Future of Office 365 & SharePoint: Panel Webinar Insights

Join me as I reflect on my participation in a panel webinar exploring the future of Office 365 and SharePoint.

Earlier today I participated in a panel webinar discussion hosted by Emgage on “The Future of Office 365 and SharePoint”. The panel consisted of myself, Heather Newman & Nick Brattoli. We fielded questions from the attendees on various topics. Each of us has very different backgrounds & perspectives… I have the developer POV, Nick from the IT Pro perspective and Heather more from the marketing, adoption and business side.

If you missed the webinar, you can watch the recording here: Emgage: The Future of SharePoint and Office 365

We got a bunch of questions that each of us tackled… ok, ok… I punted the governance question. No way is this developer going to venture into the governance question!

The first question we got was where we saw SharePoint in 10 years. I find it impossible to predict the future 10 years out… especially in this business. Instead, I shared what would happen to SharePoint over the years. I would like to see parts of SharePoint split out as separate services that we can swap out for other options. The example I gave was the video portal in SharePoint. As it stands it’s a limited offering, but wouldn’t it be nice to use a better solution from Azure, Vimeo or Wistia? That’s just one example. Over time more and more features get added to SharePoint that it gets hard to understand how things relate to each other. I like the idea of offering a bunch of services that customers can put together and integrate on their own. Think of it like the public clouds… AWS, GCP and Azure. They aren’t one product, rather they offer tons of services that developers can put together.

Another question was about using SharePoint as a development platform. A few years ago I shared my thoughts in the post Developers: SharePoint isn’t a Platform, SharePoint is a Service. I feel the same way about it today. We have ways to extend and customize the product, but I don’t consider those definitions for a development platform. Platforms give you more visibility and control when you develop on them… logging, instrumentation, automation, CI/CD, etc. SharePoint should focus on what it’s good at: a collaboration product that you can install on-premises or consume as a service in the cloud. I’ve been meaning to revisit that post and update it… stay tuned!

The last question we got was about SharePoint Designer & InfoPath. We’ve heard the story about InfoPath for a long time… no more versions but it works as is. SharePoint Designer wasn’t as clear. From my POV, they are dead products… zero future in them. Sure they continue to work today, but I am pretty sure we won’t see any investments there.

Those are just two out of a handful Heather, Nick & I fielded today. Without seeing the questions ahead of time, I found it interesting that from all our different backgrounds and perspectives, we all shared similar answers.

Did you attend the webinar and not get your question answered? Leave a comment on this post and let’s have a discussion!

Andrew Connell
Developer & Chief Course Artisan, Voitanos LLC. | Microsoft MVP
Written by Andrew Connell

Andrew Connell is a web & cloud developer with a focus on Microsoft Azure & Microsoft 365. He’s received Microsoft’s MVP award every year since 2005 and has helped thousands of developers through the various courses he’s authored & taught. Andrew’s the founder of Voitanos and is dedicated to helping you be the best Microsoft 365 web & cloud developer. He lives with his wife & two kids in Florida.

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