Microsoft has announced that they will release a new on-premise version of SharePoint (SharePoint 2016) sometime in mid-to-late 2015. This version, according to the article written by the Office 365 team, will have a number of advancements to SharePoint including integration between the cloud (Office 365) and on-premise SharePoint. In this article, the Office 365 Team states:
“We’re evolving SharePoint in the cloud with Office 365, investing in the same core areas of experiences, management and extensibility, in addition to making significant investments in hybrid. But, we realize many customers continue to run their businesses on-premises, within the firewall or with hybrid deployments. That’s why we are committed to making the next version of SharePoint server the most secure, stable and reliable version to date—allowing organizations to take advantage of cloud innovation on their terms.”
What Does This Mean?
Perhaps the Microsoft team has finally acknowledged overtly that the on-premise use of SharePoint simply will not go away in favor of various cloud options. Many of us in the SharePoint ecosystem of enthusiasts, developers, integrators and end-users have truly understood that while the cloud is an option, on-premise SharePoint simply has to evolve as well. And Microsoft has put so much emphasis on integrating Office 365 and SharePoint online over the past 12 months, it is good to see attention being paid to the on-premise version.
What You Can Expect in SharePoint 2016?
Certain cloud features reportedly will not exist in the on-premise version. Yammer is still a cloud tool with a collection of features that integrate with the on-premise version of SharePoint. Single/transparent sign on appears to be the path to being resolved among Yammer, Office 365 and SharePoint on-premise, which is good. And I’m personally hoping that the Knowledge Portal feature referenced in the blog article makes it to on-premise.
What does this mean for businesses using SharePoint?
The lure of the truly integrated Office 365 environment with SharePoint, Yammer, Delve, etc., is hard to ignore. Certainly the hybrid models (Office 365 and on-premise) are maturing as well. Questions still exist around where documents should live. In the cloud with Office 365 or on-premise, SharePoint or One Drive? The question also still remains as to how to handle critical compliance and regulatory issues?
Perhaps of more interest to organizations is “What do we do?” Do we look at the cloud? Do we look at hybrid models? Do we stay on-premise? Microsoft took a very hard cloud-first approach. Perhaps SharePoint 2016 will surprise us and be feature rich and provide a truly integrated hybrid model to support seamless collaboration in the cloud and on-premise document management.