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April 27
Count Down! What I hope to see at Microsoft Ignite

We’re only 1 week away from one of Microsoft’s biggest conferences: Microsoft Ignite!  Taking place in Chicago, between May 3 and 8, this conference sold out in only 5 ½ months!  They’re expecting approximately 20 thousand attendees!  The session calendar is full of great presentations and Microsoft is getting ready to share tons of information with us about their solutions and their future. 

Combining many of their previous solution-focused conferences (SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, etc.) many people have a lot of expectations for Microsoft at this event.  Many are going to learn about existing solutions, especially Office 365.  Others want to learn about the new solutions coming out over the next year, and yet others want to learn about the roadmaps and where Microsoft’s strategies for the future will take them.

First, I’m excited to hear Satya Nadella’s keynote (Mon May 4th, 9am CT).  I’m really looking forward to hearing about Microsoft strategies for the coming years, about how our day to day experiences with technology is changing and about how they’re making individuals and organizations more productive with cloud services and software.  I think this will set a really informative and collaborative tone for the entire conference and for Microsoft as an organization over the coming years.

With all these expectations in mind, and looking at the session calendar, there are some specific topics that I’m really hoping to learn about.  I also had a chance recently to speak to some of my colleagues about what they they’re looking forward to and I’d like to share some of those thoughts here:


Erica Toelle- SharePoint Speaker, SharePoint Business Development Manager., @EricaToelle

First on my list is learning about Next-Gen Portals in SharePoint Online.  We’ve heard that NextGen Portals take cues from past customer custom portals built on SharePoint and land within Office 365 as ‘ready to go,’ mobile-optimized solutions, and I look forward to getting more detail.

       ·         Intelligent, Ready-to-Go NextGen Portals in Office 365 (given by Mark Kashman and Adam Harmetz,


Next I’m really interested in Hybrid Scenarios.  I think every organization is going to need some form of a hybrid environment, even if it is temporary while they are migrating, and Microsoft has been working towards making it easier to connect on premise shared services with SharePoint Online.  I’m hoping to learn more about the new hybrid features that Microsoft is announcing.

       ·         Implementing Next Generation SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application (given by Kathrine Hammervold and Manas Biswas,

       ·         Pre-Day Session: SharePoint Server 2013 and Office 365 Hybrid Training (given by Bill Baer, Neil Hodgkinson, et al.

       ·         There are also several hands on labs focused on hybrid.


I’ve been anticipating announcements around Migration APIs and potential throttling improvements for SharePoint Online for quite a while now.  An area of focus for me has been migrations of large on premise SharePoint sites to SharePoint Online, and I think we are all eagerly awaiting more investments here.  I’d like to see faster ways to migrate data to the cloud, and I’m hoping that Microsoft is addressing the robustness of APIs with some other new technologies for moving large on premise SharePoint environments to Office 365.

       ·         Migration to SharePoint Online Best Practices and New API Investments (given by Joe Newell, Michael Jordan, and Simon Bourdages,

       ·         ExpressRoute for Office 365 and other Network Connection Options (given by Paul Andrew,


Finally, I’m looking forward to learning more about Microsoft Azure and how it can complement SharePoint.

       ·         Azure Architectural Design Session (given by Chris Jackson,


Doug Hemminger – Microsoft SharePoint MVP, Senior SharePoint Manager., @DougHemminger

SharePoint 2016 – Microsoft will be giving a preview of SharePoint 2016 and I am eager to learn more about the latest on what is planned for the next big on-premises release of SharePoint.

       ·         The Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap (given by Bill Baer and Seth Patton,


Hybrid Solutions – As enterprise organizations continue to explore cloud-based solutions, hybrid alternatives are increasingly attractive options for organizations that are looking to expand into the cloud with non-business critical applications. I am excited to see the latest Microsoft offerings on hybrid options.

       ·         Developing Microsoft Office and SharePoint Solutions in a Hybrid World (given by Elaine van Bergen and Gavin Barron,


Antonio Maio – Microsoft SharePoint MVP, Senior SharePoint Manager., @AntonioMaio2

As for myself, I’ve been doing a lot of deployment work and IT administration of SharePoint over the last year or so, so I’m looking to learn about the advances Microsoft is making for IT Pros in SharePoint 2016.

      ·         What's New for IT Professionals in SharePoint Server 2016 (given by Bill Baer,


I also tend to specialize in SharePoint security, so there are sessions I’m planning to attend that talk specifically about the advances Microsoft is making in those areas of Office 365 and SharePoint Online that look really good.

      ·         Data Loss Prevention in Office 365 (given by Vishwa Shobhit Sahay and Jack Kabat,

      ·         Authentication Patterns for SharePoint Server 2013, Office 365 and OneDrive for Business (given by Israel Vega,


And of course, I’m looking forward to the preview of SharePoint 2016 and learning about Microsoft’s investments here.  This is going to be a super packed session!  Finally, learning more about the new Hybrid scenarios is also going to be really exciting for me.

       ·         The Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap (given by Bill Baer and Seth Patton,

       ·         SharePoint, Office 365 or Hybrid Deployment? (given by Sean Douglas,


On a side note, I’m also hoping to see Microsoft’s new Holographic experience in person, Microsoft Hololens.  Although I don’t see any sessions on the plate related to Hololens, I’m hoping they’re going to be showing it off somewhere or letting people give it a go.  I think this is one of the most exciting new areas in computing and user experience today and I can’t wait to get my hands on one!


Even if you’re not attending, Microsoft will be posting the presentations, news and educational videos over the course of the week.  Keep your eye on the conference web site and on Channel 9 for some great videos and interviews during the show (


No matter why you’re interested, Microsoft Ignite will prove to be an exciting conference, with lots to learn and lots of fun.  We can certainly count on Microsoft to no doubt present a major step forward in their evolution as a cloud services and software company.


We hope everyone enjoys Ignite!




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