SharePoint Day. Seth Patton opened his session about the SharePoint community. He referenced the viability of SharePoint Saturdays and their strength. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy them as well, but SPS’s are in decline (at least in the US). The best you can say is that the community is strong in some of the larger cities (NY, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, etc.). I am not going to sit here and bash Seth, but he missed the mark on this one. Enough of that, let us dive into the good stuff: Future of SharePoint.
There are over 70 million active Office 365 users. Did you also know that 40% of all SharePoint seats are SharePoint Online, while 60% of new seats are SharePoint Online. Ever the pessimist (the SNUSER begrudgingly approves), SharePoint Online is bundled with the Office 365 licensing. Why is that important? That SharePoint seat is part of the Office 365 license (along with Exchange Online, Office Online, etc.). Just because someone has a seat at the table, doesn’t mean they are eating with everyone else. I would be more interested in finding out the active SharePoint Online seats compared to SharePoint Server (The SNUSER has 86-ed the term “on-premise” for Server). “Hey Jeff, how about those analytics?!?”
On multiple occasions, Jeff stated that Microsoft is committed to SharePoint 2016 and future Server releases, however, Microsoft’s strategy will remain “cloud first”. The key takeaway is that SharePoint 2016 will not be the final release, but will be the foundational release for the future. I am getting a Windows 10 vibe here (SNUSER nods in approval).
SharePoint Server will remain hybrid at the core. As Microsoft has stated many, many, many, times; they want you in the cloud. The “hybridity” (is that a word?) provides you with the training wheels to get to the cloud.
Jeff stated the future of SharePoint will be driven by the 3Gs. They are: Groups, Graphs, and Governance. Or, what he calls the “Fuel for the Future.” SharePoint is the core of Office 365 because of its content collaboration-centricity. Microsoft wants you to be able to collaborate on all devices. The key is mobile accessibility.
And only because I want to get the news out as quickly as possible, the following synopsis is pretty raw. The SNUSER is typically a stickler for editing but, I get a pass on this one.
The 4 Pillars of SharePoint
File Sharing (Reuben Krippner)
Reuben discussed Pillar #1: File Sharing. File Sharing improvements include:
- Deep Office Integration
- Intelligent Browser experience
- 4 Star Mobile Apps
- Seamless Collaboration
- Intelligence and Analytics
Reuben ran through a demo using different devices (MacBook, Surface, iPhone, Android Phone, etc.). There is a focus on cross-platform compatibility; which is critical. Some of the more interesting features included:
- Social Integration within Office (Share!)
- Office Activity Pane (History of the document – Who, what, when)
- Office Document Skype Link
- Ability to move content within the browser to different SharePoint Sites and Libraries
- Pin files to the top of the document library for discoverability
- Improved Mobile Experience
- Discover View – Essentially, Microsoft is moving Delve into every Office 365 UX. This is available on via Mobile App and Browser.
- Analytics on Files – Sort by user (unique and all) views and when (insight over time)
Reinvent the Internet (Adam Harmetz)
Adam discussed how Microsoft wants to reinvent the internet with SharePoint. Basically, there are three types of Intranet Sites: Collaborative, Publishing, and Custom Application. Microsoft wants to give you the “Intranet in Your Pocket”. Adam ran through a demo and here are the highlights:
- SharePoint Mobile App – Delivered by the Office Graph
- All Team Sites will contain a Recent Activities and Navigation Feeds on the Home Page.
- SharePoint Framework – Augment or Build New Portals for the Mobile Apps – More on this within the next pillar.
- Improved People Connection
- Organizational and Corporate News content rollups
- The Sites tile has been renamed to SharePoint
- Thank goodness because this was confusing as hell.
- Consistent web SharePoint experience
- Remember the cross-platform support?
- Frequent sites
- Hello Delve!
- New Site feature – Simplified Wizard (Team Site or Self Serviced Publishing Site)
- Wow, this wizard was way cool. And the site was created uber-fast.
- New Options
- Set the site accessibility to Public or Private
- Classification of Data Sensitivity (Low, Medium, High Business Impact)
- This is awesome!
- The ability to add site members
- Low/no code rapid app development.
- Get used to it, because it will be popular.
- Microsoft Flow.
- Will be available in the new, native SharePoint experience
- This…looks awesome. Automated tasks available within a Library or List.
- New Groups UX
- Go To Outlook, Control Capabilities of the Group. Combination Group/Team Site. News and Activities will be available on the Home Page of the Team Site.
- Delve UX brought into the Team Site
- Teper talked about “Documents finding You”. That sounds pretty scary.
- Professional Pages and Reports – Simplified Delivery
- This UX is pretty cool. A nice web editor
- Easy to add web parts and apps.
- Consistent Library experience across all devices
- Linking – add references to other elements that reside in or outside the library. Videos, web pages, etc.
- Add Custom Actions into the Toolbar
- Add Columns directly from the document view.
- Metadata slice/dice is much improved
- Edit Metadata in context
- SharePoint Lists
- Add Custom Columns on the fly
- Resize Column widths on the fly
- Integrated Microsoft Flow
- Automated Tasks
- Easy to Build based on the data stored in SP
- Mobile Ready
Open Collaborative Platform (Jeff Teper)
- Simplified Development
- Graph API – Email Calendars and Contacts, etc. Lists, Libraries, too.
- File Support
- Custom Sites on SP Framework
- Xamarin! Simplified.
- SDKs/Simple APIs…cross platform – Python, Ruby, Objective C, etc. All can play.
- Fully Client-Side rendering in JS. Much faster.
- SharePoint Framework. Client Side JS.
- Backward compatible
- Next Year — 2016.
Security, Privacy and Compliance (Navjot Virk)
Navjot discussed the improved security, privacy, and compliance within SharePoint.
- IT IS YOUR DATA. Microsoft does not access it.
- End-to-end focus on manageability
- Security, Privacy, Compliance, Transparency
- Comprehensive O365 Solution.
- IT Departments get new capabilities
- Data is completely encrypted within O365 and over the wire
- Customer Lockbox
- Microsoft can request access to your content through the LockBox…only you can grant access
- Rich Audit Logs
- View tenancy information throughout
- Classification and Retention
- SP2016 ships with classification and DLP.
- Will support SharePoint Insights later this year.
- InTune Mobile Application Management
- Make content “Securable but still Usable”. In other words, secure it but do not inhibit user productivity.
- External Sharing Improvements
- Who, what, where, and how they share the data
- Blacklist/Whitelist shipped
- Provide different compliance levels to each site.
- Dynamic Access Policy
- Block Access off Corporate Network
- Increased Granularity
- View, but not download, etc.
- Session requirements
- Provide own encryption keys to protect data
That was a lot…so…when do we get it? Microsoft will be placing the delivery dates in a series of blog posts, but essentially, it will be shipped as it is ready. From what I could tell, most SharePoint Online stuff will be delivered in the 1st and 2nd half of 2016. Updates for SharePoint 2016 will be available next year. Speaking of which, we will now have SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Packs. Delivered as an add-on. Again, Microsoft is “Cloud First” but placing a bigger commitment to Server.
One thing that Jeff touched on, but I hope is explored further, is the FastTrack Migration Services – for Box and SharePoint. How does this impact existing solutions such as ShareGate, Metalogix, and AvePoint?
In summary, this wasn’t a fluff marketing session. Thank goodness. Here are the takeaways:
- Big focus on Hybrid
- Improved Migration
- Deep OneDrive and SP Integration
- Much improved Mobile Experience
- Intranet in your Pocket
- Group / Team Site Integration
- Grow the ecosystem – PowerApps and SharePoint Framework
- End to end security and compliance framework