The future of SharePoint – ESCP 2020 Takeaways

European SharePoint Conference logo in blue and orange

Below Mike Rogers our Chief Technical Officer share his takeaways from ESPC20 Online - The European SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure Conference.

The themes of this year’s conference seemed to deliver upon the promises made in the 2016 conference to bring everything together into a single hub. The main themes of the three keynotes were to: build on business processes with Power Platform, the state of collaboration in Microsoft 365, and the work life balance.

365 connectivity is easier and better

The ways in which Microsoft 365 enables people to work together more easily and more efficiently are constantly growing. As I type there are 177 enhancements that are currently being rolled out to users with another 479 in development. This collaboration is not just about being able to work with a colleague on a spreadsheet, but now entire business systems can be created collaboratively within the 365 environments. 

The journey can start simply enough. Within Teams, the central hub for the collaborative process, a user can use the Lists app to create a content scheduler list for their social media posts. Opening that list in SharePoint allows the user to set up basic reminders and enhance the list further with more information. It also gives them a gateway to Power Automate, through the use of basic templates approval workflows can be added, Outlook tasks can be created, Teams can be notified, Planner tasks created or even Trello tasks if that's your chosen app. Power Automate can easily talk to non-Microsoft apps (if you so wish) such as Slack and Trello as it talks to Yammer and Planner.

Once you move away from the out of the box templates you start to see the true power of Power Automate. With connectors available for all the major social media platforms your content scheduler list is not only a handy tool for planning your tweets, but for executing your entire social media strategy.

With Power Automate, the simple list a social media manager creates can drive an entire social media campaign from content creation, through to approval, scheduling, and posting without ever having to leave Teams, all without having to write a single line of code. And it doesn't need to be a one way process, Power Automate can look out for interactions with that campaign, it can link up to the bot framework to interact with responders, update the CRM and push back the success stories to Teams.

The truth about ‘no code’ solutions

The caveat of this is that while you don't need to write any code to achieve this in Power Automate, it is exceedingly useful to be able to understand how to code. Although it may seem it, no code does not mean no developers, it just means that the starting line has shifted. Developers need to understand and work directly with users in an agile way to produce what they actually need rather than an interpretation of that that's been filtered through a dozen technical documents. There is still a place for lock in the box developers of course - while there are over 300 connectors available there may not be one for your particular systems; a custom connector can fill in those gaps,

If the only way to update your system is through a desktop application, then Power Automate now comes with a desktop version that allows robotic process automation to record what button you have to press.

Power automate and the collaborative platform of Microsoft 365 then fit together to make you work more efficiently. And this in turn allows a better work life balance. This has been the promise from Microsoft for many years, and finally this year feels like the year where it has all come true.

If you would like us to help you get the best out of your commitment to Microsoft 365, schedule a Teams call with one of our friendly experts today.