What on earth? Microsoft brings SharePoint back to the spotlight

Good news, SharePoint fans and users! In recent years, there have been many speculations about the future of SharePoint. Jeff Teper, the “father” of SharePoint, gave the speech at the European SharePoint Conference 2015, and made it clear: SharePoint is a very important product for Microsoft and they invest in its future.

Microsoft’s big boss Jeff Teper opened the European SharePoint Conference 2015 event in Stockholm with full of energy. 1500 participants from 50 countries heard how Teper outlined a new shiny future for SharePoint (and OneDrive for Business). Listeners were excited, but on the other hand also a bit surprised: Microsoft wants bring SharePoint back into the spotlight!

SharePoint is a big product. 75,000 companies and 160 million users around the world use SharePoint for intranet, workspace, document management, extranet, etc. purposes. Ever-growing proportion of SharePoint users are using it from Office 365. But for a while, customers were concerned because it seemed that Microsoft wanted to bury SharePoint. Even the SharePoint brand was faded out in Office 365. But in Stockholm, we heard something else.

SharePoint gets modernized

Jeff Teper’s vision for SharePoint and Onedrive is a Modernized Content and Collaboration Platform. It may not sound very radical, but the essence of it is the word “modernized”. At last!
SharePoint and Onedrive will be developed in four investment areas:

  • Built for People on the Go – designed for mobile users
  • Built for Teams & Networks – empowers the teams and networks to work effeciently
  • Built for the Enterprise – meets the demanding needs of large companies
  • Built for Extensibility – is not the same for everyone, but extensible and modifiable

Concrete announcements were not heard, but I picked a few examples from Teper and Seth Patton’s speeches, explaining what they mean by the word “modernized”:

  • SharePoint Team Sites will be renewed (yay!). Team Sites do not compete with Office 365 Groups, but they will complement each other. It was about time to hear someone aligning this!
  • OneDrive mobile apps may in future also be used with SharePoint libraries
  • Documents be published directly to SharePoint from OneDrive
  • Delve intelligence is brought to SharePoint and OneDrive user experiences
  • The aim is a modern, entirely mobile intranet experience
  • APIs are streamlined, new techniques are introduced (eg. webhooks), the old legacy reduced

In an interview published during the event, Jeff Teper opened the roadmap a bit more. The interview hints that Microsoft is also developing a new form solution to replace InfoPath. That’s news!

Perhaps the biggest change in strategy is SharePoint’s role as an application development platform. Teper released 17.7.2012 the famous blog post in which he urged to use SharePoint as an out-of-the-box solution whenever possible – instead of customizations. In Stockholm Teper declared: “SharePoint is a hard-core developer platform”. Circle closes.

In overall, the message from the SharePoint Founding Father was clear: SharePoint is a very important product for Microsoft and they invest in its future. Teper hinted that we can expect to hear more within 6-12 months. There is probably no coincidence that Microsoft’s next mega event Ignite is held exactly one year after.
Exciting times ahead for us SharePoint lovers!

PS. Oh yes, almost forgot: Teper announced one thing. 99% feature complete SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 (on premises) will be available by the end of November.

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