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Ten Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2017

Danny Ryan

Co-Host – Danny Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Tommy Ryan

Co-Host – Tommy Ryan

Bio – LinkedIn – Twitter

Danny:This is episode 139 of the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast where we talk about the people, process, and technology to work together better inside of enterprises. This episode was recorded on October 19th, 2017. In this episode, Tommy and I talk about Microsoft Ignite conference and the 10 takeaways from that conference. The highlights include a discussion about the future of Skype for Business, seeing maturity and flow in Power Apps, a new SharePoint site called SharePoint Hubs, taking baby steps to the cloud with the Azure Stack.

 

Audio:Help me, help you.

 

Danny:A new free SharePoint migration tool from Microsoft. We wrap up the discussion about how the inner and outer loops try to make sense about the abundance of collaboration tools in Office 365. Enjoy this episode and thank you for listening.

 

Hello and welcome to the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone Podcast. This is your host Danny Ryan. I am here with Tommy Ryan. How are you doing Tommy Ryan?

 

Tommy:I’m doing well, Danny.

 

Danny:Excellent, excellent.

 

Tommy:I’m checking out your hair and you’re going past that bald to the ring stage.

 

Danny:I put it on the razor on the little half, I guess you clip on the little half thing and I’m doing up at the top of the head. It’s just …

 

Tommy:Yeah, I feel like doing that days. You get tired of shaving every morning.

 

Danny:Every single, yeah, yeah, it gets old after a while but I still am shaving here. I’m shaving on my face. I’m sorry, and people can’t see what I’m pointing to, but I’m shaving my face. I’m doing the opposite of you, you’re letting it grow with the beard and then shaving the head.

 

Tommy:That’s right.

 

Danny:Nice, nice. I have asked you for a redo.

 

Tommy:A redo.

 

Danny:A redo.

 

Tommy:This is not the Mickey Mouse episode?

 

Danny:No, this is not the Mickey Mouse episode. Yeah, that was funny when dad mentioned it. It was like, “I know.” I listened to it and it was tough to listen to, so let’s do a redo.

 

Tommy:Okay.

 

Danny:I just wanted to cover you, and Bo George recently went to the Microsoft Ignite conference. You did a lovely internal blog post, I’ll call it that, of the top 10 takeaways from Microsoft Ignite. Let’s get this kicked off. First off, you have something about Skype for Business is going to Teams. What’s that all about?

 

Tommy:Well, it’s interesting how audio and IM has evolved over the years. Skype is one of those things that we’ve tried over and over again to use externally, but we use it internally for IM. We’ve recently moved to Teams to be all in to use it for collaboration in Teams and IM. In the conference, they announced that the Skype for Business in the cloud is transitioning to Teams, as Teams becomes mature enough to displace the features that are in Skype.

 

I don’t think Skype is going away, but I think for Office 365 customers that are doing cloud-based collaboration, their IM and web sharing, screen sharing sessions will be using Teams in the future. When you look in Outlook, you can schedule an online meeting. That’s gonna turn into online Teams meeting versus an online Skype meeting.

 

Danny:Interesting. I guess for me, and we started going in this direction a little bit but was, I guess, for Skype for Business as far as audio, so if we’re setting up our typical internal meeting, we’re going to use Teams to set that up.

 

Tommy:Right. I’ve started doing that and it’s got some nice features. You’re able to schedule that meeting within the Teams interface. Eventually, you’ll be able to schedule that through the Outlook interface to be a Teams meeting, but that shows up in the conversation stream. I saw on the conference, they have the ability to play back that, so the playback audio/video for that Teams meeting is available later on for folks that couldn’t make the meeting.

 

Danny:I guess you have screen-sharing in that meeting as well.

 

Tommy:You have screen sharing and multiple screens that you can …

 

Danny:You get multiple screens?

 

Tommy:I got mine set-up to have two external screens and I can pick from one of the three screens to share from as I’m on a Teams meeting.

