STOCKHOLM — Microsoft sent its top SharePoint leadership team to present the keynote at the European SharePoint Conference 2015, happening November 9 to 13: Jeff Teper, corporate vice president, OneDrive and SharePoint and Bill Baer, senior technical product manager at Microsoft, as well as Senior Director of Product Management for Microsoft SharePoint and OneDrive, Seth Patton.

Patton kicked off the keynote discussing the Microsoft mission, worldview strategy and ambitions. The message was clear: Microsoft's goal is to empower individuals and organizations to achieve more, wherever in the world they are, and whatever device they use. Whether you use a Mac, iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, Microsoft’s apps and cloud services will be available to improve your productivity.

By 2020, the world will have over 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) of digital data, and most of it will be unstructured data such as emails and documents. And Microsoft sees SharePoint and OneDrive as the best platforms for enterprises to manage this huge amount of data. After talking about some statistics and SharePoint growth, Baer and Teper took the stage to dive into the big announcements. 

SharePoint 2016

Jeff Teper took the stage to make a big announcement: SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 will be released before the end of November, and should be out before US Thanksgiving (November 26). It will be 99 percent feature complete, so we should get a better view of what SharePoint 2016 RTM will actually look like.

There Will be Another SharePoint After 2016

Teper said that Microsoft is fully dedicated to SharePoint Server, and that SharePoint Server 2016 will not be the last version of SharePoint Server. Microsoft will continue to invest in on-premises SharePoint and hybrid scenarios to bring the power of the cloud to you, even if you run on premises.

Jeff Tepper announces future versions of SharePoint

Delve Gets Smarter

Baer turned the conversation to Delve. Other than the amazing Hybrid Search features, Baer introduced a new feature: Analytics. Delve Analytics will allow you to see where you spend your time — in meetings, in emails and how much you actually can focus on work.

Presentation - Delve Analytics

Presentation - Delve Analytics Image 2

It will also show you who your top connections are, how many emails you exchanged with them, as well as alerting you to people who you are losing touch with.

Presentation - Delve top connections

Groups and Team Sites

Teper offered some clarification about the confusion between Office 365 Groups and Team Sites. Rather than being in direct competition, he made it clear that it’s actually “groups makes team sites better.” Behind the scenes, groups run on team sites, and we can expect to see a lot closer integration between the two with the modernized team sites. Team sites will have a higher level of visibility than the single document library that we see now.

Jeff Tepper presentation on Office 365 groups and Team Sites

With these announcements, Microsoft is showing a renewed commitment to productivity and regular improvements. Between SharePoint 2016 and all the new collaboration features in Office 365, the year ahead will be an exciting one. Great times ahead!