Microsoft Keynote at the SPTechCon – Transparent Hybrid Clouds

image It’s always great to see Arpan Shah speak. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with him across several of his roles at Microsoft – from early SharePoint days through Microsoft Project and now in his current role with Office 365.

Today, Arpan leads the Office 365 Technical Product Management Group at Microsoft. He shared that his early days in tech started in Austin at Trilogy Software. It was great to hear his thoughts and see what his team is up to at Microsoft these days. Hint: It’s all about the Clouds … Seamless & Transparent Clouds

"A great hybrid deployment is when the users don't know it's hybrid"
~Arpan Shah

He covered a wide range of topics related to where Microsoft is heading with Office 365 and with a few other projects too. He highlighted a few specific areas with a lot of emphasis on the shift to the cloud. One point in particular was spot on and very much in line with the thinking of the new Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, specifically:

Microsoft is committed to bringing the cloud to you.

A Few Key Points

Data, IT Control, Ship Cross Plat, Delve, Office 365 video (this is a HUGE), RMS and Roadmaps

I’m not going to re-cap every point he made in monstrous detail here. I’ve captured the parts that I think are relevant and salient to both customers and the world I primarily live in … Partners.

  • Data – The goals are to Minimize Disruption while Insuring Security. There is an emphasis in Encryption at rest & Encryption in transit. There is a strong connection to roadmaps here (the last point below).
  • IT Control – Microsoft has put a lot of effort and focus on MDM - Mobile Device Management & MAM - Mobile App Management
  • Shipping Cross Platform – As many have noticed Microsoft has recently shipped Office for IPad, IOS, Android, iPhone, and yes … Windows 10
  • Delve – For those that don’t know … It's a search thing. In a sense it’s a Knowledge Network revisited. It is driven by SharePoint security and can be turned off by end users or admins. The goal is to become a pervasive experience
  • Office 365 Video (AWESOME) – Microsoft is in the Content Delivery Network (CDN) business with the release of Azure Media Services. Just buy SharePoint storage to get started.
  • RMS – Rights Management Services is back. For those that have tried it in the past you may remember it was hard to setup. It’s much easier to setup and manage in the cloud. The focus is on Data Loss Prevention (DLP). Key Point: Microsoft is looking across all content … not just documents.

Roadmaps Are Public Domain

image Microsoft wants you to know what they are up to. What they are thinking. And, most importantly Microsoft wants to make it easy for you to know what is happening in the world of Office 365.

They have made it VERY EASY. Check out the roadmap. It is updated regularly.

Pro Tip: Set a reminder on your (Outlook) calendar to check on the roadmap weekly

Best Line and Nuance

Microsoft is changing the way they think about customers and the cloud. Which translates directly to how Microsoft thinks about customers and partners. I’m very happy to see this shift and I think customers are too. The shift is subtle and nuanced. I’m sure you see it right away.

Old: Microsoft is bringing customers to the cloud.

New: Microsoft is committed to bringing the cloud to you.

Summing Up

At the end of Arpan’s session he showed a really slick polling app that he was able to deploy in real-time from his Office 365 environment. Which ties to the theme of "A great hybrid deployment is when the users don't know it's hybrid" because they are seamless and solutions focused.

Which also ties to a broader theme of BYOA - Bring Your Own Applications

Microsoft is enabling the rise of partners and end customers to Bring Their Own Apps with them from department to department and job to job.

I think Microsoft is at the leading edge of this effort by what they are doing within Office 365. They are making it easy to embed and enable solutions from disparate sources to drive the business forward. By putting in Controls for IT and adding RMS, MDM and shipping cross platform I think Microsoft is set to enthrall their current 1+ billion users and capture their next 1 billion users.

For more on BYOA … see what my CEO said in Information Week.

I’m looking forward to how Microsoft embraces the partner community. I was very happy to see Arpan at the SharePoint TechCon event and I hope to see him and others from the Microsoft partner facing efforts at future SPTechCon’s and other non-Microsoft events. If shows a lot of commitment to the partner community and helps customers know that Microsoft cares about the partners as much as they care about them.

What do you think?

  • Did you attend Arpan’s keynote?
  • What were your takeaways?
  • What would you like to see Microsoft continue to do in the SharePoint & Office 365 ecosystem?

Inquiring minds want to know. Drop a comment here.


Jeff is an expert in the Enterprise Content Management industry. He brings over 20 years of Channel Sales, Partner Marketing and Alliance expertise to audiences around the world in speaking engagements and via his writing. He has worked for Microsoft, Kodak, and is currently the Chief Evangelist at K2. Tweet him @jshuey or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Google+ He is active in the Microsoft Partner Community and is the co-founder and President of the IAMCP Seattle chapter.

He is a contributing author to Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Yahoo, US News and to the Personal Branding Blog.


Chris O'Connor said…
I like that Microsoft are "bringing the cloud to you" - it's a small change in words, but will be easier to get customers on-board. Hybrid is the exciting new development for 2015-2016, IMHO