 

Danny:Is there just one … I’m sorry I’m getting ahead …

 

Tommy:You’ll like this one.

 

Danny:I’m just asking for myself. Can you hand over control to someone else? Or it’s whoever initiated it? Is there a way to make somebody else the presenter?

 

Tommy:I think so. I have to try that out next time, because I think I’ve done that in the past. I haven’t done it recently, but I’m trying to visually picture how that would work, but not sure. To be determined, maybe we can …

 

Danny:We’ll figure that out maybe in.

 

Tommy:… mention that on the next time.

 

Danny:Yeah, sorry. I’ll stop going off in and ad hoc direction.

 

Tommy:You finally found something I didn’t know about Teams. Go on, next one.

 

Danny:Here Tommy, let’s get in a fight, it’s awesome. That’s what people want to see. The Flow, tell me what’s going on with Flow.

 

Tommy:I think one of the things that people have been anxious about is what’s up with SharePoint Designer and what goes on with that. Also, what’s up with Info Path. With Flow, it is the next generation of what you do with SharePoint Designer workflows. Things that you typically would lead with to say, “Oh, you want to do workflow, let’s see what we can do with the workflow that’s in SharePoint Designer.” You’re going to be heading to Flow.

 

The nice thing about that is Flow is a broader solution. It’s not just SharePoint for workflow. It’s really everything within the Office 365 suite and in the cloud eco-system. If you wanted to have a Flow or workflow to span between Salesforce and SharePoint, and Twitter, you could do that. As you look at how does work get done and I task-switch from Salesforce to SharePoint, to my online presence. There might be some common things that I do that I want to enforce through a structured workflow and you can do that with Flow.

 

It’s getting better and better. I always go in there and you always try to do something and you can just quite get there. They’re giving some extensibility there, but for the average user, you got to spend some time. You got to kick the tires for a while and I have myself, personally, probably right now, four Flows that are useful Flows that do things that I would have to do manually.

 

Danny:This not just for internal workflows, it’s also for external systems, working with external services, some SAS services?

 

Tommy:Right.

 

Danny:Then also, this sounds a little bit, or it smells a little bit like Zapier, or IF This Then That.

 

Tommy:It is and they draw analogies to that in some of the presentations.

 

Danny:Very cool. It looks like they’re adding on like Adobe Sign. I know we use that and maybe

 

Tommy:DocuSign was there for the longest time and recently they’ve assigned on Adobe Sign.

 

Danny:Cool. PowerApps.

 

Tommy:Yeah. Like I was saying before, InfoPath and SharePoint Designer, some of those legacy systems that people think, “When am I going to have an alternative to what I’m doing today with InfoPath Forms?” PowerApps, I think a lot of people were suspecting that was the next generation for InfoPath Forms. Again, PowerApps is broader than what InfoPath does. In some cases, you’re going to see InfoPath has capabilities that PowerApps doesn’t. As that matures, the goal I see for Microsoft is to displace InfoPath with PowerApps.

 

One of the things that you’ll start noticing in the Office 365 tenant, you’ll see that when you go to customize a list and you want to have a custom display, a custom form for data entry, you have InfoPath as an option today. InfoPath or SharePoint. Now you’re going to see in the future, InfoPath, PowerApps or SharePoint as your user interface into lists and libraries.

 

Danny:Nice.

 

Tommy:Yeah.

 

Danny:SharePoint hub sites. This is a new type of site for SharePoint?

 

Tommy:I’m very excited about hub sites. I think hub sites start making things come together as it relates to SharePoint. Because when you look at SharePoint, you’ve got team sites and communication sites. It’s a very flat structure. There’s no relationship between site to site when I have a team site and I have a communication site.

 

Now hub sites is the way to aggregate those team and communication sites into common threads. Maybe you have projects within your organization you can have a hub site that can be that organizing point that everything rolls up like your news across all those sites can roll up into the hub site. The hub site can be a way to set up your search scope. When you’re searching for things, you don’t have to search the entire tenant or just a site. You can search everything that’s in the membership of those hub sites.

