A sneak peek into a pre-pre-release of SharePoint 2016 reveals dramatic new improvements in the venerable platform, according to independent analyst firm, The Real Story Group. In an exhaustive evaluation of the new platform, Real Story Group (RSG) isolated several critical enhancements.

  • State-of-the art social media integration.  SharePoint 2016 will feature with an optional Pinterest connector, available for purchase from a Microsoft partner in China.
  • Improved video capabilities.  SharePoint 2016 will automatically convert raw videos (up to three minutes in length) into Microsoft’s new Splash-based delivery format.  The service employs an Azure-based transformation queue, with converted videos typically available in as soon as 24 hours.  «These sorts of leading-edge multimedia capabilities make SP 2016 a total market disrupter,» concludes RSG Analyst Kashyap Kompella.
  • Renewed commitment to cloud.  SharePoint 2016 customers can synch documents from their on-premise installations to Office 365 instances via nightly FTP jobs.  «Agility is the name of the game now,» notes RSG Senior Analyst Irina Guseva, «and SP 2016 really raises the bar here.»
  • Fancy migration utility.  An automated migration script will move Office files from SP 2013 directly to SP 2016.  Microsoft cleverly leaves profile information and activity stream data behind.  Says RSG Principal Theresa Regli, «Redmond astutely recognizes that most of us want an entirely new social identity at work every three years.»
  • A new rich text editor.  «This one has snazzy icons,» notes SP 2016 program manager, Bitsy Optimist, «so it works just like Word.» Optimist promises that editors can publish new pages in less than nine clicks.

A new application framework. Non-developers can generate and deploy .NET objects through drag-and-drop interfaces.  «Automated code generation is definitely the future — FrontPage already proved that,» notes RSG Senior Analyst Apoorv Durga.  When other users modify an application through the WYSIWYG interface, the system helpfully creates a whole new instance of the application code running in parallel on production servers.  Redmond is expected to roll out a new advertising campaign called «Configuration Management is for Sissies,» starring Dwayne «The Rock» Johnson.   
The new application framework in particular should dramatically lower costs.  At least one prospective customer is already reaping the benefits.  RSG contacted Melvin V. Prohgrimmer, a SharePoint evangelist at a 40-person manufacturing company in Omaha, Nebraska.  According to Prohgrimmer, the firm’s integrator, NeverEnding, Inc. promised a 20% reduction in the estimated $3.2m cost to redesign the company’s intranet if they could deploy the 2016 edition of SharePoint rather than SP 2013.

 Other analyst firms are also lauding the new edition.  Greacy Pahms is Director of Collaboration Research at major analyst firm, the WeLoveVendors Group (NYSE:WLVG), where he led a $12m advisory contract with Microsoft to help define the featureset for SP 2016.  «This new version definitively puts Microsoft in our Winners’ Quadrant,» said Pahms, who added that he looked forward to sharing identical innovations with other WeLoveVendors clients, including IBM, Oracle, and EMC.

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