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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!

Mark Rackley

Changes to SharePoint Online Document Libraries & What They Mean

Changes to SharePoint Online Document Libraries & What They Mean

If you are on an Office 365 first release tenant you may have noticed a new option when you logged into your environment this past Friday morning when going to view your Document Libraries.

What’s this? New stuff? Cool! Let’s click on it and see what happens?

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 2

Woah! What have they done? Not only is the cheese moved, but they replaced my smooth buttery Havarti with some pungent foot smelling stuff!

Needless to say, my first reaction was not one of joy and the immediate response from many people out there was similar to mine. At first look it could be said that this is the most drastic change made to the UI in SharePoint in a very long time. Menus are moved (missing), options are different (or missing), and my branding did not carry over. It looks much more like OneDrive than SharePoint. It’s easy to see why the first reaction would not be positive to someone who lives and breathes SharePoint every day.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things that I saw missing in this new experience:

  • Left navigation changed (and no obvious way to edit it).
  • My global navigation is gone
  • My Theme is no longer applied
  • My branding did not carry over
  • It’s not possible to edit the page (cannot add web parts like we did in the past).
  • Managed Meta Data Navigation gone.
  • Display forms are gone. (Display forms, NOT Edit forms).

But we do get a nice preview panel with some helpful information by clicking on the “…” for an item and selection “Details.”

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 3

There are other things changed as well. But as you can see at first glance there’s a LOT missing. How do we do what we used to do? There’s a good thread on Yammer with people discussing their frustrations as well as other thoughts on the new experience.

Luckily you can easily switch back to “Classic Mode” to go back to the way things were before by scrolling down the left navigation and clicking “Return to Classic SharePoint” link.

SharePoint Online Document Libraries 4

Okay… things are back to normal. Deep breath.

What does it mean to you?

What do these changes mean for you? The user, the admin, the developer? At first glance, here are the major effects for this change as it stands today:

Handling the Fear of Change

I’d gather most people will not react fondly to these changes. I get it. You get comfortable with something and someone moves it. There’s that immediate drop in productivity as people learn new functionality. It will be important to properly announce these changes within your organization when they are rolled out. Just communicate well, talk in calm soothing tones and don’t make any sudden movements. But seriously, just educate people. These new views are not all bad, they are just really different. In fact, they are now much more mobile friendly and responsive.

Broken Functionality

You’ll be missing some of the items listed above. If you’ve added/injected any JavaScript into to your Document Library views you’ll likely lose that functionality (at least in its currently deployed fashion). This loss of JavaScript will likely be one of the biggest obstacles faced since JavaScript has become so ubiquitous with SharePoint Online development. How do you even DO development with this new view?

Your documents are still there. Your metadata is still there. No content has been lost. It’s a new way of working within SharePoint Document Libraries. In fact, Microsoft has already written an article on how to use these new Document Libraries.

“What was Microsoft Thinking?”

This was the phrase I heard most often about this change. What on earth could Microsoft be thinking? How could they drop something like this on us without warning? I have to admit my first reaction was to complain. Change is bad. Right? In fact, I DID do some complaining on that Yammer thread. I definitely want to give a big shout out to Lincoln DeMaris at Microsoft. He fielded the questions more gracefully than almost anyone else I’ve seen in his position and it sounds like his team was working pretty hard on fixing any bugs that came up.

So, before I wrote a blog post about how horrible the new experience was or how out of touch with reality Microsoft is, I decided to take a step back and really thing about what’s going on.

It’s First Release Only

Before you panic too much, keep in mind that this functionality is only available to SOME first release tenants. If you didn’t sign up for preview release you won’t see the option for the new look. Your users will not see it. There is no reason to panic!

May the 4th Be with You

Isn’t there some big event happening on May the 4th about SharePoint? In “The Future of SharePoint” event, Microsoft is unveiling their vision and roadmap for SharePoint and OneDrive. Could these changes be related to that? Did Microsoft release these changes before the event to first release customers to make sure it’s stable by May 4th ? Is it possible there is a plan in place? Is there a customization story? In the light of the May 4th event I can understand the thought process to make sure these new Document Libraries were pretty solid from a functional standpoint. This would also explain the lack of communication beforehand? Conspiracy theory maybe? I don’t know for sure, but this May 4thevent is a free online event you can register for. So, go, register. Let’s see how wrong I am. I’ll actually be at the event, so I’ll be live tweeting (@mrackley) and blogging about what I find out. Stay tuned for that!

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

This is first release. Nothing is set in stone. Microsoft is test driving this new functionality. LET THEM KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS! Do you love it? Hate it? Do you have any great ideas to make it better? Don’t just be part of the problem, be part of the solution. Submit your feedback on Yammer or Uservoice and help drive the evolution of SharePoint.

Classic Mode is an option

From reading the Yammer thread it sounds like “Classic Mode” will be around for at least a year. So even when they do push these new document library views out to all the tenants you will have some time to ease into it, fix anything that may be broken, and make sure you apply it when you are ready. Again, don’t panic.

Just MAYBE the sky’s not falling.

What’s the bottom line?

There’s two ways we can look at these changes. We can think that Microsoft is out of touch with how people use SharePoint (which they are sometimes) and are introducing changes that will crush our ability to use and develop in SharePoint, or there is a reason and plan for these changes and we’ll have to wait to find out more. Regardless, the worst thing you can do is be silent. Send them your feedback and thoughts.

I think most people (everyone?) can agree that Microsoft should have handled the communication of these changes better instead of just dropping them in our lap, but before we all throw our hands in the air and threaten to move to Canada (isn’t that what we are supposed to threaten to do now?) let’s take a deep breath and tune in to the May 4th event and hopefully most of our questions and concerns will be addressed and all of these changes will make sense.


Questions? Concerns? Contact the Interlink team anytime.

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

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

Data Loss Prevention now available in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business

Data Loss Prevention (DLP) was a feature previously only found in Exchange, Outlook, and OWA to prevent data from being sent out of the company. Now clients can easily search for this same kind of sensitive content in SharePoint and OneDrive using Microsoft’s new Data Loss Prevention for SharePoint and OneDrive functionality.

Office 365 Admin are now able to Leverage 51 built-in sensitive information types including credit cards, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, and more. This is designed to allow you to be better informed about what type of sensitive documents exist and where in SharePoint Online and in OneDrive for Business. This visibility can help with compliance needs, contractual obligations, and internal policy enforcement.

Later this year, Microsoft will introduce additional capabilities that will allow you to create policies that automatically detect sensitive content and apply protection such as taking actions like deletion of content or quarantine until further reviewed.

Click this link to view the original blog article

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