2013 has been a huge year for Microsoft's flagship enterprise platform. A brand new version was successfully shipped, and greeted with great enthusiasm by clients and experts alike. Microsoft generally had a big year (getting Office 2013 and SharePoint out of the door, as well as Windows 8.1) and they did exceptionally well with some really innovative technologies. Getting the new 'Modern UI' interface out there and understood by customers, across all its key products, was a huge undertaking. So well done Microsoft!
But the innovation cannot stop there! This year is already looking to be equally as big as the last, with a brand new figure set to take the reins from Steve Ballmer. So without further ado, here are our predictions for SharePoint in 2014:
1. Office 365 and Hybrid systems
There is no doubt that 2014 will see Office 365 penetrate further and further into the small-to-medium business sector, where it has met with great success this past year. Microsoft now has a product on its hands that offers the power of the cloud coupled with its flagship Office desktop software. Office Web Apps, part of Office 365, bridges the gap between the web and offline usage perfectly and provides a really powerful enterprise alternative to Google Docs.
2014 should also see Hybrid systems rise in popularity. Many organizations we speak to are keen to explore Office 365, but have security and regulatory requirements that dictate some kind of locally hosted system. Microsoft provides great support for Hybrid SharePoint systems and we expect to see their use take off this year.
Microsoft has made huge strides integrating the Yammer team in 2013, and the stage is set for even more exciting developments this year. We can look forward to new mobile apps (a redesigned iPad app was recently unveiled), more integrated search, and better alignment of documents between the two systems.
What excites us even more though is the possibilities for Yammer and SharePoint that we have yet to even hear about. 2014 should see Yammer become a core part of Office 365 (rather than a separate tool), and then we hope to see some really innovative uses of social and SharePoint. The data that Yammer drives and encourages opens up lots of possibilities for BI, gamification and data analysis. We expect to see all this and more from Microsoft in 2014.
3. Big data
As we have touched on how Yammer has a big role to play in providing brand new sources of social data for organisations to put to good use. But more than this we are excited about how big data in general, and its analysis and understanding, will transform businesses and their operations this year. Microsoft has already fired the starter pistol on this one, announcing Power BI for Office 365 in the summer. But this is just the start. We look forward to helping our customers use Microsoft tools to better understand their data as 2014 continues.
'Mobile' has been on many peoples 'Big things for next year' lists for several years now. But 2014 could be a really big moment for 'SharePoint on the move.' Not only is a SharePoint Service Pack on the cards (with expected new features for mobile users), but we also hope to see new versions of the SkyDrive Pro apps (especially for private cloud users). SkyDrive Pro could be huge in 2014. Not only does it make files and SharePoint content available offline and on the go, but it does so securely using the Office 365 and SharePoint platforms that IT departments are happy using. As other file sharing and syncing tools try to move into the enterprise, SkyDrive Pro is perfectly placed to dominate the market.