News from the SharePoint Conference 2014

Microsoft announced a number of important SharePoint and Office 365 improvements during the kickoff of the SharePoint 2014 Conference in Las Vegas on Monday, March 3, and DocPoint was on hand as one of the first to hear the news.

These announcements included the first service pack for SharePoint 2013, OneDrive for Business, new Office 365 developer tools and APIs, and some new Office 365 social experiences.

Jeff Teper, the Microsoft Office Service and Servers Vice President, said, “We believe the future of work is all about working like a network; it’s about how we build relationships, share information, and respond to ever-changing conditions. And it’s founded on an openness and transparency that will drive a new level of productivity….Personalized and proactive insights are required to cut through the noise. As humans, we have an incredible ability to achieve, but only if we can focus. And we need technology to help us, so that we can focus our energies on accomplishing big things.”

Here’s what we have learned so far from the conference sessions, with more detail to come in future blogs.

SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1

SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now available for users of the latest on-premises version of SharePoint. In addition to the normal performance and security fixes, Microsoft has included some important new features to encourage a hybrid (on premise/cloud) solution with the eventual goal of migrating on-premise users completely to the cloud. The major addition is the ability to connect to cloud-based OneDrive for Business storage from the new standalone OneDrive for Business offering noted below. Microsoft also provides a clear direction for Yammer to replace the built-in SharePoint Newsfeed. On the developer side, there is now support for JSON Light in OData v3 requests.

Standalone Version of OneDrive for Business

On April 1, Microsoft will launch a standalone subscription to OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro), an offering that will sit alongside the business versions of Office 365, the individual Office 365 services (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online), and Office 365 ProPlus, which is a subscription-based version of the Office 2013 Professional Plus suite. For $5 per user per month, you receive 25GB of storage space per user, with the option of buying more.

New 0365 Social Experiences

Microsoft announced three new “social experiences” at SPC14, each of which is tied to Teper’s comment about “working like a network” and, more specifically, to leveraging Yammer capabilities throughout Office 365, often using technologies from FAST:

Office Graph
Extending the enterprise graph from Yammer, Office Graph maps the relationships between people and information by recording their likes, posts, replies, shares and uploads in email, social conversations, documents, sites, instant messages, meetings and more. In other words, Office Graph works across the Office 365 offerings and not just with SharePoint.

“Oslo”
This new app taps into the Office Graph and then presents information in a way that is more natural so users can navigate, discover, and search for people and information across the organization.

Groups experience
Built on Groups from Yammer but coming to all Office 365 applications, Groups will “unify people, profiles, conversations, email, calendars and files.” When you create a group, Office 365 will provision an inbox, social feed, calendar and document library that group members can use to collaborate. And, they can choose to communicate through the Yammer feed or email inbox— their choice.

While these new experiences sound exciting, they’re not quite ready, and will roll out in late 2014 and beyond.

Watch this space for more details to come.