SharePoint 2016: What's in it for business users

What to look forward to when SharePoint 2016 is deployed.

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If you scour the Internet looking for information about SharePoint 2016, there is plenty out there for IT pros regarding the deployment and management of SharePoint 2016, and also lots of information for developers on how to customize SharePoint. However, there isn't much information on why your business users should be excited about SharePoint 2016.

With there being millions of business users, I think it is important for them to get excited about the new release as well, so they too have something to look forward to when SharePoint 2016 is deployed!

Let's begin by discussing the enhancements within usability, which is a big part of whether a product is successful. Microsoft took great strides to improve the usability of SharePoint 2016 by enhancing the global navigation experience with the introduction of App Launcher. If you've worked in Office 365 before, you are probably already familiar with it -- App Launcher is an extensible interface that enables you to quickly access OneDrive for Business, Yammer and Delve, as well as navigate between on-premises and the cloud. You can even add your own sites for quick access.

Speaking of which, if you have favorite sites you can now pin them to your Sites page for quick access.

Working with files has been enhanced by addressing the much-needed support for larger file sizes. SharePoint 2016 introduces an increase from the 2GB maximum file size to 10GB maximum file size. File name character restrictions have been removed, so now you can upload file names containing &, % and #, just to name a few. Durable links provide you the capability to retain a resource-based URL to documents even after they are renamed or moved in SharePoint. 

Usability of SharePoint 2016 also has been improved with the capability of viewing images and videos by simply hovering over them or clicking on them right in the library. OneDrive's Recycle Bin now is easier to access from the left navigation area, and OneDrive's synchronization process has been improved. Working with documents has been made easier with the addition of keyboard shortcuts for document tasks such as Alt + N for adding a New document, Alt + U for Uploading a document, and Alt + S for Sharing a document.

Speaking of sharing, enhancements to the sharing process also have been introduced in SharePoint 2016. For instance, you now can create and share folders, view who a folder is shared with while viewing the folder, quickly share a page, approve or deny a request for access within an email using a single click, and users in the Members group can now share documents. So, keep a closer eye on who you add to that Members group.

Search is a huge part of any of document management system, and with the emphasis of a SharePoint hybrid environment between SharePoint 2016 On-Premises and SharePoint Online, Microsoft has unified the search capability. You now can perform one search that will return the results from both locations in a single search results page, enabling you to easily identify the location of each result item and then access that item.

Remember that SharePoint 2016 On-Premises contains a lot of functionality previously introduced in SharePoint Online. SharePoint 2016 On-Premises was an afterthought when Microsoft realized the demand for another SharePoint on-premises release, and I think there will be future on-premises releases. So, if you have been working with SharePoint Online, some of these new features and functionality are going to seem familiar to you.

Be sure to educate your business users on these new features and functionality so they can take full advantage of them when SharePoint 2016 is deployed.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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