It’s an exhilarating time for our industry, our company, and for Office. At the last SharePoint Conference we talked about technology megatrends that are changing the way people work: cloud, social, mobile, and big data. These trends are still alive and well today, and they are active change agents in markets, industries, and companies across the world.
But this year, we want to do more than just talk about technology trends. This year, we want to show you what we’re doing with them and how we’re harnessing these powerful forces to transform work. The innovation you’ll see from us here today—and in fact over the next few years—is based on four core beliefs:
- First, we believe the future of work is all about working like a network. It’s about how we build relationships, share information, and respond to ever-changing conditions. And it’s founded on an openness and transparency that will drive a new level of productivity.
- Second, we believe personalized and proactive insights are required to cut through the noise. As humans, we have an incredible ability to achieve—but only if we can focus. And we need technology to help us, so that we can focus our energies on accomplishing big things.
- Third, we believe in the power of an open development platform and a robust ecosystem. We recognize that one size doesn’t fit all, and that companies need customized solutions that can be developed in weeks, not years.
- And finally, we believe that enabling this future of work is possible only if people are empowered to work anywhere and on any device, and if businesses have the tools they need to responsibly manage security and compliance.
We couldn’t be more excited to partner with you to transform work and dramatically change the way people get things done.
Empowering people and organizations
Today, the world is a giant network with people hyper-connected to information and each other. We talk to our friends and family using Facebook, brands can be made or broken with a simple Tweet, and we find our next job through contacts in LinkedIn. Information and knowledge move faster, and we’re able to accomplish more together because we are so connected. Meanwhile, many organizations continue to work the way they always have: they operate in hierarchies, with information coming from the top down or held up in unconnected systems and broken communication channels.
To be more responsive, we need to evolve. We need to flatten the information flow so that we can work better together and serve customers better, using a network of highly informed and highly connected people.
Today we’re showing examples of innovation in the cloud that I’m really excited about, that serve unmet needs in most organizations today, and that allow organizations to work more like a network. By leveraging insights from Office 365 and mapping the relationships between people, groups, files and conversations through machine learning, we can intelligently connect and surface the most relevant content using the Office Graph. This is the power of social, cloud, big data, and machine learning coming together. Office Graph will power many new personalized and contextual experiences for people using Office 365. One of the first experiences to leverage the Office Graph is code-named Oslo. Oslo serves up in a single user interface personalized insights based on meetings, people, conversations, documents and more. The Oslo application surfaces what might be most relevant for each individual based on what they’re already doing in Exchange, Outlook, SharePoint, Office, Lync, and Yammer. We believe this is the start of something game-changing—building digital memory across applications to create a highly personalized experience that helps people get more done. You can learn more about Office Graph and Oslo here.
By helping people work more openly, we believe organizations will work more like a network and become more responsive (and successful). We’ve spent a lot of time studying trends, talking with customers, and thinking about how we can connect experiences in Yammer, Lync, Outlook, and Exchange with a social fabric that permeates Office, is intuitive, and helps organizations gain the benefits of network effects—just by people doing their natural work in Office. To that end, today we’re also showing Groups—building on the loved concept of Groups in Yammer—which will apply to all Office 365 applications. Groups will unify people, email, conversations, calendars and files together across Office 365 services in a common construct to ensure that people can collaborate similarly in the experience they love most. This makes the overall experience of Office 365 social and connected. You can read more about Groups here.
We know that not everything is best expressed in documents or conversations. Many organizations have created dynamic portals, web sites, and mobile apps to surface what matters most to employees. Here we’re also working on some bold new approaches. We believe next-generation portals should be simple to create and customize in the cloud, have high engagement via social interactions, deliver more relevant information, leverage multi-media, and—most importantly—be accessible anywhere and on any device. We have of lot of work going on in this area that will show up this year, but today we’re showing a new social video portal built on SharePoint, Yammer, the Office Graph in Office 365, and Azure Media Services, as a ready-made solution.
Office 365 for developers
There are already more than 3.4 million developers—nearly half of whom are SharePoint developers—building on the Office platform and Office 365, our fastest-growing product in history. We have two objectives in our development platform. First, we want to give customers maximum agility to adapt our products to specific business needs, whether you build or buy these solutions. Second, we want to bring partners a great opportunity to grow their business. You can find more information about today’s announcements for developers here. It’s been very exciting in the last few weeks to have partners ranging from GoDaddy to DocuSign building solutions and services around Office 365 that will help them grow, and that will also help our customers see more value by having direct access within Office 365 to the things they want to do every day. We see more of this great opportunity ahead for our developer partners.
A trusted platform
Beyond base reliability, we know security, privacy, and compliance are paramount, and we’re committed to delivering best-in-class enterprise cloud services. We’re doing this through a massive investment in physical data centers and application-level security, lights-out operations, architecting for zero customer data access, intelligent monitoring, and more. With the Microsoft Cloud and Office 365, you own and control your data. We don’t see or use your data for anything other than delivering the service to you. We know independent certifications for all of this are critical, and we’ve published our processes and met industry standards and regulations such as ISO, EU Model Clauses, HIPAA, FISMA, and CJIS for the largest and most demanding customers, such as the states of California and Texas. You can find out more about our trusted platform at the Office 365 Trust Center.
Partnering with you
We’re making adoption of Office 365 faster and easier than ever with our FastTrack deployment approach. But we understand that not every customer is ready to move their investments to the cloud all at once and so we’re committed to working closely with all of you and lower the friction for you to get started. And, we will ship new server releases of SharePoint and Exchange in 2015. We’ll also continue to support hybrid deployments spanning both cloud and on premises technologies including expanded search and line-of business access. Our server releases will include some, but not all, of the experience you saw today due to the computational power and integrated aspects that only come with Office 365.
I want to be very clear — we know we can deliver more value to you via the cloud – as you saw today in these great new experiences. I also want to be clear that we’re committed to helping you get there in the configuration and pace that works for you.
To help you make the transition at your own pace, we’ve made it easier to get started in the cloud with Social and Files. With SharePoint Server 2013 Service Pack 1, you can connect your on-premises SharePoint 2013 servers to the cloud and to turn on OneDrive for Business or Yammer as the first workloads in the cloud and run those alongside existing SharePoint investments.
But we wanted to go one step farther. So today, we are introducing a new very attractive pricedOneDrive for Business Standalone offer. If you aren’t already using OneDrive for Business – now is the time to take your first step to embracing the cloud.
Technology is transforming the world and we’re using it to transform Office to help your organization be more responsive and agile—all while protecting your valuable information. This is just the start!