During the first ever Microsoft Ignite conference we saw a lot of new and impressive features, capabilities and products that will be rolled out shortly or were rolled out on May 4th during the keynote. A major focus was put on modern productivity. Nowadays the workplace is changing fast and productivity needs to be boosted to a whole new level to respond to some challenges like the mobile workforce and the need to collaborate efficiently across geographical boundaries. With the release of Office 2016, Exchange Server 2016, SharePoint Server 2016, Skype for Business Server 2015 and taking advantage of the Office 365 productivity suite, modern productivity is basically redesigned. Here are some new features that will boost end user productivity right away.
As modern productivity relies mostly on efficient team work, the new Office 365 groups. The ability to quickly bring people together to solve a business problem must be simple, lightweight, user-managed, while letting team members work the way they want to. And this is exactly what the new Office 365 groups are doing. Users can immediately create a group to collaborate with other colleagues on a certain project, without the time consuming need to involve local IT departments in group creations. Users which are part of an Office 365 group are able to easily send e-mails to all members, create Skype meetings in one click, share documents and so on.
If we also bring Delve into our discussion, service powered by Office graph, then we can ensure that all involved users will see daily the most recent updates on a certain project.
But modern productivity is also a lot about mobility. We often hear the concept of “mobile-first” but we mostly don’t know exactly what this actually means. The word “mobile” itself is misleading, because we may think at mobile devices. But as it was said during the Microsoft Ignite keynote, mobile devices are not mobile. You can let them on a desk, go away, and the devices won’t come after you. The workforce is mobile, instead. And people are using a variety of devices and that’s why it is useful that they have a mobile and same experience across all devices they are using. This is what “mobile-first means”. And to ensure that, Microsoft comes forward with Windows 10, which is the same operating system for all devices, running on the exact same code base and having the exact same capabilities. Windows 10 also comes with universal apps and if we put everything together then we really have a great and same experience across all devices we use.
One next important point to take into consideration when we speak about modern productivity are meetings. Meetings are a vital element for an efficient collaboration and with the mobile workforce we have today meeting participants are mostly remote. And there are a few new features and capabilities that bring Skype meetings to a whole new level, like broadcasting capabilities, in-call co-authoring and pre-loaded meeting attachments.
But modern productivity needs to be also secure. And Office 2016 and Windows 10 will bring security to a whole new level. For instance, it will be possible in Office 2016 to embed user access privileges directly into the metadata of office files. For example, if I save a Word file, I can choose that only John Doe should be able to open that file. If I than e-mail that file and it gets stolen, nobody will be able to open it, so it would be useless. Combining this feature also with Azure RMS, users will be able to access detailed reporting on who opened their files, when and from which location. Also users will have the possibility to revoke all privileges and nobody would be able to open those files afterwards.
So this is how modern productivity is designed today, answering to the challenges and specifics of our age. In my opinion, IT professionals have to go with the flow. Everything around us is evolving, innovations is everywhere, so we can’t stick to old IT models.