May 16th, 2017, marked the latest Microsoft SharePoint Virtual Summit. It was led by Microsoft’s Seth Patton, General Manager for SharePoint and OneDrive, who has been with the business for well over a decade. He unveiled some of the latest innovations and forthcoming updates that Microsoft will be releasing in coming months. This included powerful integrations across Office 365, Windows and Azure platforms.

For Patton, these new changes are all indications of Microsoft continually developing on its innovations and technology, constantly building upon the visions they have set out in previous summits. In short, they want to reinvent content collaboration, usher in a new generation of mobile intranets, and accelerate digital transformations.

SharePoint is particularly key for Microsoft, and Patton identified how it is continuing to gain momentum. He identified that there are over 100 million people actively using Office 365 each month, either for communications or collaboration. Within this, SharePoint plays a key role and enables these users to share and manage their content and apps. This is particularly crucial in a connected workplace, which is increasingly spanning different continents, countries and time-zones. There is a global transition for customers to work in cloud-based platforms, and as such, Microsoft has recognised that there is fast becoming a large-scale adoption of SharePoint. For example, more than 85% of Fortune 500 companies now have SharePoint as part of their Office 365 package. Additionally, usage of SharePoint has grown by 90% in the last year.

Some of the key announcements made by Patton during the latest Microsoft SharePoint Virtual Summit include the announcement that, starting summer 2017, you will be able to share your Office 365 files directly, either from Finder on Mac or File Explorer on PC. This recent development adds to the announcement a week earlier of the development of OneDrive Files On-Demand, in which you can work on all your files using File Explorer on Windows 10. In these new changes, Microsoft have sought to change the sharing process, making it simpler and easier. You can also control how long a link stays active and it is easier to modify the permissions of a file.

In addition to this, as part of their goal of introducing a new generation of intranets to the market, Microsoft have announced that this summer will see the launch of SharePoint communication sites. This new feature will help users reach a wider audience, keeping an organisation informed on the latest updates within a company and staff engaged. These communication sites can be used online, on a Mac or PC, via mobile browsers or using the SharePoint app. It is set to change the way you can communicate as a group within an organisation. The communication sites will be simple and easy to create, and will help you to tell a story about your brand through the use of image galleries, videos, new events and interactive maps.

Another new feature to be launched is the option for users to create customised SharePoint Forms using Microsoft PowerApps. These will help you to create and view data using these forms, rather than having to rely on default SharePoint forms. It helps users have more control over their team and the way they organise themselves.

Watch the Microsoft SharePoint Virtual Summit 2017 in full here

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