Why do more than 250,000 companies, including 85 per cent of Fortune 500 companies, have a SharePoint installation in their organization? Because everybody wants a connected workplace that facilitates hassle-free sharing of information and knowledge, in a secure environment.
With the latest announcement of innovations in SharePoint 2016, it’s truly evolving into a document management and collaboration tool that builds a strong foundation for enterprise innovation. As a leader in Microsoft’s “cloud first” effort, SharePoint acts as a catalyst in optimizing on-premise infrastructure, refining the user experience and enhancing productivity.
Here’s looking at six innovative features that make SharePoint an imperative enterprise application:
Device no bar
In the new scheme of things, no device will be an island. With the Microsoft Graph, you can pick up where you left off – whether it’s on an app or a website – across your Windows 10, iPhone and Android devices. In other words, the data will be stored in the cloud and can be available on any of your devices. For any organization, this “figurative glue between your devices” can help augment employee productivity, irrespective of the device they are working on, or the place they are working from.
Another major development is the recently unveiled OneDrive Files On-Demand that is slated for preview release later this year. It’s just a matter of time before you can share and access Office 365 files from any device – File Explorer, PC or Mac. All you need is a link to allow access to the files in case you are sharing it with someone who is not part of the organization. This works in Windows 7 as well as Windows 10.
Make that personal
Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence from Microsoft Graph, SharePoint’s new personalized search offering is due for a summer roll-out. The new release will make the search results more intuitive and quicker, based on relevant content, sites and news. What more, they will now include people whose skills, interests and projects that are relevant to your query (these intelligent insights are part of their Office 365 profile). Microsoft plans to enrich people cards with detailed information from user profile that’ll show up in search results. This will help ensure that all employees of the organization are active participants in the business, irrespective of the teams they belong to.
Also, you can now bid adieu to default SharePoint forms. Microsoft PowerApps can easily create custom forms inside SharePoint lists and libraries. And when it comes to approval flows, the new built-in system lets you send any document for approval with a custom message, enabling the recipient to directly provide the approval and feedback in a jiffy.
SharePoint works best when it pools resources with Office 365 Groups. Microsoft has been making consistent efforts to make that happen since last year. It’s a work in progress and the idea is to ensure that the collaboration of SharePoint team sites with Office 365 Groups will augment the existing sites with shared conversations and calendars.
It definitely makes the user experience richer when you can add SharePoint pages as tabs in Microsoft Teams. This is an evolutionary step from the current ability to add tabs for SharePoint document libraries in Teams.
Often, what drives digital transformation in enterprises is the opportunity to engage employees, foster open conversations and harness collective knowledge. This calls for something more dynamic than the traditional intranets. SharePoint communication sites – scheduled for rollout later this year – help you reach a wide-ranging audience to keep the organization informed and engaged. And the good news is that they work on the PC, Mac, mobile browsers as well as in the SharePoint app.
According to Microsoft, these communication sites are easy to create and customize with drag-and-drop authoring and interactive Bing maps and videos from a Microsoft Stream channel directly within your Yammer conversations. The company has plans to further enhance the integration between Yammer and SharePoint.
For many enterprises, the choice between on-premises and cloud-based technologies is not an easy one. The proof is in Microsoft’s growing hybrid SharePoint deployments that allow businesses to experience the best of both worlds.
In order to bring cloud innovation to on-premises customers, last year Microsoft released SharePoint Server 2016 to general availability and also a Feature Pack 1 with a new, responsive user interface to support OneDrive and cloud coexistence features.
Later this year, the company plans to bring the first components of the SharePoint Framework to SharePoint Server 2016 with Feature Pack 2. Enterprises can expect an updated client-side development model to power new-age solutions for on-premises and hybrid experiences.
The success of any enterprise application depends largely on its ‘comfort factor’ with the in-house IT professionals who need to configure, administer and secure the system. Aiming to make the task simpler, Microsoft recently announced the new SharePoint admin center, which is slated to hit the markets by end of 2017. Interactive usage reports, message center posts and a service health dashboard are just some of the exciting features in the offing.
That’s not all, the new Site Management page lets you view, filter and edit the configuration of all your SharePoint sites, including sites connected to Office 365 Groups, with ease. After all, who wouldn’t like life to be less complicated!
To summarize, SharePoint is not just about data storage and collaboration. It facilitates better user experience, improved access and sharing of knowledge across devices as well as a connected work environment, whether in an on-premise or hybrid deployment. Microsoft’s recent announcement of SharePoint’s new features to be rolled out this year makes it prudent for businesses to embrace this resourceful enterprise application. The future looks promising!
- Key Takeaways from the May 2017 SharePoint Virtual Summit
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- 5 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement with SharePoint
- Reap the benefits of integrating SharePoint with Microsoft Dynamics CRM