ESPC19: SharePoint Puts AI into Collaboration.

ESPC19, the annual SharePoint conference, is designed to provide expert content and contacts for SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure professionals. And of course there is always plenty of collaboration news. 2500 participants came to Prague this year to participate. For UMB our SharePoint expert Elvira Sulejmanovic was there and has summarized the essentials for you.

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Project Cortex to integrate AI

The conference focused - naturally - on SharePoint, but also on Office 365 and Azure Inspiration. This year, Microsoft's Project Cortex was a major topic of discussion. Microsoft aims to integrate AI into mainstream collaboration. Cortex is intended to significantly simplify the search for corporate information through internal knowledge networks. If this works the way Microsoft intends, it will in the future become unnecessary for individual employees to interrupt their work to search for internal information. Project Cortex is scheduled to be integrated into all Office 365 services during the first half of 2020 and will create a harmonious company-wide knowledge base. At the same time, the TermStore will be completely overhauled, as working with metadata will once again become extremely important. Once the metadata framework is in place, 80 percent of the knowledge base will be created automatically, through independent tagging and AI - at least that's what Microsoft predicts.

We are particularly interested in Project Cortex, as UMB, together with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, has already gained a lot of experience in the field of AI.


Social Networking within the company

Yammer, a so-called enterprise social networking service, was purchased by Microsoft seven years ago and developed alongside Office 365. Now Microsoft has completely revamped the product with dozens of new features that support executive engagement, corporate communications, communities, and knowledge sharing in Microsoft 365. New integration for Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint as well as improved security and compliance have also been announced. A new, personalized discovery feed, also powered by AI, connects participants to conversations from across the enterprise and prioritizes the conversations that are most relevant to the individual.


SharePoint in 3D

SharePoint is tightly integrated with several Microsoft Office 365 and Azure services - including PowerApps, Flow, Graph, OneDrive, and Office Groups. And soon, SharePoint will be available in 3D: SharePoint Spaces are a way to create 3D SharePoint online sites that give users with headsets a mixed-reality experience.


Microsoft Search with enhanced features

Microsoft Search functions are to be extended, improved and made more powerful through AI. Therefore, searching in SharePoint and OneDrive should become much improved. By using a semantic search, users will be able to find people results based on qualifications and topics, which in turn will be based on content from e-mails, documents, teams, and other internal sources. Users will also be able to search for attributes of people - such as job titles or locations. With increased natural language comprehension, Microsoft Search will be able to better recognize search intent and the contextual meaning of terms and even abbreviations.


More Power for OneDrive

OneDrive is also growing more powerful: Microsoft highlighted a whole range of innovations designed to make it even easier to access all necessary files in Microsoft 365 completely device-independent.

To promote the migration of data to the cloud and make migration easier for everyone involved, Microsoft has acquired the start-up company Mover this October. Mover can help move files from Box and Dropbox, Amazon WorkDocs, Egnyte, and Google Drive to Microsoft services such as OneDrive and SharePoint. Already last month, Microsoft acquired Movere to simplify data migration to Azure.

For more details about the event or general questions about Microsoft SharePoint, please contact me.


Click here for the Wednesday-Roundup of ESPC19 (Video)
Click here for the Microsoft Cloud Services from UMB