SharePoint Conference 2019 Keynote, aka, SharePoint Virtual Summit 2019 in Review

On Tuesday, May 21st, 2019, in Las Vegas, at the annual SharePoint Conference, Seth Patton, Jeff Teper, and friends took the stage at the MGM Conference center to deliver the state of SharePoint now and in the future. You can watch the entire 90 minute presentation at, which I consider a must for anyone within the SharePoint space.

The Road to the Intelligent Workplace

For a few years now a key phrase you might have heard around the Microsoft 365 / Office 365 / SharePoint ecosystem has been the digital workplace. The digital workplace describes our digital life within our organizations and businesses, yet started to fall short of including how digital tools are being powered by AI to improve our work processes.

A key to this year’s SharePoint Conference has been to provide us insights and understandings of how Microsoft is taking SharePoint and related tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Stream, Yammer, and more, forward built with embedded AI to streamline our work day. I am a huge supporter of SharePoint, guilty, yet when it comes down to it, it’s not that we want SharePoint, it’s that we want a solution. The keynote set the tone of how SharePoint and all of Office 365 is driving the intelligent workplace by focusing on three key areas.

  • Teamwork and business processes
  • Employee engagement and communications
  • Search and content intelligence

Teamwork and Business Processes

Many improvements have been made to SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and more. What I found most interesting:

  • Additional OneDrive sharing updates, mobile app updates, syncing improvements (starting around 17:00)
  • Microsoft Teams and SharePoint list integrations, column formatting, Flow connections, and more (starting around 25:00)
  • Compliance Center updates, including labels, global sharing limitations, bulk SharePoint site administrations, and the biggest applause line we heard all morning, coming soon the ability to rename SharePoint site urls! Even better, when renaming a URL, they will automatically provide redirection for the old url so existing links will not break.

Employee engagement and communications

Demoed at Build 2019, we got another preview of how the Fluid Framework will be used with SharePoint and Office 365 to greatly improve the performance of the UI. We at PixelMill use co-authoring of documents and assets most every day, often with our clients co-authoring with us. We have found the experiences to be very beneficial, while performance updates will certainly be appreciated.

Around 49 minutes into the keynote, Jeff also showed for this time an update to the SharePoint Lookbook, a new video was released to help communicate the new engagement experience. Well worth the watch.

SharePoint is getting new portal home experience with SharePoint Home sites (~59:00). Home sites are essentially communication sites that have super powers. A home site may be considered a hub of hubs, your new SharePoint tenant portal home that will provide targeted content for “me”. The existing SharePoint homepage looks to get a new branding treatment as “My SharePoint”.

There was no big announcements around SharePoint Spaces, a big announcement at last year’s SPC. We were given assurance that SharePoint Spaces are moving forward and we should expect more announcements at Ignite 2019.

Search and content intelligence

SharePoint search is giving way to Microsoft Search (~1:22). Microsoft Search is now the default search for SharePoint Online now, which is the same backend system as desktop search, search within other apps such as Word, and more. Microsoft Search is still building up its foundation, though we will be getting abilities such as pinning best bets to SharePoint search as we had in classic SharePoint search.

This is just the foundation though, I am very excited about new features that were announced, including custom result types and display templates, a search API that we will be able to use to tap into the Microsoft Search system, and the ability for custom connectors such as Service Now, to extend search across organizational boundaries.

I can’t wait!

Is it an App or a Platform?

One of my key takeaways was when Jeff Teper addressed a question many of us have asked over the years.

“Is SharePoint an app or a platform?” Jeff Teper, SharePoint Conference 2019 Keynote.

The answer? This should come as no surprise. “BOTH”!

Absolutely! SharePoint as a standalone product or when considered as an aspect of a broader solution is a full featured app. Yet at the same time, it is a platform that be can customized, tailored, and extended to meet your needs.

I always appreciate Microsoft when they provide a clear answer that we can use as a foundation to move forward.

SharePoint’s Envolution – non-stopping

SharePoint and its ecosystem continue its march forward, driving productivity. This year’s SharePoint Conference keynote gave us the insights we need this year to continue to move our projects forward.

How about you? What do you think about the future of SharePoint? Let’s keep the conversation going.

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