Yesterday, I was honored to be invited to attend the launch of Microsoft’s Office 365 in New York City!
This was an amazing experience. We not only had the opportunity to chat with Microsoft people and ask questions, but there were several customers in attendance who have already been using the products. As you can see in the above photo, some small businesses were highlighted. The individuals in the photos on the exterior wall there and all along the walls inside… were real people who had already implemented Office 365 for their small businesses. This product is perfect for them. Many of us take for granted that we work in large corporate environments with full IT staffs and help desks. These kinds of companies have data centers, servers, server admins, help desks, project management departments, developers, etc. For small and medium businesses who do not have the resources to simply drop in a new server when a new product comes along, SharePoint has not been within reach. This brings me to my…
Ah HAH moment
There is a whole new audience of people who haven’t had the opportunity to use SharePoint before. This means a potential flood of new members in our awesome online SharePoint community. We (the community) already have a great diverse group of people, skill sets, and personalities. From my perspective, these people will be at the same level as anyone else who has just started learning SharePoint, online or not. Again, from my perspective, the audience, questions, and SharePoint needs will be almost exactly the same.
Out of the Box Rocks
The whole title and purpose of my blog is “SharePoint for Non-Developers”. Just about every single blog post in here is teaching you how to use out of the box functionality with data view web parts, workflows, and InfoPath. This is for you too, new Office 365 SharePoint Online people! Note that my blog posts aren’t necessarily for absolute beginners, because sometimes they entail a slightly more advanced comprehension of tables, logic and forms, but in general you don’t need to be a programmer to do this stuff. I encourage more of you to keep exploring the no-code stuff… jump in!
Microsoft has built in all of these great ways that business users can create their own “solutions”, without ever having to hire a developer or write any code. There is a LOT you can do, I promise.
My Action Items
Since the launch yesterday, and getting to talk to so many great people like the small business customers and community influencers, my mind has been swimming with ideas. Here are some tasks that I have assigned to myself, and I encourage you to let me know your feedback. (My blog will give an error when you post a comment, but you can ignore the error)
- Add tags to my posts for Office 365 and SharePoint Online – I plan on pointing out what can be done or can’t be done in each of the different versions, for each blog post. For me, this also entails going back through old blog posts and adding these tags.
- Follow these hash tags on twitter – #Office365 #SharePointOnline, and of course #SharePoint. Keep an eye out for people who are new or looking for resources. Reach out, help, and let them know of some other people on twitter to follow for SharePoint.
- Frequent the forums – Of course there’s good ol’ SharePoint 2010 – General Questions and Answers, but there’s also The Office 365 Community Site. Help by answering questions. If you’ve never seen yourself as someone who can answer questions on a forum, this still applies to you. If you’re got a little experience with SharePoint, you can still help people who have NONE.
- Add Office 365 to my session abstracts – From now on, when I speak at conferences, I have to remember to mention Office 365 in the descriptions of my sessions, and also mention in during each session introduction.
- Re-do some of my older posts – This is going to take the most time. Many of the videos and blog posts that I did back in SharePoint 2007 are still applicable in 2010 and Office 365. The user interface in SharePoint Designer is just different enough that I get a lot of questions lately about how do to X in SharePoint 2010. (Since I’m writing a book right now, I’m not sure when I’ll get to this) Think about it, though… data view web parts are awesome and totally applicable in SharePoint Online!
In general, my goal is to embrace this new wave of SharePoint people, and guide them, and LET THEM KNOW WE’RE OUT HERE. If someone’s never heard of SharePoint, they’re not necessarily going to know to go to twitter, so somehow I’d like to tap into that and communicate it to them. Once we get them on twitter, then we can guide and mentor just like we always have, point them to the right blogger for this or that, and suggest people to follow.
To see my whole photo album of the pictures that I took on that trip, CLICK HERE.
Here is Microsoft’s video of the launch.