Ignite Guide: Top Sessions for the Business Analyst

Susan Hanley

by Susan Hanley on 4/23/2015

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Date Revised:
5/12/2015

Applies to:
business analyst, Ignite guide, information architect, sue hanley


I always feel a little “in between” when it came to the previous SharePoint conferences – and the upcoming Microsoft Ignite conference is no exception. I’m a Business Analyst and Information Architect – not an Architect or Implementer and I’m also not what I would call a traditional IT Decision Maker. When I look at the target audiences for the Ignite sessions, I feel like I’m “none of the above.” The sessions also have a target Role, and I think I can identify with the Business Consultant role – but since Microsoft groups Technical Consultant with Business Consultant in that “tag,” it hasn’t really helped me filter the sessions in a helpful way (though there is also a Business Systems Analyst role you can filter by as well). And yet, after looking through the entire list of the sessions, I find that there are at least 3 and sometimes many more sessions in every time slot that speak to my role as a BA and my interest in learning more about how Microsoft is evolving the collaboration and portal solutions platforms of SharePoint and Office 365 and how Microsoft customers have applied SharePoint and Office 365 to solve meaningful business problems.

One thing I’ve learned about Microsoft conferences is that while it’s great to go in with a plan in mind, you need to be flexible and sometimes the best sessions are the ones that you land upon because someone else is going or because the session you wanted to go to is full or you just can’t find the room! With that in mind, here are my recommendations for a BA’s guide to Ignite.

 

Day/Time

Session

Speaker(s)

Why this session?

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

The Evolution of SharePoint (Overview and Roadmap)

See the video

Bill Baer

Seth Patton

The future of SharePoint – not to be missed.

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

Microsoft Edge (formerly "Project Spartan") Overview

See the video

Fred Pullen

Prem Mathiyalagan

Because I really want to see Spartan in action and I don’t have an “extra” computer on which to install the preview.

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

Create the Internet of Your Things: The Microsoft Vision for IoT

See the video

Sam George

IoT is not just the future – it’s already here (just ask my thermostat that I control with my iPad)!

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

Office Sway: Reimagine How Your Ideas Come to Life

See the video

David Alexander

I think Sway is cool, though I haven’t yet found a use case that makes me want to add it to my regular set of tools. I’m hoping that this session will convince me.

Monday, 1:30 p.m.

The Rise of Dynamic Teams

See the video

Bryan Goode

This is a solutions focused session that seems perfect for business analysts.

Monday, 3:15 p.m.

Next Generation Office 365 Controls, Extensibility and Team Productivity

See the video

Julia White

Perry Clarke

Hopefully, this will extend the keynote topics and provide more details.

Monday, 3:15 p.m.

Information Management Strategy with Microsoft Office 365 in Mind

See the video

Jeff Fried

Jeff is the CTO of BA Insight and a generally smart guy and this session sounds like it’s going to have some practical guidance.

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

Microsoft Office 365 Groups Overview and Roadmap

See the video

Amit Gupta

Christophe Fiessinger

Though Groups are quite ready for prime time, they have a lot of potential to bring the best of all the Microsoft collaboration tools together in a familiar interface. I’m super excited about where Groups are headed and I think that solutions-focused Business Analysts really need to learn more about the roadmap for Groups.

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

Intelligent, Ready-to-Go NextGen Portals in Office 365

See the video

Adam Harmetz

Mark Kashman

Scheduling this session opposite the session on Groups is just wrong! Every BA should want to learn more about Microsoft’s NextGen Portals. They are about delivering business value quickly and easily. Of course BA’s want to know about them!

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m.

Microsoft’s Vision and Roadmap for Work, Project, and Portfolio Management

See the video

Brett Brewer

Howard Crow

Sajan Parihar

The title alone is music to any BA’s ears!

Tuesday, 10:45 a.m.

Office Delve and Office Graph Vision and Roadmap

See the video

Ashok Juppusamy

Cem Aykan

Fredrik Holm

Delve is the experience that people in Knowledge Management dreamed about 20 years ago. There is just so much that can be learned and surfaced using the Office Graph.

Tuesday, 10:45 a.m.