 

Also branding is another thing that’s a part of this to enforce say, a common branding across multiple sites. You can use hub sites to apply standardized branding and push that down to the member sites.

 

Danny:Like with us internally where we’re managing a bunch of account team sites.

 

Tommy:Right.

 

Danny:It seems like what’s happened, there used to be the old SharePoint team sites which is for small teams for collaborating. It was a SharePoint type of site. Now that’s morphed over to Microsoft Teams and that’s a team site and that’s what you’re referring to here right?

 

Tommy:Yeah. When I say a team site, it is the choice that you have when you go say, create a new site collection. Creating that team site, you also can make this an Office 365 group. Then as an Office 365 group, you can consume that within Teams. You can have this team site without using Teams, but Teams is a way to really give you, I think, richer functionality. The whole conversation being tied with content. You don’t see that within SharePoint but you can get that within the Teams experience. Which I think is a big deal. It’s made a big difference for us.

 

Danny:There’ll be a hub site like for our example where we’re looking at accounts. There will be an accounts hub site where you would go there to see what’s going on across all the different accounts?

 

Tommy:That’s right.

 

Danny:Bingo.

 

Tommy:Yeah. That’s.

 

Danny:When you give me a little smirk when sometimes when I’m right.

 

Tommy:Yeah, I get a little

 

Danny:… thumbs up, that works too. All right. SharePoint Framework, that keeps coming back. There’s a framework for SharePoint?

 

Tommy:Yes, I think for our organization, we’re so passionate about creating custom experiences that go above and beyond what you get out of the box. We embrace, for sure, what’s out of the box, but know that there’s always that 20% more that you want to accomplish. In the cloud it’s been a rough ride for the development community or developer community in creating those solutions. We’ve had just a variety of, in a sense, failed approaches for what that framework will be. I

 

It looks like the SharePoint Framework is becoming that framework. There’s a lot of momentum behind it. Also, I think the whole open source and PNP community that’s being created is embracing that and there’s some synergy between PNP and SharePoint Framework that makes it feel like, “Yeah, this one’s going to stick.” We’re excited about that and hoping to have more opportunities with customers to help them extend SharePoint in the cloud with the SharePoint Framework.

 

Danny:I like the way you started that out. You said custom SharePoint experiences. That’s kind of cool and way of looking at it. Something where your people are taking what SharePoint is and making it a custom experience. I like that. You may start seeing that.

 

Tommy:Okay, all right.

 

Danny:All right, who is ThreeWill? ThreeWill builds custom SharePoint experiences.

 

Tommy:It’s all about the experience.

 

Danny:It is. It very much is. Modern pages and web parts. What’s going on with those?

 

Tommy:I think we’ve been in this limbo area of, “Should I use the classic page or use the modern page?” Of course there’s some nice UI elements to modern pages. What’s been lacking is the number of web parts that are supported and rewritten for that modern experience. That is something that it was evident in the conference that most people are going to now lead with modern pages versus having to make a decision of, “Is this going to be classic or modern?”

 

There’s also support to keep that classic going. There’s just so much out there that people built that depend on certain elements of the classic view that might not ever be in the modern view. You have to think about what’s that new paradigm of how to apply that. Modern pages are starting to have things like metadata support that you didn’t have in classic. We’re starting to see areas that we can move our clients to the modern experience.

 

Danny:That’s nice.

 

Tommy:Yeah.

 

Danny:I guess with this modern is also, it’s for more of like mobile views and more modern …

 

Tommy:Yeah, you got that mobile-responsive capability that’s built in. It’s just a cleaner look. More modern-looking UI.

 

Danny:More broader.

 

Tommy:I think a lot of people joke about modern. What’s modern today versus what’s modern tomorrow? What do we call this five years from now? If we have a better experience, it goes from modern to classical or, I don’t know.

 

Danny:Who knows. SharePoint less. Performance is getting souped up on these guys.

