SharePoint Conference 2019 was held in Las Vegas May 21-23, 2019. What an event! From new product announcements to great technical and Diversity & Inclusion sessions, the conference offered the opportunity to learn about SharePoint and Office 365, make new connections, and catch up with community colleagues and friends. There’s far too much to recount in a single recap blog post, but here are my top 5 takeaways from the conference:
1. New product announcements & roadmap updates
The SharePoint product team announced an array of new features and capabilities at the event, including:
- SharePoint home sites, a new Office 365 landing site for your company’s intelligent intranet. SharePoint home sites (built on SharePoint Communications sites) will enable personalized organizational news alongside videos, conversations, and content in an engaging site experience.
- New organizational search experience delivered via Microsoft Search.
- Multi-geo capabilities for SharePoint and Office 365 Groups.
- A massive increase to SharePoint hub site limits (going from 100 to 2,000 hubs allowed per Office 365 tenant).
- Ability to leverage PowerApps to create custom document library forms.
2. Debut of Microsoft 365 learning pathways
Microsoft announced availability of the Microsoft 365 learning pathways beta preview at SPC19. Learning pathways is a ready-to-implement, open source training solution designed to deliver on-demand Microsoft training content for your end-users. With learning pathways, you can quickly and easily stand up a new self-service training site for Microsoft 365 or surface training content via a customizable web part. Learning pathways leverages Microsoft’s support.office.com training resources to keep your Microsoft 365 training content up-to-date. You can augment Microsoft’s content with your own, or with materials provided by training partners.
Learning pathways is available for Microsoft 365 users, and must be installed in your Office 365 tenant. Once installed and provisioned, learning pathways offers:
- A customizable SharePoint Online training portal. Built on a SharePoint Communications Site, the site provides an out-of-the-box self-service training site for Microsoft 365
- A live connection to Microsoft’s online catalog of curated end-user training (both articles & videos)
- A customizable Microsoft 365 learning pathways web part, which you can use to expose training content on your pre-existing SharePoint Online sites
- Ability to create targeted training playlists for your users
3. Diversity & Inclusion track
I had the privilege of delivering 2 sessions in the Diversity & Inclusion SPC19 track: Executive presence and personal branding for women in technology and Building a diverse tech community (co-presented with Wes Preston).
The Executive presence and personal branding for women in technology session was powerful. Liz Sundet and Joanne Klein joined me on stage, and the three of us shared our stories and perspectives on the unique opportunities and challenges we’ve faced in tech. Our discussion focused on 3 key areas:
- Building a strong leadership personal brand
- Scales of dissimilarity: Why women are often judged differently than men
- Leadership presence, mindfulness, and inclusion
You know you’ve made an impact when session attendees don’t want to leave the room at the close of the session. We took a group picture, stayed and chatted, and had a powerful moment of mutual appreciation. It was fantastic!
A huge note of thanks to Microsoft and all the sung (and unsung) heroes of the Diversity & Inclusion track. I appreciate your dedication in bringing these unique topics and discussions to the main stage of SPC19!
4. Hub sites extravaganza
With the announcement of SharePoint home sites (a new Office 365 landing site for your company’s intelligent intranet), Microsoft shone a light on our process for utilizing, governing, and managing our myriad of internal SharePoint sites. This enthusiasm carried over into my session, Determining when to use SharePoint hub sites.
The session had a ton of positive energy! We barely had standing room left, with 180+ people packed into the room during the last session slot of the day. An overwhelming majority of the attendees hadn’t started using hub sites yet, but wanted to learn how to leverage hubs and how hub sites would impact the new home site feature. I gave an introduction to hub sites, shared ideas on how to govern and manage hub sites for your enterprise, and answered a wide range of attendee questions. We even had a member of the product team on-hand (an unexpected surprise!). Thanks to everyone who attended and asked questions. It was an incredibly engaging session!
5. Community, community, community
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this SharePoint/Office 365 community is a gift. I’m fortunate to call so many of these community members friends. The time spent getting coffee, visiting by the pool, having conversations about newly-announced features, etc. was invaluable. Thank you all for being an awesome community family!