Microsoft recently conducted an event “The Future of SharePoint” in San Francisco. In the event, Microsoft unveiled a new Cloud-first, Mobile-first Vision and Roadmap for SharePoint, along with innovations that empower People, Teams and Organizations to intelligently Discover, Share and Collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device. Microsoft also announced the general availability of SharePoint Server 2016. This included new hybrid capabilities that enabled On-premises customers to leverage the Innovations in Office 365.
The Vision and Roadmap for SharePoint Online in the Cloud and SharePoint Server On-premise according to Microsoft could be described as
- Collaboration of file sharing on any device, keeping it simple and at the same time powerful.
- Focus on Mobile and use of Intelligent Intranet, with Contemporary Team Sites, Publishing and Business Applications both on Desktop and Mobile.
- Platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace Modern Web Development.
- Focus on Security, Privacy and Compliance across Office 365.
Collaboration on Any Device
According to Microsoft their main vision is to make SharePoint a simple and powerful File Sharing Service. To attain this Unified Access and Intelligent Discovery for all of Office 365 files, making it easier than ever for users to Create, Share, Collaborate on and Manage Documents from anywhere, on any device. Microsoft has come up with Mobile Apps which are available in App Markets of all the major Mobile OS, which is in addition to the ability to experience an intuitive browser experience too. This helps the users to leverage access to file on-the-fly when on road, where Microsoft says it provides the users a rock-solid, selective sync between PC and Mac and offline files on user’s Mobile Device.
There are a range of rollouts, which has been planned in the present quarter and also before the end of this calendar year. Microsoft‘s following capabilities will be rolled out this quarter:
- Access to SharePoint Online Document Libraries and Office 365 Group files using OneDrive Mobile App.
- Documents from both OneDrive and SharePoint to be found using Intelligent Discovery.
- Ability to copy from OneDrive to SharePoint in the OneDrive Web Experience.
- Availability of OneDrive Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Application.
And before the end of calendar year 2016:
- Document Analytics surfaced in OneDrive to offer visibility into Document Usage, Reach and Impact.
- Synchronization of new OneDrive Sync Client with SharePoint Online Document Libraries and Shared Folders.
- Mobile access to SharePoint Document Libraries using On-premises Environment.
- Move and Copy files between OneDrive and SharePoint in Web Experiences.
Covering the space of Intelligent Intranet and Mobile Space of SharePoint:
In an organization the Intranet acts as the Central Nerve System of Data Access and this space has been catered to by Microsoft’s SharePoint. SharePoint is now leveraging the user’s Intranet more by providing accessible on the go, more intelligent, and more personalized. This according to Microsoft is based on users’ activities across sites, the people user work with, the content user work on and the business processes user drives.
Microsoft has mentioned that this month it will be rolling out the new SharePoint Home Page in Office 365, which would give users Unified Access to all of their sites—Online and On-premise, all available to be navigated seamlessly over the Intranet.
Microsoft has a clear Roadmap chalked out when it comes to Mobile and for Intelligent Intranet,
- Implementation of Morden Document Library
- SharePoint Apps for iOS, Android, Windows
- SharePoint Home to be made available in Office 365 Groups and Integration of SharePoint Sites
- Improved experience in Morden List
- Site Content Page to contain site activity and insights
Expectations for Modern Team Sites Users:
Microsoft’s Team sites have always been at the nerve centre of collaboration with SharePoint. All the content, the information and the Apps you rely on are connected with users and their team. Enabling sharing and communication within the team and across the organization.
Microsoft is bringing the power of SharePoint Team Sites and Office 365 Groups together, which provides every group a team site, and giving team site the benefit of groups of simple management of membership across Office 365 Services. The users of modernized team site, would experience an engaging Home Page personalized by the intelligence of Office Graph. Microsoft is going to introduce a new page authoring and publishing experience that allows you to create attractive, feature-rich pages that are responsive, mobile and easy to share with your team and the organization.
New Services of Microsoft Flow and PowerApps Integration:
To access Data, Share and Collaborate with Structured Data onto SharePoint by the team and individual users are done by SharePoint Lists. It is also a common practice by users to regularly to bring data onto other systems into SharePoint list, which helps them in supporting the Business Processes. So to add more arsenal to the users Microsoft has announced Microsoft Flow. A new service which has being tasked to Automate Workflow across the ever expanding Apps and SaaS Services that are been extensively used by business users. The Microsoft Flow helps in exchange of Data onto SharePoint, Microsoft and other Third Party Services, storing the Modified Data onto SharePoint.
Another major announcement was about Microsoft preview of Power Apps, which is a New Enterprise Service which has been specifically developed targeting Innovators to Connect, Create and Share Business Apps universally on any devices.
Few other Notable Updates from Event:
There were some other notable updates which have come out of the event.
One being SharePoint Framework, which points towards Microsoft’s evolution around Mobile First-Cloud First Approach. The Framework which incorporates page and part model that enables fully supported Client-Side Development, Easy Integration with Microsoft Graph and provides support for Open Source Tooling. The SharePoint Framework adapts the tools, Frameworks and Open Source Initiatives and it extends ability to provide solutions that can be built on SharePoint, in the Cloud and On-premises.
Security, Privacy and Compliance:
Microsoft has come put with Dynamic Conditional Access Policies in SharePoint that judiciously define access based on who the user is, the App or Device users are using and Network location. Other Security Supports which are provided by Microsoft for SharePoint are Customer Lockbox, Data Loss Protection (DLP) policies, Mobile device (MDM)& Application Management (MAM) and Whitelist and Blacklist domains for external sharing.
To Summarise the event, Microsoft has clearly defined the Future Strategy to revolve around Cloud and Mobile approach. The primary aim seems to be the ability to provide documents to all from their hand held devices, thus improving the efficiency. Also the Cloud and Open Source push shows the willingness of Microsoft to reach out to larger users with empowering individuals and organizations.
Microsoft SharePoint is a proven and an effective tool that seamlessly Integrates & Collaborates your Enterprise. KARYA Technologies provides comprehensive set of services on Microsoft SharePoint that meets your requirements through Architecture, Administration, Development and Integration.
(About the Author:- Praveen Kumar Rajendran works as a Senior Consultant- Presales at KARYA Technologies. He holds Masters’ Degree in International Business from La Trobe University and has wide experience in Business Consulting on various technologies. He loves to write on latest trends in IT and his areas of interest include Mobility, Cloud and Enterprise Solutions.)