Sharepoint is going mobile this year with a new app

The collaboration platform's roadmap also includes machine learning-based capabilities and more

SharePoint is going mobile in a big way. Microsoft announced a new app for its content management and collaboration platform on Tuesday, which will give workers a way to access content from their smartphones and tablets on the go. 

The app, called SharePoint Mobile, will be coming to iOS by the end of June, and is one of dozens of new features for the platform that Microsoft announced alongside the general availability of SharePoint Server 2016. 

Other capabilities include redesigned team sites that make it easier to see relevant files that people are working on and a hybrid search functionality that works across cloud and on-premises versions of SharePoint.  

After 15 years on the market, SharePoint is still going strong. The enterprise content management and collaboration platform software is getting a number of updates over the coming year, to benefit the more than 200,000 companies, 50,000 partners and one million developers working with it today.

The SharePoint Mobile app is aimed at helping people get quick access to four types of information from SharePoint: news from across the company, the sites that people use the most, quick links to important pages and a list of their coworkers. It will work both with SharePoint Online and some on-premises versions of SharePoint Server. 

Using information from the machine learning-powered Microsoft Graph, the mobile app will be able to pick out who people work with the most and what SharePoint sites they use most frequently, and make those more readily available than less-used information. That same capability will also power functionality inside the app that shows users files relevant to them.

Microsoft said Android and Windows versions of the SharePoint Mobile app will be coming later this year.

2016 may 4 future of sharepoint new ui for file folder in onedrive for business ios browser Microsoft

The new OneDrive user interface online and on iOS

OneDrive is also getting some updates enhanced by machine learning. This quarter, OneDrive mobile app users will be able to access their SharePoint Online document libraries, and get suggestions of useful documents shared with them both through OneDrive and SharePoint. 

Those document suggestions are similar to what Microsoft has been doing with its Delve product, which also uses the Microsoft Graph to show users what other people in their organization are working on. 

2016 may 4 future of sharepoint new sp team sites ui in o365 browser Microsoft

The new team sites user interface for SharePoint gives users easy access to news from their team and files that are relevant to them thanks to machine learning-based capabilities from the Microsoft Graph.

SharePoint's Web incarnation is also getting several major updates including a redesigned sites layout and a new Home page that gives users an at-a-glance look at the team sites they're a part of along with quick updates from those sites.  

Companies that are concerned about securing their internal file sharing will also get access to new tools that both help them manage how their employees share data and provide more robust security capabilities that lock down SharePoint in its entirety.

This quarter, Microsoft will release dynamic conditional access policies that let administrators define levels of access based on a person's identity, what app or device they're using and their network location. That means an administrator could prevent users from accessing high-security files stored in SharePoint from a mobile device that the company doesn't control.

Later this year, customers will be able bring their own encryption keys to lock down data stored in SharePoint.

Finally, SharePoint developers will get a new set of tools to help them build on top of the service. This summer, Microsoft is going to release a new SharePoint Framework that lets developers use modern JavaScript and Web tempting frameworks across SharePoint in the cloud and on premises. 

Anything that developers build with the Framework will by default integrate with SharePoint Mobile so that users can get access to it on the go. That only scratches the surface of the developer announcements, which also include new APIs and support for Webhooks. 

That's only a small segment of what Microsoft has in store for the collaboration platform. There are plenty of more updates in the pipeline for 2016, including integration between Office 365 Groups and SharePoint sites and connections between SharePoint and Microsoft's new PowerApps and Flow citizen development tools. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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