Yes, SharePoint 2016 will be available on-premises. The recent success of SharePoint Online and Office 365 has shown the power of the cloud and SaaS (Software as a Service), but fears that Microsoft would remove the option to host your own deployment of SharePoint within your own data-centre were unfounded.
Organisations are free to install SharePoint Server 2016 on-premises, in your own offices, or in the cloud with SharePoint Online and, if you have really big needs, you can deploy SharePoint 2016 within Azure – Microsoft’s premium cloud computing platform. You can mix all three hosting platforms to build a hybrid solution that suits, and of course Office 365 works in any configuration.
You can expect better integration with OneDrive for Business, better Team Site integration with Office 365, better extranet capabilities (for working with external partners), and Yammer commenting alongside documents.
Of course the ‘ribbon’ has been streamlined.
Now, on to the new features!
Yammer and documents
In SharePoint 2016 (or OneDrive for Business), you will finally be able to start a Yammer conversation within a document itself, in order to comment, query, collaborate, and co-write.
Mobile, touch, fluid experiences
Microsoft claims that the redesign now means SharePoint 2016 is markedly improved for devices of any size, including mobile touchscreens. This is welcome news indeed, however, considering the client demands we’ve helped with in the past, we might expect to continue to design even better mobile experiences for our SharePoint clients.
Global navigation aid, allowing you to easily access apps like Yammer, OneDrive, and Delve, whether they are deployed on-premises or in the cloud. You’ll be able to ‘pin’ your favourite sites for quick access too.
Share a page
Perhaps taking a leaf from iOS (not really), you can share any page within SharePoint 2016 using the ‘Share’ button in the top-right corner, and then typing in the names of the people you want to involve. Invited people get an email notification. This is important, as grabbing the long URLs that SharePoint intranets often have from the address bar is not something every end-user feels confident in doing correctly. (Permissions and security are still respected.)
Larger file management
SharePoint isn’t just for working on Word documents that get to be a few megabytes in size; storage of large record files, back-ups, even design assets is important to many organisations. So they will be glad to see SharePoint 2016 can now handle files up to 10 Gigabytes. That’s large – we can’t say how long such a file might take to upload… it’s all about your network speed, but, SharePoint 2016 offers Background Intelligent Transfer (BITS) which does the uploading in the background, only when bandwidth is available.
The search engine should be able to help you find things no matter whether they are stored in SharePoint on-premises or in the cloud. If you’ve ever had to search twice for something in the past, this improvement should please.
What’s missing from SharePoint 2013
The free version – there’s no free version of SharePoint Server 2016 as far as we know. SharePoint Foundation 2013 will remain available and free for those organisations that only need the basics.
Excel Services in SharePoint will be managed by Excel Online, not SharePoint 2016.
There’s no direct upgrade route from SharePoint 2010 to 2016. Unless relying on third-party tools and IT jiggery-pokery, you’ll want to upgrade to 2013 for a day, and then to 2016.
If you want to discuss SharePoint 2016 in more detail or if you simply want to know how SharePoint can serve your organisation, get in touch to have a chat with one of our SharePoint consultants.