Since the upgrade of Office 365, we've seen our fair share of commentaries and criticisms of SharePoint Online. But what about Microsoft? What does it think the strong points are?In a recent blog post, Mark Kashman, a Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint team, outlined his thoughts.

Needless to say Kashman is enthusiastic about the new online upgrades and, given his job title, we wouldn't expect him to be critical. The list is worth a look in that it should point to the direction Microsoft is likely to take with future releases.

Among the many things added, is a new user interface, higher storage limits for both business and personal users, better controls for administrators and an improved cloud-app development model.

The result is an online platform that enables users to share data internally and externally, and offers effective and easy-to-use search and discovery options, as well as better ways to organize documents, project details and timelines.

So what does Kashman think are the top 10 features? Find out below:

1.User interface (UI)

The entire user interface has been redesigned to make navigation and achieving simple tasks easy. Kashman also describes it as "easy on the eyes." Improvements include:

  • Drag and drop: Upload content to sites by dragging items from your computer into a library
  • On-hover: A callout feature that works with any document within a library or from search results that enables easy sharing, viewing, following or jumping to content
  • Touch: Large touch targets for easy navigation and mobile device access

SharePointOnline new interface.jpg

SharePoint Online User Interface

2.SkyDrive Pro

SkyDrive Pro is now a core part of SharePoint Online and offers users organizational control. With it users can:

  • Sync and share documents
  • Collaborate on documents with individuals both inside and outside of their organization
  • Access content and information anywhere and from a multitude of devices
  • Control content lifecycle and versioning
  • Manage access permissions

Kashman also says that by June users will also be able to access SkyDrive Pro with native mobile client apps for Windows 8 and iOS.


Need we say anything more?

However, to summarize it -- Yammer is Microsoft’s bet on social computing and it will be included with SharePoint Online or Office 365 investment. Some of the features include:

  • Enables enterprises to become social quickly
  • Offers easy access to Groups and Feeds
  • Easy access across different devices and browsers
  • Powerful administration tools

We’ve already seen that Newsfeeds will continue to be the main social tool in Office 365, but Kashman says the ability to replace Newsfeed will be a first step towards Yammer.

SharePoint Online Yammer.jpg

SharePoint Online Yammer

4.Guest Links

In SPO, users share everything including sites, folders and individual documents using the Guest Link feature. This enables users to invite guests from inside, and outside, the enterprise firewall to share and collaborate on specific documents. Permissions can also be revoked at any time.

Learning Opportunities

5.Public Website

The public website in SPO comes with a new design and customization possibilities for sites and individual pages. Users also get more publishing capabilities, more Web parts, SEO property options and advanced design options. You can also disable the public website so it remains invisible until needed. Users can also use Design Manager to completely redesign their sites from scratch.

6. e-Discovery

A new e-Discovery management site enables enterprises to add sources and create queries to discover content across sites and document libraries, mailboxes and discussions, while keeping them in-place in SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online.

7. Site Mailbox

Site Mailbox combines SPO’s document management abilities with Exchange Online’s email solution. Teams can organize project related content and email into a single view, while keeping documents in their proper location. Site Mailboxes can be accessed through Outlook 2013 as well as SharePoint Online.

SharePoint Online Site Mailbox.jpg

SharePoint Online Site Mailbox

8. Enterprise search

SharePoint Online search has greatly improved the relevancy of search results, giving users a better chance at finding appropriate results. It is also more customizable than ever -- users now control the SPO search experience with powerful metadata driven results and filtering options.

SharePoint Online Hybrid search.jpg

SharePoint Online Hybrid Search

9. Cloud app model (CAM)

The new Cloud App Model in SharePoint Online enables users to build apps for SharePoint by using familiar tools and a rich set of features. SharePoint Online in Office 365 now includes this new programming model for the development, installation, management and use of apps.

With it, users can discover and download apps from the SharePoint Store, or from their organization's Corporate Catalog.

10. PowerShell for SPO

Administrators can use Windows PowerShell to manage their subscription.Many of the scripting tasks associated with creating new sites, collections and performing upgrade activities can be performed in bulk to save time and reduce the number of errors. In addition to this, there is the Web-based companion tool called the Windows PowerShell Command Builder Tool for people with relatively few IT skills.

Do you agree with these top ten features? Undoubtedly, there are bound to be some different thoughts, so let us know in the comments section below.