Recapping ESPC 2019!

The 2019 European SharePoint, Office 365, & Azure Conference (ESPC) 2019 in Prague opened with a spectacular fire-dance performance. Then, Jeff Teper, Microsoft CVP of Office 365, took the stage in front of a full house of over 1,500 visitors from across Europe. During his keynote presentation, Jeff shared that this was his fourth ESPC and that he enjoys attending these events, as they are opportunities for us to embrace the great cloud community we share.  Jeff then reiterated Microsoft’s vision to Empower every person on the planet to achieve more.

Jeff outlined the five key investment areas Office 365 is focusing on for growth and customer value:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Intranet and Engagement
  3. Collaboration
  4. Developer platform across Office 365
  5. Security, Compliance, and Ease of Management

For Knowledge, Jeff shared that the number one problem customers have is finding the right employee skills. Key to this is to help build current employee skill sets and empower team members to increase the knowledge required to do their jobs. He talked about this being the real power of AI, something that technology can now do. AI can help connect people to the right content when and where they need it.

He introduced Project Cortex, a new AI platform geared at identifying and tagging information for greater findability. Jeff explained how this platform will organize the tagged information automatically and then deliver the data back into the applications workers user every day.  With this platform, users will be able to identify what is trending, build topic maps, and find acronyms associated with the relevant data. Project Cortex will provide tremendous savings in terms of time and money.

For Intranet and Engagement, Jeff and his peers talked about the communication and collaboration needed to connect digitally across borders.  Microsoft’s new Office 365 offering includes enhanced intranets with landing pages designed specifically for employee engagement. These new landing pages and intranet improvements enable companies and employees to share who they are, what is happening, and how to find the pertinent information already stored on SharePoint, again using AI to find relevant texts, presentations, and video content within company intranet sites. Microsoft is also providing thousands of royalty-free images to make company and user content beautiful, including mixing reality with 3D effects.

To build a stunning intranet site out of the box, Jeff suggested visiting lookbook.ms.com for how to flag news, post events, identify resources, find personalized content and much more. To further enhance engagement, there is a new Yammer enabling conversations across the organization that are populated into normal Outlook notification views.

For Collaboration, the Microsoft presentation team shared how to access information both inside and outside a company with complete security using AI-powered collaboration. In addition, new tools within Office.com provide layout ideas from actual PowerPoint samples; enhanced editing with colleague tracking capabilities within Word; and, customized views enabling data modeling within Excel. To enhance the usage of Outlook mobile, the combined suite of PowerPoint, Word and Excel now autoloads into the Outlook mobile experience.

For Developers, Microsoft Office 365 is offering a graphic and SharePoint framework with fluid integration. All the data is housed in SharePoint but the framework enables the ability to extend across Microsoft 365.

And finally, in terms of Security, Compliance and Ease of Management, Office 365 is focused on easy yet secure. There are sensitivity labels applied to teams and/or files to determine the level of security required and determine who does or does not have access to the information. These labels can flag confidential data such as credit card information and identify items that may be considered top secret. This information is automatically scanned, applying the security rules upon accessing and exiting the data. These enhancements help companies meet compliance needs and block inappropriate access to data based on applied policies.

Jeff concluded his keynote by inviting the attendees to participate in numerous sessions focused on Teams, SharePoint, and a deeper understanding of Office 365 offerings.

At the BitTitan booth following the keynote, we talked to a wide variety of MVPs, end users, consultants, integrators, and MVPs from across Europe. We were very pleased with the number of new contacts we met and the dozens of opportunities of identified opportunities for migrating Office 365, both on-premises-to-cloud as well as cloud-to-cloud.

See you at ESPC 2020!

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