You can argue it if you want, but this week was all about SharePoint -- and little about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and AX. In fact, as one of our editors pointed out, there’s more SharePoint than you could shake a stick at — largely as a result of the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas.
In no particular order, here are some of the items that either slipped under the radar or which caught our attention. There is also some mention of Microsoft Convergence Dynamics.
Outlook and Skype Get Cozy
Microsoft has made Skype integration from inside Outlook.com available worldwide. Initially, the integration was offered to users in the US, UK and Germany as of the end of April 2013, and a number of other countries over the course of last summer.
However, until this week’s announcement, it was still limited, with most people having to use the two applications separately. The service is now available to everyone along with a number of improvements, including HD video calling for PC users, call notifications, and support for Safari users on Macs. And why? Simon Longbottom Skype's director of global marketing explained:
Even with the best email service, sometimes text isn’t enough. We all face those situations where it’s just easier to jump on a call to talk something through. Sometimes that quick call can accomplish more than a long email reply. That’s why we are bringing Skype audio and video calling to your Outlook.com inbox."
So now you have an inbox with a video feed and more — lots more — unstructured information to manage. While his may be useful for home use, its use in the enterprise will be a different story. Interesting one to watch.
SharePoint Migration by Metalogix
Every year Metalogix comes up with a tantalizing addition to its SharePoint portfolio for the SharePoint conference. This year was no different. We already touched on this one briefly earlier this week, but it merits another look.
With Email Migrator 3.0 and Content Matrix 7.0, which work together or independently, Metalogix enables enterprises migrate email, files and SharePoint into Office 365.
With Office 365 traction now firmly established, organizations of all sizes are demanding a better and faster way to move to Office 365, with Microsoft projecting that Office 365 is on track to become a $1.5 billion business.
While its impossible to say whether it will actually hit that target, there is no doubt the prospect of SharePoint Online in Office 365 is attracting considerable interest in the enterprises space. To make the best of it, organizations will have to be able to move all their relevant data quickly, and effectively, which is where the new releases come in to play.
Until now, IT administrators have been forced to use disparate tools to migrate on-premises email, files or SharePoint content to Office 365 in the absence of a full suite of third-party tools or out-of-the-box solutions.
However, Email Migrator 3.0 and Content Matrix 7.0, which both employ Metalogix’ migration engine and intuitive user interface to do this and to manage every single step along the thorny path of migration. But there’s more on the way, according to Steven Murphy, Metalogix’s CEO:
While we are rapidly expanding our management tools portfolio to address the immediate provisioning, i.e. migration, we are also focused on providing tools to meet the next challenge, which is the ongoing management and governance of all sources of content in Office 365 and other cloud providers."
And there lies the next challenge once the move has been completed, and one that many enterprises don’t ever consider — governance. There will be a lot more discussion on migrations over the coming months as more and more enterprises muster their courage to make the move.
Harmon.ie’s Mobile Collaboration Hub
Harmon.ie was also at the SharePoint conference to talk up its Windows Phone support, which it says makes it the first company to offer a mobile collaboration hub - - a collection of connected apps that provides a single-screen experience for Microsoft-based enterprise collaboration.
With support for Windows Phone, harmon.ie says it offers companies the ability to streamline the collaboration and approval workflows for operations documentation and significantly reduce the time it takes staff to work through document reviews.
Harmon.ie is describing this release as a “significant milestone” and an announcement that will keep it on the track that, it says, has resulted in 400 percent growth over the past year.
It also now offers collaboration capabilities across all of the Microsoft document and social tools (think Office 365, SharePoint, Lync, SkyDrive Pro, Yammer, email, phone) on any platform, which is likely to be the reason it has grown so quickly.
This is also a market that is growing rapidly as enterprises, and individuals try to pull all their communication applications together on their mobile devices. More from harmon.ie soon.
Meanwhile, harmon.ie, has won the inaugural Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014 App Award for best international application. By using the Office 365 developer platform, harmon.ie brings Yammer and SharePoint features right into Outlook and Outlook Web Access for more contextual email and collaboration experiences.
More than 200 nominated apps qualified for the awards after being submitted or updated in the Office Store, with harmon.ie being selected based on its innovation, quality and business value.
SharePoint Conference 2014
Finally, from the SharePoint conference this week and as a good starting point to review our extensive coverage, you might start with Jennifer Mason, a SharePoint Server MVP. She focused on four principles driving Microsoft’s Office 365 and SharePoint development:
- The future of work is all about working as a Network.
- Personal insights can be heard when you cut through the noise.
- There is power within an open development platform and a robust ecosystem
- The future of work is only possible when people can work anywhere on any device where organizations can still manage them securely.
Perceptive's Interact 2.0 for Dynamics AX
Finally, this week, Microsoft also held its Dynamics Convergence where it officially unveiled a number of long awaited updates to Dynamics CRM, Dynamics AX and Dynamics GP. But there was a lot of partners there, too, to unveil integrated products to work with one or other of the Dynamics family.
Among those partners, Perceptive, which was bought by Lexmark three years ago, revealed Interact 2.0 for Microsoft Dynamics AX, the ERP offering from the Dynamics family. Interact 2.0 allows AX users to locate relevant content, based on a customer-defined folder hierarchy, within any AX list page or details screen.
It also enables configurable deployment to any form in AX, including configuration-driven context for access privileges, capture and viewing.
Metadata mapping, access and capture are also configurable enabling users capture files in as few as two clicks through multiple options, populating metadata from AX automatically and submitting directly to Perceptive content management or version control.
There were other releases from other partners and we will be seeing many of them over the coming months. Dynamics itself should also be worth keeping on eye on as new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was the former head of this division and is likely to be expecting great things here.