Recently, Microsoft detailed its vision for SharePoint Server 2016, which appears to be very cloud-centered. Furthermore, Microsoft is planning a beta release of the new SharePoint 2016 by the end of 2015, with a final product release next year. The cloud services have been looming in the background of previous SharePoint releases. Office 365 cloud services played a role since the SP 2013 version, and they would do so going forward with version 2016.
SharePoint 2016 would have a more unified end user experience across components. Microsoft has been moving its different technologies into the cloud, with new services like Clutter, Delve and Groups. All are becoming a part of a common experience layer, instead of hanging out in a separate application. New technologies would be added to SharePoint, instead of being replaced. The significant improvements for the 2016 Server include Next-Generation Portals, Search and Files.
The Next-Generation Portals would have a simplified administration approach and would be more personalized for end users. Next-Gen Portals would be connected to Yammer and would be mobile enabled. Microsoft allows extensibility to the Next-Gen Portals for partners to build upon. The boards feature, based on the Office Delve technology enables end users to organize content, like documents which are related to a specific project.
The Search enhancements in SharePoint 2016 were equated with Delve, which is based on Office Graph technology. It would enable a more personal discovery experience for the end user and would have governance controls for information technology departments. There would also be coming support for hybrid scenarios as well, such as organizations that combine usage of Office 365 services with SharePoint Server on premise.
Microsoft continues to focus on Content Management, SharePoint’s Files, Sites and Portals components forward. It plans on making it easier to utilize hybrid architectures and make it easier for businesses and organizations to do migrations when ready. Furthermore, Microsoft is adding new experiences to the platform, which are based on making it more mobile and social and being capable of leveraging machine learning capabilities as well. One example is the new About Me next-generation portal coming to the 2016 version. It uses Delve content discovery tool which is based on Office Graph enterprise search technology, to surface organizational and content information.
Also, Microsoft is planning to ship an update to the 2013 version that would enable the Delve portal for companies that could not wait for the SP 2016 release.
SharePoint 2016 would have the cloud as its foundation and would affect the way Microsoft thinks of premises-based products. The use of hybrid tends to create discreet information in the cloud and on premise in terms of searching documents. A new cloud search service would ship an upgrade this year to SP Server 2013. Moreover, it would be baked into the 2016 version as well. It would enable organizations to unify their search index across the cloud and premises environments. The new version would have a built-in health analyzer which ensures that the roles would remain provisioned in the SharePoint farm.