Designing and Applying Information Architecture for Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365

See the video

Scott Jamison

A session with Information Architecture in the title given by my dear friend and co-author. Of course, you should attend! Scott is an outstanding speaker and learned everything he knows about IA from me so he’s going to do a fantastic job in this session. (Oops, did I say that out loud? ;-))

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

Managing Change in an Office 365 Rapid Release World

See the video

Rajmohan Rajagopalan

Mufaddal Pratapgarhwala

Andy O’Donald

I’m hoping that this session really does address the importance of managing change and helping users prepare. It’s a very important topic that presents new challenges for both IT and the business in the rapid (constant) release mode of Office 365.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

Yammer Roadmap

See the video

Juliet Wei, Gadi Ben Zvi

Social is here to stay. Let’s find out what’s happening next.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

Skype for Business: Understanding Key Factors for Maximizing End-User Adoption and ROI

See the video

Stephen Clark

Debbie Arbeeny

This sessions speaks to the heart of what BA’s care about – business value and adoption.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

DSM: Their Journey to Microsoft SharePoint Online and Office365

See the video

Marco Jongen

Guyomard Beckers

Customer case study about moving to the cloud.

Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.

A File’s Future with OneDrive for Business

See the video

Reuben Krippner

OneDrive for Business can only get better – and this session promises to divulge examples and innovations and a detailed roadmap for this critical capability.

Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Interactive Storytelling with Office: Revolutionizing How Users Visualize and Share Information

See the video

Ari Schorr

David Alexander

Michael Pamphlet

Stories are how people communicate and remember. This session promises to cover how all of Microsoft’s storytelling elements are combined to communicate: Office Sway, Office Lens, OneNote, Excel, Power BI for Office 365, and Office.

Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

Meet Office 365 Compliance Center

See the video

Kamal Janardhan

Ben Appleby

If your focus is compliance, this is a key session to attend.

Tuesday, 3:15 p.m.

I Sync, Therefore I Am – a Deep Dive on OneDrive Sync Capabilities and Roadmap

See the video

Jason Moore

Hands down, my favorite session title at Ignite. Best puns ever in the full description.

Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.

Microsoft Office Groups Deep Dive

See the video

Christophe Fiessinger

Sam Koppes

Venkat Ayyadevara

See comments above. This session is an extension of the earlier session on Groups and covers architecture, administration, security and compliance, and extensibility.

Tuesday, 5:00 p.m.

Re-Thinking Attachments: Collaborating in Outlook with OneDrive

See the video

Misbah Uraizee

James Peters

Kip Fern

This session is about new capabilities that every business user will need. I think it is an important topic for BAs.

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.

Yammer for Team Collaboration

See the video

Jay Sethna

BAs in particular really need to understand the different ways teams can collaborate in the next generation of services from Microsoft. This session is about Yammer-focused collaboration.

Wednesday, 10:45 a.m.

A New People Experience in Delve: Discover People through Content, and Content through People

See the video

Stefan Debald, Welly Lee

Delve provides an incredibly rich information discovery experience. I think all BA’s need to understand the power of the Office Graph and its ability to help solve knowledge management challenges in organizations.

Wednesday, 1:30 p.m.

The New Knowledge Management Portal in Office 365

See the video

Christopher Kehler, Victor Poznanski

This will be the premier of one of the NextGen portals Julia White talked about in her blog post in February.

Wednesday, 3:15 p.m.

Collaborate on Files and Information within Office 365 Groups

See the video

Eric Zenz, Andrew Haon

I’m recommending that BA’s really pay attention to sessions about Groups. This session promises to showcase the new files and information capabilities within Office 365 Groups.

Wednesday, 3:15 p.m.

Break Down Organizational Silos and Gain New Insights with Office Graph and Office Delve

See the video

Gary Danoys

Steve Nguyen

This session seems to put a practical spin on the same topic in the session I recommended for 10:45 am session on this same day. Experiences that answer key business KM challenges, like Delve, are important sessions for BA’s.

Wednesday 5:00 p.m.

Yammer IT Mythbusters

See the video

Chad Slipka

Naomi Moneypenny

My friend Naomi is an outstanding speaker, super brilliant, and knows more about Yammer than many of the people who work on the team! This session will focus on best practices to help your organization navigate the path to success with enterprise social.

Wednesday 5:00 p.m.

Skype for Business: How to Execute an Effective End-User Adoption and Change Management Program

See the video

Debbie Arbeeny

Stephen Clark

This session has a user adoption focus about Skype for Business. It will focus on real examples and essential success factors.

Wednesday 5:00 p.m.

Evolving Distribution Lists with Office 365 Groups

See the video

Alfons Staerk

Maithili Dandige

This session is a deep dive that promises to provide some answers about helping your users transition from DLs to the Groups experience. Hopefully, the focus will be more business than technical, but the “deep dive” characterization might make this a little less BA focused.

