What’s new in SharePoint 2016?

By - January 7, 2016

With the new release of every major piece of software the inevitable question users and system administrators ask themselves is always, “should I upgrade?” With the preview version of SharePoint 2016 available to some vendors now, companies using the current and past versions of Microsoft’s ECM platform are trying to understand why it’s beneficial for their organizations to upgrade. The other question that comes to mind (or should) is, “what’s different in this version of SharePoint?”

Below are some new features that are included in SharePoint 2016:

  • Hybrid search – The new Hybrid Cloud Search purports to leverage some of Microsoft’s cloud computing resources and Office 365 search to deliver a unified search experience. In addition to improving speed of searches, there should be new opportunities for users to find things easier across a wider array of sources than ever before. At this time the feature has not been made available to demo.
  • Zero downtime patching & server MinRoles – This will likely go unnoticed by anyone who is not a SharePoint server admin. That same group will appreciate the latter feature as it will definitely help during initial SharePoint setup/installation, but most users could care less.
  • 5,000 item view limit threshold – While the limitation still technically exists, there is a new option in 2016 to allow SharePoint to automatically manage column indeces—which is defaulted to, “on,”—and prevent end users from receiving errors about item limits any longer.
  • Increased upload files size – The 2GB file size limit has been removed in 2016, something that would occasionally cause some heartburn. They still recommend files stay smaller than 10GB. Not a big one, but should come in handy every once in a while.
  • Document retention policy options – Anyone who has used these in 2013 can tell you how useful they are, and with increased use comes requests for additional capabilities. The options for reviewing, retaining, archiving, and deleting documents have been expanded in 2016. These policy options can even be extended to users’ OneDrive for Business sites, providing more control and peace of mind that compliance policies are being enforced universally for all documents.

The removal of the 5,000 item limit will be a huge benefit to a lot of users (and site admins, for sure) as well as the cloud search capabilities—once we actually get to see them. The UI for 2016 looks pretty much the same as 2013, so users won’t have to worry about things like finding where the link for, “view site contents,” disappeared to. But, at this point we do not know the upgrade path or options for teams and companies coming from SharePoint 2010 or earlier. Until some of those questions get answered, and Microsoft releases more details about the hybrid search, it will be to difficult recommend a SharePoint upgrade right now.

This would be a good time to spin up a test environment on your server and preview the new version of SharePoint. It will be available to the public sooner than later, and it’s always best to be ahead of the learning curve. To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact our professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.

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