Over the past decade, SharePoint has become an essential tool in enterprise content management (ECM) and with each version of SharePoint there are changes. A key part of determining if a new SharePoint version is the right fit for your business is evaluating the changes and new capabilities the solution provides. SharePoint 2016 is the latest version and may be a consideration for businesses looking to implement or update a SharePoint environment. Here is a closer look at a few of the changes and features of SharePoint 2016.


Commonly used by development teams, SharePoint Foundation and the Stand Alone options are no longer available. Instead of providing a separate product, the core functionality of SharePoint Foundation has been blended into SharePoint 2016. As an alternative to Stand Alone and Foundation installations, SharePoint 2016 offers a Single Server Farm option. This option requires the user to install SQL Server as a separate step but it still provides a compact, solid development setup option.

Excel Services

One major change in SharePoint 2016 is that Excel Services has been removed from SharePoint and replaced with Excel Online. This requires the deployment of Office Online Server with Excel Online to utilize the full functionality of Excel. Excel Online also provides users with additional capabilities such as the ability to search in Pivot Table filters and view and insert comments. In addition, it is important to review the technical changes with Power BI as well, which is sometimes used in conjunction with Excel-based solutions.

Large File Support

Businesses with a large amount of content or the need to store large files require an ECM environment that not only meets their current requirements to store these items, but also has the storage capacity to handle the amount of future content that will be entered into the system. One of the major updates of SharePoint 2016 is its capacity to handle files up to 10GB. When dealing with large files, it is important to remember to plan your SharePoint architecture according to best practices of Content Database size limitations. While SharePoint 2016 supports up to 4TB per content database, for ease of backup Microsoft recommends that content databases be limited to 200GB.

Indexing and Search

Further supporting organizations with a large amount of data, SharePoint 2016 has increased the number of indexed items twofold over SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2010. This, coupled with the ability to search indexed items regardless of whether they are stored on the cloud or on-premise, means businesses can access information quickly with increased efficiency.

Mobile Experience

As workforces go mobile, having the ability to access information and work from mobile devices anywhere at any time has become a business necessity. With the Responsive User Interface Package for SharePoint on-premise environments, SharePoint views are adapted to the users’ screen size, making it easier to navigate within SharePoint on mobile devices and improving the end-user experience. Similarly, the release of SharePoint mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows phones provides users with access to their SharePoint environment—whether it is on-premise, online or hybrid.

These are just a few of the new features available with SharePoint 2016. Before beginning any type of implementation or upgrade, it is essential to complete a business analysis effort to make sure the changes in the SharePoint platform are compatible with the business plans to migrate, design and configure solutions.