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5 Key Takeaways From Reinventing Productivity With Office 365 at Ignite

3 minute read

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This afternoon at Microsoft Ignite, Office GM Julia White headlined a¬†great¬†session, titled “Next generation Office 365 Controls, Extensibility & Team Productivity” or “Reinventing Productivity with Office 365”–depending on your schedule!

The session was exciting in large part because it reinforced the topics we’ve been focusing on here at the BetterCloud Monitor, along with our daily tips and tricks: new applications, security, extensibility, and productivity in today’s style of work.

Five key takeaways stood out:

1. Microsoft is committed to keeping pace with the modern, cloud-oriented style of work.

Julia explained that with businesses evolving to incorporate new technology, along with the growing proportion of millennials in the workforce, the style of work has changed even in the last few years.

Down to the core organizational structure, businesses have shifted. Now, teams tend to be more fluid and dynamic than ever, coming together to solve a particular business problem, dispersing, and repeating.

The Office 365 team often researches users¬†in educational settings, and recently they were observing a student as he worked. They asked, “Do you ever save locally?” He didn’t know what they meant. “Saving to your hard drive,” they replied. Why would I ever need to do that, he wondered?

“We’re going to get rid of email attachments. We don’t need them!” -Microsoft Office GM Julia White, Ignite conference, May 4th, 2015

2. New applications will evolve the Office experience.

Ben Walters, Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, took the stage to describe the latest and greatest Office apps.


Delve is still new to many of us, but Ben demonstrated¬†how Delve integrates new Office 365 groups to make our experience even better. The “group hub” is where we can find notebooks, OneDrive documents, profiles of who’s currently online, and Yammer conversations.


Ben showed us how to include an external user in a Yammer conversation, someone who doesn’t necessarily work in our organization. This capability is key in modern workplaces, as mentioned before, where teams may not be composed entirely of members of the same organization.


We should probably stop comparing Sway to PowerPoint, because it really blows us away at this point! Sway stories update in real-time, and integrates Office Graph to help you add content more quickly.

3. Compliance and security are a priority, both customer-controlled and Microsoft-controlled.

Our modern, flexible workstyles sometimes have unfortunate consequences: sensitive data is more likely to be released in unintended or unpredictable ways. Julia explained the double-edged commitment that Microsoft has made to compliance and security in the Office 365 tenant.

Customers can manage security and compliance at the identity level, application level, and device level, with features like multi-factor authentication, rights-management encryption, data loss prevention, and selective device wipe.

Microsoft is also working on their side, with full access to security controls now in extended through the new Office 365 Management API. They’ve also worked towards encryption on the file level, and new levels of authorization in services like Customer Lockbox.

Jeremy Chapman, of the awesome Office Mechanics team, demonstrated the Compliance Center, which showed us that the O365 team is serious about providing admins with total control over their tenant.

4. Office 365 has innovated by opening up the platform to other business.

Julia called Office 365 “one of the richest platforms to build on top of and extend from.” We’ve been examining that here at Office 365 with our exploration into third-party apps that integrate deeply into Office products.

Product Manager Chris Johnson showed us some amazing integrations that we’re certainly going to check out, with companies like SAP, Boomerang, and Do. He also showed how to quickly pin a third-party app to the app launcher in Office 365, a process we’ll capture in an upcoming how-to video!

5. Microsoft is listening to customers.

Office 365 has grown in scale exponentially over the past several years. To continue that growth, Microsoft has made the transition to Office 365 even easier, with components like the public roadmap (so customers know what’s coming) to the Office 365 Yammer network (so customers can network and learn from each other).

It’s clear that Microsoft is truly listening to their Office 365 users. For example, ProPlus customers asked to have the ability to opt-out of automatic updates, and a new deferral path (or multiple paths) is possible. The Management API is another great example of Microsoft’s openness and responsiveness; with this API, they’re saying, “Join us!”

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