Office 365 Summit Sydney - That’s a wrap

By Dr Adrian Colquhoun

The big news from the keynote presentation at the Office 365 Summit in Sydney this week was that there is no big news. We sat on the edge of our seats waiting for the long awaited Australian Office 365 services to be announced and got (drum roll) nothing. However, this is the cloud nothing stays the same for long. By day two of the summit, everything had changed. The Office 365 (and CRM online) services were now live in Australia and the sun had come out.

The second takeaway from the keynote was the time and prominence given to Microsoft’s Office 365 development evangelist Jeremy Thake to showcase the extensibility story of the Office 365 platform. Somewhere along the lines, people seem to have equated the fact that no code can be placed in SharePoint online with the assumption that Office 365 cannot be customized and extended. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. A point that Jeremy rammed home as he wowed the audience with demo after demo for applications running in Word, Excel, Outlook and of course SharePoint online. I spoke to several delegates afterwards who had been simply amazed by the possibilities, having attended with no idea that the Office 365 platform could be extended so widely.

Expect to hear a lot more about Office 365 in Australia in the coming months. The platform is steadily adding a wealth of data, security, device management and privacy tools. With customers data now stored in Australian data centers concerns over data sovereignty are evaporating. Hard pressed IT departments (especially those in the public sector) are jumping on board in droves as a way to address their legacy IT infrastructure issues once and for all.

It’s a testimony to how quickly the Office 365 platform is disrupting enterprise IT that this sold out conference was an unholy mix of end users, partners, administrators and developers. Microsoft had flown in some of their top experts to a give us a vision of the future straight from the mouths of the people creating it. That set up us for some interesting conversations in the bar afterwards. Chatting over a couple a beers around the fringes they left us in no doubt that there are lots more exiting announcements to come. As always, there is a great community building up around these events.

To wrap up, it’s not bad for a free event. I’m sure most of the 800+ delegates took something useful out of the two days. The eyes are slowly being opened to a new world of possibilities of Office 365, something that will require new ways of thinking from end users, administrators, developers and partners. I’m sure there will be some great successes and some horror stories along the way. Here’s hoping everyone comes back next year and tells us all about them.

Dr Adrian Colquhoun is an independent consultant, author and entrepreneur. He is the founder and managing director of Strategik a Brisbane based consultancy. Contact him at