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Office & SharePoint 2019 – Whats coming next from Microsoft?

Office 2019

Office 2019 and SharePoint 2019 have been announced earlier this year at Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando as scheduled to be released the second half of 2018. It will include new versions of the Office apps (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook) and servers (including Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business).

Innovation powered by the cloud was a core theme at Ignite this year. However, moving to the cloud is a journey with many considerations along the way. Office 2019 will be a valuable upgrade for customers who feel that they need to keep some or all their apps and servers on-premises for the time being until they are ready to go fully into the cloud.

Share from Office

In addition to sharing straight from explorer, you can share your documents directly from whichever Office application you are using to create them (Word/PowerPoint/Excel etc).

OneDrive – New Features

We are all aware that SharePoint and OneDrive are based on the same technology. The main difference being OneDrive is used to store youronedrive for business own files and SharePoint being used to store files to collaborate on with your team. However, from recent updates we expect this hard boundary to slowly blur, as files and content are getting easier to share you no longer must open a browser or send an email to share your synced OneDrive and SharePoint files. Now you can simply right-click and select share, which will give you a secure URL to send to members of your organisation or even externally if this option is configured.

Save Space and Sync

Microsoft have recently released a “Files on demand” feature meaning you no longer must lose access to your files by choosing to selectively sync them. You will be able to simply right click your file and choose if you want a local copy or not.

Meaning you can retain your most important files for offline mode but also access all your files through explorer mode when connected to the internet. This will save your hard drive a lot of storage space. This will work for your personal OneDrive and SharePoint team sites.

Share to people without a “Microsoft Account”

With a new system that uses single-use security codes. You no longer need to ensure the person you are sharing with has a Office365, Live, Outlook, etc account. Now share your data with people using any kind of email service, give them edit or read access and even set expiry dates on how long they can access that file. Rest assured knowing that they can’t do or share anything you don’t want them to.

Short URLs

Microsoft are aware that the current URLs that are used for sharing files from SharePoint and OneDrive are rather long and ugly. They are working on a release to shorten and make the URLs look more pleasant when you share your files.

SharePoint Server 2019

Not much is known about the release of SharePoint 2019 yet, but we expect the look and feel to align even further to Office365’s SharePoint Online as Microsoft continue to encourage cloud hybrids making the user experience transition smoothly.

Most new changes and features are released to SharePoint Online first and they then work their way into the latest version of SharePoint server.

We know the Admin centre of SharePoint is being re-worked and being given a totally new look and feel like Office365 admin centre.

Notifications

The new admin centre will have graphs to show you your usage data, as well as messages that tell you which features have been added and removed from your specific tenant. This will enable you to be notified from both OneDrive and SharePoint of information related to sites about service health and activities.

Recover Bin

Among the many anticipated features, a stand out is the “Recover Bin” feature. This will allow admins to easily administrate the deleted sites much easier than before.

SharePoint 2019 – New Features

  • Communication sites – These have already been rolled out, but Microsoft continually improving these making more web parts, more layouts, and providing easier ways to communicate news and information throughout your organisation or even externally to clients/partners.
  • News Pages – Offering an easy way to create news articles and display them on your intranet homepage.
  • Promote Button – easily share interesting pages.
  • Column formatting –making your list data colour coded based on value has not been an easy task in the past. With the release of this new feature you will not require custom coding to format your list columns.
  • HUB Sites –the new hub sites will replace the need for top sites containing many subsites. You can create a new hub site and then connect ANY of your other sites to that hub site with one setting. This will then roll up all of the key information from team and commutation sites into one place. For example you may have a “HR Department” hub site which rolls up content from the “Finance” and “Resourcing” team sites. Those sites will instantly inherit the navigation, look and feel, and the content and activity feeds will roll up into your hub site.

 SharePoint 2019 – New Web Parts

We expect many of the features available in SharePoint Online will become available in SharePoint 2019 including integration with those found below. A lot of these new features will require your SharePoint 2019 environment to become more integrated with online services especially Office365 and we expect hybrid to become a much bigger part of the deployment.

