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.
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)
For the official preview announcement, 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 the 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.
Toby Ward is Founder and CEO of Prescient Digital Media, and the chair of the Intranet Global Forum conferences. You can download for free his white paper, SharePoint for Intranets.