Microsoft Ignite 2018 Wrap Up

Microsoft Ignite 2018 Wrap Up

by: Marc Anderson Monday, October 01, 2018

Unless you were under a metaphorical rock last week, you probably were deluged with information coming out of the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando. While the conference was heavily weighted toward Azure innovations and enhancements, there was plenty for us to cheer about as SharePointilists. The SharePoint and OneDrive team uses Ignite as one half of its annual announcements cycle, with the May SharePoint Conference North America filling that role for the other half of the year. In each conference, they review what’s happened in the time since the last conference and let us know what will be coming before the next one. In other words, while there is plenty of vision mixed in, the announcements are all about enhancements we should see in the next half year. (Sure, they miss on a few things, but their track record here is strong.)

If I took away one thing from the conference, it was that all the innovations over the last few years are gelling into a fantastic new normal. It hasn’t been a painless journey as we’ve gone from the classic on-premises model to the modern SharePoint Online one, but now that we are here, it’s a nice place to be. I expect we will see more significant innovations coming to the online platform now that this well-thought-out foundation is essentially in place. It feels like we are pretty much at the end of a virtual three-year product cycle.

If you missed the conference, most of the sessions are available online in the Ignite channel in the Microsoft Tech Community. (For the best experience register and/or log in.) If you were to watch just one, I’d recommend Jeff Teper’s session BRK2451 - Content Collaboration in the Modern Workplace. In this session, Jeff gives a good overview of what’s been happening and what’s coming soon.

In this short article, there’s not a lot of room for me to highlight too many specific announcements, but I did turn to Twitter and Facebook to find out what others thought was their #IgniteONETHING – the one thing they though was the coolest or most important to them from the conference. (Most people simply replied to my tweets, so you won’t see a lot under the hashtag.)  Here’s a non-scientifically collected list of the feedback I got:

  • Microsoft Search
  • Converting a SharePoint Online root Site Collection to a modern Communication Site
  • Improvements to column formatting and view formatting
  • Microsoft Teams (so many sessions, so many enhancements!)
  • Improvements for the Microsoft Graph
  • Creating modern lists from Excel or an existing list
  • Megamenus for Communication Site navigation
  • Audience targeting with Modern Experience webparts
  • OneDrive Files on Demand for Mac
  • Azure Function v2 GA
  • AI for Humanitarian benefits
  • …and more…

It’s well worth your time to track down the sessions that cover your areas of interest. If nothing else, fast forward to the end of the key SharePoint-oriented sessions to check out the roadmap slides at the end.

Overall, we had a great time in Orlando. To me, the value of attending far surpasses the value of the conference itself. It’s the hallway conversations, meeting great new people in the community, hearing about others’ successes and challenges, and all the other peripheral activity that makes attending invaluable. Of course, the same is true of the excellent SPTechCon conferences, which offer deeper dives into specific functionality on a more manageable scale. (I walked 32.7 miles last week – SPTechCon is a breeze compared to that!) I hope to see you in Austin next February!

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