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Microsoft Announces forthcoming SharePoint Server 2019 (Mid-2018 Release) and Other Coming Improvements

In this blog, I am covering info about SharePoint 2019 release next year and other coming improvements (e.g. OneDrive) that were revealed in the recent Microsoft Ignite event. In my own experience with SharePoint Platform for one and half decade now, I have seen the SharePoint Platform come a long way.

According to Jared Spataro, general manager for Microsoft Office the preview of SharePoint Server 2019, among other new servers, is expected to arrive by mid-2018. Microsoft typically delivers its SharePoint Online innovations first before they come down to the server product.

New Admin Center and Migration Tool

According to an announcement it is clear that the Microsoft has created a "completely revamped SharePoint Admin Center," which is expected to be available for "first-release" SharePoint Online testers in early 2018. 

The newly designed Admin Center shows SharePoint and OneDrive notifications. It shows file activity patterns, active sites (with filterable info) and service health information as shown in above screenshot.

The new Site Management page is a centralised location for viewing and managing some of the most important aspects of SharePoint Online sites.  You can now sort, filter, and discover information about your sites and their activity.

There's a Recycle Bin to recover deleted sites (as shown below). Also included are sharing controls and device policy controls for compliance, conditional access and data leakage.

I have worked with all kind of SharePoint content migration third party tools (i.e.Sharegate, DocAve, DocKit to name a few)  but excited to see a new tool from Micorosoft now. This new tool called - SharePoint Migration Tool is designed to move content (such as document libraries or file shares) from SharePoint Server sites located at an organization's datacenters to Microsoft's cloud-based SharePoint Online service or the OneDrive Office 365 service. It can handle large or small migrations. Microsoft plans to add more fine-grained control to the tool in the future for file, site and tenant-level moves.

To download SharePoint Migration Tool click here.

Compliance and Security

Microsoft added "data residency and compliance" capabilities for both SharePoint Online and OneDrive, which are being called "Multi-Geo Capabilities in Office 365."  The Multi-Geo Capabilities are currently at the private preview stage. Organizations get to choose the regional location for storing data, as well as storing the search index. 

Microsoft also described "service-level encryption with customer key" protections for SharePoint Online and OneDrive.  The keys can be revoked by organizations, denying access to content. Customer key can be used to encrypt and/or decrypt the individual encryption keys used to encrypt your cloud storage service for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. Customer key with Office 365 allows you to take control of your information, providing an additional layer of security and data privacy.

Microsoft also announced at Ignite that device access policies for content stored in SharePoint and OneDrive which can be specified at "the site collection level." This helps organizations limit access from these devices on a site by site basis, based on the classification of the content. It can control access from unmanaged or non-compliant devices to content stored in SharePoint and OneDrive. 

New Hub Sites

Hub Sites is a new portal addition for SharePoint Online users. Its a new interface for users that lets them bring together related sites to roll up news and activity, to simplify search, and to create cohesion with shared navigation and look-and-feel. 

A Hub Site is used to associate Team Sites and Communication Sites but only one Hub Site can be associated. Hub Sites as being primarily used for sharing knowledge and Communication Site,is primarily used to "tell your story, sharing your work". Hub sites provide common navigational structure, look and feel, and search across associated sites. Hub Sites aren't necessarily replacements for Publishing Sites.

 

A hub site brings consistency across sites from the top down. When a team site or communication site is associated to a hub site, it inherits common characteristics as follows:

  • Navigation – Define top navigation in the hub site that is inherited by associated sites.
  • Theme – Define the look and feel of the hub site, and that theme remains consistent across associated sites.
  • Logo – A logo on a site is like the green sticker on a map that says, “You are here.” It’s an important identifier of the site you are visiting, and the information and people the site represents. A consistent logo defined by the hub site and used by associated sites says, “You are here, and you have not left.”

 

The SharePoint mobile app allows access to all your sites, news and the team members you work with, and search to find content and people across your organization. With the addition of SharePoint hub sites, the SharePoint mobile app will be updated to natively render hub sites, and their pages, news, and content, with smooth navigation between associated sites.

Communication Sites and Team Sites

New WebParts will be available for Communications Sites which includes Planner, Microsoft Forms, Group Calendar, File Viewer, Spacer and Divider, Twitter, and Connectors (to add "third-party" services). Team sites are perfect for internal cross-company campaigns, weekly and monthly reports or status updates, events and more. Your communication site looks great on the web, on mobile browsers, and in the SharePoint mobile app. Communication sites give you more of what you need to display and share your message. Microsoft also plans to improve the Yammer WebPart for Communications Sites so that it displays well within mobile apps, among other WebPart improvements.

