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Microsoft plans Office future around news ways of working – SharePoint implications

Microsoft plans Office future around news ways of working – SharePoint implications

MS Office Graph“We believe…  the future of work is possible only if people are empowered to work anywhere and on any device” Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President of Office Service and Servers group Microsoft.

In the MS Office blog on March 3rd, Jeff Teper talked about the future of Office, Yammer, SharePoint, and Microsoft’s direction.

It certainly seems to buy into much of the new workplace philosophy advocated in the agile working / social business / digital workplace fields to do with reducing hierarchy and a more network-based approach.

“To be more responsive, we need to evolve. We need to flatten the information flow so that we can work better together and serve customers better, using a network of highly informed and highly connected people.” Jeff Teper

At it’s heart is Office Graph – a way to visualise how people and information are interconnected. There’ll be a new app codenamed Oslo as the first step towards this.

The biggest impact for current intranet managers is likely to be the introduction of ‘Groups’. These extend the idea of groups in Yammer, adding in files, email and calendars. In short they sound an awful lot like ‘Communities’ in SP2013 or indeed, a replacement for the way in which many Team Sites are used right now. The good news is that the document storage will be SharePoint document libraries, not a rival document store.

Also of interest is the announcement of a ready-made internal video library built in part on SharePoint (sounds great but also sounds like you’ll need the latest version of everything to use it).

Jeff also says there’ll be a new version of SharePoint in 2015 for companies that don’t want to use the cloud, but it won’t be as powerful as the cloud version. Even though few companies at the moment have gone wholesale to Office 365, it looks like Microsoft is still putting the pressure on. To help nudge people over, they are offering improved hybrid approaches, where most of SharePoint is on your company servers, but you use cloud for OneDrive for Business (formerly Skydrive Pro, the Dropbox rival) and for Yammer.

The new mantra seems to be #worklikeanetwork – expect to see a lot more of that hashtag!

Sam Marshall

I'm the director of ClearBox Consulting, advising on intranet and digital workplace strategy, SharePoint and online collaboration. I've specialised in intranets and knowledge Management for over 19 years, working with organisations such as Unilever, Astra Zeneca, Akzo Nobel, Sony, Rio Tinto and Diageo. I was responsible for Unilever’s Global Portal Implementation, overseeing the roll-out of over 700 online communities to 90,000 people and consolidating several thousand intranets into a single system.

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