Saturday, May 14, 2016

SharePoint Online Announcements and Futures

There was a bunch of new announcements in beginning of May 2016 in regards to SharePoint Online.  Here are my notes and initial thoughts on each.

There are several new sharing and collaboration features that are being release for SharePoint Online.  There is a focus making it easy to share information across devices.  Some of the new features being released are:
  • New Mobile App - Access to SharePoint Online document libraries and Office 365 Groups from the OneDrive mobile app.  Plus access to SharePoint document libraries on-premises.
  • Discover View - Intelligent discovery of items in SharePoint and OneDrive.  Specifically, there is a new view Discover View which uses Office Graph to suggest relevant and trending files to you in a similar fashion Delve does.  It recommends based on the work you do.
  • Copy and Move from OneDrive to SharePoint Online – This is a really neat new feature and really needed.  Users typically create files in their OneDrive and then want to publish that file out to a team site in SharePoint Online.  New capability is being created to do this easily through the browser.  Yes a user can easily share files from their OneDrive to broad audiences, however users sometimes want to share their files through team sites that are already set up to support broader collaboration experiences.
  • Pin to Top – Really cool collaboration feature.  A document library may have tons of files in it.  A user can pin a file to the top of the library for all users to quickly see, regardless of how the library is sorted or filter by default.  Very cool.
  • Link to File – Another new feature will allow you to easily link an item to a document library that resided in a different document library.
  • Document Analytics – What this will do is show you over time how many people have discovered and viewed your files in a very user intuitive and graphical report.  You can see views, who is viewing it now, likes, comments, mentions, etc.  This will tell you how the content being created is utilized within the organization.
  • New Synchronization – New OneDrive Sync client twill work with SharePoint Online document libraries and shared folders.
  • SharePoint Mobile App (Intranet) – There is going to be a new exciting SharePoint Mobile app that will not just bring files to your mobile device, it will bring the Intranet so you can access news, announcements, people, sites, content and apps.  Yes there is still a mobile browser experience too.  It is highly integrated with the Office 365 Graph to surface up information and data that is relevant to the user.  Users will see all the list site that are relevant to you and ones the users follow, so you can access your sites while you are on the go.  Users have access to all the content of that site, not just documents.  Also on this app, I can see all the people who I interact with the most and can quickly find them and collaborate with them.  It is worth noting this new mobile app will work with SharePoint 2013 and 2016 on-premises.
  • SharePoint Home – This is a new page that will be presented to end users which will show users all the files and sites they use the most very quickly across devices and browsers.  Again it is integrated with the Office 365 Graph to show you files that are relevant to you.  Users will also be presented sites that corporate wants to push out to all users.  Plus from this page, users can quickly create new Modern Team Sites.
  • Modern Team Sites – Specifically SharePoint Online Team sites and Office 365 Groups are being brought together.  They are completely integrated now and I see this as the best path forward bringing together SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Exchange Online and Office Online together for a unified user experience.  Document libraries will have an updated user experience, site pages are revamped and are streamlined for a strong mobile user experience.  When you create a new modern team site, you have the ability to create a new Office 365 Group that will be associated to the team site.
  • Modern Pages – There has been a ton of new work to provide a new page authoring experience.  You have the ability to create clean, highly visual web pages that work well on a browser or in an app on mobile device.
  • Microsoft Flow – Is a new service for automation workflow that can work directly in SharePoint lists.  It has connectors to work with third-party services as well as SharePoint; you have the ability to create mash-ups of services.  For instance you can connect SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business with over 35 difference services such as Slack, Twitter,, DropBox, Google Drive, Dynamics CRM, etc.  There will be a new Add Flow button in a list that will allow you to quickly add workflow to a list or document library.  You can create flows that create a flow that will send me a text message when an important email message is sent to me.  Another flow could monitor Twitter for information that is important to the user and then save the information about those Twitter to OneDrive.  You can even do the traditional content approval workflows.
  • PowerApps – Is a new enterprise service to connect, create and share business apps that can be integrated directly into modern team sites, list and document libraries.  Specifically, it will allow you to create mobile apps that are connected to SharePoint Online and drive by data and logic that reside in SharePoint Online, yet the user is interacting with a mobile app in iOS, Android, etc.  You can create these apps right out of the SharePoint Online list or document library and the PowerApps can leverage the Microsoft Flow automation previously discussed.  Plus, these apps integrate with the new SharePoint mobile app and are available through the browser too.
  • New Site Activity and Insights – There is a new page in SharePoint Online that provides a redesigned user experience to visually the activity occurring in a modern team site.  You can see site visits, trends around site visits and the content being accessed, etc.
  • SharePoint Framework – is an enhanced page and part model that fully supports client side development, integration with Office 365 Graph and embrace open source tools (React, Angular, etc.).  It delivers a new client side rendering framework that developers can use JavaScript and web templating frameworks.  There is a strong trend to move away from server side code and focus on client side code given the evolution of browsers and mobile devices.  Microsoft put this into practices, as all the new modern list, document libraries, SharePoint homepage, new mobile apps, etc. are all leveraging this new SharePoint Framework that uses client side APIs.  Customers and partners can use the same APIs that Microsoft uses to deliver its user experiences.  There is also a new solution called the SharePoint Workbench will allow you to test you web parts locally without having to deploy it into SharePoint Online; which is great for remote development.
  • Dynamic Conditional Access Policies – This new feature will allow you to intelligently define access based on who the user is, the app/device being used and the network location.  This is a huge update and is very important to enterprise organizations.
  • SharePoint DLP – This has been released for awhile in SharePoint Online and it will continue to have move investment.  Specifically, SharePoint Site Classification is being added.
  • User Activity Audit Logging – Several new capabilities, specifically the ability to see activity for views and downloading have been added.  There is a brand new reporting and filtering experience.  You have the ability to get pretty granular information down to the users and documents.
  • Customer Lockbox for SPO – SharePoint Online customer lockbox is being added just like in Exchange Online.

The Future of SharePoint -

Keynote -

Announcing simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration for Office 365 -

SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet -

Power to the people: introducing Microsoft Flow and announcing the public preview of PowerApps -

SharePoint and Flow -

Microsoft Flow -

Get started with Microsoft Flow -

Welcome to Microsoft Flow -

PowerApps and SharePoint - 

Announcing Public Preview for PowerApps -

The SharePoint Framework—an open and connected platform -

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