Day 4 of the Microsoft Ignite conference was spent at the following sessions. The first was on how to strategically evolve your role as an IT pro, then a session on best practices on design and performance for SharePoint Online, the next session was on BI for Project Online and Project Server 2013. The session after that was around the experiences Microsoft IT had in migrating from on-prem to Office 365 and the final session of the day was the Project Online customisation best practices.
I didn’t know what to expect from the first session of the day as it wasn’t really a specific technology session but it was a very good session and one I’m glad I went to. This covered how the role of the IT Pro is changing and the role will continue to evolve. As you can imagine this is a big topic and one with many split views. In summary, in my opinion the role of an IT Pro is evolving to more of a business / IT strategic role – I guess an internal IT consultant to the business.
The second session of the day was best practices for design and performance for SharePoint Online. I felt this was a good session as the concepts for SharePoint are applicable PWA. Firstly the branding was side of things was covered. This summarised every thing from the very basic changes such as the composed looks / theme, the next level up with the designer and CSS and to the higher end with custom master pages and layouts. The very basics have a low impact with upgrades etc. where as the more complex changes can be high impact and the customisation may stop working with updates to SharePoint Online etc. With customising the UI /UX one key factor is to think about the users and devices, make the designs responsive, an example can be found here for making Seattle.master responsive: http://blog.sharepointexperience.com/2015/03/making-seattle-master-responsive/
If you are not familiar with custom master pages, a good place to start is here: http://startermasterpages.codeplex.com/
The third session after lunch on BI for Project Online / Project Server, this was a great session demonstrating the tools available, Excel, Power Pivot, Power Query and Power BI. There were some announcements around performance improvements to OData, things like increasing the row limit for timephased data from 200 rows to 2000 rows which has increased performance – other endpoints have also been optimised and Microsoft will continue to monitor and optimise the service.
The fourth session was around the experiences that Microsoft had when migrating from On-prem to Office 365. This discussed some approaches that they used with some tools and custom PowerShell scripts.
The last session of the day was the Project Online customisation session which followed a similar theme to the SharePoint design and best practices. Consider what is displayed on the pages, only have web parts you need, only have columns in the views that you need etc. It was also mentioned that Microsoft are constantly monitoring performance logs and optimising the service, many improvements are in the service already and more will be coming. The changes will also be in Project Server 2016, one interesting overhead / improvement Microsoft have made is to drop the Project Service Application in SharePoint as this was an overhead that has been re-engineered. Project Server 2016 will still have the windows services (queue, event, calculation) etc. For performance considerations for Project Online see: http://aka.ms/projectonlineperf
Lastly I dropped by the Ignite party to grab a beer and have a chat with some familiar faces. Another great day at the Ignite conference. 🙂