The Latest on Microsoft's SharePoint 2016 Announcement

The biggest thing since SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2016 graphicMike Holste of Microsoft recently posted in the SharePoint On-Premise Yammer Group, as well as this blog post, that SharePoint 2016 will be available in Q2 of 2016 and that the public Beta will be available in Q4 of 2015.  There has been a lot of speculation: will this be the last On-Premise release of SharePoint?  The latest announcement seems to shed significant light on this question, and the answer seems to be: NO!

If this isn't the last of on-premise SharePoint then how does SharePoint 2016 fit in with Office 365?

SharePoint 2016 appears to have a focus on Hybrid deployments, those that include On-Premise and Cloud provided capabilities.  Ideally for Office 365 + On-Premise SharePoint customers, the access to data, either in the cloud or On-Premise, should be seamless and consistent.  Currently, Office 365 and SharePoint 2013 On-Premise function as separate, unique systems, which means the access to information is limited to the user’s current “location”, and if a user needs data stored in the On-Premise system, they must access the On-Premise system.  This poses challenges to users who may have some important data in the Office 365 Instance and some in the On-Premise SharePoint instance having to constantly bounce between both systems.  SharePoint 2016 appears to address at least some of these challenges with Office Graph, Delve, and SharePoint Hybrid Search with the Cloud Search Service Application.

Are there any benefits to upgrading to SharePoint 2016?

Microsoft for many years has promoted the idea of “eat your own dog food”, meaning that Microsoft has always placed a focus on using the same tools and applications they are promoting to customers.  However, with Office 365, Microsoft entered into the service provider space, somewhere it had largely allowed Rackspace,, and Dimension Data to specialize in.  With this new experience and knowledge, it now appears Microsoft is going to share what it has learned about creating SharePoint farms that can be easily upgraded, scaled, and maintain a high SLA with customers who must perform these same actions in their own environments.  While most customers probably won’t need to worry about the size and scale of a SharePoint farm like Office 365, the new information will likely help organizations plan disk usage, system specifications, and other optimization settings that will decrease the SharePoint Management overhead costs.

What about Microsoft's Mobile-First Mantra?

When Microsoft named Satya Nadella the CEO in February of 2014, he spoke about the need for Microsoft to address the serious lack of Mobilecentric focus.  SharePoint 2016 does not appear to have escaped the Mobile First focus, and should provide better ‘on the go’ access to what users need.  This has been one of SharePoint’s largest pain points for a number of years, but now perhaps the new Mantra: “Mobile First” will actually make life in SharePoint better, regardless of the device(s) used.

We’ll find out what comes to fruition as the launch date nears, but Microsoft seems to be headed toward change, regardless. And we’ll be back here, extolling the virtues or addressing the challenges.

Interested in learning more about Intranet Implementation and all that goes with it?  Download our Intranet Fix Starter Kit Today.