  With Office 365, patches have become a thing
of the past.  Unlike previously, when you
had to download and install updates, Office
365
offers instant updates that are automatically installed so that you
always have the latest version of the software. 
Continuous innovation at
Microsoft not only includes driving change, but also user interaction.  Microsoft prides itself on its 365x24x7 availability.  No matter where you are or the time of day,
Microsoft personnel are available to answer questions and entertain user
feedback; thereby building trust with its users.

When it comes to interacting with users, Microsoft's goal is
to make sure that there are never any surprises for users.  This includes notifying admins – both via
Microsoft blogs as well as automatic alerts – when there are changes that could
possibly affect their Office 365
environments.  In order to provide insight to manage change,
Microsoft, according to Olaf, maintains complete transparency when preparing
and deploying updates.  This benefits the
user by increasing organizational readiness and improving end-user experience.

Perhaps the greatest benefit for the end user is the trust
that Microsoft has strived to establish. 
Office 365 trust is perhaps
the most vital of Office 365's
high points.  In order to build trust,
Microsoft relies on three key things: security, compliance, and privacy.  When it comes to security, Microsoft works
endlessly to provide best-in-class security. 
This is best exemplified by its 10+ years of experience building
enterprise software and online services. 
As for compliance, Microsoft prides itself on its commitment to
maintaining and when possible, exceeding, industry standards and organizational
compliance.  Lastly, when it comes to
privacy, Microsoft is committed to practicing full transparency and only uses
customers' information to deliver services (i.e., no data-mining, etc.).

To close-out his discussion of Office 365, Olaf provided a summary of the Three Pillars of Office 365, all of which are available to enhance
and enrich your SharePoint environment:

  • Contextual Apps;
  • Robust Office 365 APIs; and
  • Flexible Tools (e.g., Azure, Visual Studio, and
    Access).

The second part of Olaf's presentation focused on OneDrive for Business.  Unlike OneDrive,
which provides personal cloud storage and is managed by the user, OneDrive for Business is a cloud
storage service that houses work documents and is managed by an organization's
IT professionals.  Adopting OneDrive for Business (previously known
as SkyDrive) provides a number of
benefits to users such as:

  • Productivity on all devices – OneDrive for Business provides
    solutions for all devices and adjusts its user interface based on the
    device. Sites automatically adjust to
    your media so that you always have the best view of SharePoint.
  • Work on Office documents from anywhere – With OneDrive for Business, you can access,
    view, and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents from any location. Work with your content where you are with
    your device, be it a PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet.

The theme of the last part of Olaf's presentation was Enterprise Social.  When it comes to developing enterprise
social, one of Microsoft's key goals was to imagine search and discovery.  This includes providing a fluid, intuitive way
to find information.  Since each user is
inherently different, Microsoft strives to be proactive and tailor search to
the user.  This includes enhanced search
tools in Office 365 as well as social networking capabilities that allow users
to tap into their own network for information discovery and sharing.

One of the cornerstones to information and sharing,
according to Olaf, is the "Office Graph."  The Office Graph represents the connection
between users and illustrates how work gets done.  This includes utilizing collaborative
software such as Exchange, SharePoint, Yammer, and Lync.  By utilizing these tools, Microsoft empowers
and enables teams to work like a network and establishes a strong bond amongst
the following:

  • People;
  • Content;
  • Ecosystems;
  • Insights; and
  • Experiences.

Olaf closed out his keynote by reminding us of the goal of
developing tools for the future of work – To make getting work done easier.  With the ever-evolving software and services
such as Office 365, OneDrive for
Business
, and Enterprise Social,
Microsoft is driving the charge towards unification across platforms, as well as
increased collaboration and productivity.

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