Jared is a Technology Practice Leader working for Slalom Consulting, a Microsoft Managed Partner providing national Business & IT solutions headquartered in Seattle, Washington. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP), and has over a decade of experience building technical solutions, and solving business problems. He is a regular speaker at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays all up and down the East Coast. Jared is also a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in the Office Servers and Services category. He can be reached through his blog or on Twitter (@jaredmatfess).
As a Microsoft Office Servers & Services MVP, I am privileged to NDA information about new features and functions being delivered to Office 365. However, I found over the course of 2017 that there were quite a few instances that I heard about a new service or change at the same time as the general public. With that in mind, I am going to shake my non-NDA crystal ball and share some of my top predictions for a few popular Office 365 services next year.
- New Modern SharePoint Web Parts – while this might seem like a no-brainer, I believe that Microsoft is going to work very diligently to close the gap between modern and classic SharePoint Sites and introduce modern versions of some of our favorites like the Content Search and Content Editor web parts. I would also be on the lookout for additional news related to accommodate the new “Hub Sites” functionality. I could see scenarios in which you’d want to syndicate news articles across various Hub connected sites, and it would make sense to have new modern web parts to accommodate those use cases.
- Major Enhancements to Microsoft Forms – in an effort to unseat Survey Monkey as the top short form creator, I anticipate that Microsoft will improve the integration of Forms with SharePoint Online. I also predict that Microsoft will make it easier to create visualizations based on survey data using Power BI natively. This would avert the common workaround of inserting a Microsoft Flow record into an Excel spreadsheet for each survey response to visualize the responses with Power BI. They might even introduce functionality to integrate SharePoint List Data in Forms, or use it as a target storage location for survey responses.
- A “SharePoint Experience” for Flow – Microsoft Flow is being dubbed the evolution of SharePoint Designer workflows, but really, it’s much more powerful than that. With Microsoft Flow you can perform data orchestration, which means that you can connect different platforms and truly realize end-to-end business process management. Sometime next year you’ll likely see a container associated with SharePoint Site Collections within Microsoft Flow. This would allow workflow authors to group Flows by Site Collection in an effort to try and add some logical structure to where Flows are running.
So there you have it! These predictions are based on needs that I am currently seeing among my clients. I look forward to revisiting my predictions at the end of 2018 to see which come fruition, or are added for early 2019 delivery. Stay tuned for an exciting new year of innovation in Office 365!