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The Future of SharePoint: Cloud-First, Mobile-First

Posted by Indusa Admin on May 19, 2016 8:08 am

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Microsoft recently announced the release of SharePoint Server 2016 as well as some new changes to SharePoint, calling it “simple, intelligent, and untethered.” They are adopting a “cloud-first, mobile-first” strategy, mirroring their recent changes to Dynamics AX – which has also adopted a cloud-first approach. “SharePoint Server 2016 is a rock-solid release,” said Seth Patton, General Manager, SharePoint and OneDrive, Microsoft. “It’s the most reliable, scalable, high-performance release that we’ve done. It takes the learnings that we have from running SharePoint online in our data centers at scale and brings those learnings to our server customers.”

While SharePoint 2016 has on-premises, cloud, and hybrid offerings, SharePoint Server 2016 will lay the groundwork for organizations to have the flexibility to transition towards the cloud as technology advances their business processes. Currently, more than 200,000 organizations use SharePoint – 40% of which are SharePoint Online users, with 60% of new users implementing SharePoint Online. While a large portion of businesses are still using SharePoint server, it has become apparent that the Future of SharePoint will rely heavily on cloud technology.

Four Pillars of SharePoint

Microsoft is focusing on four key pillars of SharePoint: simple and powerful file sharing, security, privacy, and compliance, mobile and intelligent intranet, and an open and connected platform. These changes are designed to make collaborating easier and more connected than ever before, without sacrificing security and accessibility.


Microsoft announced improvements to these areas of SharePoint:

  • Simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration on any device.
  • The mobile and intelligent intranet, with modern team sites, publishing and business applications on your desktop and in your pocket.
  • An open and connected platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace modern web development.
  • Investments in security, privacy, and compliance across Office 365.

While SharePoint already seamlessly integrates with O365, Microsoft is moving that integration even further with their new cloud-first, mobile-first approach. Office 365 now has over 70 million active users – making it the largest productivity service in the world. It empowers employees, gives better agility, and helps businesses improve security and accessibility within their organization at a fraction of the cost.

Features Sneak Peek

Microsoft will be rolling out these new features this quarter:

  • Access to SharePoint Online document libraries and Office 365 Group files from the OneDrive mobile app.
  • Intelligent discovery of documents from both OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Copy from OneDrive to SharePoint in the OneDrive web experience.
  • OneDrive Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application.

And before the end of calendar year 2016, we can expect to see the following:

  • Document analytics surfaced in OneDrive to provide insight into document usage, reach, and impact.
  • Synchronization of SharePoint Online document libraries with the new OneDrive sync client.
  • Synchronization of shared folders with the new OneDrive sync client.
  • Mobile access to SharePoint document libraries in on-premises farms.
  • Move and copy files between OneDrive and SharePoint in web experiences.
Microsoft also announced the introduction of their new SharePoint mobile app – available on Windows, iOS, and Android – to make intranet portals more accessible than ever before. This app enables users to put their intranet portals in their pocket, with full-fidelity access to company news and announcements, people, sites, content, and apps—no matter where they are. The app will still incorporate any on-premises SharePoint sites, as well.Microsoft has also announced numerous changes to the SharePoint home site and team sites. The new SharePoint home page in Office 365, gives users unified access to sites—online and on-premises—and improves navigation for users. A quick glance at the homepage will also update users on any changes or new activity.

Microsoft is now going to incorporate the power of Office 365 groups into SharePoint team sites in order to bring users the best possible collaboration experience. These changes give every group a team site, and give team sites the benefit of groups for simple management of membership across Office 365 services.

Sharepoint Mobile

Microsoft also release a roadmap for their mobile and intelligent intranet, with these changes taking place in the first quarter:

  • Modern document library experience (currently rolling out to first release tenants).
  • SharePoint mobile app for iOS.
  • SharePoint home in Office 365.
  • Modern lists experience.
  • Site activity and insights on the Site Contents page.

And later in the year SharePoint users will see:

  • SharePoint mobile app for Windows and Android.
  • Integration of SharePoint sites and Office 365 Groups.
  • Simple, fast site creation.
  • Modern pages experience.
  • Team and organizational news and announcements.
  • PowerApps and Microsoft Flow integration with SharePoint.

Microsoft is also introducing the SharePoint Framework, in order to fully support client-side development, easy integration with the Microsoft Graph, and support for open source tooling. “The SharePoint Framework is an evolutionary step in SharePoint extensibility that delivers a new client-side rendering framework leveraging open source JavaScript technologies,” said Jeff Teper, Vice President SharePoint + OneDrive, Microsoft. “The client-side development framework will allow developers to use modern JavaScript and web templating frameworks across cloud and on-premises SharePoint.” The SharePoint Framework will be released to Office users within the next few months. Users will be able to build web parts with the framework and add them to existing pages. In the third quarter of 2016, users will get:

  • The Files API on Microsoft Graph.
  • SharePoint Webhooks (preview).
  • Client-side web parts for existing pages (preview).

And by the end of 2016, Microsoft is planning on releasing:

  • The Sites API on Microsoft Graph.
  • SharePoint Webhooks (GA).
  • Custom sites on the SharePoint Framework.

Security and Compliance

One of the final, and most important, aspects of SharePoint that Microsoft is focusing on comes in the form of security and compliance. By proving clients with IT controls, SharePoint users can safely find a balance between usability and security. Microsoft also provides valuable compliance and reporting features for all your auditing needs. Microsoft recently introduced Advanced eDiscovery which uses machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics to reduce the costs and difficulties associated with big data. Microsoft will release SharePoint Insights later this year, which is a service that aggregates usage and compliance data from on-premises and cloud into the Office 365 Reporting Center – enabling users to receive a unified view of their organization. Microsoft prioritizes clients’ security and will be releasing these features in order to ensure just that:

  • Customer Lockbox.
  • DLP, mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM).
  • Whitelist and blacklist domains for external sharing.

This quarter, Microsoft will also release:

  • Dynamic conditional access policies.

And by the end of 2016, clients will see:

  • New datacenters in Germany and Canada.
  • Bring your own encryption key.
  • Granular access controls.
  • SharePoint site classification.
  • Hybrid SharePoint Insights (preview).

All of these changes, as well as the cloud-first mobile-first strategy, mark Microsoft’s commitment to utilizing the best and newest technology in their products, while remaining on the forefront of cybersecurity. Whether or not you’re a current SharePoint user, or looking to implement SharePoint in the future, Microsoft provides a number of flexible options for businesses looking for the best fit solution. Whether on-premises, hybrid, or in the cloud – SharePoint allows organizations to dynamically collaborate across teams and bolster their productivity with an engaging and user-friendly portal. Microsoft also offers their unique FastTrack option, helping business migrate their files to Office 365, whether it be from Box, Google Drive, or an on-premises solution.

If you’d like to learn more about SharePoint, its new features, or how it can benefit your organization, click the button below to request a free consultation. One of our SharePoint experts will reach out to you shortly.


Sarah Van Wambeke
About the Author – Sarah Van Wambeke

Sarah is an avid writer and digital media enthusiast. Here at Indusa, she primarily focuses on content creation and social media management.