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Mark Rackley

The Future of SharePoint - My Verdict

The Future of SharePoint - My Verdict

I had the distinct honor of attending the Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco this past Wednesday May 4th. I was able to get in early enough to snag a seat on the front row as me and 99 other customers, press, and MVP’s witnessed the public announcement of information that had previously been under NDA. Finally, when my customers ask questions about mobile I can say more than “just wait” or when they ask about development I can say more than “trust me.” Do you realize how hard it is for me to keep a secret???

Anyway… for the next couple of hours we listened to Microsoft give an overview of everything that’s coming for SharePoint. It took 2 hours just to scratch the surface. So yeah, there’s A LOT coming. I won’t go into great detail about all of it because there are countless blog posts out there now on the different topics. I will link to those so you can find out more information. Rather than add to what’s already been said ad nauseam, I wanted to give my own thoughts and insights on what I’m seeing from Microsoft and the future of SharePoint.

Check out all of Microsoft’s blogs and videos about the new features of SharePoint.

What others in the community are saying about the future of SharePoint

What Stood Out to Me

I think the big takeaway for me is that SharePoint is back with a vengeance. There were whispers, okay... not whispers, but people shouting from the rooftop that SharePoint was dead! On-Premises was dead! We’re all doomed! Time to find another technology to pin all our hopes and dreams on. I mean just look, the link to SharePoint in Office 365 was called “Sites.” Obviously Microsoft was trying to kill SharePoint (that’s sarcasm by the way). However, it’s absolutely clear now that Microsoft is dedicated to SharePoint. They’ve changed that “Sites” link to “SharePoint,” and they already announced there will be ANOTHER release of SharePoint. Jeff Teper proudly proclaimed “SharePoint is the core of Office 365.” This is really great news for companies that have invested so much time and talent into SharePoint, and it’s nice to know that Microsoft has embraced SharePoint again.

Several other items really stood out to me. 

 

A Mobile App!

What are our clients most excited about? Easily it’s the new mobile app. Finally! (I’m not going to say “Intranet in my pocket”) But finally! A real mobile experience. We no longer have to hack master pages or tell customers that there really is no good story. The new mobile app will work with existing team sites too, so don’t worry about having to rewrite all your team sites to get a mobile experience. Find out more about the new mobile story on SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet.

the future of sharepoint mobile app

 

The SharePoint Framework

Microsoft has introduced another approach to development in SharePoint called the SharePoint Framework. I know what you are thinking, “ANOTHER development model?” It’s true, if you are counting, there are now 4 development models for SharePoint. Some of you may be getting fatigued and frustrated by all the changes, but I, for one, am actually excited about this one. The new approach is 100% JavaScript and will make it easy for developers to create functionality for the team sites, library, and list pages. It fits more closely with how many developers want to develop in SharePoint and it’s much more integrated than a SharePoint Hosted Add-In! (hallelujah).
 
Let’s face it, unless you were a software vendor or a large enterprise customer there’s a very good chance you never touched the Add-In model. I just couldn’t get behind it for a lot of my customers because it rarely ever made sense to spin up a server in Azure just to implement a small piece of functionality in SharePoint. It was just an overly complicated process. The SharePoint Framework really solves a huge development problem for small and medium sized businesses. I’m not exactly sure how the ISV’s can embrace the new model, and this is actually a concern for me with StratusForms, but I don’t have the full story yet. I will be watching it closely though.
 
future of sharepoint framework
It’s important to note that being 100% JavaScript means you won’t be able to do things like elevate permissions and long running operations would be better accomplished with some external API. Check out the blogs below for more Information. There’s already a TON of great content out there for learning more about the SharePoint Framework and how to get started.

 

 

On-Premises Gets Some Love…Eventually

Many of our clients are On-Premises and a common question that comes up is “Why isn’t Microsoft talking about on-premises more”? What really stood out to me here is that fact that Microsoft is no longer saying “SharePoint Online” and “SharePoint On-Premises” they are simply saying “SharePoint”. This indicates to me that rather than ignoring on-premises, what they are doing is making on-premises on par with online. It’s just SharePoint!
As far as WHEN you get those online features on-premises, that’s another story. Microsoft will be releasing new features to on-premises customers as feature packs starting in 2017. The only caveat here is that these customers MUST have Software Assurance. Microsoft is pretty tight lipped about exactly WHEN specific features will be released in which stinks, but they have confirmed that the mobile app and the SharePoint Framework will be there.
 

