This past Monday morning at TechEd here in New Orleans, Neil Leslie, GM of Developer & Platform Evangelism, kicked off TechEd 2010 with a mini-keynote (also called a foundational session). The session was called "Extending Productivity into the Cloud" and covered the types of things you can do with Office, SharePoint, CRM, and Unified Communications. Neil walked through the Productivity Vision, laying the groundwork with some great customer stories and examples of how the cloud is changing the way we build, deploy and consume business and consumer applications. Neil then invited a number of different technical folks on stage to demo different applications. I have the say, the demos were awesome. They included:

  • Integration of Silverlight, Excel Services/Excel and SharePoint Online--showing how to summarize a quarterly forecast and publish to a broad audience through a SharePoint workflow and a PowerPoint broadcast.
  • Rountrip experience of using Windows Phone 7 and SharePoint--adding comments via the phone and then updating in SharePoint and roundtripping the document back to the phone. (The files were saved to and loaded from SharePoint from the Windows Phone 7!)
  • Unified Communications in the cloud and integration with SharePoint, which demoed integration of OC capabilities in-browser using Silverlight and inclusion of customer information to help provide context for a consumer trying to get a flight out of London to New York. Very cool to see UC embedded in a web experience that had symmetry with the on-premises experience.
  • Executive Package OBA, which integrated Twitter, LinkedIn, CRM, and aggregated machine data into a Word add-in that allowed an executive to build a summary document before visiting a company. The document provided context, but the interesting thing was that the document aggregated different social and customer/machine data in the same document to provide context. Very cool!
  • An NFL demo (real-world app) that integrates player profile data with Office and SharePoint to improve the speed to coaching meetings when professional sports organizations are trying to aggregate and munge data on players (both pro and minor-league) before the weekly game. Amazingly, this app saves countless hours/days of time in an extremely high-pressure/time-sensitive industry. Very cool demo from identityMine!
  • Lastly, the announcement for Office Web Apps and SkyDrive availability was made along with a demo of the capabilities. The cool thing was that regardless of who was using the apps, you 1) didn't require Office to be installed and 2) you have 25 G of free space. You can find more information about this offer/announcement here: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_live/b/windowslive/.

All in all, it was a great session that began to show the different ways in which productivity technologies, traditionally thought of as only being on-premises, can be leveraged in the cloud and integrated with the cloud to deliver either a hybrid or solely cloud-based experience.

You can view the full session here: http://www.msteched.com/2010/NorthAmerica/FDN-3.

Congrats to Neil and all the guys who demoed (Paul, Donovan, John, Chris, Augusto, and Anand) on a great session! Very cool stuff!

Steve