SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Predictions!

One year later and it’s time to review past predictions and set out the new ones. It was exactly 1 year ago that I wrote up my predictions for 2015. I’ll let you determine how I did, but I wrote up some of my thoughts. I’m not looking at those as I write my new predictions.

10 Predictions for SharePoint in 2016

Office 365 Maturity

SharePoint will be seen as the lynchpin in an Office 365 deployment. Microsoft will consider Office 365 tenant not fully utlized until SharePoint is in real use.

Mobile will become more important in SharePoint world

Mobile in 2016 is really important. We’ll hear fabulous announcements and will finally start to see mobile as one of the major deployment considerations in SharePoint deployment. We’ll also look at things very different from how we do today after Jeff Teper’s vision gets realized. (Something he mentioned at the European SharePoint Conference)

SharePoint 2016 will launch to simple MS fanfare

SharePoint 2016 launch will go off with surprising not much fanfare. The community will celebrate it more than Microsoft. Sad to say this as a prediction. I do believe release 1 following SharePoint 2016 will be the more exciting thing. The real news of this launch is SharePoint 2016 is the first child of the cloud.


Ignite will be the big SharePoint moment when the thing that follows SharePoint 2016 gets revealed and the community goes wild. We’ll also use this event as a community revival that will get all of us re-engaged and super pumped up.

SharePoint gets cool again

This will happen at various events throughout the world as people say this feels like it used to. Some will say it’s been hard these past couple of years, but see a brighter future.

SharePoint for the Long Haul

Customers will start to understand it is ok to have Office 365 sites and internal deployments with simple integration we call hybrid. Long term strategies will start to come out that really make sense. This next wave will start to bring clarity to people as they say, it’s still got some confusion, but I see a long term strategy now.


Groups will be lauded as the next big thing, but most customers won’t get it this first time around. There will be campaigns by Microsoft to help people understand the value and adopt it, but adoption will be much lower than expected. Some people in our community will go crazy about groups and say it can eliminate your yammer and SharePoint team sites.


Sway will be confusing for the business for this next year, but the some consumers will go crazy for it. As gets legs and people realize this new set of services it will see some real advocates in the cloud community. It will fly under the radar for most of the year because Microsoft won’t give it enough Marketing dollars.

Business Critical

Office 365 will see an outage that isn’t their fault and this will get people screaming that Office 365 is business critical and Microsoft will take even more drastic measures to ensure they control things end to end.


The OneDrive team will push OneDrive as the killer app. It will be so seemless between home and work that businesses will be afraid of it. Some integration by the OneDrive team to other applications that are similar will really surprise us. OneDrive will be seen as the gateway drug for Office 365 to introduce SharePoint in the cloud.

Please refer to the 2015 post to see the comparison to 2014. Below are the original comments followed by my commentary.

“1. 2015-2016 is the year of Hybrid – The word hybrid will become ubiquitous with things that customers need to make Office 365 work.  More and more solutions will be built to integrate, manage, report, and bring governance, search, and unity across these environments.  Even things like OneDrive as the OneDrive for consumers and business will become known as a hybrid solution even though they are both cloud solutions.

2015-2016 is the year of Hybrid – Hybrid has been embraced by Microsoft and many of the adopters of Office 365. AzureAD is a huge example of a successful solution that’s purely designed for hybrid. The other thing we see released in 2015 was the Hybrid Cloud Crawler for SharePoint. I think while Hybrid was big for 2015, it will continue to be seriously important for 2016. The early push for hybrid came across as a temporary solution, now positioning is long term hybrid solutions with no end in sight. SharePoint had many 2016 hybrid announcements beyond even Identity and Search, including Delve and Office Graph, and a bunch of things in SharePoint 2016 like OneDrive, Sites, reporting and auditing, compliance center and mobile device management with InTune. 2016 will see many of these releases and many more announcements. We’re definitely not done with hybrid and my estimation last year was that it would continue into 2016. Today you’ll see me suggest it isn’t even close to being done. 2017-2018 and beyond we’ll still be talking about Hybrid.

“2. Fewer Paid but More Important SharePoint Conferences – Microsoft Build and Ignite are going to be a huge success.  The biggest party of the year!  I know this isn’t a stretch, but I think it’s important we all do our part to make this prediction come true. I want this to be a big reunion for all my SharePoint friends, so we can celebrate the new SharePoint vNext.  SharePoint Saturday will get rebranded or at least include Office 365 and Azure tracks in many markets.  Microsoft will continue with Office 365 conferences to try to unite communities.”

Not sure how noticeable it is to you, but I have seen a number of conferences have their last events. SharePoint Summit closed its doors last year. I haven’t seen an announcement for SharePoint Evolution which has been a regular event. We also didn’t see the annual Sweden SharePoint Exchange Forum, but that you could say was consolidated with European SharePoint Conference, which will be happening again next winter in Austria. SharePoint Connections more consolidated this year and rebooted as IT Unity Connections in Amsterdam, but SharePoint Fest, SPTechCon, and Share are going strong in the US. There are other notable events. In Australia and New Zealand the Australian SharePoint Conference is now “The Digital Workplace Conference” I’m looking forward to that one in April. So there’s movement and those that are happening with solid marketing will be great in 2016. It does speak to the consolidation of events. Note that Microsoft did some serious serious consolidation with Ignite this past year consolidating TechEd, IT Forum, Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, and more. So the prediction of Fewer, but more important stands from my perspective. Some of that info may have already been available in late 2014. The travelers going from one event to the next to the next still happens quite regularly. Follow Naomi, Ben, Dan, Marc, or Michael Noel and you’ll see there are a few of us who live out of our bags for more than a week at a time.

