SharePoint 2016 Goes Mobile, Targets Box and Google
By Jim Lundy
Microsoft held a Future of SharePoint event last week to share its current deliverables and future roadmap for SharePoint. It also announced that it would offer free migration services to customers who want to migrate away from Box or Google Drive. This blog highlights some of the announcements from the event and what their near term impact will be.
Jeff Teper: Back to the Future of SharePoint
Jeff Teper was not in his strategy position for a long duration of time, but with the advent of the Digital Workplace, new competitors such as Accellion, Box, DropBox, and Google arose to challenge SharePoint. At the time, SharePoint seemed to have taken a backseat to the push to migrate customers to Office 365. One thing is now clear: Jeff Teper is back and he wants SharePoint to be, too. The problem, however, is that even with a free migration service, the established Mobile Content Management players are not going anywhere. If anything, they are firmly entrenched in enterprise accounts.
SharePoint 2016 Goes Mobile: A Tale of Two Apps
The news last week was about better mobility for SharePoint. While this is overdue, it is welcome news to the 200,000 enterprises that have SharePoint. However, there are two Mobile Apps: OneDrive is what people know today, and the other Mobile App is for Sites, which means that Microsoft is re-emphasizing SharePoint as an Intranet, something it had been downplaying. It appears that the SharePoint Mobile App is the correct app for accessing both SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premise Files.
Microsoft announced that OneDrive is being updated – so OnPremise users of OneDrive can see their Files. The key mobile capabilities Microsoft is adding this quarter include:
- OneDrive mobile app access to SharePoint Online document libraries and Office 365 Group files
- Intelligent discovery of documents from both OneDrive and SharePoint
- OneDrive Web Experience – copy from OneDrive to SharePoint
- OneDrive Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application
The new SharePoint Mobile App is clearly intended to help stop anyone from saying that SharePoint is not Mobile First. The new Mobile App is coming first for iOS, then later for Android and Windows. It will enable:
- Access to company news and announcements, people, sites, content, and apps
- Access to Online and On-premise SharePoint Sites
SharePoint is also getting a much needed makeover in Office 365 with a new landing page later this month. To us, exposing SharePoint in a bolder manner in Office 365 was needed.
Replacing Box and Google Will Take Time
When a competitor performs too well, Microsoft acts. Clearly this is one of the reasons they are offering free migrations away from both Box and Google Drive. While this strategy may succeed in some accounts, it will take time to fully materialize. Part of this is the fact that enterprises are still unhappy with OneDrive, in part due to the slowness of Microsoft to fix bugs and make OneDrive competitive. Now that Jeff Teper is back, we expect to see fast action.
The SharePoint 2016 Roadmap
Microsoft was bold with its roadmap – a detailed plan that shows what features are coming when. Microsoft also stressed that SharePoint will be able to be integrated with new services, such as Flow, its recently announced Automation Service. To us, this is a good sign and is meant to stop decisions being made for other solutions.
The challenge for Microsoft is that business users are in charge, and they’re looking for faster outcomes. SharePoint won’t leave the enterprise anytime soon, but neither will Mobile Content Management services like Accellion, Airwatch, Box, Google, and others.
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