Recently we are having lots of discussion in Yammer and in person regarding
• the future of SharePoint Online, Office 365,
• the new capabilities Microsoft is introducing
• how these features will impact the solution we built and so on.
I thought I will use this opportunity to share some of my insight:
I will be focusing on two main burning questions:
• What are the new features and capabilities we are seeing in Office 365 and SharePoint?
• And will we have enough things to do in SharePoint space in future or are we automating away all our jobs?
First the new capabilities. Recently Microsoft has been releasing many tools that will empower end users to do self-service. Tools like
- Flow – will allow the user to create and automate complex processes involving outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Dynamic CRM and many other applications.
- PowerApps – will allow the user to create mobile-friendly apps, connecting various data source.
- Power BI – to do analytics on their data.
- Microsoft Teams – which is chat based workspace. Where user can have common conversation like Slack. Or use Planner as their Kanban board to run an agile project. Any office 365 groups will also get this SharePoint team site automatically for better collaboration.
Microsoft is introducing all these new capabilities, while keeping SharePoint at its core. Even according to the Corporate Vice President, Jeff Teper, this has been the biggest year in the history of SharePoint.
Now in the second part, to understand the future project opportunities, we need to know some stats. Many of you might already have seen this but for the benefit of everyone I will repeat.
Currently 90% of the fortune 500 companies are in Microsoft cloud and 85% are using SharePoint. There are 100 million monthly active users in Office 365 and every month more than 50 thousand small to medium companies are on boarding in Office 365. 50 thousand companies each month. That is a crazy number.
So even with all those exciting capabilities, there is no way Microsoft can meet all the requirements for these businesses. And there we jump in – to develop complex, user-friendly solutions, automate business processes and to connect and integrate with various 3rd party enterprise applications.
With the recent availability of SharePoint Framework, now we can build mobile ready intranet and SharePoint site very easily and apply custom branding, customize the document library or list like a 3rd party datagrid or even introduce our own custom menus and toolbar items.
It is also allowing us to easily connect and authenticate to other office or azure services like graph, webapps, outlook, bot framework etc. There is PnP example of a SharePoint webpart where end user can chat with a Bot and can ask the Bot to create sites and subsites in a site collection. I think in 5 years’ time, it will be essential for an Intranet to have an AI enabled Bot to provide 24 hours’ support. Just imagine how far we can go with that.
Before concluding, I must say and hope you will agree, that there are enormous opportunities coming for us in the new SharePoint and office 365 space, where we can create, automate, powerful, exciting, connected solutions and we all should get thrilled about that.