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With Remote Work Here To Stay, Microsoft Talks Up Teams and SharePoint

At a talk this week, a top Microsoft executive described the role of Teams and SharePoint in a world of remote-work environments.

Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 collaboration with Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive, gave the 30-minute keynote speech at the Modern Workplace Conference Paris on Monday. Teper noted that Teams and SharePoint growth really took off last March, when people began working from home more often. At that time, SharePoint Online use grew to 200 million active users. The use of Teams expanded to 115 million daily active users, he added.

In general, Microsoft has been bringing together the communications aspects of Teams with the content management capabilities of SharePoint. Teams, which Teper called "a new shell for work," consists of chat, calls and meetings brought together into a single hub for teamwork, and it lets organizations add other applications via tabs.

SharePoint isn't just a back-end solution, Teper contended, although it does power solutions like Microsoft Lists and the Microsoft Stream video service, as well as Microsoft's files experience.

Teper didn't offer much about new SharePoint capabilities coming this year. It's likely they'll get announced around the time of the Microsoft Ignite conference coming in March. He offered a couple of slides on Microsoft's past progress, though.

Here are his highlights for Teams:

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Teams highlights at last year's Ignite. (Source: Modern Workplace Conference Paris 2021 keynote)

And these were the SharePoint highlights, per Teper:

[Click on image for larger view.] SharePoint highlights at last year's Ignite. (Source: Modern Workplace Conference Paris 2021 keynote)

In terms of its new products, Microsoft already delivered the "first half" of Project Cortex, which Teper described as "bringing AI to business processes and topics." That first half, SharePoint Syntex, which reached general availability last fall, represents the business process part of Project Cortex. The part to come will be the topics-based solution.

"The other half of Project Cortex, the knowledge or topics part -- where you can use AI to help generate an enterprise wiki based on SharePoint and then see those wiki topics in the context of the UI where the user experiences it -- that's in preview and we'll be talking about the next steps for that," Teper said, without further elaboration.

Teper highlighted a few other developments of note. There's an "Add for OneDrive" feature. It lets users create shortcuts links for finding content, which Teper described as a "huge breakthrough feature."

He also pointed to SharePoint Home Sites becoming first-class apps in Teams. It will create a "out of the box intranet" capability in Teams. This feature will be arriving in the next few months, Teper added.

Integration across Teams and SharePoint is a general trend for Microsoft.

"You're going to see in the next few months a lot more from us in helping companies bring together SharePoint, Yammer, Stream, in and out of box solutions on the Web, on the phone and in Teams," Teper said.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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