Top 10 Improvements in SharePoint 2016 for Business Users

All this talk of IT Pro SharePoint 2016 What’s New and SharePoint 2016 What’s in it for Developers made me decide there really needs to be some messaging for the users. There’s definitely business value in the box, but the usability, performance, and improvements for mobility and integration with everyday life that make a difference when you go try to get users excited about SharePoint 2016. Make sure you’ve put together your list of favorite features for your users when you get ready to tell the business that you want to spend time learning or deploying SharePoint 2016.

Enjoy!

  1. App launcher and Site Pages pinning – easily navigate across SharePoint through a consistent global app launcher experience users have become familiar with in Office 365, now for SharePoint 2016. This global navigation will help make certain apps like Yammer, OneDrive, and Delve more of a seamless experience. Can quickly navigate between the cloud or on premise. It’s extensible. Users can pin their own sites or developers can extend apps across Office 365 and on premises. You can also pin any sites to the sites page. Follow sites and their folders are more accessible. They are also easier to get to through the app launcher global navigation previously mentioned.


  1. Simplified Usability – The difficult to use ribbon has been simplified based on Microsoft usability testing for the tools users need most. These simple controls have been integrated into the default UI without having to click to find the ribbon. Image and Video previews now available in libraries by simply hover or click. OneDrive has improved synchronization for taking files offline and for sharing, more on the OneDrive blog. OneDrive has also been enhanced with an easier to access Recycle bin in the left nav.

    Keyboard shortcuts are provided for the following document tasks:

    1. Alt + N – New
    2. Alt + E – Edit
    3. Alt + U – Upload
    4. Alt + M – Manage
    5. Alt + S – Share
    6. Alt + Y – Synchronization

     

    1. Share – Sharing has been added to pages. This sharing experience of simply adding the users that you want to share the page with will automatically be added with permissions. This will simply user permissions as well. It’s a concept that started in OneDrive that’s making it into sites. This sharing behavior also consists of faces along with user friendly names. You may see these features grouped as people focused file storage and collaboration. New invitations and one click approve or deny requests though email.
    2. Large File handling – While most users won’t notice that the 50MB default limit is now possible to go up to 10GB, but for those who have been bothered by the 2GB limit will definitely know due to support for large media, videos etc… Not only do you get larger files, but you also get better support for more files. The popular 5000 item limit is no longer… what is will be is yet to be seen. Farm Admins can still restrict this, so end users may not actually be able to use the new limits.
    3. Character Restrictions Removed – Use any characters you want. Want to use an & or + in the file name. It’s no problem. I see this also along with the features around durable links which is a bonus user feature.
    4. Hybrid Delve – Users previously had to just use Delve in Office 365 to show online files. Now with Cloud Hybrid Search, users can get experiences from data Online or on premises. Users can create boards with items from either environment and across farms.
    5. Unified Search – Users use to have to search both Online and On premises, now in 2016 they can have a united search experience in the native SharePoint 2016 search UI.
    6. Zero Downtime – Some will say Zero Downtime Patching sounds like IT features, but ultimately it’s the users that are getting the benefits of no downtime. No one wants to see emails that say their servers are down for maintenance. Getting 99.99% availability which MS says is possible with SharePoint 2016 is definitely a benefit to users.
    7. Touch Mobile Views – mobile, tablets, desktop the experience. There is talk about Responsive Design, which we are seeing in some areas in the IT preview, more to come I’m sure. The integration of the mobile apps with the new mobile UI is much, much smoother. While the mobile views are much better than they were, I’d really like to see the pages more responsive as well. We are seeing some of this in the preview and other examples such as in Delve and Video Portal. I’d like to see this on the search results page and default home pages of team sites and responsive portals. Remember this is beta. I do believe Microsoft is hearing we want more responsive pages and not just mobile views.



    1. Improved Auditing Compliance and Reporting – The word is auditing and reporting is going to be better. New DLP, Data encryption, improved security for mail transport. You’ll also see features listed as personalized insights. New compliance features for SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview include the document deletion and in-place hold policies. See more on compliance features on TechNet. As well you can read more on encrypted connections. Unified auditing features is another place to look for more information on this. Auditing is really being overhauled as you may see “view auditing” referred to as legacy.
    2. Better Performance – BITS or Background Intelligent Transfer Service is built into the system. There are other areas of the product that also get faster including faster site creation. Faster search.

