The on-premises version of SharePoint has been around since the early days of the internet. With many early internet technologies now obsolete, concerns have from time to time been expressed that SharePoint, like many of its contemporary technologies, will fade.
Microsoft’s general manager Seth Patton has assured the tech community that this will not happen, but SharePoint is adapting to the different way that businesses work. The long-term future of SharePoint could be the online version.
Microsoft’s commitment to SharePoint
SharePoint started in the early 2000s as on-premises server software. Patton says:
"Over the years, it turns out that content management and content collaboration and the pains that customers deal with, the problems they're trying to solve, have grown.”
As the collaboration and data needs of companies have grown, many have turned to cloud storage such as Microsoft OneDrive. There were rumours that Microsoft would phase out on-premises SharePoint, but with the release of the on-premises version of SharePoint 2019, users are assured that Microsoft is committed to this version, at least for the near future.
However, Patton has indicated that Microsoft believes that the cloud is the future, so the long-term future of SharePoint on premises is ultimately in doubt.
SharePoint 2019 features
SharePoint 2019 is built on SharePoint Server 2016, but has features that make it easier to integrate with the cloud and could be viewed as a product designed to move users more towards cloud computing. Bill Baer, a senior Microsoft product marketing manager, said:
"As we developed SharePoint Server 2019, we paid close attention to trends in team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways. SharePoint Server 2019 represents a whole new generation of SharePoint, one born in the cloud, and representative of the ease of use we delivered in SharePoint Online."
This release has features that make it easier to use. The Team Sites feature has been improved with simpler permission function to connect to Office 365 Groups. Improvements to site pages (now called ”modern pages”) make it easier to add news, links and documents. Users can also share images, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides and Word documents.
Files of up to 15GB can be uploaded, and the characters # and % can now be used in folder and file names. URL path restrictions have increased from 260 to 400 Unicode units.
Microsoft has stated that its goals for SharePoint are to engage employees, offer flexible solutions for teamwork, and to empower people to collaborate. SharePoint 2019 continues to implement these goals more efficiently.
The future of SharePoint
Microsoft is encouraging organisations to move to online collaboration and sharing. The company has improved its support for self-service migrations to SharePoint Online with its SharePoint Migration Tool, which can move complete on-premises SharePoint sites to the cloud.
Microsoft is committed to the long-term future of SharePoint technology, but how long they will continue to update the on-premises version is open to question. If you’re looking for an effective collaborative solution for your business, whether in the short or long term, speak to WM Reply today.