Stephen Fishman has a...colorful way of describing Microsoft’s SharePoint offering. In his words, “SharePoint is crack and Microsoft is the pusher”. Fishman’s rather stark analogy stems from Redmond firm’s long history of getting organizations and individuals with any kind of IT inclination hooked on products; offering a unique combination of power and functionality at a cheap price or even for free. We can’t comment on the validity of his analogy, but we do know we like SharePoint.
SharePoint was unveiled in 2001 as an enterprise solution for document sharing and is now currently over 125 million users strong. The tool is one of Microsoft’s fastest growing products, generating revenues worth billions of dollars. Characteristically, the ‘Softies have followed their unique approach to product pricing, offering a combination of freemium and paid products consistent with the release of incrementally improved product features, irresistible to the enterprise.
In this post, we’ll be looking at the recent history and roadmap of what is probably Microsoft’s most successful enterprise product. SharePoint has grown into a mature and dynamic enterprise tool and its future looks bright.
Cloud & Enterprise Social
As SharePoint evolved from a glorified file-share, Microsoft set out to help organizations leverage the power of networking to create a more intelligent, innovative and productive workforce. SharePoint 2010 started introducing unique and improved features around collaboration through team sites, and social through personal sites. These features offered new experiences like basic search, content management, business intelligence, business solutions and mobile.
More recently, Microsoft has leveraged the cloud to rapidly innovate and deliver new experiences, providing greater value to customers and partners. Investments in hybrid saw SharePoint evolve in the cloud with Office 365, delivering new targeted experiences around collaboration, mobility, intelligence and cross-suite capabilities. Since 2013 we started to see some really exciting enhancements to the 2010 version, such as improvements in scalability and reliability. Some of these innovative experiences that have helped make SharePoint ever more attractive include:
While looking to greater heights with the cloud, SharePoint hasn’t forgotten the On-Premises faithful. While Microsoft have pushed the cloud, they have recognized that there will always be a demand for the On-Premises version. 2016 promises to unveil the On-Premises equivalent of SharePoint Online, with a lot of investment in security and compliance, reinforcing the platform and expanding the admin options toolset. With a history of technological evolution, Microsoft are once again on the critical path to a new collaboration paradigm that sees a merging of business and consumer experiences, expectations and the power to choose between On-Premises and Cloud.
A rather interesting intranet-in-a-box approach to extending the SharePoint platform signifies a shift to a managed service delivery model, empowering partners to evolve through the creation of intellectual property on top of SharePoint. Microsoft recently announced their strategic approach to the future of SharePoint covering the following three key areas:
Some interesting upcoming developments include a hybrid deployment that would allow an On-Premises SharePoint server to provide predictive and personalized content for users by searching through Office Delve. Delivering a consistent cross-screen experience and ensuring users can use software on their preferred devices on the go has driven Microsoft to invest in HTML5, enabling device-specific targeting of content through the latest mobile push, information synchronization and touch technologies.
The true message from Microsoft is that while maintaining a cloud-first strategy, both users with a preference for cloud or On-Premises deployments can equally enjoy the power of the Cloud; SharePoint 2016 ushers in the beginning of the journey for the next generation of SharePoint – the Hybrid Cloud.
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