Key Takeaways

  • SharePoint is not dead - there is a future in SharePoint
  • OneDrive App integration with SharePoint Document libraries looks pretty seamless
  • It’s Groups AND Team Sites, not Groups OR Team Sites
  • There’s finally a good mobile story
  • Client-side development is awesome and I’ve been right since SharePoint 2007 
  • Team Sites can be created in 5 seconds… Holy sprawl batman… MAKE SURE YOU HAVE GOVERNANCE IN PLACE!
  • On-Premises features will come as feature packs for SA customers starting in 2017

Finally, it is important to note that none of these changes affect you today. You have time to get ready. You will have “classic mode” to fall back on for quite a while. So, if you are worried about any branding or customizations, maybe you should be, but don’t panic. Simply reach out to a competent resource to help guide you along the way, and once you get to your destination you will be pleasantly surprised. This is the most optimistic I’ve been about SharePoint in a long time.

Finally Finally…

Overall, the Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco really was a great one and completely worth the cross country trip to be there and be a part of it. 5/4/2016 really was one of the biggest days in the history of SharePoint with some of the most dramatic updates ever. For the first time in a while, SharePoint feels modern and not two versions behind, and it feels like it is future focused. The future of SharePoint is bright and I’m looking forward to being a part of it!

Matt Scherocman

What Are the Storage Limits of SharePoint?

storage limits sharepoint

Customers are frequently asking what kind of storage they get with SharePoint Online. Microsoft has recently released updates for SharePoint Online via their Office 365 Roadmap:  

Quick Summary for E plans:

  • Each Tenant (SharePoint Online instance) gets 1TB of storage space included. Then each user of the E plans will add 500MB of storage space into the shared pool. This is up from 10GB per tenant and 500MB per user.
    • For example:  A client with 250 users would get 1TB + 125GB (500MB x 250) for the main storage on SharePoint. Each extra GB is 0.20 per month, so an additional incremental Terabyte would only be about $200 per month.

Improvements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business 2b 1024x379
Example of a large CAD file successfully uploaded into a Team Site Document Library in SharePoint Online.

  • The pooled storage is used across all sites on SharePoint Online, Office 365 Groups, and Office 365 Videos
  • Upload larger files, up to 10 GB each
    • This applies to files uploaded to Team Sites, and OneDrive for Business, as well as for videos uploaded into the Office 365 Video Portal.


This posting is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. 

 

Stephanie Donahue

Microsoft SharePoint - Proving a Return on Investment

microsoft sharepoint proving roi

Every day I speak to clients about how we can solve their communication and content challenges with Microsoft SharePoint. However, no matter how obvious it is that SharePoint can solve their issues, we still run into scenarios where we hear, “We think your team is great and we love your ideas, but we just don’t have the budget this year.” What do you do when you don’t have a budget? You prove the return on investment of Microsoft SharePoint.

No Budget

The challenging thing -- okay one of the challenging things -- about SharePoint is that it too often starts out in the IT budget because it’s considered company-wide software that everyone uses. In addition to not being allocated as part of everyone’s budget, SharePoint also has the issue of being tough to measure in terms of return on investment (ROI). Those of us who have been around SharePoint long enough know the value of what SharePoint can do, but we struggle to communicate how that translates into real money saved. Being frustrated with the no budget answer, I’ve been racking my brain on what the answer is to showing SharePoint’s true ROI. So, I decided to run through a series of recent scenarios I’ve heard about from clients, friends, and even personal experiences. What has been obvious is that it all comes back to communication. Problems stem from communication issues, and conveniently, SharePoint (and Yammer) fix those communication issues.

The ROI Challenge

You can’t estimate SharePoint ROI, or any content management system, in terms of dollars gained during a more efficient process. People are not a manufacturing plant where stats are kept on how much content or value is derived from a single action from a single person. However, what you can measure is the cost of mistakes. People are human and while some mistakes can be contributed to inexperience or a lapse in judgment, it’s more often related to a lack of communication. In some cases, communication can even overcome inexperience and bad judgment.

Think back through the last time your organization lost money on a deal, a new partnership, or a new product. How would effective communication have changed the situation?