 

Tommy:Yeah. There’s always that worry of, “I can’t have more than five thousand items in my list.” Most people that understand SharePoint know, you can go beyond those five thousand items in a list. It’s just some of the things that happen that impact you and the user experience when you’re trying to bring back data in list that have more than five thousand items. What the SharePoint team has done is they’ve looked at ways of proactively or reactively making the experience better when you go beyond five thousand items.

 

They have this concept called Predictive Indexes. They look at how you sort things and say, “Oh, you want to sort on this. Let’s create an index on that, so that way you can bring back items in the view if it’s beyond five thousand items.” What I heard and is 30 million items are the limit. I don’t know if that’s a true physical limit or just a practical limit. At the end of the day, some of these list performance tweaks, they do automatically really don’t support you up into the millions. You’re going to have to do some manual tweaking and tuning to make lists that are more than a million items work well.

 

Danny:Yeah, we’ve seen this before right? We’ve been brought onto projects just for the purpose of dealing with something where people have more items than should into it and how do you archive items and things like that, and handling those sorts of things.

 

Tommy:Yeah. A lot of times building solutions you look at approaches to say, “How can we keep the data to a minimum to avoid some of these issues?”

 

Danny:What’s the Azure Stack?

 

Tommy:I don’t know.

 

Danny:What is the Azure Stack?

 

Tommy:I thought you were going to actually cover that when we talked about this bullet item Azure Stack.

 

Danny:Let me see. From last time, I could just read to you. The Azure Stack is a gateway to the cloud.

 

Tommy:Well, yeah. The reason that I put it’s the gateway to the cloud is …

 

Danny:It’s the gateway to it. Right.

 

Tommy:… what they’re doing, it’s a step in the direction of being able to go to Azure and still feel like you have it within your control. They’re giving you Azure capabilities where you can deploy into your own infrastructure. Having your own Azure environment and those Azure services that make development and management of solutions a lot nicer than just working with IIS to create a website.

 

That is something available for folks that say, “I don’t want to go to the cloud just yet, but I want to build my solutions in a way that if I want to move to the cloud, I can easily push it without having to re-architect it. I can architect it for Azure and deploy it in my own private Azure environment.”

 

Danny:Very nice. Good way to get started for people who might not, or …

 

Tommy:That know they’re going to go to the cloud. [crosstalk 00:19:13] They’re restricted or it’s just a mental perception of, “I still want to stay within my own private cloud.”

 

Danny:What’s the SharePoint migration tool that they were talking about at the conference?

 

Tommy:The question we have is, is it a tool or a toy?

 

Danny:Is it a tool or a toy?

 

Tommy:They announced this, I think, they’re, at the end of the day, trying to reduce friction for people getting to the cloud. They have the SharePoint FastTrack Program. Which we helped some of our customers consume that service, that free service from Microsoft to get. We have one customer that when they go to deploy, or move data from their on-prem to the cloud and they have these migration waves and there’s some remediation step, they have between 70 and 100 engineers or people off-shore that are hitting their site and working on remediations so they can get that done within a week.

 

It’s a lot of horsepower with the program, but the challenge you have is, it has limitations of what will be covered and what won’t be covered. You have to look at, “Okay, they’re not going to bring over a large list. Someone like ThreeWill can help make sure that that process is done along with FastTrack.” A end user doesn’t get a half-baked site. They get the full site with all of the list data if they have a large list.

 

This migration tool, I think it’s probably something that’s a subset. Something that they use and they’re saying, “Okay, we’ll give you a copy of that.” If you want to do it yourself, you’re not going to get the remediation. You’re not going to get the communication. You’ll get the tool and it will have less capability than some of the commercial tools is my assumption that they’re not going to give you a copy of the full-blown Metalogix Content Matrix or Sharegate, or AvePoint. They’re going to give you something that is a subset of that. For folks that might be very small organizations that can’t afford to pay the migration cost.

 

Danny:That remediation team that you were talking about earlier, is that Microsoft or is that the client?

