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Keynote - SPTechCon from Boston

I attended Joel Oleson’s keynote this morning at SPTechCon in Boston.  I always enjoy attending keynotes, as they generally provide a soup-to-nuts overview (marketing spew aside) on new products.  Plus, it's fun to gauge interest in a new release or feature set based on the "ahs" or "exasperated sighs" of the studio audience. Joel Oleson (a.k.a SharePointJoel), if you haven’t heard of him, is a bit of a SharePoint hero and a prolific blogger; a guy definitely worth following if you use SharePoint. 

Joel’s keynote didn’t disappoint.  I got to see firsthand a lot of the new features in SharePoint 2013, a product that was released in spring of this year. In full disclosure, I currently use two previous versions of SharePoint with my editorial team, but I am not a techie. In fact, many of the amazing things SharePoint can do are sadly and pathetically overlooked by me (bad editor…should have joined the production team back in the day). Still, I really do like the product and use it regularly.

So SharePoint 2013 really took a whole new direction with this release. As Joel mentioned in his keynote, it’s all about the BYOD (bring your own device).  He mentioned that while many CEOs understand that “mobile” is a hugely important factor to consider for their companies, less than 20% actually have an integrated strategy in place today.  I would say that Joel’s theme du jour really centered on secure enterprise mobility and BYOD-- with the greatest emphasis on a better user experience for both a company’s employees and their customers.

In my opinion, SP 2013 kind of blows previous versions out of the water. Speaking to the "employee" experience, this release does a really nice job focusing on the any device, anywhere, anytime, thing we folks on the move love-- this release makes it SO much easier to be productive, social, and accessible in SharePoint.  Even on a phone, the ease of getting those little annoying things you meant to do at work off your plate (after the kids are tucked into bed) is a reasonable experience.  There is an intuitive new look (no more ugly text) via a “contemporary” design or you can switch to full screen mode; your choice. There are also three apps (available for Windows 8, iOS, and Android) that make accessing “Social”, “People” and “Documents” an easy experience. They are:

1) Newsfeed- the activity feed in SharePoint, this social app gives you read access to your docs, along with the ability to send them to someone else.

2) Office Mobile – enables you to actually edit the documents.

3) SkyDrive Pro – allows you to take your document offline.

While Newsfeed is a free app, I think you may need Office 365 for the others.

Anyway, there were a number of other cool features that Joel touched on, including a slick example a “responsive” web site vs. “non responsive” web site. Check out Microsoft.com vs. Office.com (be sure to scale your browser window from large to smaller) to see what I mean.  Starbucks.com is another good example of a well-built responsive site. I just love it when applications have an attractive AND intuitive design.  Makes my life-- from family to work and in between- so much easier! For more detail, check out Joel's SPTechCon slide deck at http://www.slideshare.net/joeloleson/sharepoint-2013-and-the-enterprise-mobile-revolution. 

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