SharePoint gets its mojo back
- Posted on June 1, 2016
A few weeks back I attended the ‘Future of SharePoint’ event in San Francisco to learn about Microsoft’s vision for the world’s most widely adopted enterprise collaboration product. It was also a perfect way to meet the core leadership to discuss how SharePoint and OneDrive should improve in order to better solve our clients’ digital workplace needs.
The conference served as the true reveal of the “new SharePoint” - both as a re-launch as a modern state of the art product and service, but also a launch of the new organization that works hard on getting SharePoint back in the center of the Microsoft collaboration offering.
For years, I felt like the SharePoint brand has been toned down and even misused. SharePoint has been struggling with its core features, such as document management, team collaboration, portals and search. In Office 365 where SharePoint is a service, it has not been presented to the end-user as SharePoint – just “Sites.” At the same time, its cousin Exchange has made huge leaps in terms of modernizing how we do e-mail; on the web, in the cloud, on the desktop and on mobile. We did not see the same investments in SharePoint – until now.
The Father of SharePoint is Back
Jeff Teper, also known as the father of SharePoint, was recently brought back into the SharePoint team to lead SharePoint into a new era. This event was the coming out party for a new SharePoint, a modern, easy to use, accessible and beautiful collaboration tool that will help organizations transition to a digital enterprise. At the event, Jeff Teper emphasized that this new SharePoint will “empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device.”
A Modernized User Interface
The roadmap that Jeff Teper and the team presented contained an impressive set of new, enhanced and long overdue features that will soon be rolled out to SharePoint Online, as a part of Office 365. A huge focus from the SharePoint team is to bring together one of the core features of SharePoint, Team Sites, that will be renamed Modern Team Sites with the Office 365 Groups feature into a modern, flexible and mobile experience. Modern Team Sites will have an engaging home page injected with information and analytics from the Office Graph with a slick and intuitive user interface (something SharePoint have never been known for).
It does not stop there; the SharePoint team is taking the SharePoint experience to yet another level. They will bring SharePoint to your mobile device using native apps as the “intranet in your pocket.” The usage of the word intranet is very interesting since SharePoint will soon offer features such as news and announcements to make it easier and faster to get started building your digital employee experience on top of SharePoint.
SharePoint 2016: Major Improvements Under the Hood
It was an extensive amount of announcements from different speakers on stage. There was something for everyone; end-users, IT-Pros, power users and developers. SharePoint 2016, the on-premises product, was announced with general availability. The focus for this new SharePoint 2016 on-premises release has been on preparing the core infrastructure for hybrid and future scenarios. Upgrading to SharePoint 2016 might well be worth it considering that it was announced that some of the new features coming to SharePoint Online will be added to SharePoint 2016 in Feature Packs during 2017.
This is Just the Beginning
During the event we were also shown several more areas of investments and some new features and services that will be woven into SharePoint, such as:
- PowerApps – a new and powerful way of building apps based on your data
- Microsoft Flow – an easy and lightweight automation and workflow system for everyone
- SharePoint Framework – a new paradigm to build scalable and secure client-side solutions, as well as many smaller and larger innovations
For me, the biggest takeaway from this event, and I’m glad I went there in person, was to feel the vibe and the energy from the SharePoint team. This new leadership really wants to take SharePoint back to where it all started, to empower people to collaborate efficiently, secure and everywhere on their terms.
“SharePoint is easily the largest productivity service” - Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President, OneDrive and SharePoint