If Ignite was about Transformation of IT, I’d tell you that WPC, where over 12,000 Microsoft Partners gathered, is about Reinventing businesses. The industry is changing, no doubt about that anymore and we need to change with it. Consultants, ISVs and, of course, you – everyone needs to step back and look at what is going on and adapt.
“There’s far more of those that aren’t moving fast enough than there are those that are moving too fast” – Kevin Turner
Half of the workplace will be millennials by 2020 said Julia White during her keynote and she’s right. You’d argue, well so what? If they feel using something like Dropbox or some online solution will get their problems solved, they won’t be shy to go get it. Technology isn’t perceived as scary or complicated anymore.
Don’t believe me? Have you seen the HoloLens in action at WPC? I'm not even sure that The Matrix can still be called a science-fiction movie anymore. Microsoft showed how a vendor was able to extend their 3D modelling software to integrate it in your living room almost like a regular object. Including a hologram of a colleague leaving you comments.
You thought this was a real motorcycle? Don’t let the Minecraft walls fool you, it’s the actual room you would be working in – just with a 3D model of a Motorcycle that’s not actually there.
My mind is racing with ideas.
But back to our reality, what does this mean at the office today? It means we need to reinvent…disrupt.
Microsoft Doesn't Want to Be Left behind Again and Drives with the Cloud
I’ve been trying to express this for a while now and believe me, I too had to get used to it…But it’s not about On-Premises vs Office 365.
We’ve heard Satya talk a few times about mobility now, trying to reshape our perception of the word. He knows that the devices will change shapes and surely we'll see many more before the year is over. What people need is a way to move between them seamlessly and easily.
That’s what the cloud is for.
If you’re looking at Office 365 simply as something to remove your SharePoint Server and put it up there somewhere, you’re missing the point. Sure, you can do that, but it’s about so much more. It’s about creating a more personal computing experience, reinventing productivity and enabling a mobile experience for users.
Reinventing Productivity with On-Premises and Office 365
“Collaborating through email attachments is just simply outdated, can’t collaborate across our devices.” – Julia White
And when a student was asked if he saved locally, his reply was simple “What’s that mean?” – Why would he ever not save to the cloud and have it always available no matter what he's on or where?
But to reinvent productivity, it goes beyond saving files to the cloud and having them available on multiple devices.
The idea is to continue to innovate in the individual products like SharePoint, but allow you to do more when you connect them to the cloud and Office 365.
SharePoint and Office 365 announcements:
SharePoint 2016 Public Preview – August 2015
SharePoint 2013 Cloud Search Service Application Public Preview – August 2015
Better Co-Authoring experience
Delve Org Analytics
Delve integration with Trello and Salesforce
SharePoint 2016 is coming out very soon and they, once again, made it very clear that they've no intention of stopping with On-Premises releases. In fact, they've been growing 25% amongst their customers. Many were excited to hear it loud and clear from up above at Microsoft.
You can bet SharePoint 2016 will be their best SharePoint release as well, because for once they’ve had to use it and experience it with millions through Office 365.
They’ve learnt what works and what doesn’t, as well as how to improve the infrastructure components for speed and reliability as well as disaster recovery.
But even better, it’ll bring new ways to connect to Office 365 in a true hybrid model that isn’t limited to just SharePoint 2016 customers but 2013 as well!
Ironically enough, I was saying something similar recently during my Keynote in London – It’s important to separate On-Premises and the Cloud, and realize they're not competing with each other.
For your organization to move faster than your competitors, and for you to be the next Airbnb, Tesla, Uber or Netflix… you’ll need to reinvent productivity and reshape those business processes. For that, you’ll need as much insights as possible on how people work within your organization.
Though you can continue with On-Premises deployments, it’s innovation happening on Office 365 with Delve, Modern Portals, Groups and more that willl give you that edge. Even better, you’ll be able to use these with your data sitting On-Premises as well when connected to Office 365 in a hybrid model.
It's Time to Seize the Opportunity Microsoft Is Placing in Front of You
With everything shaken up, it’s your time to take a piece of the pie. Give your users the opportunity to do their best work by providing them with a service that's both mobile and insightful for them.
The advantage I see in this disruption of our industry lies in the Office Graph. Connecting everything done on Office 365, and soon with your data stored On-Premises, to create powerful solutions no longer bound to one product.
Build a custom Intranet that leverages an individual’s objects in Email, Calendars, Yammer, SharePoint and more all at once for a smarter experience.
When I see Delve and how it allows each user to find and discover content they're working on or need before searching them, I see a showcase product for the next-generation IT.
Allowing you to build custom solutions adapted to your business requirements with content sitting across multiple products and solutions.
This is it. It’s where it all begins once again – in 2016. Our industry has changed and so have the people coming in to work. We can be those that get left behind or react too late as Microsoft did with Mobile Devices before or Blockbuster with their video rental service. Or we can be first to own the cloud. Remember, the cloud will soon mean solutions with On-Premises data as well. NOT an On-Premises contender, but rather that when combined with it, it'll allow you to do things not possible before.