This content is part of the Essential Guide: The pros and cons of SharePoint continue to divide users

Microsoft announces SharePoint 2016 beta and details

Microsoft will release a beta version of SharePoint 2016 later this year, and claims it'll feature better mobile, hybrid cloud and compliance tools.

Microsoft has announced a release timeline for SharePoint 2016, along with some general details about what to expect from the latest on-premises iteration of the collaboration platform.

A beta version of SharePoint 2016 is slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to an April 16 Office Blogs post by SharePoint senior director of product management Seth Patton. SP 2016 will become generally available in the second quarter of 2016. 

Widely used among enterprises, on-premises SharePoint offers collaboration, workflow and content management features. A cloud-based version of SharePoint is available through Office 365, the suite of business productivity apps in the cloud, as are hybrid deployments that combine the two approaches.

The post claimed that development for SharePoint 2016 focused on improving three areas:

•          User experience: improved mobile access, personalized insights for users and more "people-centric" features for document storage and collaboration.

•          Easier to configure and more reliable hybrid deployments.

•          Compliance and reporting: new data protection and monitoring features. 

The cloud version of SharePoint has been a focal point of Microsoft's strategy for the application in recent years, leading to speculation that Microsoft may ultimately discontinue the on-premises version. Patton said there are no plans to discontinue the on-premises version anytime soon. 

"We … want to confirm our commitment to delivering on-premises releases of SharePoint for the foreseeable future," he said in the post. "We envision a future where we will continue to have customers who choose a combination of on-premises, cloud and hybrid deployments for many years to come."

The post indicated additional details about SharePoint 2016 would be released at the Ignite conference from May 4 to May 8 in Chicago. 

Next Steps

Is SharePoint in the cloud right for your company?

Companies wrestle with SharePoint usability

Tips for improving SharePoint governance

Dig Deeper on Enterprise SharePoint strategy