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Microsoft SharePoint conference begins

The Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011 has kicked off in Anaheim, California with more than 5,000 attendees and over 240 sessions. Karen McCandless reports

Kurt DelBene, president, Microsoft Office Division, and Jeff Teper, corporate vice president, SharePoint Product Group, delivered the keynote speech yesterday under the theme of productivity delivered.

Microsoft senior director of SharePoint product management, Jared Spataro, hosted the keynote speech and delivered some statistics that highlight the success of the company’s collaboration solution.

We've sold over 125 million licenses of SharePoint to over 65,000 customers. That's scale. In fact, if SharePoint were a standalone business, it would be one of the top 50 software firms in the world

Jared Spataro, Microsoft
He said: “To date, we've sold over 125 million licenses of SharePoint to more than 65,000 customers. That's scale. In fact, if SharePoint were a standalone business, it would be one of the top 50 software firms in the world.”

He added: “But it's not just scale that we're worried about as a team. We want to make sure that we drive impact. And we're particularly proud of the fact that while SharePoint was known as a departmental solution very early in its life, today 67 percent of our enterprise customers have rolled out SharePoint for everyone for very, very broad adoption.”

Teper then went on to talk about how Microsoft wants to chart a new course for SharePoint as a collaboration technology and outlined three principles to support these aim. These are redefining collaboration; having a broad partner ecosystem; and building a platform that can span any size of deployment including in the cloud with Office 365.

In terms of redefining collaboration, one of the key areas is the self-service user interface that has been present in SharePoint from the start but the principle of self-service has now expanded to self-service business intelligence.

Teper said: “We worked very closely with SharePoint and Excel, and SQL on this thing called self-service BI and PowerPivot for SharePoint and Excel, where you can go bind the tens of millions of records in Excel, publish it to a SharePoint site and navigate that in ways that used to take months to build that kind of solution.”

He also touched on the social fabric of SharePoint, with the introduction of the Outlook Social Connector in the 2010 release of the product: “The concept that these websites or groups are not silos, but you want a consistent experience across personal sites, team sites, portals, intranets, extranets, all hosted on a consistent architecture, all linked together with a common secure search and identity service”

He then announced that the first update of Office 365 will be coming out later this year. Teper commented: “We'll include the business connectivity support including read-write access to web services to make it easy for people to build cloud-based applications that front end other data. And this is just a step, and we'll be doing more and more to enable rich, cloud-based applications that can be run in a consistent way on-premises, private cloud, or public cloud as we have with Office 365.”

DelBene went on to discuss the vision for the future of productivity, the importance of Office 365 and the value of the cloud. He talked about Microsoft’s strategy for the Office and SharePoint divisions, detailing the three guiding principles for the future.

They are, according to DelBene: “one, continue to lead in what productivity means on the PC, on the phone, and on browsers as well. Two, it means about being leaders in the cloud and being leaders on your own terms. And then, three, it's about continuing to deliver for you a unified platform.”

Quest Software was the event’s premier sponsor, and AvePoint sponsored the keynote speech while partner news came courtesy of Kofax, HP, EMX, NEC, KnowledgeLake and Neudesic.

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