The next version of SharePoint is coming together, and Microsoft is getting ready to show off its progress at the Ignite conference taking place May 4-8 in Chicago, days after Build in San Francisco (April-29-May 1).
The Redmond, Wash.-based IT giant plans to "lift the curtain on SharePoint 2016" at the event, the company announced. Ignite is a consolidation of past confabs, essentially replacing the Microsoft Management Summit, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project and TechEd conferences.
"We're going to cover it all, across cloud infrastructure and management, big data and analytics, productivity, unified communications, operating systems, mobile devices and more," said Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of communications at Microsoft, when he announced the newly streamlined conference calendar last October. CEO Satya Nadella is expected to deliver a keynote address.
Ignite will provide IT and business leaders with their first look at the direction Microsoft's enterprise collaboration platform is going.
"At Ignite, we'll publicly demo SharePoint Server 2016 for the first time," said the company in a blog post. "In addition, you'll have your choice of 50+ breakout sessions dedicated to SharePoint on-premises and online, 24 hands-on-labs—including several new hybrid labs—and two important pre-day training offerings for IT pros and developers."
In addition, Microsoft is hosting a weeklong "SharePint," a series of community-driven events, some informal, where SharePoint experts will present, network and share their knowledge over a brew. Six theaters within Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center will be designated as community zones, where attendees "can expect community-run panel discussions, short fire-starter sessions, where you can share an idea with the community and get immediate feedback," stated Microsoft.
A month ago, Julia White, general manager of Office Product Management, teased what's ahead for SharePoint 2016 and its users. While the platform is undeniably heading in a cloudier direction—as is Microsoft as a whole—customers looking to deploy the software in their own environments won't be left behind, she signaled.
"We're excited about the next on-premises version of SharePoint and we're sure you will be too," said White in a Feb. 2 statement. "It has been designed, developed and tested with the Microsoft Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy at its core, drawing from SharePoint Online."
SharePoint 2016 can also act as a stepping stone to mobile-friendly, hybrid cloud implementations, she added.
"A hybrid SharePoint deployment can provide IT agility by creating a consistent platform spanning datacenters and cloud, simplifying IT and delivering apps and data to users on any device, anywhere," claimed White. "With SharePoint Server 2016, in addition to delivering rich on-premises capabilities, we’re focused on robust hybrid enablement in order to bring more of the Office 365 experiences to our on-premises customers."
On the cloud front, Microsoft is working to incorporate more Office 365 capabilities. These include Delve for a context-aware approach to enterprise search, secure content sharing and a more social experience powered by Yammer that connects with multiple platforms, including Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.