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Around the corner: SharePoint 2016

Around the corner: SharePoint 2016

by: Eric Riz

When SharePoint 2016 becomes available to the public in Q1 2016, there will be five versions in use by organizations around the world. That's a lot of collaboration! When I think about all the questions I have been asked about SharePoint over the years, I realize that many of them are the same. They're primarily about how to USE a functional piece of the system, how to create a workflow, or how to maximize a specific efficiency within an organization. Seldom am I asked a generic question, such as how or when to upgrade from one version to the next.

Questions of this ilk are basic and often not within the control of the individual I'm speaking with. They are corporate decisions, and the users who attend conferences are assigned to making it all happen, but many times with little true support from the organization.

Furthermore, questions of this nature are outside the realm of a factual response. It would be impossible to reply to it in just a few words because as we all know, it takes a great deal of time, effort and planning to get it all right. Similar to receiving driving directions on a 10-hour trip that indicated "go straight on this road," a few words of response to questions about a SharePoint upgrade would be inefficient. With all the options available, some guidance is certainly required, and many people attend conferences to take that first step.

In reality, conferences are designed to give attendees more than they can handle in order to maximize the experience. With all the versions, products, vendors and consultants in the SharePoint space, you can expect to have a busy week when attending SPTechCon later this month. Many attendees choose a conference based on proximity to home and the time of year they wish to travel. Conference organizers, on the flip side, have tough decisions to make when they work to create a meaningful program for the entire event.

In order to aid in this process, attendees are asked questions that will, in turn, define the various tracks and sessions at the event. This year, one such question for SPTechCon attendees was "What platform are you currently using or managing?? In response, 226 attendees stated:

SharePoint 2007          23.9%
SharePoint 2010          60.2%
SharePoint 2013          65.0%
Office 365                    29.6%

Personally, I find these statistics fascinating: Almost a quarter of respondents remain on 8-year-old technology, and SharePoint 2013 usage has overtaken SharePoint 2010 by some 5%! When SharePoint 2013 was released, the choices between hybrid and online were overwhelming for many IT departments who had concerns over data security and access. Today, with 65% of companies indicating 2013 usage, you can expect that many of these questions have been addressed, and you will find some excellent options and solutions on the trade-show floor.

With SharePoint 2016 on the doorstep, the focus will surely shift soon to the decisions that must be made around upgrading. As you travel the show floor at SPTechCon, be sure to ask questions about the upgrade path, compatibility, strategy and necessity. For those on SharePoint 2010, Microsoft has released their support options for the platform, which end in October 2020. You have lots of time to make your decision, so take your time and choose what's best for your organization.

Eric is the Founder and CEO of Empty Cubicle, an HR platform changing the way businesses source and verify candidates. As a thought leader, Eric is a sought-after speaker, author and consultant. He is a regular contributor to many industry journals and newsletters, and sits on the Microsoft Solution Advisory Board. In 2013, Eric won the prestigious Microsoft SharePoint MVP award. You can reach Eric at eric@ericriz.com and follow him on Twitter at RizInsights.

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