  • Microsoft Forms – place form and surveys directly on your pages. We expect Microsoft will also integrate better Flow connectors to create automated workflows from the creation of a form.
  • Planner – You will not have to go to a separate app or webpage to view your relevant planner items. This could really benefit SharePoint project sites.
  • Connector web part – Soon you will be able to connect to over 100 different data sources that can be displayed in your sites for example company twitter feeds.
  • Improved Yammer web part – Yammer is Microsoft corporate and social networking product. Microsoft continues to make improvements to help it fit in better with rest of their collaboration apps.
  • 3D file viewer web part – Interact with 3D models right on your pages. This will be incredibly useful to our customers working in the graphic and interior design markets.

SharePoint 2019 Modern Site

Security & Compliance

  • Modern Site Management – Recently trying to manage the new team and communication SharePoint Online sites in Office365 has proven very difficult without a proper SharePoint admin page that can control the new sites. However, this is about to change with a new site management upgrade you will finally be able to search and administrate including Groups/Teams/Communication sites and perform bulk actions such as grouping existing team sites.
  • Site-Level Conditional Access – giving admins the ability to control access to sites depending on which device the selected user is access SharePoint on.
  • Compliance – as the deadline for being GDPR compliant approaches a lot of our customers are wondering about steps they can actively take now to be prepared. As different countries have different governing laws on compliance this has raised many issues. However, with a new feature being rolled out you will be able to determine which users reside in certain geographical locations then apply policies depending on the location they are in. It will also allow you to determine what country your data is stored in.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

For many of our customers GDPR highlights daunting issues of compliance. Organisations that fail to comply with the regulation will face massive fines: up to £17 million or four percent of global revenue, whichever is higher.

The May 2018, deadline for GDPR compliance is drawing closer but many businesses are unsure where to begin. Businesses cannot afford to waste time in GDPR preparation and we are currently helping originations taking the first steps to becoming compliant.

SharePoint 2019 will bring a whole host of tools to assist with this including a “GDPR Activity Hub”. The goal of this hub is to give customers and partners a tool to use in order to keep track of all the fundamental events, requests, tasks and activities required to be compliant with the GDPR.

SharePoint 2019 GDPR Portal

This will give your organisation a greater understanding of what is involved with becoming GDPR compliant and may highlight some critical issues that will need to be resolved before the official regulation comes in.

Find out More

If you’re interested in hearing more about Office & SharePoint 2019 and would like to speak to one of our SharePoint Consultants then contact us or call on 03335 779 009 .

Author

 Valto Dougie Wood

SharePoint Specialist

T: 03335 779 009
E: Dougie.wood@valto.co.uk
W: https://valto.co.uk
10 Watergate Row, Chester. CH1 2LD

Selecting the right SharePoint Development Company

If SharePoint is a key part of your company’s IT Strategy, then finding the right SharePoint Development company is essential.  A bad choice can leave you with a project that’s overrunning, costing you more than you expected, and failing to deliver to your expectations.

On the surface, SharePoint can be quite easy to work with – if you have the correct environment, a senior member of your IT team should be able to deploy SharePoint.  The new App model for extensions means that functionality can be added in a straightforward way.  That having been said, very few businesses find that they can use SharePoint straight out of the box.  In most cases, some custom development is required.

Getting the Most out of SharePoint

If you want SharePoint to do exactly what you want, you need to find a development partner who not only understands the platform itself, but also understands your goals from a commercial perspective.

Whether your need is a simple intranet, or a complex business management system that uses SharePoint to move data between multiple applications, there is a clear need that you need to meet.

When you speak to your development company, it’s important to discuss what the goal of the project is, and what the perceived benefits are.  If a company is simply focused on the project without understanding what your ultimate goal is, then the chances of them helping you to achieve it are very slim.

