The Future of SharePoint: SharePoint Server 2016
May 4, 2016 benchmarked the launch of SharePoint Server 2016 - the first Microsoft on premise offering to be reengineered and “born from the cloud.” I spent the day at Microsoft’s Times Square building attending a partner expo hosted by harmon.ie . After listening to the webcasts, I participated in a roundtable panel with other SharePoint experts to discuss what it all meant to SharePoint developers, end users and CIOs.
The focus of the announcement was centered on four pillars:
- File sharing anywhere access
- Reinventing intranet
- Open collaboration platform
- Security, privacy and compliance
These pillars make up a future where we can seamlessly collaborate on documents, across multiple devices and retain a common user experience. It seems that Microsoft is ready to disrupt the way we work and make collaboration second nature.
During the panel discussion, there were several concerns around whether these features are “too disruptive.” Is this a sign of the millennials coming to the workplace? Or as Yaacov Cohen, CEO of harmon.ie, framed it, “I will never be able to take a vacation now.”
With any new technology, it’s going to take time to embrace change. Yet, I think that Microsoft is listening to the trends in the way we use technology in our everyday lives. Then it is learning how to incorporate that into our work lives, to enable productivity and break down traditional IT barriers.
However, as any IT pro knows there will have some questions on how it’s actually going to work. Are the updates from the cloud for on premise 2016 going to work flawlessly? What if I don’t want all the updates, will that negatively affect my experience or performance?
I expect there to be some bugs with the rolling updates but the important thing to remember is not all of the updates that go to the cloud will be given to on premise deployment. For things that only exist in the cloud, such as the Office Graph. Another thing to remember is that if you have any custom development, make sure to implement a test environment for the updates before releasing into production.
Overall I’m excited for the future of SharePoint. I like that we can spend less time hunting for files and content and instead let the files and content find us. I’m also looking forward to the front end dev aspects: Office Graph, Flow, Power Apps and the client side SharePoint Framework.
I’m also interested in Microsoft’s new security advances. From classifying the sensitivity of data at the start of creating a site, to introducing granularity of external sharing based on Blacklist and Whitelists, and the new security lockbox feature.
This was the biggest SharePoint launch to date with a long list of welcome innovations that will help admins create better answers for their biggest challenges. I’m happy to report that SharePoint is alive and well in 2016 and ready to further integrate into our everyday productivity.