A couple weeks ago, I attended a webinar called “The Future of SharePoint and Office 365,” sponsored by Emgage. The panelists included Collab365.community’s manager Nick Brattoli, developer and educator Andrew Connell, and Content Panda co-founder Heather Newman. In the hour-long discussion, the panelists shared their thoughts about the current state of SharePoint, made predictions about its future, and answered audience questions.
Here were a few key takeaways from the webinar:
- The general consensus seemed to be that SharePoint would become a cloud-based solution within the next 10 years. Heather predicted it would become a hybrid of cloud and on-premises within five years.
- Andrew said he “would like to see parts of SharePoint split out as separate services that we can swap out for other options,” and we are already kind of beginning to see some pieces of SharePoint becoming separate, specialized microservices. The panelists predict we will see more of this in the future, although SharePoint will remain highly customizable at an enterprise level.
- SharePoint should not be viewed or used as a platform, but rather as a service. It’s meant to be used with other microservices.
- SharePoint Designer and Info Path are dead products; instead, migrate toward PowerApps and Flow.
Andrew, Heather, and Nick also talked about some of the challenges users face when using SharePoint and Office 365:
- Product offerings are confusing; for example, what is the difference between a Group and a Team? (Answer: this!)
- Groups and Teams foster ad hoc development, which can create a muddled governance for organizations.
- Users need a better way to share things with folks outside of their organization.
- There is no one-size-fits-all plan when it comes to SharePoint; it’s up to the individual to figure out how to use the service to best benefit their organization.
Although some of the above discussion points paint SharePoint as a confusing amalgamation of microservices, the panelists assured viewers there are many benefits to the software, such as:
- Any business of any size can utilize SharePoint, and it’s affordable.
- SharePoint is perfect for sharing documents.
- The software fosters an environment of collaboration and prioritizes effective communication.
So, what do the webinar guests think is in store for SharePoint and Office 365 users in the near future?
- Microsoft wants to create a personalized search across all of their applications.
- We probably will never see one, unified/centralized product or application when it comes to SharePoint.
- The majority of people coming to Office 365 are coming for Exchange and One Drive, not SharePoint, so Microsoft is trying to get more people into SharePoint Online by creating features such as Groups and Teams.
The webinar ended with the panelists providing listeners with a short list of resources to get started with SharePoint and Office 365:
Heather, Andrew, and Nick gave a lot of praise to the Microsoft community for its generosity, and I have to echo that. The sense of community among Microsoft users is truly unique. It’s full of generous and helpful people who are willing to assist their peers in any way they can when it comes to SharePoint, Office 365, or any other Microsoft product. There are tons of community-generated blogs, podcasts, and video tutorials out there to answer any questions you may have when using a Microsoft service—including yours truly!
There are a lot of exciting things coming up regarding SharePoint, and I look forward to watching the product evolve.
Interactive Business Systems is a certified Microsoft SharePoint partner and can provide your business with a SharePoint application that can meet all of your business needs. For more information about our SharePoint development and to read some of our success stories, check out our website.