SharePoint Intranets

SharePoint 2016: Reinventing the Intranet

A few months ago, we let you know about SharePoint 2016 (at the time in Preview), highlighting the new exciting features. The Minimum Role feature & The Cloud Search Service were the ones that our technical team felt were the most exciting! The good news is SharePoint 2016 has now been released into General Availability for everyone to enjoy. In this post we’re going to have a look why SharePoint 2016 has been positioned as the platform to ‘reinvent the intranet’.  

The Future is Hybrid = An Awesome Intranet

SharePoint 2016 “allows you to transform your intranet into a mobile and intelligence powered experience. An experience that seamlessly expands On-Premises and the cloud through hybrid connections. A one that brings together the productivity of SharePoint team sites; broadcast reach of publishing sites and portals; and the mission criticality of your most important business applications, all together in one place so you can find a consumer wherever you are, whatever device you choose.” –Adam Harmetz, Group Program Manager, SharePoint Experiences.  

The focus of SharePoint 2016, is to provide a true hybrid environment. This is to seamlessly bind together the two worlds of On-Premise and Online, liberating content that was previously difficult to access on the road. The hybrid approach will enable users to access sites, (On-Premises and Online) data, documents and useful contact information from anywhere, on any device. This will truly empower everyone in your organisation to keep productive no matter where they are.

This has been helped even further by the recent release of the SharePoint mobile app for iOS, (Android & Windows coming soon). We will be covering this in a future post, but already there is a lot of praise from our internal team for it.

How is SharePoint Reinventing the Intranet?

Within Office 365, SharePoint has had some great new updates. First of all Sites has been renamed to SharePoint and can be accessed from directly within the app launcher.

The home page has also been updated to provide an overview of all of the sites and groups you have been working on, as well as keeping the important links your company has provided for you.

This not only compliments the new mobile app, but it provides users with a unified and intelligent web-based experience that is powered by the Office Graph to ensure you are shown the most relevant information.

Next up there are the two modern site templates:

Team Sites: These have always been the backbone of team collaboration in SharePoint. They provide an area for teams to store documents, share ideas and organise their tasks. With Modern Team Sites, this has moved up to a whole new level. Going forward every team site will get a group and every group will get a team site, providing frictionless, dynamic collaboration however you chose to work. This will provide a single place to manage security and access making life easier for admins.

On the sites it is also going to be possible to bring in conversions from Office 365 groups as well as feeds from Yammer and a whole host of other webparts.

In the document libraries you will be able to promote content and pin it to the top of document libraries, ensuring it is easier for colleagues to find the information quickly. Of course Metadata will still be available to provide the powerful enterprise content management we have come to expect.

Publishing Sites: These will be the new page authoring and publishing experience that allows you to create beautiful, feature-rich pages that are responsive, mobile and easy to share with your team and the organisation. These are still under wraps but we are hoping when we attend the Ignite conference a little this year we will get the first look at these.

These sites will be the new default templates in SharePoint and can be created quickly right from the SharePoint home Page. (By selected users) They will offer integrated information classification and compliance, as part of the setup wizard.  

SharePoint’s focus is still to provide a platform that will enable users to Collaborate easily on documents, ensuring they are stored in a single place, keeping one version that can be accessed by multiple users at one time. Security and Governance is still at the heart of SharePoint and with these latest releases this is only getting more powerful! One of the most exciting things we are seeing is the Automation part of SharePoint moving forward, with services like “PowerApps” and “Flow” coming online. Very soon these will be baked into your sites and lists providing powerful automation tasks that will extend outside of SharePoint into the whole Office 365 service and beyond into supported 3rd parties like Salesforce.

Fundamentally, the future of SharePoint/an Intranet has evolved by peoples’ needs to work productively and efficiently, in the workplace. But as discussed previously in other posts, this workplace is now no longer restricted to the traditional office environment. Workers now expect to be able to transition from working on a PC to mobile seamlessly, everything has to work everywhere, people now won’t accept having to come into the office just access business data. Work has become something we do, not a place we go and SharePoint provides this platform to all its users.

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