SharePoint Team Sites will get new WebParts, including Group Calendar, Planner and Document Library WebParts. It'll also be possible to connect a SharePoint Team Site with an Office 365 Group and SharePoint Hub Site. An Office 365 service, can now access and show "dynamic, data-driven pages and news articles," not just documents stored in SharePoint libraries.  
These SharePoint pages or news articles can be accessed through a tab in a Microsoft Teams channel.

Personalized Search

In SharePoint 2019 version a faster search will be more advanced than the current one. It will include list items everywhere, not just the results in the enterprise search center, so all content in a SharePoint site is now included.  In addition, the Personalized Search capability will be accessible via the Windows Taskbar. 

Personalized search results in SharePoint home will be available later this year, across all geographies, and the new search interface will roll out at the same time. Whether it's apps, documents, email messages, company resources, or people - across local devices and Office 365 - that same personalized search experience is now in Windows. If you don't remember where you put a document from folders on your PC or OneDrive or a group in SharePoint, searching via Windows is the fastest way to find it.

Microsoft also announced that Bing for Business, a new Office 365 enterprise search service for finding organizational content. It surfaces content by using the Microsoft Graph, a search service that underlies various Office 365 services but it doesn't serve up advertising content with the results. Search also will improve for SharePoint Online and OneDrive by being able to "extract text out of images."

Search results will be personalized for you by the Microsoft Graph. Microsoft Graph gleans insight from the people, sites and documents you work with, and ranks search results relevant to your needs. You'll still be able to see all the results that satisfy your query, but personalized search will prioritize the results that are most likely to achieve your objective.

Predictive Indexing and Content Management

Microsoft is working to improve the predictive logic behind SharePoint library queries. It will automatically use an index to filter the results when a query might result in "thousands of records," which Microsoft is calling "predictive indexing". 

Microsoft also described some metadata management capabilities that will be coming for SharePoint Online users which will provide a visual alert when a file needs attention because it is missing metadata or lacks expiration dates. It automatically adds indices to lists and libraries. You’ll see better performance working with large lists and libraries. Word 2016 on Windows will get the ability to display and edit SharePoint metadata in January 2018.

A new "Integrated Review Flows" feature, coming Oct. 2017 to all SharePoint document libraries, will permit end users to route documents for feedback.

A Microsoft Flow SharePoint addition will add the ability to specify that files should undergo an approve-and-publish process to get stored in a library.

Microsoft also plans to add an "event-based retention" capability in "Q4 2017" that triggers actions for documents based on events, which can be controlled via the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.

SharePoint and OneDrive will permit the "offline synchronization of libraries encrypted by Information Rights Management," which permits those files to be synchronized to a PC.

Business Process Additions

Microsoft is continuing its efforts to integrate SharePoint and OneDrive with its business process services, such as PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, plus Microsoft Forms and Power BI. Microsoft Forms allows to create surveys and simple forms inside and outside organization. 
Mobile interfaces for PowerApps and Flow can now be shared in the browser views for SharePoint sites.Power BI is integrating new capabilities for generating reports from data wherever it lives. Custom forms with PowerApps and column formatting allow designer to build beautiful experiences for multiple data sources or just a single field.  And SharePoint lists are being optimized with predictive indexing to accelerate lists with millions of items.

The following capabilities will be available very soon in October

  • Custom forms using PowerApps

  • Ability to launch Flows in OneDrive
  • A new Flow "launch panel" to prompt users for input
  • A Flow-based "custom approval action" for libraries that require "formal check-in and
  • approval"
  • WebParts for Power BI and Microsoft Forms

  • Column formatting in SharePoint Lists and Libraries

The following capability will be available in November

  • A Flow-based custom approval action capability to SharePoint libraries that require check-in and approval.

The following capabilities will be available in December

  • A Flow capability to prompt for document reviews
  • A WebPart to add PowerApps to a SharePoint page


Conclusion:

I hope you will be as happy and excited to know to look forward to seeing above roadmap items soon as I am. These enhancements and new release of SharePoint 2019 will be another step towards the Digital Transformation of businesses for business growth. Please do share your experience with Digital Transformation using Microsoft Technology - MS Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Azure etc.

If you have liked this blog then do like, share or comment so that I continue to write similar blogs in the future :) . Thanks.

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Posted: Oct 6, 2017,
Categories: SharePoint,
Comments: 0,
Author: Urish Arora
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URISH ARORA

Principal IT Consultant | Architect

A Microsoft Technologies Principal Consultant (Contractor) and Technical Design Authority specializing in Microsoft Technical Due Diligence, Enterprise Architecture, large scale Microsoft implementations, Service Orientation (SOA) and creatively applying technologies to business process automation.

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