Digital workplaces enable new, more effective ways of working as well as raise employee engagement and agility. PHOTO: CityofStPete

With Microsoft preparing to release the preview versions of SharePoint 2019 in early summer, new research contained in a joint survey carried out by Sharegate, Hyperfish and Nintex shows that enterprises are ready to move from older versions of SharePoint to newer versions, and even to the online version. Given that SharePoint is still the intranet and collaboration leader in the enterprise, the results, which show SharePoint Online deployments increasing by 167 percent in 2017 over 2016,  also show that there is a still a large number of companies running SharePoint on-premises too. SharePoint 2016 on premises has seen a 67 percent increase in deployment.

While the data shows that organizations are leaving old versions behind in favor of SharePoint’s modern user interface and cloud functionality, it also shows that a large number of organizations are still wary about moving their key SharePoint deployments to the cloud. “The move to the cloud is not always as easy as it sounds. Microsoft has released a content migration tool to help customers leave SharePoint 2010 and 2013, but it just isn’t enough," says Benjamin Niaulin, Microsoft Regional Director at Product Advisor at Ontario-based Sharegate.         

Surprisingly, hybrid environments (a mix of SharePoint Online and on-premises SharePoint deployments) dropped by seven percentage points to 34 percent and on-premises-only environments dropped by 2 percentage points to 35 percent in 2017. This is only the beginning of a long year of SharePoint developments — there’s a lot more on the way.

Dropbox’s Secret IPO

Reports in the Chicago Tribune this week suggest that the privately owned file sharing San Francisco-based Dropbox valued at around $10 billion has filed for a US initial public offering (IPO). According to the reports, the proposed listing will be lead by Goldman Sachs, although Dropbox is said to be talking to other banks to fill other roles in the IPO. 

The listing is expected to happen in the first half of this year. News of the filing is no surprise. There has been speculation about if for the past 18 months. It will follow on the heels of other high profile listings like that of Snap last March, which is now trading about 15 percent lower than the initial price. That said, Dropbox is better established in the enterprise than Snap ever was and has annual sales of over $1 billion annually.

Igloo Raises $47m

Meanwhile, the market can’t seem to get enough of social and enterprise collaboration tools. Earlier this month Kitchener, Ontario-based Igloo announced that it has raised $47 million in funding. Igloo provides digital workplace solutions that enable organizations build online communities. Its social software provides those organizations with communication, collaboration, knowledge management and employee engagement capabilities.

A statement from the company says the investment will be used to build out Igloo’s sales and marketing operations, expand distribution channels, strengthen its global partnership with Microsoft, and grow its footprint in North America. The statement added that in 2017 alone, Igloo expanded its global presence to 80 countries, and passed the one billion monthly interactions on its digital workplace platform, for which it has about 1000 paying customers and 10,000 organizations using the free version.

Facebook’s New Algorithm

Also over the past week, Facebook announced changes to the way it manages the entry point for its almost two billion monthly users. Under the new regime, Facebook says users will see more content from friends and family, and less from brands and publishers. In a Facebook post about the changes to the algorithm Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “Recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other. …I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” 

As yet reactions from advertisers and content providers has been muted but it’s not likely to remain like that for long. The new algorithm also will favor content that draws a lot of comments over posts that are popular, but don’t elicit comments.

Related Story: 8 Things Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook's News Feed Changes

FileCloud’s IaaS Connector

Earlier last week, FileCloud, an Austin, Texas-based provider of an agnostic Enterprise File Sharing and Sync (EFSS) platform, announced that it can now integrate branch-office Microsoft Windows file servers with any IaaS cloud. This enhanced product offering, ServerSync, can replicate files and permissions on any local Microsoft Windows file servers and sync with the cloud to enable teams to store, share and access files seamlessly. The advantage is that users can connect to Microsoft Windows servers remotely giving them access to all their work files stored on Windows services. Given that about 80 percent of businesses still run on-premises Microsoft Windows file servers that’s a major addition to Microsoft-bound digital workplaces.

Wrinkl Unveils Group Messaging Platform

Philadelphia, Pa.-based Winkl has just announced the release of a new cloud-based group messaging platform. Wrinkl claims to reduce workplace clutter by combining the immediacy of group messaging with the durability of email.  The objective is to provide workers with a single place to work, creating a system of record, and have tools to not just talk about work, but get work done more effectively.

According to Marc Cohen, co-founder and CEO of Wrinkl. The platform addresses the deficiencies of group messaging for business, providing workers with native functionality to prioritize and streamline collaboration. “Email — a onetime marvel — is a bottleneck today. Workers want quicker, more collaborative tools such as group messaging, which works well in social contexts, but are proving unsuited to the needs of organizations,” he said in a recent statement.