3. Wearables buzz combined with Cortana and Siri starts to buzz about coming to the enterprise – Microsoft Band, Apple Watch, pebble and more will be big in consumer and people will start to think about enterprise applicability. We’ll see this pop up at Ignite keynotes for example.

We did see Cortana in the Ignite keynote coming from Windows in the enterprise. Not exactly wearable, but 2 out of 3 is pretty good. Microsoft’s apps on the newly launched apple watch was a surprise to many. Seeing powerpoint, outlook, and onenote on my watch is still pretty wild. I think we’ll see a pause on Cortana being pushed for a year or two, but definitely expect to see more and more people talking to their phones and watches.

Integrated Cortana in Windows 10 was a big one, but I still think there’s more. Wearables may seem like they blew a lot of steam, but much of that was hype. Apple and Fitbit neck in neck led in 2015 as the most common wearables.

4. Office 365 brand continues to Over Shadow SharePoint brand – SharePoint is Dead will be said more and more as the Office 365 brand gets stronger.  Of course it’s not dead, but is the backseat driver with Cloud First.

Office 365 definitely was a strong brand in 2015. SharePoint is Dead was a mantra in early 2015 until Ignite and WPC especially. Once the bits became available people are starting to get excited again.

5. Search Driven Enterprise Apps – Successful consumer tools will be replicated in many enterprises with new products coming to market.  I’m still waiting for cool apps like Yelp, Amazon, and Cortana for the enterprise.  I want to see enterprise catalogs with serious integration… unlock the power!

Still waiting.

6. Confusion will continue – Despite the fact that consulting companies know where they make their money, customers will be confused about investments they should make and when to make bets.  Clearer strategies are needed and Ignite should help, but know there are at least 2 or 3 paths for customers this year.  More confusion in the short term, with less in the longer term.

I think Azure AD has helped to bring some clarity around building long term solutions in the cloud and hybrid solutions. We’ll see more clarity as time goes on, but the confusion is far from over.

7. They took our Jobs! – Many will find their skillsets are becoming out of date, and will scramble to learn Office 365 identity management, Office 365 provisioning, and API development and scripting (powershell).  Azure will be expected knowledge for IT Pros.  I worry about a wave of IT Pros that won’t retool fast enough and will wonder what they should be doing and what certifications they should get.  Take a look at the new SharePoint Certifications and look at what is required… Surprise it requires Office 365 Identity and that’s step 1!  Even step 2 doesn’t feel like SharePoint.  Prerequiste to SharePoint Solutions Expert is MCSA Office 365 certification.  Don’t wait around… you need to retool!  IT Pros I worry about the most, but Devs totally got to learn a lot to stay relevant in this mobile first cloud first world.

The Certification program has been a mess. I feel bad for new hires. I expect to see more churn on certs. We still don’t have the MCSE equivalent. Those that have invested in Azure and Angular have been seeing payoff.

8.  ISVs that were SharePoint exclusive will branch out.  Our little ecosystem of SharePoint only ISVs will branch outside of just Office 365 and SharePoint…

This is definitely happening. Many are now building services in the cloud that can be consumed stand alone. It hasn’t happened as much as I’d expect, but in fact what I’m seeing more is ISVs outside of SharePoint coming to the Office 365 SharePoint world to plug in and hoping it will work. In reality the Office 365 ISV market is still a mess in my opinion. Still not as simple as it should be. Requires A LOT of marketing to get a little traction. The idea of the app store is great, but it’s very broken in an enterprise sense. Still not simple and definitely the reviews and ratings are broken… don’t work (most apps have very very few reviews).

9. Mobile and SharePoint Online and On Premises will get much better –  I’m not just talking about apps here.  I think we’ll see some announcements related to the vNext release that will also pay off in Office 365 that are waiting to be announced.

The Office mobile apps have nailed it. They are some of the most popular downloads on Android and iOS. Still waiting for more of the SharePoint announcements, but the mobile apps are really awesome. Most of the community doesn’t know how good they are, but 200 million downloads later, I think many will figure out that the Office mobile apps rock!

10. Community Cross Polinization – We’ll see more of the Exchange folks popping up at the Office 365 events, and even on twitter the SharePoint, Exchange, and SQL experts will get a lot closer.  The Microsoft family will come closer as a result.  Walls will come down, and the cool kids at events will be a stronger mix of people.

I’ve seen this in Azure and Office 365 and some of the events that have gone with a Digital Workspace slant and Connections will help prove this out more over the next year. I have seen Azure and Office 365 pop up more and more in SharePoint Saturday events. Microsoft’s city based Office 365 events did help bring smaller communities together in a small way.

Bonus: A lot of companies that said they’d NEVER go to the cloud will start lining up, barriers will fall!

Deployment numbers are great. Fastest growing business in Microsoft history isn’t joking around. I’d love to see this more newsworthy to see real public case studies.

2 Comments on “SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 Predictions!

  1. I don’t know.
    I’m not sold on the Office 365 with the limitations for what you have control over. It SOUNDS like a great deal, but what you lose with development and capability control… I’m very curious to see how the SharePoint landscape looks in 5 years, let alone 1 year.
    My greatest disappointment with the 2016 release is sticking with the app model. It’s honestly such a pain and so Mac-ish that I have doubts if it’ll catch on. Plus the moves to push out power users (the greatest champions inside businesses) seems like a shot in the foot.

    Still amazing things coming through in server and SharePoint 2016. If they can get SharePoint running on containers? I’ll be in love.

    just my two cents.

    • Latest numbers I hear are at 29% Cloud to 71% on premises. I expect this to get to 50% over the next couple of years, unless Microsoft changes something big… We’ll see what the May 4 announcement brings.

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