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Microsoft's Top Office Exec Affirms Commitment to SharePoint

Despite revealing that a new version of SharePoint Server is on Microsoft's roadmap for next year, many customers and partners have wondered how committed the company is to the on-premises version of Microsoft's collaboration platform. Those concerns escalated following the company's first Ignite conference back in May where the company emphasized Office 365 and its new tools such as Delve and left SharePoint Server 2016 largely in the background.

Julia White, general manager of Microsoft's Office division, which oversees SharePoint, admitted that she received 423 e-mails following Ignite asking why she barely mentioned SharePoint in her keynote address at the time. In her keynote at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, taking place in Orlando this week, White acknowledged giving  the short shrift to SharePoint at Ignite and said the company is not deemphasizing SharePoint. "Today, I'm here to say, SharePoint," she said in her keynote Monday.  "SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint, SharePoint. We are absolutely committed. We have a fantastic SharePoint Server 2016 coming out. Rock-solid code based on the cloud. For the first time, we're taking the cloud code base and delivering that with our SharePoint Server 2016, which means you get the great reliability, performance [and] scalability that we've learned from the cloud into the Server code base."

SharePoint 2016 is slated for release in the second half of next year, and it will be built with a 'cloud-first' approach. To be sure, despite the lack of love given to SharePoint by White in her Ignite keynote, Microsoft did hold some sessions at the Chicago confab to outline plans for next year's release. A technical preview or beta is likely later this summer. As reported at the time by my colleague Kurt Mackie, Microsoft is continuing to focus on SharePoint's Files, Content Management, Sites and Portals components going forward. It plans to make it easier to use hybrid architectures (SharePoint Server plus Office 365 services) and make it easier for organizations to perform migrations when they are ready.

"We know that SharePoint will be in hybrid for a long time, [as is ] the nature of that workload," White said. "But it doesn't mean our customers don't want to take advantage of cloud capabilities as well. So now you can have all of your custom workflow on-premises and still be able to tap into the Office Graph in a hybrid capability.  And that's what [SharePoint] Server is delivering."

New features will also include built-in data loss prevention (DLP), auditing, reporting and e-discovery, White emphasized.

Microsoft realizes and has acknowledged that many enterprises will want to use SharePoint Server to keep certain data on premises. At the same time, it appears Microsoft is emphasizing the hybrid nature of SharePoint Server 2016, tying the new on-premises server with much of what's available via Office 365 services.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/16/2015 at 11:46 AM


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