Choosing the right SharePoint Development Company

The key things that you need to look for in a SharePoint development company are as follows:

Experience with your particular version of SharePoint.  SP2016 and Online are the current versions, but not everyone has upgraded.  Some developers might not have worked with older versions for some time, or have familiarity with the specific extensions that you’re using.  Some complex deployments may require multiple teams to handle the process of adding functionality if the full skillset isn’t available in once place.

A good Development company will have access to skillsets beyond the ones in their direct team and handle communication.

Experience with the type of application that you have.  Some companies are specialists in intranets – rather than being specialists in SharePoint.  They may have lots of experience with your version of SharePoint, but if they don’t have experience working with the type of application that you have, then you may be storing up problems.

The right qualifications.  Microsoft offer professional certification that qualifies specialists in different areas.  Talk to prospective companies about what qualifications they have within their team and what knowledge you have access to.

The ability to support you.  If you have a business-critical application, it makes sense to work with a company who are going to be around for a long time.  A contractor may be able to deliver a project more cheaply, but if the code is eccentric or unusual, then it may cause issues if you need a different person to help in the future if something goes wrong later.  Choosing a company that has an in-house support function means that they will have access to the original development plans and be able to identify and resolve any issues more quickly.

If you’re currently planning a project around SharePoint, speak to a member of our team – we’ll be happy to provide you with advice and information about how we can help you achieve your gaols and support you in the long run.  Call us today on 03335 779 009 .

Reducing Problems with SharePoint

When it’s properly configured, SharePoint can make an enormous difference to your business.  It helps improve collaboration and teams can make better decisions as a result.  Sometimes though, things can go wrong, so having the ability to fix any problems with SharePoint is essential..

In organisations where SharePoint is core to productivity, fixing problems quickly is a priority.  Having access to experienced technical staff can help minimise the cause of problems and resolve them more quickly.

Why things go wrong in SharePoint

Most problems with SharePoint boil down to one of three areas, either incorrect configuration, insufficient server resource, or incompatible code in a 3rd party application or extension.  Diagnosing the cause of an issue quickly usually means faster resolution.

Most deployments of SharePoint are unique.  A company will usually need some functionality adding, or have special needs to fulfil certain requirements.  In most cases, the configuration is handled by the SharePoint consultants who conduct the initial development work.

In a lot of cases, shortcuts that were taken during the deployment lead to bigger issues later.  These might be workarounds that had to be put in place to futz a piece of functionality, or maybe some additional code that tied two systems together.

Compromise leads to compromise.  Often, when performing a project to fix earlier issues, it becomes apparent that changes were made mid deployment that led to configuration settings being changed.

Diagnosing this type of issue can be straightforward for an experience SharePoint support professional, however the resolution can be more difficult.  There will always be a way of fixing incompatibility between software, but beware of a change now that simply stores up a problem for the future.  It is sometimes better to consider what your long-term IT Strategy is and work towards that.

Hosting Problems with SharePoint

Far and away the most common root of problems with SharePoint such as the platform slowing down or not providing the expected level of performance is insufficiently powerful infrastructure.  A SharePoint farm uses multiple physical or virtual machines to power it.  Database, front end, and application servers coupled with a search engine mean that there are multiple points of failure.

In some cases, issues with hosting arise because of changes in scale of the application over time.  As more data is added and more users join the network, it will begin to creak.  A regular assessment of your cloud is useful.  If you’re hosting SharePoint virtually, then an Azure Consultant will be able to provide advice and support about whether you have the correct infrastructure to meet your needs and then provide guidance about the right steps to take.

Extensions causing problems?

Customisation is fundamental to ensuring that SharePoint does what your organisation needs it to.  Whether you have used off the shelf apps or bespoke development, there is a risk that two different extensions may conflict with each other.  This is particularly common when code changes due to updates.

Many organisations use a test environment for SharePoint to ensure that any problems can be ironed out before users experience them, but there is always the potential for something unforeseen to get through the net.

Summary

If you’re having problems with SharePoint, the chances are that a member of our team will be able to help you resolve the issue quickly and avoid major disruption.  Call us today on 03335 779 009 and we’ll get started right away.