8 capabilities that should be among your 2020 SharePoint intranet resolutions

The beginning of the year is a great time to think about intranet goals. And now that were seeing the rollout of new capabilities announced for SharePoint at Microsoft Ignite 2019, I wanted to share my favorites – and offer advice about using them.

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I’m in the beginning of my journey to make my content more accessible. I will share what I’ve learned and my tips and tricks in conference presentations and future blog posts in 2020. For an interesting overview about accessibility, listen to the December 2019 Roadmap Pitstop edition of the Intrazone podcast to listen to my friend Kaarin Shumate, Senior Content Developer at Microsoft, as she talks about how she and her team work to create accessible global content for SharePoint documentation. In addition, listen to the May 16, 2019 episode, Accessibility from the Start. This episode features Lauren Back, a usability engineer from HCL Technologies. Listening to Lauren explain how she uses a screen reader and how she imagines web page reading is for people who are sighted will give you insights in to how to make your content more accessible.

Resolve to continue to learn in 2020

One of the most challenging things about working with cloud-based software is the frequency of updates. This is going to continue to be a challenge for SharePoint intranets because not only do the features change and evolve, but it is almost impossible to know exactly when a feature will hit your tenant. There are different release strategies, different geographies and different platforms that can make it hard to stay on top of changes. Fortunately, Microsoft and the SharePoint community are working together to try and make managing all this change a little easier. Microsoft has summarized a few important ways to keep up with updates in a documentation article called Stay on top of Office 365 changes. You can also easily find multiple Twitter and blog lists that folks have curated to include people who are focused on keeping ahead of the updates. I also recommend adding The Intrazone podcast to your podcast playlists to learn about what Microsoft is working on and for the monthly summaries of what's new.

If you want to really connect with the SharePoint community and learn in person from Microsoft and community experts, attending a SharePoint, Microsoft 365, or Teams conference should be on your list. There are community events almost every week that you can find at SPSEvents.org. SharePoint Saturdays are not just about SharePoint – and there is probably one coming up near you. Two other major community-run events in 2020 are the North American Collaboration Summit in Branson, Mo. in April and the European Collaboration Summit in Weisbaden, Germany in May. These are larger, multi-day events and though they are not free, like SharePoint Saturdays, they are community run and not-for-profit events and are priced accordingly.

Some great commercial events include SharePoint Fest (D.C., Seattle, and Chicago), the European SharePoint, Office 365, & Azure Conference (2020 date and location TBD), and SPTechCon (San Francisco and Myrtle Beach, S.C.).

If you missed Microsoft 2019 in Orlando, don’t worry – Ignite the Tour is on the road, coming to cities worldwide. Ignite the Tour events are Microsoft events offered at no cost. (Use the link to find upcoming cities and register for events.)

The dates and location for Ignite 2020 have not yet been announced, but you can view almost all of the sessions from Ignite 2019 and download many of the slide decks.

And last, but not least, the place to be for the next wave of major announcements and the largest gathering of the SharePoint community in North America is SharePoint Conference 2020 in Las Vegas from May 19-21, 2020 (with optional workshops on May 17, 18 and 22). There are early-early bird and early bird registration discounts available until Feb. 3. In addition, you can use the code HANLEY to save an additional $50 off your registration at any time. The SharePoint Conference is a great way to learn and an even better way to network with Microsoft, MVPs, and like-minded members of the SharePoint community. There will be a large track with great speakers focused on intranets – I had the opportunity to preview the agenda. There will be content for developers and IT Pros, as you might expect, but there will also be content for Power Users, Information Architects, and Communications professionals. This is my favorite event to recommend that you bring your entire team – builders and owners and users – because everyone will find sessions and a community with which to connect.

As you make your intranet resolutions for 2020, I hope you will put learning and my other suggested resolutions on your list!

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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