My MVP award anniversary this year is special and deserves its own way for celebration. A few minutes ago, I received an email from Microsoft informing me that my MVP status has been renewed for another year but this time for Office 365 rather than SharePoint Server. I’m really glad about the change in my MVP expertise because it reflects a switch in my area of focus during the past two years. Now that Office 365 has been announced during SharePoint Conference 2014 ( #SPC14 ) to be the fastest growing product in Microsoft’s history (a title that SharePoint held for quite some time), I’m even more excited to be aligned with the direction Microsoft is heading.
If you are not familiar with the Microsoft® MVP Award (I doubt), it is an award given by Microsoft to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. Of more than 100 million users who participate in technology communities, around 4,000 are recognized as Microsoft MVPs.
My SharePoint MVP Journey
I received my first MVP award for SharePoint Server in April 2010 and have been renewed every year since then. It has been an honor to be associated with the fastest growing product in Microsoft history (Till Office 365 eclipsed) for four years and to be part of such a vibrant, knowledgeable and helpful community. My journey with SharePoint started back in 2006 and it took me around two years to publish my first article on Code Project, the article was titled “SharePoint Delegate Controls Unclouded” and the feedback I received from my colleagues was phenomenal and was the main reason for me to start the blog that you reading now. During the past six years, I’ve been very active in the online and offline communities but I’ll give you some examples for some of the best in terms of reach and impact:
- EndUserSharePoint.com articles (2008 – 2010)
- SharePoint4Arabs (2009)
- SharePoint Saturday EMEA (2010)– Organizer & Speaker
- SharePoint Saturday Arabia (2010) – Organizer & Speaker
- SharePoint Saturday EMEA (2011) – Organizer & Speaker
- TechEd Middle East (2011) – Speaker (3 sessions)
- SharePoint 2010 Unleashed – Contributor Author
- SharePoint 2013 Unleashed – Contributor Author
- Middle East & Africa ALM Community (2012) – SharePoint Practice Lead
- SharePoint4MEA YouTube Channel (2013)
Office 365, an exciting Journey ahead …
To be honest, I was not a big fan of Microsoft BPOS offering but when Microsoft officially launched Office 365 back in June 2011, I realized that something big is happening. It took Microsoft a few years though to announce its cloud first strategy. Microsoft was clear that, at some point of time, the new features will be released to the Service (Office 365) first rather than the Server (SharePoint On-prem, Exchange On-prem, etc…).
Fast forward a few years à At Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2014, Microsoft announced the following:
- 500% increase in Office 365 users in the last year.
- 60 % of Fortune 500 companies are currently using Office 365.
- Office 365 has generated $1.5 B of revenue to Microsoft in the last year.
- 75+ new features have been added to Office 365, some of them will not even be part of the upcoming on-prem releases.
- Office 365 is now the fastest growing product in Microsoft history.
As mentioned earlier, I dedicated some of my time and focus in 2013 & 2014 to broaden my skill-set to include the different Office 365 workloads. I saw what was coming based on Microsoft’s “Devices + Services” announcements as well as the discussions I had with the Office & SharePoint Product Teams at the global MVP summits in Seattle. I launched a YouTube channel called O365ForAll and I spoke at many events and conferences (including #SPC14) about the Cloud App Model and how to apply Application Lifecycle Management practices to Office 365 Apps. I’ve also tackled other important cloud topics for developers like Visual Studio Online & Microsoft Azure throughout my speaking engagements & blog posts.
From this point onward, you will see more focus from my side on Office 365. This doesn’t mean that I’m moving away from SharePoint. In fact, only in April, I have two important speaking engagements on my schedule:
Last but not least, I would like to thank my family, my SharePoint community friends, the amazing MEA MVP Community, my blog followers, all those who attended my sessions and all those who helped me progress in my career. Without you guys, I would have never been able to achieve anything.