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SharePoint 2016:Bringing the Cloud to Your Business on Your Terms

SharePoint Server 2016 is paying attention to trends in team collaboration, user experiences across devices, communication tools, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises infrastructure. Making SharePoint 2016 work with Office 365 is a major focus of the new SP2016 platform.

Cloud technology is the current big thing.  I can think of several reasons why businesses should take advantage of cloud services in Office 365 – cost, maintenance, and accessibility to name a few.  On the flip side, from my experience there are also reasons why certain aspects of your business need to stay right where it is, on-premises.

I like to think of SharePoint 2016 as the gateway to seamlessly integrate with O365 at whatever pace feels comfortable using whatever work streams fit the business need at the time.  Moving content and/or functionality to the cloud should never be “one strategy fits all.”  Businesses must determine how to incorporate cloud technology into their current operations, keeping in mind the business’ needs. SharePoint 2016 provides that much-needed flexibility.

For businesses with on-premises infrastructures, SharePoint 2016 allows you to easily implement the only most needed aspects of cloud technology, at your own pace. With SharePoint 2016, in a hybrid configuration with Office 365, you can make the most of your current SharePoint assets, while leveraging (and enjoying!) the improved user experience, capabilities, and effectiveness the platform offers.

So what are the hybrid options, you say?  What’s in it for me?  Here’s a list of just a handful of new features that you can take advantage of in a hybrid implementation:

Cloud Hybrid Search – Allows end users to see integrated search results through a combined search index stored in Office 365.   Key note:  The content remains on-premises, only the index is in the cloud.  Another benefit is you can leverage the power of Office Graph to surface relevant information to end users using Office Delve – regardless of where information is stored.

Seamless UI –  You have the need for some content and sites to remain on premises but you want to move the rest of it to SharePoint Online and/or OneDrive for Business.  What does that mean for the end users?  Lucky for us, not much because the UI’s are essentially the same.  And, really end users don’t really care if they’re in SharePoint Online or SharePoint 2016.

App Launcher – This provides a new navigation experience where all your apps are easily available from the top navigation bar, just like in O365.  You can quickly launch your application, browse sites and access your personal files no matter where they reside.

Simple Control – SP2016 and SPO now have the same look and feel for managing files.  SP2016 leverages the Simple Control feature making it easy to create new Office documents, upload files, synchronize files for offline use, and share files.

Following Sites – Using a wizard, users can click on “Follow” both on-premises and on their Office 365 and see them all in one place under the “Sites” app in the App Launcher.

Long story short, you can choose to leverage certain features and functionality in O365, or just be ready to leverage them when the time comes, with your on-premises SharePoint 2016 implementation.

Please send me any questions or comments regarding SP2016!

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Erin Zapata

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