Complete coverage from the Ignite 2016 conference

Last updated:September 2016

Editor's note

As workers become increasingly mobile and device-agnostic to complete their work, they need business applications that are flexible enough to be location-independent and secure enough to protect data, but also easy and efficient to use. Historically, Microsoft applications have not met that bar. But the new cloud- and mobile-centric services in Office 365 may turn that around -- with caveats.

This year's Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference will delve into the technologies in the Office 365 suite designed to meet these business productivity needs. Core applications include centralized content repositories and content management offerings like SharePoint and OneDrive for Business; they enable workers to centralize their files and work collaboratively, from anywhere and on any device.

These tools are also enabled by the Microsoft Azure platform, enabling easy integration with other tools like SQL Server, Power BI and SharePoint mobile and a new development platform, SharePoint framework.

While these tools have allowed workers to collaborate from central locations and in real time regardless of location, they have also posed hurdles in terms of usability; these applications often require numerous steps to complete an action, making work inefficient and unintuitive. And, of course, until just a few years ago, Microsoft was hardly a leader in cloud-based technologies or mobile-first approaches. Ignite will, accordingly, still focus on Microsoft's challenge in creating a truly cloud-first and mobile enterprise application portfolio. This year's Ignite will seek to persuade users that Microsoft is the platform for worker productivity, collaboration and back-office tasks, particularly since many companies still shy away from tools like SharePoint Online, and work with on-premises systems.

So too, Ignite will tackle new trends in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing (in the form of Delve, the discoverability tool, and Office Graph) and how combining these technologies with tools like SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics and CRM can fuel better decision making by teaching applications to learn in context. As trends like intelligent systems gain critical mass, they are about helping workers to work more efficiently and with greater intelligence about the process at hand and the audiences they need to serve.

At the same time, some of these tools are hardly ready for prime time. Office 365 services, such as Groups and Delve are still in their infancy, with IT shops reporting that the prospects for certain users getting access to unauthorized information has gotten easier with Groups feeds and Delve updates.

For more on the Ignite 2016 conference, Office 365 services and the trends underlying Microsoft's new roadmap, check out our guide below.

1Exploring Azure, SharePoint, and the hybrid and enterprise clouds

Read about the highlights from last year's conference. Then make sure to come back to read about the most recent updates and reveals coming out of the Microsoft Ignite 2016 conference on SharePoint, cloud infrastructure and IT starting Sept. 26.

2Examining Microsoft's new enterprise and mobile security measures

Find out how Microsoft is tackling the evolving the world of security compliance at the Ignite 2016 conference.

3Ignite 2016 conference coverage on Twitter

Check back here starting on Sept. 26 to see real-time tweets from the floor of the Ignite 2016 conference.