February 10, 2015

SharePoint (2016) Lives

4 minute read
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Not that I ever really believed it was going to die, but I did come to a (incorrect) conclusion that it would be known as something else in the next iteration. As we found out last week when the Microsoft Office team posted on their Blog "The Evolution Of SharePoint", announcing that SharePoint Server 2016 is coming along with enhancements to SharePoint Online.

While it was made clear that on premise was not going away, there will be an obvious focus on Hybrid scenarios, which is the reality of most enterprises. You can try to avoid the cloud, but your users are going to find ways to use it. Also, it is just not feasible to think every organization is going to start putting all their content in the cloud. My prediction is that many organizations move toward Office 365 for Exchange and personal Files, making use of OneDrive, while managing most transactional content on premise for the near future.

SharePoint 2016 Features

I would recommend reading the mentioned post to see the details on the upcoming release, but to summarize the Office Team talked about five key features that would get the most attention.

Search

No surprise here. As with the last two versions of SharePoint, Search will continue to take center stage. The technology we knew by the code name of "Oslo" has become an official product/feature called Office Delve. It's touted as a new way to discover information and connections across your network and supposedly helps information find you, rather than you finding it. While it sounds great, I imagine, that good information architects will be key in adapting this to your organization.

Portals

I almost choked when I read this. I understand for much of the world, portals and collaboration is really cool, but for me it just means people creating sites with no planning and then forgetting about them and the information stored within them. Hopefully Microsoft does something new here and it's not more of the same in SharePoint 2016.

Files

Okay, now they have my attention, but it frustrates me that they put this below Portals, *pfffft*. Probably not much new going on, but it's good to see Microsoft keeping a focus on syncing data across devices with a platform that allows the data to be centrally managed. For RecordLion, this makes the data easier to manage.

Team Sites

Not sure of why Team Sites and Portals are not grouped together.

BI

Microsoft should be making a much bigger deal about business intelligence, putting this right below search. "Big Data" is not going away and it was refreshing to see the emphasis on BI rather than the data itself. It is imperative that we learn to manage and query our data in new and clever ways. At RecordLion we do preach retention and disposition, but that's not always feasible. It's a great practice to have a retention schedule and lock down private information, followed by destruction of information that is obsolete. However, the better we get at using information the better we will serve our customers, which in turn mean higher profits for corporations and employees.

Social

Microsoft will be continue to focus on Yammer and will continue to improve its integration into all Microsoft Office products including SharePoint. However, this does not mean that Yammer is coming on premise, continue to look for that to be a cloud only offering.

What does this mean for Records and Information Management?

As the entire Governance, Risk and Compliance industry grows and develops we can expect organizations such as Microsoft to keep these technologies front and center. SharePoint 2016 will be no exception. While I expect not to see any major Records Management enhancements they do mention continued refinement to Rights Management, Security, eDiscovery, Legal Holds, Metadata Management and Information Policies (written as Policy Control). RecordLion will continue to extend SharePoint with the features required to perform Records and Information Management while taking advantage of these planned enhancements.

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