SharePoint’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over time, but now it is most certainly on an upward trend.

Microsoft’s investment in conforming the platform to open development standards is slowly, but surely, paying off as developers of bespoke .NET applications are effortlessly transitioning to the HTML5 and CSS3 world now available in SharePoint.

Microsoft also continues to make large investments into the development tools surrounding SharePoint, which makes partners very happy.

To add to this, the numbers of third party application providers are growing at a rapid rate. One just needs to search for SharePoint add-ons and will be absolutely astounded by the results.

Microsoft Gives SharePoint Away

With a licensing master stroke that delivers SharePoint as part of Office 365, Microsoft is killing other portal technologies.

Clients might not necessary purchase Office 365 for SharePoint features, but once they have it, why not use it? This, along with the updated “openness” of the platform, ensures SharePoint’s portal market share will continue to grow.

Further to this, Microsoft’s decision to make extranet access free of charge continues to drive companies to use SharePoint for B2B extranets rather than developing this functionality in-house.

The Future of WCM

I’m keenly watching Microsoft’s next move in the Web Content Management (WCM) arena, as the technology giant has been a little quiet on that front. Microsoft quietly deprecated the public facing website feature in Office 365 and has not made significant new investments into its WCM leg of SharePoint since 2013.

SharePoint 2013 is, however, still a very competent web content management platform, but I believe that a large change is coming in the next six to twelve months — watch this space.

All About Productivity

SharePoint simplifies everyday business activities by enabling content sharing and collaboration, advanced search functionality intranet and extranet portals and improved business intelligence solutions, thereby, ensuring increased productivity across the workforce.

Focusing solely on the document management capability of SharePoint, as noted above, SharePoint is effectively the backbone of all Office 365 content repositories.

As an example, if you are using an Office Group (which has OneDrive access) you are effectively utilizing SharePoint. Similarly, if you are using a regular library, such as project online or online Office editing, you are utilizing SharePoint Online’s services.

Simplifying Content Sharing

Content sharing simplification is a key feature of Office 365. SharePoint Online, coupled with OneDrive for Business, has never before provided users with as much flexibility to securely share and collaborate with B2B partners as it does now.

Sharing content with partners outside of an organization is now easily achieved as users can simply click “Share”, type in the recipient’s email address and enable the recipient to access the data in real time.

This functionality can also be turned on or off as it might highlight some security concerns for certain organizations.

OneDrive for Business now also features true offline capabilities as the consumer version of the sync engine has been rolled out to enterprises. In addition, OneDrive also now caters for Apple Mac users.

Integrating User Experience

SharePoint’s features are also updated regularly and as we continue to immerse ourselves more and more into Office 365 apps (Outlook, Excel and Word) we can rest assured that SharePoint will continue to develop additional functionalities around these programs.

Users are asking for and receiving a more integrated experience when collaborating and accessing SharePoint as the application’s “strictly via the web policy” is no longer the only channel to access the product.

As mentioned above, SharePoint is the backbone of all the content stores (excluding attachments in Yammer) in Office 365. As a result, any interaction with content is effectively tracked via the Office Graph engine, which opens a myriad of opportunities to personalize, increase relevancy and derive value from user behavior. 

If an organization needs to deploy multiple products for each specific function, gaining intelligence or managing security across all becomes an IT challenge that needs millions to solve. Therefore, SharePoint’s tracking capabilities is just one of the many features making your life, simpler, more efficient and more productive.

Title image by David Marcu