Breakdown of the Future of SharePoint Announcements

SharePoint team site and mobile app

I'm sitting in San Francisco this morning, participating in the Future of SharePoint event (which you can stream live or watch on demand) with members of the SharePoint product team, many of my fellow SharePoint and Office 365 MVPs, customers, and members of the press. It's a pretty exciting place to be, and I'm grateful to Microsoft for inviting me to participate.

With the information embargo lifted as of 9:30am PDT, I'm sure there is a steady stream of content beginning to hit your inbox, with experts and pundits breaking down this morning's announcements into consumable parts, with deep dives into just about every specialty area. I've already logged a post over on RedmondMag.com and plan to write follow up pieces for IT Unity, CMSWire, and the Beezy blog within the next week — but thoughts I'd take this opportunity to walk through the notable points (from my perspective) within each of the key announcements being made today.

So without further ado, here is what was announced today:

  • SharePoint 2016 is now generally available
  • The is a new SharePoint mobile app, available initially for iOS only, but with Android and Windows Phone versions coming later this year
  • SharePoint will replace Sites in the Office 365 app launcher
  • There is an entirely new OneDrive for Business UI
  • There is a new SharePoint 'home' page in Office 365 that operates somewhat like the Delve experience, showing you your most recently visited sites, frequently used, suggested sites based on your profile and activity, and suggested sites that your company thinks are important
  • Intelligent discovery of content, whether in OneDrive for Business or in SharePoint
  • The ability to move content from OneDrive into SharePoint
  • The site provisioning process is being overhauled, making it faster and more user-friendly
  • The look and feel of Team Sites, Document Libraries, and Lists have all received a modern UI upgrade
  • The Doc library looks and acts much more like the new OneDrive for Business, and Lists will look much more like Doc libraries
  • Lists will include top quick actions for commonly used tasks
  • Improvements in touch-based controls in Team sites
  • The OneDrive experience for the browser and the Android app will include a new Discover view, which uses the Office Graph to deliver suggested and trending files from Office 365 and other content that is relevant based on the user's profile, online activity, and network connections similar to the Delve experience. This experience will be extended to iOS and Windows Phones later this year
  • SharePoint will be integrated with PowerApps and the newly announced Microsoft Flow, allowing you to utilize SharePoint lists and libraries as a data source
  • Dynamic conditional access policies in SharePoint and OneDrive that intelligently enable defined levels of access based on who you are, the app or device you are using, and your network location
  • Improved auditing and reporting
  • SharePoint now allows you to access all of your content, unifying data from online, on prem, and mobile sources
  • You can easily switch between multiple accounts, whether online or on prem
  • The ability to pin content, news, and links to the top of your Team sites
  • Analytics on your sites and content, helping you better visualize the performance of your content
  • Alignment of Team sites and Office 365 Groups
  • The ability to add a link to a SharePoint site to a document or folder in a different library or on a different website
  • The ability to sort and filter columns
  • Real-time, full-text search results right from within your document library
  • Inline metadata management
  • Ability to Move or Copy files and data between SharePoint libraries without creating unnecessary versions
  • SharePoint has an updated page authoring experience, modernizing the entire look and feel, and plugging all new pages into the Office Graph when created
  • Improved Site Contents page that provides improved analytics, including top-viewed content, a site map, and user site tips. From here you'll also be able to add lists, libraries, subsites, and apps, as well as change site settings.
  • Microsoft is developing content-based capabilities to help users measure the reach of your files with embedded analytics that show over time how many people have viewed your files, shared and liked them, and otherwise how your content has impacted your organization
  • A new SharePoint development framework using SharePoint's page and web part model, which enables fully supported client-side development, integration with Office Graph, and support for open source tooling.
  • Additional investments in FastTrack for Office 365 to help businesses move more quickly to the online platform
  • While many of these online features as announced are cloud-only, Microsoft will be working to bring many of them to SharePoint on-premises throughout the year via Software Assurance and Feature Packs. But Microsoft also states that they will deliver a set of capabilities for SP2016 that address the unique needs of on prem customers

All of this new stuff is not without its questions (lots of questions about governance, auditing, and permissions throughout the new provisioning and sharing capabilities), but I expect many of these questions to be answered in the deep dive sessions and videos being made available following this event. For those not here in San Francisco, I would encourage you to take a look at the announcements and videos being made available. Here is a list made available to participants:

I hope you find this useful. Some HUGE updates, for sure. It is an exciting time to be a part of the SharePoint community!

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.