SharePoint 2016 has finally arrived – we take a look at some of the exciting new features.
Microsoft’s SharePoint platform has been around since 2001, and this is the first major version since SharePoint 2013 came out four years ago.
What is SharePoint?
Originally intended to provide a content management platform for creating web portals, SharePoint has now grown into a platform that has countless uses.
It now includes functionality to create intranets and extranets; manage, search and discuss content and documents; manage workflows, and implement business intelligence solutions.
It even has its own app store.
Among other applications, we use SharePoint as the rock-solid foundation for our advanced Kira intranet platform.
The biggest step forward in this version of SharePoint is the move towards a ‘cloud-first’ approach, with the addition of hybrid cloud capabilities.
SharePoint 2016 integrates extremely closley with Office 365 and OneDrive for Business.
Where users clicking on OneDrive might previously have gone to an on-premise ‘My Site’, they can now be redirected to your business’s cloud storage on Office 365.
All SharePoint apps and sites will appear seamlessly in one place, too, whether they’re hosted on-premise or in the cloud.
Pushing the limits
SharePoint 2016 also sees the size limit of its content database increased into terabytes of data, easily beating SharePoint 2013’s 200 GB limit.
That means virtually unlimited space for expanding a SharePoint site with content and rich media.
Speaking of media, a new video sharing feature means moving images finally get the SharePoint treatment.
You’ll be able to upload, manage and share videos through a dedicated video portal right there in SharePoint.
Seek and ye shall find
SharePoint’s enterprise search has come on leaps and bounds in recent versions, and the addition of the Delve tool means finding pages, documents and other artefacts is a piece of cake.
The hybrid focus in 2016 takes search further, with closer integration with Office 365 meaning search has become increasingly personalised and relevant.
Let’s get social
Continuing the theme of increasingly close working between SharePoint and Microsoft’s cloud services, the 2016 update sees the option to embed Yammer enterprise social networking in even more transparent ways.
You can expect to see the lines between social discussions, file sharing, digital workspaces and live conversations (i.e. Skype for Business) become increasingly less distinct, as everything becomes truly integrated.
Mobile experiences across SharePoint have also been improved
Compliance and security are vital to get right, and updated features in SharePoint 2016 can help in this regard.
You can now search for sensitive content across SharePoint and OneDrive, including 51 built-in types of sensitive information, such as credit cards and passport numbers.
This makes it much easier to find and secure the kind of content that falls under data privacy laws, and SharePoint can even automatically alert users when their documents contain sensitive data.
There are also improvements to rights management, multi-factor authentication, eDiscovery and data loss prevention.
More to come
These are just a few of the new features of SharePoint 2016, but you can see why our team is already getting excited about it.
We believe the future lies in the cloud, but there will be a place for on-premise solutions for some time to come, particularly where sensitive or financial data is involved.
That’s why it’s so important that this new version of SharePoint allows a hybrid approach.
It’s an opportunity for businesses to take their first steps towards the cloud, with all the protections and security in place to make that realistic.
Update (15 March 2016)
SharePoint 2016 has now been officially released to market. If you’re technically-minded, you can download SharePoint Server 2016 from Microsoft and try it for yourself.
If you’re interested in a SharePoint-based enterprise solution, upgrading to SharePoint 2016, or just want to know more about what we can do for your business, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.