Microsoft Ignite & SharePoint/O365 – Pre-Conference Predictions

Author by Drew Madelung

I am currently on the train on the way down to Chicago to take part in the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference and I began to wonder what we actually will be seeing this week vs. what I hope we will be seeing. I am going to this conference and concentrating on sessions around the future of SharePoint, Office 365, and OneDrive for Business.  When first putting together my schedule I had at minimum 3 sessions per time slot that I wanted to attend only on these topics. That small sample size shows the immense scale that I expect Ignite to be. There will be over 18,000 people interested in the future of Microsoft technology descending onto McCormick Place and of course the surrounding bars/restaurants in Chicago. If what we see is anything like what was announced during the BUILD conference last week (I better get to play with a Hololens) this should be a great week.

In this post I am going to put together what I expect to see and what I hope to see. At the end of the week I will take stock of what actually happened and compare it to my predictions. If this is anything like my predictions for the Brewers this year I could be quite off but let’s jump right in.

Expect to See

New O365 NextGen Portals

Microsoft has already began releasing solutions and branding them as NextGen portals. The primary example of this is the O365 Video Portal. I expect to see announcements of new NextGen portals around Knowledge Management and an Intranet solution.

OneDrive for Business Sync Update Plans

If anyone is currently using OneDrive for Business you have probably experienced issues with the sync client. I have had to run multiple repairs on mine and have had other issues around some missing features that I believe are a necessity for enterprises. The primary announcement I expect is the ability to do selective sync of files/folders.

Simplified Hybrid with SharePoint

I will be attending the pre-conference session ran by Bill Baer that will hopefully be demonstrating some of the new features available for setting up a hybrid environment with currently existing SharePoint 2013 setups and also information for SharePoint 2016 when it is released next year. I believe that Microsoft knows this is a necessity for enterprises to take advantage of different features in the cloud but still have on-premise solutions available.

Hope to See

Future of Forms

Anyone in the SharePoint community was rocked last year when they announced the death of InfoPath. At the SPC conference last year there was even a funeral held for the product. There was hope provided at SPC with the announcement of FOSL (Forms on SharePoint Lists). Unfortunately less than a year later InfoPath was brought back from the dead and will continue to be supported while FOSL was removed the roadmap. I hope to see announcement about the direction they will be taking with forms in SharePoint and Office 365.

Future of SharePoint Workflow

The release of SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 brought a whole new world to the way that workflows were ran on SharePoint. The entire infrastructure for the backend was updated to support a more cloud based and agile model. Workflows built on the 2010 model were continued to be supported in both environments. With SharePoint 2016 I want to learn if the architecture will stay the same, will we have new or deprecated actions and what will happen to the current 2010 workflows.

Future of Yammer

I think Yammer as a solution is great but it is lacking the full integration with the rest of Office 365. Things are slowly starting to merge together with O365 groups but I hope that is just the beginning. I hope to see the social features of Yammer become even more tightly integrated with O365 (maybe on-prem?) and am interested to know if they will continue with the branding of “Yammer” as the O365 solution grows as a whole.

The Site Actions Menu in SharePoint 2016 not changing locations from the top right

No comment needed here. :)

If anyone wants to meet up, I will be attending both SharePints and multiple other parties listed here. I will also frequently be hanging out the Concurrency booth. If you see me wandering around please stop by and say hello. I can also be reached through twitter @dmadelung.

As always before a conference, raise a glass to the conference kings for good WIFI and clean demos.


Drew Madelung

Technical Architect