SharePoint Review
SharePoint 2016 – likely the last release as Microsoft pushes customers to the cloud where releases will be quicker.


Microsoft has announced the next version of SharePoint, to be called SharePoint Server 2016. Though it will not be released until the second half of 2015, not likely before September, there will be a preview version at the big Ignite conference in Chicago in May (Ignite replaces all the previous standalone conferences for SharePoint, Office and other products).

SharePoint 2016 (SP16) will be rolled-out with the next version of Office, Office 2016, and we can also expect new versions of Exchange and Skype for Business, which replaces Lync.

Microsoft Delve (code name: Oslo), now part of Office 365, and soon to be part of SharePoint

Though only about one-third of companies using SharePoint have rolled-out the current version, SharePoint 2013, which among other things features search, social networking, content management, collaboration, among other bells and whistles, the new SP16 will likely integrate some of the latest bells and whistles now being rolled-out on Office 365 (the cloud version of Office, which includes the cloud version of SharePoint, SharePoint Online). Some of these new features we should expect include:

  • Delve – a dashboard like interface using machine learning and artificial intelligence (using Office Graph) to display the most relevant information of interest to you, based on your work, and of those in your network. Delve (code name: Oslo) indexes and analyzes emails, meetings, contacts, social networks, etc., and presents this information as cards.
  • Insights – Insights for Office searches, indexes and displays related, relevant information adjacent to content in a document or page, without leaving the document. Insights puts a search box to the Office ribbon and it allows you to search the web while inside a document; you can also access this feature by right-clicking on a word; right-click on the word SharePoint and selecting Insight will produce a sidebar of what the Bing search engine deems the most relevant information, including Wikipedia definitions.
  • Yammer – better integration with the micro-blogging platform, with new capabilities.
  • Video Portal – allows users to upload, store, stream and discover videos securely.
  • Inline Social – enables users to have conversations right inside their documents.
  • Mobile – expect tighter integration, and better rendering on PDAs including iOS and Android devices.

Online tech news website Neowin also leaked news on additional functionality that can be expected in SP16:

  • Forecasting Functions
  • Time Grouping for Model Based Pivot Tables
  • PowerView over an OLAP connection
  • Data model PivotTable Automatic Relationships Detection
  • BI in Excel - BI features discoverability
  • Updated Backstage UI
  • Skype for Business (replaces Lync)

Read the Microsoft announcement on the Microsoft Office blog, the Evolution of SharePoint.

SharePoint 2016, like Office 2016, is expected to be the last big-bang release of its flagship enterprise technology platform as Microsoft pushes customers to the cloud, where releases will be smaller, frequent, and more easily and quickly rolled-out.

Again, while the official announcement on the expected features and functionality, and the official date, won’t likely be announced until the Ignite conference in May, don’t expect SharePoint 2016 to hit the mainstream market before October.

What does this mean for intranets? Most intranets will likely be in the cloud, within 4-6 years. So too will SharePoint; SharePoint Online will be but one of the jewels in the Office 365 crown cloud, and expect it to be more robust, more complex, and more nimble than the traditional on premises versions.

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Toby Ward is Founder and CEO of Prescient Digital Media, and the author of the first blog on intranets, www.IntranetBlog.com. You can download for free his white paper, SharePoint for Intranets.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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5 Comments

Louisa VenterConsultant

Did anything change regarding the records management functionality in SP2016?

Like (0)05 March 15
Toby WardConsultantTOP 5POPULAR

We will have to wait and see. The first sneak preview doesn't hit for two months, in early May.

Like (0)05 March 15

Toby, thanks for sharing your projections on the next version of SP-- all very interesting.

Like (0)25 March 15

I am currently working on a news story about SP 2016 for TechTarget's SearchContentManagement website.
I'm hoping to speak with end users about what tops their wish-list-- and maybe talk a bit about their current pain points. Anyone interested in sharing is invited to get in touch via email (nlamb@techtarget.com) over the next week or two. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Like (0)25 March 15

Has anyone started piloting or completed piloting an implementation of Sharepoint 2016? Would love to hear your thoughts/insights on this. Currently doing a prototype of SP 2016 now (on-premise implementation). So far I've noticed that among the new features of SP 2016, the ability to upload up to 10GB file size is quite helpful for teams doing large files migration and storage.

Like (0)28 March 17
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