 

Additional Reading:

New and Improved Features in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

Download SharePoint Server 2016 Preview

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Quick Start Guide

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

TechNet: What’s in SharePoint 2016

SharePoint Server 2016 Update

SharePoint 2013 Top 10 New Features

Here are some Top Features of SharePoint 2013 that will start to sell your business on investigating the Preview. All of these features are documented in TechNet. I’ll do a Top 10 for each audience as more information becomes available.

  1. Support the tools designers use: Flexibility in Branding – How great will it be that your designers can use Dreamweaver or other popular design products. More information on TechNet Branding Features

    "Whether that is Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, or some other HTML editor. To brand a SharePoint site, designers just create a site design as they typically would, by implementing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript"

  2. Offline and Sync of My Site (and other libraries) – "In SharePoint Server 2013 Preview, My Sites include several improvements to saving, synchronization, sharing, and moving of content. Users have the option to synchronize their My Site document library content with a local drive to enable offline access to documents." Saving and Syncing Content (I really love the new Follow people, documents, sites, and tags to customize their feed!!)
  3. Search Engine Optimization & Analytics is in Search – Search is TONS better. Much of this is due to Analytics moving into search. This will make Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint Server 2013 Preview runs different analytics jobs to analyze content in the search index and user actions that were performed on a site to identify items that users perceive as more relevant than others. TechNet Analytics Recommendations
  4. Content Search WebPart – This webpart is cool, but it may take a demo to understand the power. In many ways this is the next generation of Content Query Web Part. "Content Search Web Part that displays content that was crawled and added to the search index. You can use category pages when you want to aggregate content that meets certain criteria or parameters. For example, in an intranet scenario, all company events are maintained in a list that is shared as a catalog. A query is issued from the Content Search Web Part to return all items from the search index that are specified in the query." Content Search Web Part
  5. Optimized mobile browser experience – For some companies this may be the reason to upgrade alone. Mobile is definitely something I have been looking for. "For smartphone mobile devices SharePoint Server 2013 Preview provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts. Contemporary view.  This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone 4.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0. Classic view   This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view" Mobile browser experience
    Device specific Master Pages – You can target your branding to the device! Targeting different devices such as smartphones, tablets. "Allow a single publishing site to be rendered in multiple ways by using different designs that target different devices." TechNet Device Specific Branding Feature
  6. Rich Workflows – If workflows were a sore point, they’ve gotten a lot better and seem much more able to handle more complex activities including looping and working with webservices (anyone thinking orchestration?). "A new action that enables no-code web service calls from within a workflow, New actions for creating a task and starting a task process and New workflow building blocks such as Stage, Loop, and App Step" With Azure Workflows you can even do "REST and Service Bus Messaging" Workflow in SharePoint 2013
    Machine Translation – Looking forward to really seeing what our business can do with this translation service. Automated translation into various languages!
  7. Development gets more familiar – Developers who are not SharePoint developers will find SharePoint 2013 preview a lot easier to work with. Leverage your existing "ASP.NET, Apache, C#, Java, and PHP. The new cloud app model gives you the freedom of choice." Familiar development environments
  8. New App Model – This new app model will take you into the New Online World – "The new app model embraces web standards: You can develop the user experience with HTML and JavaScript, and leverage SharePoint and other REST services right from the client using JavaScript and JSON. You can even create your own REST services and provide a web hosting platform of your choice to handle complex logic and integration of data and services. The new cloud app model also takes advantage of OAuth to allow for secure communication between SharePoint and remote hosted apps and services." Familiar tools – App Model
  9. Shredded Storage – This is one of my favorite new features. I can’t wait to see what it does to our farm. Shredded storage will remove file duplicates and reduce the amount of content sent across the wire. You can find more on this in the IT pro decks.
  10. Social Features: Activity feeds – I really like the idea that I can get real notifications of what’s happening on a site including following documents, following sites, and following people… and automatically following team members (if you want). Communities – I think Microsoft’s new site template communities will be interesting with integrated microblogging. I’m definitely anxious to see how our internal communities use them. What’s new in social computing

 

 

Key SharePoint 2013 Training Resources

IT Pro

SharePoint 2013 TechNet IT Pro

SharePoint 2013 training for IT pros (videos)

SharePoint 2013 Ignite training pptx (Tons of PPTX I love these. These are awesome!!)

Developer

SharePoint 2013 MSDN Developer Portal

SharePoint 2013 Developer training from MSDN

SharePoint 2013 developer welcome page

 

 

References:

What’s new in authentication

What’s new in Business Connectivity Services

What’s new in eDiscovery

What’s new in mobile devices

What’s new in records management and compliance

What’s new in business intelligence

What’s new in social computing

What’s new in web content management

What’s new in workflow