Last year was a big year for SharePoint, the former darling of the Microsoft stable, with the platform being re-born on May 4th (yep, that day) at an event (boringly) titled “The Future of SharePoint”.

This year, Microsoft knew they had to go big or go home with a follow up and they chose wisely with the former. The rather peculiarly named “SharePoint Virtual Summit” (Note: Microsoft, please look up what “summit” actually means and re-think) a web streamed deck-stravaganza outlining the latest and greatest for the platform.

It’s fair to say that the enhancements made in SharePoint over the last 18 months or so have been interesting with the “cloud first” ethos of the new Microsoft enabling rapid, iterative releases of functionality to enable SharePoint to travel a great distance forward by taking lots of little steps.

Gone is the old way. RTM followed by SP followed by SP following another SP. Online, SharePoint moves forward in relentless wavelets whilst on-premises SharePoint 2016 gets cumulative “feature packs” that police up dozens of online releases into IT department familiar updates for install every now and then.

The new order is definitely here to stay.

In yesterdays event, Microsoft brought a number of its latest SharePoint and OneDrive innovations to the fore including:

  • Files on demand (announced at Build)
  • Improved sharing experience including context based “ECB style” sharing from within Explorer
  • Tighter integration and improvements with Flow
  • Forms-a-gogo with PowerApps now including a browser based design canvas
  • More advances in Modern Experiences including Community Site (think mini-publishing portal)
  • Enhancements to Search made possible through Graph improvements and integration
  • Jumps forward in the management experience with a more Azure-like management experience

All in all, the announcements made and the features behind them show the continued cohesion of vision and thinking that historically been seemingly absent in the SharePoint programme. I guess the old Microsoft was very focused on SharePoint being the ECM/Collaboration buzzword bingo platform it used to be, whereas the new, improved Microsoft listens to customers and responds and delivers accordingly.

Let’s hope there is more to come over many years to come. There seems to be life in the dog after all.

Post written by Seb Matthews on 17th May 2017