As we shared in our previous blog, Office 365: An IT Dream or a Business Nightmare, Microsoft Office 365 has been a runaway success. Built upon a multi-generational base of past success, Office 365 – essentially, your favorite Microsoft apps on the Cloud – has become the most widely used enterprise cloud service.
But, not content to rest on these laurels, Microsoft maintains a rigorous schedule of updates and upgrades to this cornerstone offering – in fact, even publishing its product roadmap for everyone to see.
A quick glance of this roadmap shows no less than 206 such innovations on deck for consumers in the coming days, weeks and months.
And, since New Year’s is a great time to prognosticate on the future of just about anything, we, too, though we would share some thoughts about which of the forthcoming Office 365 updates we expect to set the world of cloud computing on fire in 2017:
1. Tighter integration with Dynamics 365:
Though Dynamics 365 – Microsoft’s big data and analytics suite — and Office 365 are somewhat integrated today, we predict that there will be even tighter integration between the two cloud services. This will ensure that data flowing into your organization through Office 365 staples, like Outlook, for example, will quickly become a part of your analytics ecosystem. As a marker of such forthcoming alignment, we can look at the recent procurement of collaboration startup Quip by Salesforce as evidence of the validity of our prediction.
2. The general availability of Microsoft Teams:
Microsoft Teams – a chat-based hub that emulates the success of platforms like Slack — will soon be generally available to everyone. Like any chat-based product, organizations will need to decide whether to fully bless one platform over another, Adding to the complexity of the rise of Teams is the fact that Microsoft already supports similar products, including Yammer and Office 365 Groups. One thing is for certain, however – an integrated collaboration suite will ultimately spur greater efficiencies in the Office 365 ecosystem, which can only be a good thing. But, the rise of chat-based collaboration leads us to our third prediction:
3. More control and governance for Groups and Teams
IT departments are always skeptical about allowing users free, unfettered use of products and services. Since Microsoft is intent on releasing several innovations in support of collaboration, organizations are going to need more clarity and control in place to manage their Office 365 environments. The good news is that all of these products are tightly integrated with the company’s active directory, so it will be relatively easier to put controls in place. There is no substitute to good governance, especially when it comes to chat-based collaboration.
As always, your best hedge against obsolescence is professional help – from your friends here at Netwoven. Though some of the Office 365 roadmap innovations will be pushed automatically, without fanfare, many will require planning and interpretation for our organization to get the most out of the upgrade. At Netwoven, we’re proud of our heritage as an Office 365 expert, and would be happy to help you get the most out of the service.