Looking Back at Microsoft Ignite & Forward at SharePoint 2016

Microsoft wasn’t kidding when it said Ignite would be its largest and most comprehensive tech event. With more than 20,000 attendees, Ignite was the place to be for Microsoft (and SharePoint) experts last week.

DocPoint had a great time at the conference and made connections, new and old, with SharePoint industry experts, peers and partners. We typically like to leverage these types of industry events to not only learn more about the latest and greatest from Microsoft, but also to see firsthand the newest and most innovative third-party SharePoint tools. There was a strong focus on migrations tools (and a push to move to SharePoint 2013), as well as workflow components.

Of course, we can’t ignore the excitement surrounding the pending launch of SharePoint 2016. During Ignite, Microsoft announced that it plans to release a beta version of SharePoint Server 2016 in Q4 of 2015, and the product will be available to the general public in Q2 of 2016. Microsoft also said that it is developing 2016 around three principles: the overall user experience, extensibility and SharePoint management.

With those factors in mind, many are weighing in on what they think 2016 would, or should, have to drive user adoptions. Easier migration capabilities, hybrid architectures, and greater mobile and social functionalities are common items on 2016 “wish lists.” Looking towards this launch, DocPoint came up with a wish list of its own. Here are a few things that we think SP16 should have:

  • Improved Connectivity: Business Connectivity Services should be simplified and developed for easy database connection/integration with external systems. This would enable SharePoint to seamlessly connect with existing solutions and help make SharePoint the hub for correspondence with other enterprise solutions. In turn, this will have a positive impact on easier and expanded reporting options within Business intelligence.
  • Better Search Functionality: As an ECM solution, SharePoint 2016 should feature expanded search and result options for easy content retrieval. Although there were some improvements in 2013’s search, 2016 should evolve to be more in-tune with other ECM solutions.
  • Support Acceptance of Hybrid Solutions: There is a huge push for the cloud right now, yet acceptance rates remain low. Since we cannot force customers into a cloud environment, hybrid solutions will likely be the model for the near future. SharePoint 2016 should support this model, helping increase organizations’ comfort with the cloud with a blend of on-premise and cloud-based deployment options.

Only time (and Microsoft’s occasional hints) will tell what SharePoint 2016 has in store. In the meantime, you can start preparing for next year’s Ignite 2016 – already slated for May 9-13, 2016 in Chicago. See you there!