First, I want to say that we’ve verified with a Microsoft resource that some of these details are indeed on their road map, however, as you already know, there is really no definitive details yet, since the product date is at least 2 years away from shipping.
With that, here are some focus areas we expect the product to grow:
The mobile market and tablets are becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives. This also means these devices are gaining popularity in the commercial world. SharePoint will likely have more mobile features, including a true responsive interface, scaled down page views, and a UI that will be further redesigned for a touch interface.
Ah yes the app store! Well, Microsoft has no choice now, because this is the way consumers think. Apple invented it, Google perfected it, Microsoft followed behind. This may not be a big deal today, but I believe the app store will grow and will undoubtedly become a big part of the SharePoint community.
Microsoft will continue to make the question “What Does SharePoint do?” harder to answer by including more OOB integrations, and simpler interfaces to other Microsoft tools and, even perhaps some non-Microsoft ones. SharePoint has certainly found its niche in running our Intranets, so I believe they will continue to strengthen their position by including more CRM, Records Management, and other product integrations.
I’ve heard a Microsoft rep tell me that Office 365 is going to overtake On-Premise installations by 2016. I don’t think so. Given the regulatory requirements, varying data footprint of companies, cost of bandwidth, and so on, its just very highly unlikely. So, I am sure we’ll continue to watch the cloud initiative come and go, but on-premise is here to stay for a while.
Update: Jan 13, 2014
Looks like I was right. On Jan 13, 2014 Jeff Teper, CVP Microsoft, announced that the future version of SharePoint will indeed have an on-premise component. However, the language remains vague. Cloud offering makes perfect business sense in most cases, but customers are just not ready to let their data go off-premise just yet.
No-No to The Hive
Sticking your package payload in the hive will indeed be a thing of the past. I believe SharePoint will make it harder to publish and sell webparts that run unprotected code. So, for all you webparts developers out there who are still dumping your source into the hive, it may be time to look at alternatives.
ERP vs. CRM vs. ECM: A Changing Landscape
This really deserves its own blog entry. Long story short, the circles are converging quickly. I would suspect that if I were to stand in front of any CFO or IT manager and say “I can give you all your data through a single interface”, they would be very happy. SharePoint and Dynamics are close products, so we will have to see what MS does with the two packages in the next 24-36 months.
A long time ago I worked for a fellow who asked me “Why do you continue to resist technology?” when I mentioned to him that Silverlight and Flash are dead, and refused to build WebParts using those technologies. Microsoft will rip out the rest of that dead (or dying) Silverlight interface, and start replacing it with HTML5 compliant pages. We can also hope that they will also rip out the reminder of the table soup from the Publishing pages while in “Edit Mode”. JQ is still not shipped with SP2013, but I believe 2016 will finally concede and Microsoft will throw their weight behind the jQuery initiative.
We will continue to see the square flat look evolve. We will see less clutter in the interface. We will see a responsive design meshed in with a workstation/full screen view. We will also see technologies switch to more AJAXy delayed/lazy loading architecture that has the program bring up only the data that is needed. In other words, more good things to come.
In conclusion, if you are an organization who runs a lot of MS software on premise, SharePoint is a good choice for an ECM, Intranet, public website and a records management system. If you run SAP or ORA as your SOR, and are a “best of breed” sort of organization with a multitude of platforms and vendors, then we have many more options for you!