SharePoint has a long and innovative future ahead of it. At least that is what Microsoft representatives promised at the Future of SharePoint event in May.

“The best has yet to come," Seth Patton, general manager for the OneDrive and SharePoint business at Microsoft, told CMSWire. "We have a new vision for SharePoint that is to empower people by enabling them intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device. The new SP is simple, intelligence and untethered."

Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for the OneDrive and SharePoint teams, echoed that statement in a blog post from the San Francisco event

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella kept the enthusiasm going, noting, “We are continuing to advance SharePoint, OneDrive and the entire Office 365 service in ways that make productivity even more collaborative, intelligent, mobile and trustworthy.”

Microsoft's innovation roadmap for SharePoint includes:

  • Simple file sharing and collaboration on any device
  • Mobile intranets, with modern team sites, publishing and business applications on desktops and in your pocket
  • An open and connected platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace modern web development
  • Investments in security, privacy and compliance across Office 365

But maps are just representations of reality — and the real test is day-to-day performance.

Last week at the Sheraton Hotel in Boston, about 750 people involved with SharePoint gathered at the SharePoint Technology Conference to share in-the-trenches stories and struggles. Part of those conversations included Microsoft's SharePoint roadmap.

The Question

What do you think of Microsoft's SharePoint roadmap?

The Answers

Adam Levithan, Product Manager, Metalogix

adam levithan

Levithan is an advocate for supporting collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technologies. Before Metalogix, he was a practice lead for Office 365 in a Microsoft consulting firm where he was responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. He is a member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committees and active speakers at various events. Tweet to Adam Levithan.

Feature packs for SharePoint 2016: Even without knowing exactly what will be included we can deduce that some of the major UI changes and even the development framework can be brought to on-premise from Office 365.

The potential for planner: Being very specific, if you go here and type in "planner" in search, you'll see Office 365 Tasks API open. So this shows the possibility of connecting Exchange, SharePoint and new methods for tasks within Office 365. It's a good start in look and feel and functionality, and will grow as users provide feedback.

Azure protection: This was just released in Beta. This takes data loss prevention into the hands of classification. Not only being able to identify sensitive content, but also being able to classify and take action. The actions cannot only be taken by administrators but by content owners themselves.

Pamela Taylor-Paris, VP, Consulting Services, Greystone Solutions

Pam Taylor-Paris

Taylor-Paris is a software architect and team leader who has been focused on SharePoint and its surrounding ecosystem for the last nine years. Her experience architecting collaboration systems dates back to days as a lead architect working for IBM on the Notes and Domino platform. She has more than 20 years of industry experience working with Microsoft technologies specializing in the design, development, delivery and support of high availability, business critical applications and enterprise systems. Tweet to 

Pamela Taylor-Paris.

Having been part of the SharePoint ecosystem since 2007, there’s been a huge evolution and migration toward other mechanisms and approaches that actually support a cloud-based SharePoint. 

It’s pretty clear that Microsoft’s push is to get people into the Office 365 arena. I think they’ve started to step back a bit and realize they're always going to have folks who have some amount of stuff on premise. So their support of the hybrid model in 2016 is much better. It definitely addresses a problem that many people were struggling with. 

I find a lot of clients that are little hesitant to put everything in the cloud. I think it’s smart of them to do that. On the client side the development tools are still kind of evolving much like with 2007 the server side development tools weren't there when it first came out. People struggled with which to standardize and how to move forward. We did a lot of stuff by the seat of our pants because we didn’t have the right toolset. 

Learning Opportunities

I think the SharePoint framework goes a long way toward helping out but I also hear they’re going to revise a lot of it. For the next couple years my expectation is we'll see an evolution in Microsoft providing more serious tools to help us go out and do the kind of development we need to support those applications but they'll also do it in a way that supports cloud-based Office 365.

Chris McNulty, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft

Chris McNulty

McNulty is senior product marketing manager for Office 365 and SharePoint at Microsoft.  Previously he served as GM and CTO for SharePoint at Dell Software (formerly Quest) and CTO at HiSoftware/Cryptzone. He's a Microsoft MVP for SharePoint, a Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), and a member of the Microsoft Solutions Advocate and MVTSP programs. He is the author of the “SharePoint 2013 Consultant’s Handbook” among other works. He also blogs. Tweet to Chris McNulty.

The most important thing about the SharePoint roadmap is that it is big and growing. And that hasn’t always been true. 

We had a question that came in on Yammer after the May 4 event a couple of weeks ago: "So when is Microsoft going to stop? You’re starting to roll stuff out quickly. When is everything going to be done so I can catch my breath?" And I think in one respect the answer is, “We’re not stopping.” 

I think we hit a plateau for a while, and we’re really at an innovation upswing and will continue to deliver things rapidly. There are some risks and some opportunities in that. The big opportunity in that is keeping up with it — there’s tremendous interest and tremendous opportunity for individuals and organizations who want to deal with training, change management and adoption issues. 

If you think you should’t have modern documents on until modern lists are on, well that’s a great governance idea. The good news is we’re not stopping, and to me that is the most exciting part of it and personally why I joined Microsoft last year, knowing what that roadmap was going to be.

Hannah Noe, Marketing Manager, AvePoint

Hannah Noe

Noe, marketing manager for AvePoint, has worked on email marketing strategies, HTML email campaigns, software market research, corporate marketing strategies, social media marketing and web and direct mail distribution channels. Tweet to Hannah Noe

With SharePoint 2016, the infrastructure and everything is the same as the cloud, which makes it a lot easier for companies that have a hybrid story. Any people that are hesitant to move to the cloud can at least implement both, which gives them a lot more leeway and flexibility. 

Microsoft is giving companies that option for on-premise. A lot of companies are still hesitant to move to the cloud. This at least sets things up if they decide to shift down the road. It makes it a lot easier.

Title image by Padurariu Alexandru

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