2015 : The Year Of Office 365 And Azure

Looking back, 2014 was a very busy year for me. I spent a lot of time organising SP24 which ended up being a really popular SharePoint Conference with 8000 now having signed-up. We also said hello to our 7500th member on SharePoint-Community.Net and 34000th group member in the SharePoint Community Group on LinkedIn. From a “non-community” point of view, Collaboris released newer versions of both DocRead and DocSurvey and also welcomed to some great new developers to the team. All in all my 2014 was packed full, but what’s next for 2015?

It’s time to get serious with Azure and O365

For a number of years now Office 365 has been growing in popularity. In my opinion, the hype of “The Cloud” is finally becoming a reality and that’s mainly down to the cost-savings and speed of updates to the platforms. “The business” are now the ones empowered to choose what systems to use and where to get them (which will probably come as a shock to some IT departments). At Collaboris, we obviously monitor the number of requests for our products to work on Office 365 and I can honestly say in the last half of the year it’s really ramped up. It’s still nowhere near as popular as SharePoint On-Premises, but I can see it overtaking in 12-18 months. This is quite an eye-opener from the point of view of a vendor. I think this is a technological shift that we are going to see stick and the role of the “SharePoint Developer” will eventually be replaced with the “O365 Developer” (who will probably need to know more breadth and less depth).

Internally at Collaboris we’ve already been working on a new Survey and Quiz tool that will play nicely with Azure and Office 365. This tool isn’t an upgrade to DocSurvey, it’s completely new and has zero dependencies on “SharePoint”. Obviously, if you want to use it with SharePoint we will build extension points, but it’s no longer going to be a “SharePoint Only” (or “sites” in O365) thing.

O365.Technology is going to go mobile

I mainly built O365.Technology as I am getting far too fatigued with “keeping up”.  The number and frequency of updates is getting worse and if you roll in the fact that we also need to know about Azure / Exchange / Delve / “Sites” / Word…. it’s exhasuting. I personally find Twitter like being stuck in a sand storm with your eyes taped open. It’s just too much. I now use Facebook for SharePoint friends more than personal ones and I am seeing this more and more. But Facebook still has that feeling of a “split personality” tool. I feel bad posting SharePoint stuff so family can see it and also feel bad sharing pictures of my XMAS party when I know this won’t be interesting to people I don’t see face to face. LinkedIn’s groups and “pulse” are on the whole 95% promotion. There are ways to make each platform work for you .. “Lists” in Twitter and FB, “Groups” in FB and LinkedIn, but this means that I need to maintain them and isn’t an easy way to share with others. You may also miss some great posts from people that don’t use Twitter, or who you aren’t friends with on FB.

If you think about it, 99% of the important content get’s posted via a blog somewhere and nearly all sites have RSS. RSS is pretty old now, but still very effective. So now with O365.Technology I check it once a day and can quickly see what’s of interest and what’s not. The best bit, so can you 🙂

However, I think O365.Technology is in need of a mobile app so I plan to kill two (Tweeting) birds with one stone. I plan to hit the books, learn Cordova and build a mobile app for Android / iOS / WPhone and also offer a cool service to the O365 Community at the same time.

SPBiz – it’s coming to a desk near you in June 2015

SPBiz is an On-line SharePoint Conference aimed at non-technical users (End-Users, Power Users, Analysits, PMs, BA’s, and so on). SPBiz is going to be hosted on the same platform as SP24 with some improvements. Technology wise, I am planning to improve the speed of delivery by using less SharePoint and more ASP.Net MVC / DocumenDb hosted on Azure. SharePoint will still be used for the ‘Session Room’ UI but the Data Layer (Sessions, Speakers and Sponsors) will all be built on top of DocumentDB. We are also going to be looking at Cordova / Xamarin as platforms to do a mobile version. Not sure we will get there with the last one as it depends on funding and sponsors.

BTW – if you want to sponsor SPBiz, please drop me an email (Mark [AT] collaboris.com) and I will send you some info through. We already have nearly a 1000 pre-registered and are expecting over 5000 on the day.

Office 365 24 Hour Conference

We haven’t planned a date, (or even have a name), but we are determined to run a 24-hour conference built around the Office 365 family. The best part of SP24 for me was the multi-national aspect of the conference and the fact that every place had a timeslot where the conference fitted them. I think this is a format that has some real legs but it really does need to cover O365 as well. Anyway, watch this space for an up and coming announcement and if you have ideas for a name, shout out. Off24 sounds a bit like it’s talking about trash for 24 hours.

I am going to start speaking

Finally, one personal goal for me this year is to apply to speak at events. Not sure where I will find the time, but I am definitely going to cover a session or two at SPBiz as a starting point. Public speaking isn’t something that is on my ‘top ten most enjoyable activities’ list, but it is something I want to get reasonably good and confident at.

Finally, happy new year everyone!!

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