 

Tommy:That’s Microsoft.

 

Danny:Their FastTrack team has a bunch of people …

 

Tommy:They have free engineering.

 

Danny:That’s nice.

 

Tommy:Yeah. Or free testers and remediators, yeah. It’s like all this Microsoft, it’s 80% and then the last 20% is typically … We’re softening the edge for that FastTrack program, we’re helping people consume that in a very streamline way.

 

Danny:Inner loop versus outer loop? Are we talking about something with Elon Musk here? Or are we talking about loops?

 

Tommy:No, I wish, but no. This was a slide that I saw that, I think, for the longest time we have been confused with, “What’s Yammer? When do you use Yammer? When do you use Teams? When do you …” Just different ways of collaboration across your organization. There was a slide that showed that …

 

Danny:Teams is updating right now. That’s where it went. Sorry.

 

Tommy:That’s fine. This outer loop, let’s start with the inner loop. The inner loop is that team that you’re working with day-in, day-out. You know these folks. You’re getting work done together. It’s highly collaborative. Then the outer loop is, you’re working, you’re trying to find skillset across your organization. You’ve got a problem and you’re saying, “There’s someone else that has probably run across this problem, but I don’t know them, but they’re probably in my organization.”

 

They might use something like Yammer as a way to announce a challenge that they have. Or to share something that they’ve learned that maybe other people would benefit from that are not in their immediate inner loop. That, to me, helped make sense of why would you have Yammer and Teams? It seems to be a lot of overlap between those two. To me, now I think, if I was an organization that I wanted to have that bulletin board of corporate knowledge and do that in an ad hoc way that people can go out there and share, Yammer is a great way to do that.

 

We’re using Teams for that. We’ve created our own public team within the organization that everybody that works at ThreeWill can get access to. That’s where or have some of those outer-loop type conversations. I think logistically, Yammer provides a lighter-weight way to approach that.

 

Danny:I still, my outer loop would be, I’m a member of the Office 365 community that has a Yammer community for that. I’m in that every once in a while, so I still have Yammer, but I’m just not using it for internal purposes since we’re under a hundred people. I would imagine there’s a certain threshold where above that amount, you don’t know everyone within the organization, and probably might be the point at which you start looking at something like Yammer.

 

Tommy:Yep.

 

Danny:Cool. Anything else? I see you’ve got some other notes here. I can add that to the blog post and …

 

Tommy:Sure, yeah. Things come in threes here.

 

Danny:Yeah, absolutely.

 

Tommy:There’s our three references that are things that rose to the surface to me. I took it from the approach of an end user or a power user. What do you want to get from the conference? Then if you look at Bo’s blog post, he went down more the consultant developer track. If you’re listening to this and you want to say, “Well, where’s the meat of all the developer stuff? You hadn’t talked that much about the SharePoint Framework.”

 

Danny:This is meaty though. It’s interesting to me. I only have Visual Studio [crosstalk 00:25:28].

 

Tommy:That’s right, yes. Yes. That’s a litmus test and …

 

Danny:I know. I know. I know. I’ll also, for the inner versus outer loop, I’ll take that graphic that you shared as well.

 

Tommy:Good. Yeah, yeah.

 

Danny:I don’t know.

 

Tommy:Yeah, I have that …

 

Danny:I think that’s the featured image for this. Thank you for doing this once again.

 

Tommy:Sure. Yeah, hopefully it’s better the second time maybe.

 

Danny:Hopefully it’s not, I don’t know. Hopefully it’s not one of those we have to do it in threes and I screw up some of.

 

Tommy:Let’s not do that.

 

Danny:Let’s not do that okay. Well, thank you so much for doing this Tom.

 

Tommy:Sure.

 

Danny:Thank you everyone for listening. Have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye-bye.

 

Tommy:Bye-bye.

 

Additional Credits

Podcast Producer – Oliver Penegar
Intro/Outro Music – Daniel Bassett

empty.authorTen Takeaways from Microsoft Ignite 2017

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