Since Satya Nadella took the helm as CEO of Microsoft, he has talked extensively about the fundamental transformation of our technology — and the digital transformation of business. And while those early talks may have sounded futuristic, there are few who would disagree with the amount of innovation and change that has happened inside and outside of Microsoft since he succeeded Steve Ballmer. As is often said within the SharePoint and Office 365 community, Microsoft is “cool” again, due in large part to this recognition of this digital transformation — and a clear strategy of how Microsoft can help companies ride the wave of change.
By now, you’ve probably reviewed a dozen or more articles and videos from Microsoft’s sold-out Ignite Conference, held last week in Atlanta, Georgia. By most measures, it was a highly successful event — and even if you were unable to attend yourself, most sessions were recorded (video or audio) and made available within 24 hours, with all of the keynote sessions streamed live. Of course, the real value of attending is not so much about the content, but the opportunity to network with the community, MVPs, vendors, and with the vast Microsoft army that was on hand.
Digital Transformation Underway
This year, the entire Ignite event focused on three core pillars of digital transformation, as introduced during Satya’s Day 1 keynote: Creating more personal computing, Building the intelligent cloud platform, and Reinventing productivity and business processes. Every session pointed back to these pillars, as did much of the partner messaging across the expo hall.
During his keynote, Satya spent a good portion of his time talking about the maturity of the Azure platform, emphasizing its importance to the future health and success of the company. His remarks covered the depth of the new security features, and the many new options for building intelligence into the platform, including news on PowerBI, Cortana Analytics, the Microsoft Bot Framework, and through the many different tools and platforms.
“After Ignite, it is clear that Azure is the single most important area of Microsoft’s investments, and Beezy is definitely in the right spot. Leveraging these new capabilities allows us to help large enterprises improve their communication, collaboration, knowledge management and processes.” ~Ritse Klink, Beezy COO
SharePoint 2016 is the first full version of the platform that was “born in the cloud” as part of Microsoft’s cloud-first, mobile-first strategy. What this means is that innovation happens first within Office 365 and Azure, and then those features and capabilities which make sense for on-premises environments are made available through major releases and feature packs — with SP2016 being the first full version since this change. But Microsoft wants on-premises customers to know that there are also options to leverage the cloud without walking away from their existing investments, with hybrid being a major selling point for Azure. And with our provider-hosted add-in, as well as our advanced capabilities using the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Bot Framework, Beezy is fully aligned with the Microsoft roadmap.
SharePoint, Office 365, and Azure Announcements
There was so much news coming out of Ignite, it was hard to keep up with it all. In case you missed our press releases, the Beezy team had some news to share, as well: a new website (you probably noticed!), a new mobile communication app called BeezyPocket, and a recent Microsoft case study showcasing some of our latest innovations. Beezy CEO Jordi Plana had this to say about some of the innovations underway at Beezy:
“We embrace the concept of ‘conversation as a platform’ and leveraged the Microsoft Bot Framework to develop a personal digital assistant. BeezyBot has the ability to connect to, and interact with your legacy systems. As a result, BeezyPocket is more than just another chat tool, because it understands your business, your context, and helps you get work done. This is the future – this is the Intelligent Workplace.”
You can read more on our announcements here:
- Beezy Revamps Website and Branding to Align with Intelligent Workplace Focus
- Beezy Launches BeezyPocket App for Modern Team Communications
- Beezy Announces Publication of Microsoft Graph Case Study
(On that last point, if you have not yet had a chance to read the Microsoft case study, you can find the related blog post here, the case study here, and a short video demonstrating the Microsoft Graph integrations here.)
And yes, Microsoft also made some announcements during Ignite. Many of the highlighted features are powered by the Microsoft Graph, they leverage PowerBI, or they showcase the new UI Fabric and SharePoint Framework. Honestly, there were no major surprises around the Productivity pillar, as almost everything released or discussed on the future road map was discussed as part of the May 4th Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco – but it’s always exciting to see new features at work, and not just in PowerPoint.
Many of the announcements centered on adding additional intelligence into existing applications and platforms, which is another key tenet of the Beezy solution. As we continue to innovate to extend and enhance the Microsoft stack, we are focusing more and more on how we can add intelligence to SharePoint to help our customers better collaborate and communicate. Instead of trying to summarize all of the news out of Ignite here, look for future blog posts that will go a bit deeper into many of these items — and how Beezy is leveraging many of them within our solution.
Check out some of the relevant highlights:
- Office 365 news — Intelligence, security, and collaboration
- New people experiences, driven by Delve and the Microsoft Graph
- Enriching the mobile and intelligent intranet with team news
- More reporting and an improved admin center in Office 365
- New app launcher with tabbed layout to make it more consistent with Windows 10
- SharePoint Server Feature Pack 1, cloud-born and future-proof
Continuing the Transformation
With Ignite now behind us, the Beezy team feel validated for many of the strategic decisions we’ve made over the past year, and we’re looking forward to finishing out a successful year — and continuing to grow in FY2017. With all of these product announcements from Microsoft, and the increased focus on digital transformation and the intelligent enterprise, the Beezy universe has once again expanded.
“Enterprise collaboration has become business-critical, and companies are looking for innovative ways to build intelligence into their internal systems. Beezy enables companies to achieve their vision of the digital workplace.” ~Jordi Plana
Beezy is the intelligent workplace for Office 365 and SharePoint, focused on extending and improving the SharePoint experience, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or deployed across a hybrid environment. We are serious when we say that we are on a mission to transform the way people work and to help employees be more connected, innovative, and happy.
Overall, Ignite was a very successful event for the Beezy team, and we’re now looking forward to the European SharePoint Conference in November. We hope to see you there!