Microsoft Ignite 2017 | An Insider Look

Microsoft Ignite 2017 | An insider look at the PixelMill team’s session notes

If you attended Microsoft Ignite, you’re probably still processing like we are from all the announcements that came out this week. If you weren’t able to attend, have no fear! We asked our team to give us their top takeaways from this year’s conference. Here’s a sneak peek at some of our Team’s session note highlights. Microsoft Graph dominated conversations, not to be overshadowed by modern sites. From Microsoft play books, updates to lists, and the ability to “Groupify” sites the future is clear and it’s all about empowering you and creating a true Teamwork culture.
1. Updates to branding SharePoint and O365 sites:

a. The ease of adding colors, type, and layout to sites that is per company branding will help Site Owners get up and running faster.

b. It’s evident Microsoft is thinking through ADA requirements with themes.

c. We now have the ability to provision sites with custom themes.

d. Microsoft is working on providing Guidelines to work with theming.

e. Fabric UI is at the core –

f. You can manage out of the box (OOTB) themes using PowerShell.

g. OOTB provides 120 color combinations which are chosen from an “Accessible” palette.

h. Microsoft Playbook has examples and recommendations/guidelines that companies can use for their own company governance and training. Free to all:

2. The Modern Sites (Communication, Team sites, Hub site soft linking abilities) and the ability to “groupify” old SP sites (bring modern capabilities on top of, no migration of pages) is Microsoft’s path forward.

a. Here’s what Modern Sites are bringing to the table:

i. The ability to administrate groups is coming to the SharePoint Admin center and bringing back some reports that were taken out in SharePoint 2013.

ii. Modern sites are mobile first and mobile friendly.

iii. Modern sites are accessible. In fact, it’s the most accessible version Microsoft has every produced for content consumers and content creators

iv. Everything modern is based on data from MS Graph.

v. With this ease comes a lot of restraint. This creates quite a challenge for those who want customization. It’s a tradeoff that Microsoft is actively choosing to reach a very specific goal, “to empower every person and every organization to achieve more”.

3. SharePoint publishing pages are here to stay!

i. There is still a demand for customizations to sites and this need will not go away.

ii. We got mixed explanations as it relates to how Microsoft will tackle custom branding with Modern sites. Answers ranged from “no custom CSS” to “we’re working on it”. We look forward to discovering their path.

iii. MS Graph search is a new way to search. Microsoft is adding context but in terms of meta-data driven search and displaying that. Modern sites still can’t give you a custom predefined scope search like classic can.

4. Search & Discovery in SharePoint & O365

a. Use of Microsoft Graph brings relevant items that are personalized to the User.

b. Updated user interface and a better user experience

c. Scopes are expanded to include People, Lists and News.

d. You can use Modern Search for everything that is “unstructured” and Classic Search for “structured” results.

i. There is still a need for classic search as MS Graph search is not “consistent”―it’s personalized to the user. For example, each search by user for the same item could produce separate search results. MS Graph is focused on relationships, while classic enterprise fast-search is based on metadata.

e. Auto tagging will be available. This uses machine learning technology and tags certain images with words related to what is in the image. For example, if you scan in a receipt it will be auto-tagged with the word “receipt”.

5. Improvements in Accessibility

a. Machine learning technology auto captions videos (in Stream).

b. A new properties pane for modern experience enables auto tagging, prompting for accessibility information on images, videos, links, etc.

c. Accessibility considered on all modern experiences for screen readers and narrator and magnification capabilities (on desktop and mobile devices).

d. Machine learning and AI on real time transcription AND translation…used throughout Ignite, but also coming to Teams

e. There are some cutting edge things being developed at MS that are where all related industries are going, but MS is going there not just for coolness factor but to make things more accessible and increase inclusiveness at MS specifically and companies who use O365. This will become more and more pertinent as laws get more strict and inclusive themselves. It’s staying 2 steps in front of compliance and making things more usable (for al).

6. It’s all about MS Graph:

a. The exciting stuff: Graph allows you to tap into all Microsoft products and data from all the O365 connected services. This means that all the “endpoints” that MS has available internally are also available to developers. MS is not holding back/reserving data points which means big opportunities for 3rd parties to fill gaps that MS hasn’t done yet or to push the envelope of what you can do with MS Graph + customized apps/plug-ins/bots/AI + outside sources (graphs, like LinkedIn or FB, Bing, etc).

b. Pitfall: if you have more than one MS account/AD account (personal vs business), you cannot yet combine the power of your personal graph (only one account at a time. They are personalized by account, so there is a disconnect if you have more than one identity.

7. Updates to Lists:

a. SPFx Extensions now available on lists

b. You can create columns without entering a settings page

c. You can customize how data inside columns is rendered in the list view (We’re pretty stoked about this one! Now you can make lists more visually appealing.)

i. Use new, declarative, JSON base configuration tool to change how fields look and feel

ii. “Fields that need attention” – a filtering option that shows items in a list that needs attention from users

d. Updates to the filtering panel

e. You can also add flows to a specific Column

f. A single list can contain up to 30 million items. This is still rendering the 5000 limit; all done through predictive indexing

8. Women in Tech & Business

a. Here are a few takeaways from the sessions and breakouts focused on women in tech/business:

i. Technology is only a solution and innovation is when it is adopted.

ii. Stand your ground – be resilient no matter the situation and rely on your team (you can’t do everything yourself).

iii. Orient your skill set to what you want to do and find the position that fits. Tech changes quickly so roles in tech will as well.

iv. Set a cadence for self-reflection (all the great leaders do). Otherwise, you’ll miss the “ah-ha” moments in the busyness of doing your day-to-day.

v. Stay connected to your peer community (people you have met and worked with in the past).

vi. Be authentic and have fun!

vii. Take risks.

viii. Balance satisfaction from outside work activities as well (your identity is not solely what you do at work).

9. Teams is the way of the future for collaboration (Teamwork):

a. Skype capabilities will be folded into Teams.

b. Groupified modern team sites will be highly integrated into Teams. We can look forward to more 3rd party application integration into Teams.

c. Microsoft is encouraging developers to build adaptive cards and bots into Teams to run workflows, capture data, display data (from inside and outside MS services). It’s all about making work more personal and efficient.

10. Powerapps will be available as webparts … coming soon!

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