New SharePoint 2016 logo?

The new end-user features of SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online

Let’s decipher what has been said at Ignite about SharePoint latest end-user features.

In alignment with Microsoft’s current strategy: “Mobile first, cloud first world”, it seems that SharePoint development efforts have been mainly based on the online version. Let’s see which functionalities would be brought to the On-Premise version… or not.

SharePoint has really evolved in the cloud with Office 365.
So it’s with no surprise to see that most SharePoint features presented at Ignite were largely online based:

 

SharePoint Online Hybrid
scenario
SharePoint 2016 On-Premise

NextGen Portals
 check  check  uncheck

Delve
 check  check  uncheck

Video Portal
 check  check  uncheck

Knowledge management
 check  check

?


Compliance center
(eDiscovery, auditing, archiving, DLP, encryption)
check check Some features already exist like eDiscovery. For the others features, time will tell

Power BI
 check  check  uncheck

OneDrive for Business
 check  check  uncheck

Yammer
 check  check  uncheck
Hybrid search
check

check

uncheck
Main service applications(Managed metadata, User profil…) check check check

 

Also it has been said that “Many of the new capabilities will be brought to the next server version release”, this would surely mean a hybrid scenario.

NextGen Portals: ready to go experiences

During Ignite presentation, it was explained that there are common types of portal built by customers which necessitate lots of investments. The idea is to decrease those costly customization by providing out of the box, ready to go site collection.

NextGen portals will notably be using the usual suspects:

Video Portal

Based on the Azure streaming service, the goal is to embed video into portal and make more responsive pages across devices, notably mobile!

This is already available on Office 365 but will be supported in a hybrid scenario using both SharePoint On-Premise and Online.

Delve

Delve will be part of the new profile page which will help employees learning about people.
Personalized insights will be provided using machine learning algorithms of the Office Graph, itself based on FAST.

To summarise, Delve can be seen as:

  • Taking signal from people to find content.
  • Taking signal from content to find people.

 /!\ It was announced that Delve will be shipped at the end of the year 2015 for SharePoint 2013 On-Premise so you won’t need to wait for the SharePoint 2016 release.

We can speculate that the “cloud” hybrid search will be also embarked onto this update of SharePoint 2013 as Delve is entirely based on this technology.

Knowledge management

This was another example of feature cited for the NextGen portals.

This will hopefully automatize all the steps in an information governance process.
I am looking forward to the new data security and compliance feature like DLP (Data Loss Prevention) which is available as public preview in Office 365 in Q2 2015.

Compliance is another area usually taken by third party vendors such AvePoint, Metalogix…etc.
This time, we have been promised “New data protection and monitoring tools” as well as “Trusted platform”. I am eager to see the end results.

Better mobile experience

A demo of the new mobile interface was done. This would definitely increase end-user’s adoption.
I can’t wait to test the new layouts.

SharePoint 2016 Mobile page

Smaller optimized pages

One nice advantage of the large scale implementation of SharePoint into Office 365 is that they must have reduced dramatically the size and the load time of the standard pages. Any SharePoint developer will understand what I am talking about. Current versions of the pages have 1/2 tonne of JavaScript. So the first thing you need to do is usually start by cleaning up before coding. A CodePlex project was even created for this: Starter Master Page.

Even so this is a good idea to have new ready-to-go site templates, customization under the form of SharePoint Apps or WSP solutions will still be needed as we all know that clients always want that little cherry on top of their cake.

New blog web interface

The demo on the newer Office 365 experience also showed a new web interface to create a blog.

Cool little toy but is it really useful for our average company?

Personally, after more than 11 years of SharePoint experience, I have very rarely seen a blog hosted on a SharePoint intranet platform.

So what’s the cause, what’s the effect? I think they redevelop this blog functionality maybe because the previous one was not great and they hope that this feature will be used a bit more over the next few years.

OneDrive for Business: new synchronisation client software coming soon!

Just as a reminder, there are 2 sides of ODFB :

  • One is a document library in the MySite.
  • The other is a client software installed on end-user device (workstation, tablet, mobile).

I remember writing one of my previous post about OneDrive for Business out of frustration as I was so disappointed by the synchronisation experience.

It’s good to hear that they admitted during one of the Ignite presentation that they got feedback from customers about this solution: it needs improvement! Synchronization and mobile apps support (IOS, Android) were two examples cited.

The positive side is that they are making OneDrive For Business number one priority for the team.

So hopefully by the end of the year, we will have one robust light weight file sharing solution.

Extensibility

The SharePoint App model, common APIs and the Azure stack will provide extensibility to the existing SharePoint platform, on-line or on-premises.

The new set of common APIs between SharePoint Online and On-premises is a good thing as developing 2 versions of PowerShell script, one in “normal” PowerShell and the other one in CSOM (Client Side Object Model) for Office 365 sites is time consuming.

“Cloud hosted” Hybrid Search

The Enterprise Search has now become primordial as information overload is threatening our fellow workers in their day to day tasks.

A big announcement was again linked to the cloud: the “hybrid search”.
Compare to the actual scenario where you have 2 result sets, here there will be one unified index, and thus one unified result set, for both Online and On-premises content.

This means that using the search center in SharePoint Online, people can get results from their sites hosted on both SharePoint Online and on-premises SharePoint infrastructure.

Great, just a few points of attention here:

First, I wrote a post about the cloud search service indexing frequency causing problem in heavily customized Intranet portal home page based on search web part. Tests will show if this is still the case with that cloud hosted hybrid search.

Secondly, I can already see the security manager being horrified at the idea that internal content will be exposed to the cloud and more than anything: searchable using (one of) the most advanced search engine out there.
As a consultant doing numerous workshops on information and security governance, I can see that there is a risk. It is still common to see SharePoint permissions badly implemented on intranet platforms. A cloud search center potentially opened wrongly to specific external users can increase that risk significantly.

This risk can be greatly minimised with the latest feature from Office 365: the Compliance Center. More to come on this great improvement on information governance.

This means also that Delve and the power of Office graph can now be applied to on-premises content too.

The 2 other options for Delve being just showing the Online content or a combination of both.

Also this is great news, as explained before, attention will have to be brought to secure each site’s permissions.

No more “security by obscurity”!

The SharePoint 2013 search service based on FAST was already really powerful to show all type of content based on relevancy. With Delve and the hybrid search, we go an extra step:
No more: “we just make the site read only and we’ll communicate the link to our fellow employees as soon as we are ready”.

Educate the Internal Com team!   😉

Here, people can see almost instantly the content that a colleague is working on as long as they have access to it.

See the positive side: information and security governance will finally be taken seriously, especially with the help of the Compliance Center!

 

 

Published by

Jean-François Pironneau

Jean-François Pironneau

Travaillant depuis 2003 sur les versions successives de SharePoint, je me suis spécialisé au fur et à mesure des années dans la partie infrastructure/technique.

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