Thursday, May 5, 2016

Big changes coming to SharePoint Online!

After the new Microsft Mechanics episode with Adam Harmetz was published last night, I am completely stumped at what Microsoft are bringing forward!

Straight to the point:

- A mobile app for SharePoint is finally on the way (iOS, Android & Windows)! 

That's a bit overdue, but great news. Lots of users preferred OneDrive these days due to the great mobile experiences.

- Microsoft Flow - a brand new product, that allows users to build logic around documents and items in a super friendly way. 

That brings a couple of question - what would happen to the existing SharePoint Designer workflows? With the decision taken earlier to not introduce a new version of SharePoint Designer and considering the almost no changes that happened to it and the workflows since 2010 - I think those will be killed. The question is more likely until when they'll be supported?

How would Flow compete to veteran 3rd parties like Nintex and K2? Would it be the free quick go-to solution if you're after something simple or would it try to compete with them?

- Power Apps - a tool that will allow users to create simple, yet powerful mobile apps that can be run on mobile devices and work with SharePoint items.

That's really nice. Something similar to what Nintex were already offering as part of their Nintex Forms product.

- Easier, user-friendly site creation process - click and have a new site in a few seconds.

Only 2 templates availabe - team site / publishing site. We were advised that site templates are not good a while ago... here's the reason why. I've always avoided them as a best practice, but a lot of people use them, especially in large organizations.

- Easier page creation and editing - each new page will automatically be responsive to look great on any device.

Cool, but again - what would happen to the current pages? 

- Each newly created SharePoint site will also create an Office 365 Group with an e-mail address so that conversations can be started around files easily.

Does that mean that the existing sites will also have groups created? I doubt it considering the number of sites organizations may already have. So this will bring some inconsistencies between "old" and "new" team sites. We're about to find out.

- Users will be able to add links to anything in Document Libraries, not just files that are stored in the library.

Simple, yet useful. Doclibs were kind of limiting as of today.

- Users will be able to pin files that must be highlighted and they'll appear on top of the library.

Kind of like what Facebook brought as Featured Photos.

- The Sites tile in the App Launcher will be renamed to SharePoint, so no confusion on what's SharePoint anymore.

I love that :) No more questions like "How do I get to SharePoint in Office 365"?

And last, but not least.... what would happen to all the branding that's already in place? Looking at the new beautiful and responsive UI I don't think there's any way to automatically adapt the custom branding. More likely there will be "old" and "new" experiences going on simultaneously until the IT Pros and developers can adapt their Intranets and users to the new one. What are your thoughts?

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