Our top 5 Office 365 and SharePoint predictions for Ignite 2016

We’re all really excited about Microsoft Ignite happening over in Atlanta at the end of September. With big Microsoft conferences, come big product updates and announcements. In anticipation of this event, here are our 5 predictions as to what we think will be covered and announced in the SharePoint and Office 365 space.

Our top 5 Office 365 and SharePoint predictions for Ignite 2016

1. Office 356 Groups and Yammer updates:

Since the release of Office 365 Groups many months ago there has been much uncertainty in the field as to when and how Office 365 Groups should be used in place of Yammer, or vice versa. Microsoft have continued to make the point that Yammer isn’t going away, despite the reinforcement and encouragement in driving the use of Office 365 groups. There have been hints over recent weeks that the two will very much come together, for example being able to create Office 365 Groups that utilize Yammer for the conversation component rather than the Outlook conversation. Furthermore, with the recent acquisition of LinkedIn, we’re intrigued to understand if there are any possibilities for either of these capabilities to start taking advantage of some of the unique features that LinkedIn brings to the table.

2. Improved Hybrid experiences:

Over the last 12 months or so, Microsoft have communicated various improvements to the SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2013/2016 Hybrid experiences, be it collaboration across Team Sites, a Unified Search experience or Hybrid based Extranet sites. There are still a number of challenges surrounding Hybrid environments when it comes to managing different types of content and providing consistency to content authoring teams. We strongly believe Microsoft will keep on developing in this area and continue to build and deliver greater experiences.

3. SharePoint 2016 updates:

When Microsoft spoke about SharePoint 2016 at Ignite last year one of the commitments made was to provide regular feature updates to the SharePoint 2016 platform. Although SharePoint 2016 was released some months ago now and we have seen some cumulative update packages containing fixes, we’re still awaiting a feature pack update to introduce new capability to the product for on-premises customers. It’d be wishful thinking to hope for complete feature parity with SharePoint Online but we’re hoping for some confirmation from Microsoft what will be included in a future feature update for SharePoint 2016 and when we can expect to see this.

4. More automation and insights:

One of the biggest gripes many of our customers face when managing Office 365 environments and Azure based deployments are the lack of tools to efficiently administer these environments and insights into how the platforms are being utilized. There are some great signs of improvements in this area with the new administration Centre’s for both Office 365 and Windows Azure, we look forward to hearing more.

5. The Future of SharePoint Online:

The date May 4th 2016 sticks in the mind of pretty much anyone that works with SharePoint. Microsoft made a bold move making big promises about what the future holds for both SharePoint Online and on-premises. Although we’ve seen some small improvements to SharePoint Online in the way of the new Sites page, the document library experience and the new mobile application, more than 6 months on, many of us are still sat on the edge of our seats waiting to hear and see more about the new page publishing model that will ultimately see us re-invent the way we build corporate Intranets and communication portals in SharePoint Online.

Those are our top 5 picks around what we expect to hear about at Ignite, hopefully it’s not all just wishful thinking! Either way we’re sure Microsoft will do a fantastic job delivering some great product announcement across their entire suite of solutions.

Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions on the upcoming releases from Microsoft.

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Sam Hassani Principal Consultant

‘Sensible’ Sam is an asset to the consulting team. Having jumped the fence from Microsoft a few years back, he now consults and designs large scale SharePoint, O365 and Azure solutions for BrightStarr. His conscientious approach got him his nickname, and although he’s not afraid to take risks, he’s always a safe bet. Delivering stable, well thought out solutions time and time again.

In his previous job, he specialized in SharePoint, working in the field and with the product team, Sam is genuinely excited by his vocation and speaks at conferences and events with enthusiasm. Just don’t get him started on hybrid search! At the weekend Sam likes to ride his road bike and hang out with his young son.

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