One of the surprising, and surprisingly last-minute, updates ot the SharePoint Conference 2014 roster was the announcement of Bill Clinton's keynote address. As a former president with a strong track record on economic policies, Clinton's address spoke to the value of enterprise content management in a troubled job market. His address didn't stop there, however.
Clinton was speaking on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, a charitable organization that works to support economic growth, environmental sustainability, and other business ethics pursuits around the world. The value of economic growth was a major point of his keynote, and he noted that one fifth of the economic growth during his administration was due to technological advances. He also went beyond pure economics, however, emphasizing that technology had a vital role to play in making a better world—so long as we use that technology appropriately.
"Technology is liberating people, empowering them, but how they use it, and how you use it, depends in no small measure on identity," said Clinton. "And whether what we have in common is more important than our interesting differences."
Clinton then went on to discuss ways that technology like SharePoint could make the world better. Among other examples Clinton provided was the earthquake in Haiti (2010), and the ways that technology allowed for more rapid and effective disaster response.
Clinton asked some hard questions. "As we look at the 21st century world," he asked, "what do you think is wrong with it, and how do you want it to come out? How do you think about what you'd like the world to look like when you have children your age?" He warned of the risk of trying to push past the cutting edge, and the ways that technology can be used blindly and without regard for its more unsettling consequences.
He further discussed how technology like SharePoint could help move the 21st century toward the sort of world he values. "Not one in which we erase our interesting differences, but one in which we recognize that our community humanity matters more," he stated. "And unless we act as if it matters more, we will never be able to preserve many of those differences."
SharePoint Conference 2014 has come to a close, and the event was full of new announcements, high-powered workshops, and a set of minor shifts that indicated major trends. If you didn't manage to make it to the conference, there are always future meet-ups to look forward to—and we'll help you get up to speed by covering the major points from the 2014 conference in this article.
A Focus on Social with Yammer
SharePoint social has been growing exponentially with each new release of the platform. Now, as SharePoint Online takes center stage, Microsft's partnership with Yammer is bearing fruit. Yammer is replacing, upgrading, or streamlining many of the core offerings of SharePoint Social.
Multiple keynote addresses and panel sessions focused on the use of Yammer and its potential utility within the platform. Of note, Yammer will also be branded as Yammer rather than being folded into SharePoint Social, which sets a precedent for future Microsoft acquisitions and integrations. This may also serve as a way to bring loyal Yammer users into the SharePoint fold.
Using Azure for Security and Testing
Windows Azure was a major focus of presentations and workshops. Lessons of note were based on the ability to use Azure to create test deployments of SharePoint farms, to enhance customization, and to troubleshoot issues.
Storage Limit Increases
Microsoft project lead Jeff Teper made an exciting announcement for those using SharePoint Online for secure cloud storage. The previous storage limit is being multiplied, with the new cap on storage being set to 1TB of site data stored on OneDrive. Even better, the tenant storage is having all limits removed, leading to an infinite tenant storage scale.
Messages Written in the Cloud
With the focus on virtual, cloud-based systems like Windows Azure, an expansion of cloud storage space, and a focus on the social features of SharePoint Online, it's clear that Microsoft is bringing all its forces to bear on the battle of cloud-based enterprise services.
While that shift seems to be the predominant battle plan for the company, it's important to note that there has already been an official response to concerns about Microsoft abandoning on-site deployments of SharePoint. Microsoft has promised to keep on-site services up to snuff, and have indicated that at least one more on-site release is in the works.