Communication Issues Plague Organizations

Scenario 1: A client has a proposal sent out with unclear terms of engagement with a vendor. This client is now ‘on the hook’ for far more work than they should’ve been. Not to mention the initial projected time-frames for the work are now completely irrelevant. Had this proposal been put through a formal review process where the entire team knew about it (rather than it ‘hiding’ in email and file shares), the ambiguity could’ve been caught. Not simply because of a formal approval process being in place, but because of the visibility of the document to someone who may not be directly involved.

The cost: Extra time negotiating what can be accomplished in the contract, lower profit margin on the work, if there is a profit at all, and potential loss of client due to the possibility of expectations not being met.

Scenario 2: A survey was sent out to all users and the number one complaint was a lack of company-wide communication. Employees did not feel properly informed. This same client doesn’t have the budget for SharePoint this year. So they continue to use a home grown intranet application where a developer must provide announcement updates. This slows the time to share those updates and will likely prevent many from being shared in the first place.

The cost: Unlimited and depends on the organization

What is the cost of the lack of rapid communication across the organization?

  • What is the turnover cost of an employee who doesn’t feel engaged or informed and leaves the organization?
  • What is the cost of waiting on an email response only to find out after the person you’ve been waiting on for 3 days is the wrong person?
  • What is the cost of not properly communicating new safety procedures to field engineers on remote sites? Have you dealt with law suits this year?
  • What about health care benefits to those sitting at headquarters? How much time does HR spend explaining things that could be available in a forum or Q&A section?
  • What about new compliance policies to content managers? Have you been through a painful audit recently?

The visibility provided by the social communication channels provided in SharePoint (and also in Yammer) can transform the way an organization works. The speed at which information is communicated is directly tied to an organizations ability to adjust to rapid changes in the market, to the amount of income that can be generated with the same number of people, and most importantly tied to defining an efficient and effective corporate culture that spans many remote locations.

The next time you are faced with the ‘no budget for SharePoint’ problem, it may be time to start discussing the cost of poor communication. From there you should be able to start defining what your return on investment looks like.

Stephanie Donahue

Office 365 E1 vs E3 - The SharePoint Online Discussion

Sharepoint Online

So many versions of SharePoint!  If you have seen the licensing chart lately, it’s starting to become a game of Where’s Waldo when it comes to figuring out what features are available in which version of SharePoint.  Are you On-Premises?  Online?  K1, E1, E3, E4?  Bingo anyone?!  The most common question when reviewing Office 365 licensing is whether or not to make the jump from E1 to E3.  But with all 300 of the features detailed in a complicated spreadsheet, how can you make sense of all the noise?  How do you know what your organization needs?  

SharePoint Online (SPO) Licensing Basics for O365 Enterprise Plans

Microsoft labels its Office 365 Enterprise level licensing as E1, E3, and E4.  The different levels designate the Office, Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint features that are available to your organization; where E1 is more basic and E4 is fully featured.  For many companies, the decision between E1, E3 and E4 comes easy based on needs around Exchange and Lync.  However, with growing flexibility around assigning licenses that can be ”mixed and matched” to individuals within an organization, there has been additional conversations popping up about who needs what.

In SharePoint terms, E3 and E4 are pretty much the same.  This leaves us to describe the differences between E1 and E3. For those already familiar with SharePoint, the differences can be summed up by comparing E1 to SharePoint Standard and E3 to SharePoint Enterprise on-premises.  However, while one could say the comparisons are similar, the functionality for SharePoint on-premises is not identical to SharePoint Online and so you cannot make the assumption that all functionality can be matched one for one.

When it comes it understanding why you would need to upgrade from E1 to E3, it’s easiest to look at the key features.  

Matt Scherocman

The Future of Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint started out as a collaboration tool designed to help with team sites, and it has come a long way. The evolution of SharePoint includes management layers along with customizable features, and is now focusing on taking things to the cloud for the next generation of business productivity tools. As technology continues to evolve, so do the needs of the modern business. Microsoft is using tools like SharePoint to continue to provide solutions for its enterprise clients.

SharePoint in the Cloud

The cloud is the next level of business productivity. The core areas of SharePoint, experiences, management, and extensibility are evolving in Office 365; as well as other Microsoft Office products, are taken to a new level in the cloud. Many organizations still run much, if not all, of their SharePoint on-premises. Microsoft is making significant investments in a Hybrid SharePoint solution. That’s why with this latest release of SharePoint, security has been at the forefront so that organizations can take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.

Office Sharepoint

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