Office 365 Partner Community: SharePoint 2016 and new partner opportunities

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Microsoft SharePoint was big news last month. We announced the general availability of SharePoint 2016, which includes new hybrid capabilities that enable on-premises customers to tap into the innovation we’re delivering in Office 365. The explosive growth of content has provided significant momentum for SharePoint. More than 200,000 organizations use SharePoint today. There are more than 7 billion Office docs, with 500% year-over-year content growth. There is an extraordinary community of more than 50,000 partners, and 1 million developers contribute to a $10 billion solutions ecosystem around SharePoint.

imageAt the Future of SharePoint event in May, we unveiled a new mobile-first, cloud-first vision and roadmap for SharePoint. Watch the keynote on demand, and read the announcements summary on the Office blog. That post includes links to details about these announcements, including news about SharePoint Server 2016.

Some of the innovation we’re delivering in our server product includes:

  • Enhanced user experiences. Improved mobile access to content, people, and applications, and touch-based experiences across devices and screen sizes 
  • Robust security and compliance. We made huge advancements in security and compliance over the last few years in SPO since SharePoint 2013. We are now bringing those features to our on-premises server customers, with built-in compliance, security, and threat protection for both administrators and end users, as well as DLP policy templates so customers can begin building their own customized policies
  • Cloud-inspired infrastructure. SharePoint 2016 is the most rock-solid server release to date in terms of scale, performance, and reliability, significantly reducing the customer’s data center footprint as well as maintenance and operational costs
  • Hybrid at the core. We want to extend our innovative online experiences to on-premises customers via hybrid, allowing customers to maintain their on-premises investments and for you to offer your services to connect them to the cloud

This post will focus on that last point, about hybrid investment, and what we call “Cloud accelerated experiences” that will bring new scenarios and opportunities for your customers, whether they are still on-premises or already using Office 365. 

SharePoint Server 2016 builds on SharePoint Online as its core. It offers new and improved, highly flexible deployment options. Choose from a traditional on-premises deployment, a hosted service with Microsoft Office 365 sites powered by Microsoft SharePoint Online, deployment in Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), or a mix of these options with a hybrid approach, giving your customers a choice on how and when they take advantage of on-premises or cloud-based solutions—all without changing the user experience.

The benefits of hybrid

What are the benefits of a hybrid deployment for your customers? If you have customers that are still on-premises, hybrid cloud investments will let them take advantage of cloud innovation while securing their on-premises data and processes. We offer flexibility—customers can move workloads at their own pace and on their own terms. They can keep proprietary applications on premises that contain full trust code or content that may have special compliance requirements, but not miss out on cloud benefits. The reality is that customers can’t match the investments that we make in our cloud including the infrastructure, the security, and the global scale we can provide. Finally, with a hybrid deployment, they will be able to take advantage of coming innovation. 

New opportunities to engage your customers

imageToday, SharePoint partners make money by providing project and managed services for the out-of-the-box SharePoint experience. They brand and build customer portals, for example. They build vertical-focused applications with SharePoint as the foundation, and integrate SharePoint with external systems. Some partners add value to the service by creating their own IP. You’ll still have these traditional avenues for monetizing SharePoint, and new features and extensibility in SharePoint 2016 will make it possible to configure hybrid scenarios that help you engage your on-premises customers and help them connect to the cloud.

Here are some of the new hybrid scenarios that are possible with SharePoint 2016:  

  • The easiest cloud onramp is for your customers is hybrid OneDrive. Put some or all of a customer’s users in the cloud to take advantage of unlimited storage and anywhere access to data. This helps you in competitive situations with services like Box and Dropbox. Once you’ve established that cloud connection, the customer can create new team sites and extranet sites where an enhanced user experience will make that navigation seamless and transparent to the end users—whether that site is on-premises or in the cloud.
  • The hybrid app launcher, now extended to SharePoint Server 2016, provides a common location to discover new apps and navigate SharePoint on-premises and Office 365. A brand new capability is hybrid search, allowing customers to move their search workload to a cloud search application, which can significantly reduce their on-premises infrastructure and save on maintaining, in some cases, huge search farms. Rather than a federated experience that we previously offered, this is a unified index in the cloud. When end users do a search, the results returned will include both on-premises and cloud content.
  • That unified index in the cloud opens up the possibility of many other hybrid experiences. One is Delve, which enables unified discovery of both content and people across SharePoint on-premises and Office 365, and enables the use of powerful capabilities such as the Office Graph. Another experience, in data discovery, is hybrid compliance. With unified compliance, an administrator can use the Office 365 Compliance Center to set security and compliance policies centrally and have those propagate across all of their cloud and on-premises content and user permissions. For example, they can set DLP policies and end-user policy tips will apply to SharePoint and OneDrive sites and content on-premises and in the cloud. The same is true for Mobile Device Management and eDiscovery.

These new scenarios are great drivers for active use and give you an opportunity to engage with your SharePoint customers that may have not yet taken advantage of Office 365. Now is a perfect time to talk to your customers about SharePoint and explore the hybrid scenarios to help them transition to the cloud.

SharePoint 2016 and hybrid scenario resources

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