“The giant is awake. We hear you.”
With these remarks, Karuana Gatimu—Microsoft’s director of strategy and adoption for the Discovery and Collaboration Team—launched into her keynote talk, “The Future of SharePoint,” before a packed crowd at SPTechCon Boston today.
This year, the largest independent SharePoint-only conference in the United States has attracted about 1,200 attendees looking to expand their knowledge of SharePoint in classes and in networking with other attendees.
Karuana reiterated Microsoft’s message of the future being about providing the best solution for enabling collaboration and communication, bringing people together with a great experience that will drive them to use the tooling as an integral part of their workday.
On the enterprise social front, as to whether folks should use Yammer or the SharePoint Newsfeed, she said she’s “not sure we did the best job to drive that message. We want to provide the means and methodology to drive collaboration.” Enterprises, she added, “have to mature their networks, and transfer from an e-mail culture to a conversation culture. People are uncomfortable with this.”
She did say that the lines between Office 365, Outlook and SharePoint will begin to blur as Microsoft looks to provide a way for users to initiate conversations around documents. These conversations can also be viewed in a single feed, so users “don’t have to pop out into another product” to collaborate.
For the fall, Microsoft is planning to enhance the user experience, with SkyDrive integration as well as the ability to have Yammer conversations around documents and single sign-on for Office 365, she said. By winter, SharePoint users can expect the ability to have conversations with folks outside of SharePoint, better e-mail integration, and enhanced messaging, with video chats also on the delivery road map.
The idea with technology, Karuana said, is to “take the best of it and move forward.” She advised attendees, “Don’t be afraid to deprecate your own solutions. Don’t be afraid to try radical new things.”
On Monday, Joel Oleson, “the most connected man in SharePoint,” discussed the future of SharePoint on mobile devices, citing statistics that show 82% of the world engaging in social networking, and there being 1 billion smartphones in the world.
We are seeing the rise of the four-screen household, he said, in which all members use a smart television, computer, smartphone and tablet. Further, traffic to the Web from devices is at 14.4% and growing. “In India, device traffic has overtaken desktops,” he said.
But he also noted that 92% of the companies deploying SharePoint do not support mobile access to it, as they do not trust SharePoint permissions and security to lock down documents once they’re accessed on a device.
Further, enterprises need to face the BYOD trend, as workers demand to use the devices they prefer for both professional and personal activity. The world is moving from old-school mobile device management to a realm of mobile application management and mobile information management.
He talked about using responsive Web design to provide the best experience for each device, which will help enterprises enable some of their applications and forms for smaller screens. That, he pointed out, will become the new “write once, run anywhere.”