SharePoint Conference 2019: Top Announcements

Matt Longpre
May 25, 2019

Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference 2019 announcements included SharePoint Home Sites, enhancements to personal start pages, OneDrive improvements and more.

Some impressive figures from the SharePoint Conference keynote:

  • 180 million people are actively using Office 365
  • SharePoint Online activity has increased by 60% in the last year
  • SharePoint Framework usage is up by a whopping 373% in the last year

SharePoint Home Sites

A SharePoint Home Site is a new type of Communication site that is designed to serve as the top portal in an organization. Home Sites aim to combine the benefits of a landing page that is personalized to individual employees, while also providing the traditional organization-wide features of an intranet home page. The current SharePoint start page will continue to exist and a Home Site will automatically provide a link to it labelled as “My SharePoint”.

News posts created in Home Sites will automatically be marked as “organizational news” (the highest priority in news roll-ups throughout the intranet).

The search scope in a Home Site will automatically be set to tenant wide and will take advantage of the new features of Microsoft Search (which includes Office Apps, Delve, Exchange and Bing).

Naturally, Home Sites will become the default page of the SharePoint mobile app and will introduce a new “dedicated home button” in the UI that will make returning home much simpler.

IT admins will have the option to set the hyperlink on their company logo to point to a Home Site starting in the third quarter of 2019. There will be a limit of one Home Site per tenant, however Microsoft has stated that they are interested to hear about use cases for multiple portal home pages.

Other SharePoint Announcements

SharePoint Start Page. To maintain a seamless connection with the new Home Sites, the start page will receive some branding updates, personalized navigation and a new Saved for Later view to make it easier to return to news posts, documents or other content at a more convenient time.

High resolution company logos. Support for uploading organization logos in SVG format is finally here. No more fuzzy logos on screens with high pixel density.

Site Designs. New layout options will be introduced for modern pages, including a vertical section as well as some new webparts – though details were not yet provided on what those might be.

Hub Site limit increased to 2000. Previously, only 100 sites could be converted to Hubs in a single tenancy. Hub sites have clearly been an important addition, and a valid replacement for the old “site collection with sub-sites” model that many were accustomed to. That said, Microsoft still does not offer global navigation or security trimming navigation links. That’s still where Masthead comes in.

SharePoint Provisioning Service. Spin up sample sites from the SharePoint Lookbook in no time and get hands-on experience with the latest capabilities of modern sites. While these are great for inspiration, in our opinion it’s always a better to plan the content for an intranet and design for specific needs, rather than starting with sample content.

SharePoint Spaces. Microsoft’s foray into mixed reality continues to pick up steam. Last year, it was announced that users wearing headsets would soon be able to experience SharePoint sites in 3D. Over 1800 companies are taking part in the limited preview, and Microsoft is working with a handful to develop the feature.

OneDrive

Save for later. OneDrive will now allow users to flag specific documents for later review. As mentioned above, the SharePoint start page will now add a “Saved for Later” view and surface these files there.

On-hover file cards. When hovering over files, OneDrive will now offer some AI-powered insights such as average reading time and activity highlights.

Full fidelity shared libraries. The OneDrive UI has improved the experience for shared libraries including the ability to create new documents, pin to the top, create views and edit metadata.

360° image previews. In addition to supporting over 320 file types, OneDrive has stepped up it’s file preview experience, now providing the ability to preview 360° images without the need for additional software.

Request files. You can now create a new folder within OneDrive, right-click and choose “Request files”. This will email colleagues of your choosing and provide them a place to drop files you’re waiting on them for. Pretty handy for staying organized.

Popular around me. A new view at the top of the UI to help you focus on shared files that are most likely to be relevant to you since your colleagues have been actively modifying them recently.

Differential sync. Update only the parts of files that have actually changed rather than the entire file, and speed up the sync process.

The cloud-first world continues to evolve at a blistering pace, and even more announcements are still to come at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in November.

What was your favourite announcement from the SharePoint Conference 2019? Leave us a comment below.

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