Thursday, 9:00 a.m.

Boosting Workforce Agility with a Digital Workplace

See the video

Mike Gotta

Mike Gotta is a Gartner analyst. This session will talk about optimal strategies for building digital workplaces.

Thursday, 9:00 a.m.

The Social Journey: The Customers' Perspective

See the video

Andrea Berry

Greg Nemeth

Mary Lou Theobald

Michael Wetzel

Steven Somers

This session presents a panel of enterprise social experts from a broad range of industries. It will provide a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of companies further along the social journey.

Thursday, 10:45 a.m.

MVP Panel: SharePoint On-Premises, Online, and Everything in Between

See the video

Christian Buckley

Chris McNulty

Dan Holme

Jennifer Mason

Laura Rogers

5 amazingly smart MVPs who can address pretty much any SharePoint challenge you could possibly give them. Don’t miss this session!

Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

The Social Intranet: Integrate Yammer into Your Microsoft SharePoint Experience

See the video

Eric Overfield

Naomi Moneypenny

Most of the Nielsen Norman award-winning intranets for 2015 were “social intranets.” While you can certainly get a piece on your buzzword bingo card with this term, you definitely want to take advantage of Eric and Naomi’s vast experience to learn about how this capability can add value to your current intranet.

Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

Big Bang: The New Universe of Findability and Discoverability

See the video

Agnes Molnar

Dan Holme

This session, brought to you by another two of my favorite people, will focus on how the new Microsoft experiences leveraging the Office Graph can solve critical real-world “findability” challenges. You may want to clone yourself so you can see Eric and Naomi’s session as well as this one!

Thursday, 1:30 p.m.

How to Decide When to Use SharePoint and Yammer and Office 365 Groups and Outlook and Skype

See the video

Kanwal Khipple

Richard Harbridge

Clearly, 1:45 pm on Thursday is when you will need another clone. This session, brought to you by two more amazing speakers, will address the exact questions BAs must be able to answer!

Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

Gain Organizational Insights with Yammer Data Mining and Analytics

See the video

Tammy Young Heck

Steve Nguyen

What’s the point of having enterprise social data if you don’t learn something from the information to make better decisions. This is an important session where you will leave with a better understanding of how to measure business value from analytics.

Thursday, 3:15 p.m.

Boost Productivity for Legal Professionals: How Microsoft Is Using Office 365 and Matter Center

See the video

Larry Kuhn

Joanna Elazrak

If you work in a law firm or your organization has a large legal department, this session is one you should not miss.

Thursday, 5:00 p.m.

Enterprise Social, from “Ooh, Shiny” to Business Success

See the video

Melanie Hohertz

Melanie is the online communications lead at Cargill. Her presentation at SPC14 was my favorite of the conference. If you want some practical, straight-forward and hard fought lessons about deploying Yammer that every BA responsible for social should know, make sure you get to this session early so you can sit up front!

Thursday, 5:00 p.m.

OneNote for OneLife: From Notes to Productivity and Platform

See the video

Ari Schorr

Michael Atalla

OneNote is the most important productivity tool I use – on any of my devices. It is an indispensable tool for business analysts. If you want to be a hero within your organization, I recommend learning everything you possibly can about OneNote and this session is a great one for you (especially if your organization is not quite ready for enterprise social so you don’t have to feel bad for missing Melanie’s session in this same timeslot).

Friday, 9:00 a.m.

Yammer Mining: Dig in and "Listen" to What Your Big *Social* Data Is Saying

See the video

Richard diZerega

This is another session focused on using enterprise social data to drive business value. I think it will be more technical than Tammy’s presentation on Thursday, but this is such an important topic that I think it’s worth taking this deep dive.

Friday, 9:00 a.m.

Become a Yammer Power User: From Zero to Hero in 75 Minutes

See the video

John Pan

Dawn Gartin

If you are not already a Yammer Power User, then take some time Friday morning to learn these essential skills.

Friday, 10:45 a.m.

The Microsoft Enterprise Social Journey: How We Did It

See the video

Chris Slemp

This session provides a case study of Microsoft’s journey to working social.

Friday, 12:30 p.m.

Become a Productivity Ninja: Enter the Productivity Dojo

See the video

Steven Somers

Steve Nguyen

Angus Florance

This session is about using the principles of “Getting Things Done” with your Microsoft Office tools to maximize personal and team productivity.


Topic: Microsoft Ignite

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