SHOULD YOU SWITCH FROM SHAREPOINT 2016 TO SHAREPOINT 2019? WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most popular tools when it comes to the organization, sharing, and tracking of documents in large businesses. The software is widely used for managing data and seamlessly conducting business operations.

There have been numerous versions of SharePoint, starting from the original SharePoint 2007. SharePoint has certainly come a long way since those days when it lacked even the most basic features such as Design Manager, eDiscovery, Company Feed, One Click Sharing, and various other features we have grown to rely on over time.

With each iteration of SharePoint, new features are introduced, and some old ones are removed. Some of them go on to become fundamental to the SharePoint experience whereas some are forgotten.

Now that the new SharePoint 2019 has been released, people around the world are wondering if it’s worth it to switch from SharePoint 2016. What are the new features? What are the differences? In this article, we’ll give you a detailed overview of SharePoint 2019, so you can decide whether to make the switch.

Intro to SharePoint 2019

One of the major concerns that people have had recently is that SharePoint is becoming irrelevant because most modern businesses are moving to the cloud for their organizational needs. However, according to a recent study, 65% of enterprises are still working with on-premise platforms like SharePoint in company-owned data centers.

The release of the SharePoint 2019 shows that Microsoft is still committed to providing high-end and highly productive solutions to businesses that still prefer working off the cloud. However, for those who prefer the cloud for some of their processes, Microsoft is also integrating online functionality.

In keeping with the modern trend to work across various screen types and platforms (mobiles, tablets, computers, etc.), the latest SharePoint has a highly responsive design that can be used on any platform or screen. Furthermore, they have gotten rid of a lot of processes and features that confused the users and they’ve heightened productivity by embracing a more minimal approach.

Based on the aforementioned details, you might have already figured out that the major upgrades and changes in SharePoint 2019 generally revolve around three prominent themes:

  • User Experience.
  • Content Engagement.
  • Powerful scaling of security compliance.

However, while there are plenty of reasons to be thrilled about SharePoint 2019, there are also a few possible drawbacks. Critics of the new release are disappointed that SharePoint 2019 fails to remedy one of the biggest issues faced by organizations using SharePoint on-premise — being locked down because of custom development in business apps and being unable to migrate to Office 365.

Now that you have a fair introductory understanding of SharePoint 2019 and its prime criticisms and advantages, let’s take a closer look at its features.

Features of SharePoint 2019

Modern Experiences

SharePoint 2019 will incorporate advanced UX changes that will streamline it with the SharePoint Online experience. It will have far better communication and collaboration capabilities. These features include:

  •  SharePoint Home: The SharePoint dashboard has been modified so all the latest news and information is available in a central source and you don’t have to navigate extensively. The SharePoint 2019 home screen takes after Office 365.
  •  Modern Team and Communication Sites: This is one of the most anticipated features of SharePoint 2019 and it even appeals to cloud and Office 365 users.
  •  Lists & Libraries: You can create custom libraries of the data you need and create lists.
  •  Better Editing and Browsing: One of the biggest issues with the older SharePoint versions was that human error while editing a document could prove fatal as you lost all previous data without the ability to retrieve them. However, the new interface makes it a lot easier to edit and create content while negating any serious consequences of human error.
  •  App Launcher and Better Navigation: The “waffle” menu which was extremely popular in Office 365 will now be available in SharePoint 2019.
  •  Sharing: In the previous SharePoint, to allow an outsider access to your SharePoint information, you had to either give them anonymous access or license. However, the latest SharePoint is a lot more flexible and similar to Office 365’s sharing capabilities.
    •  Recycle Bin
    •  Site Usage

What’s noteworthy here is that the much-awaited Hub Sites feature isn’t available in the new SharePoint 2019. However, you can still access these features via SharePoint Online.

Microsoft also released an official document comparing the features of SharePoint 2016 with 2019, in which they noted the following:

“Existing team site home pages and other site pages like wiki and web part pages are classic experiences. There is not a 1:1 mapping of all classic to modern experiences.”

SharePoint Home Page

The SharePoint Home Page allows you to access all your organization’s sites from a single unified source. If you’re following certain sites, you’ll receive news from them on your dashboard. You’ll also receive site suggestions. Furthermore, if your administrator has given you permission to create sites of your own, you can do so from the home page itself.

You’ll see the following options in your SharePoint Home Page:

  • Search box to look for sites or files by name. You can also search people in your organization.
  • If enabled to do so, you can create a new communication site or create a new team.
  • Link to sites and portals that have been featured by your organization.
  • List of news from sites you’re following.
  • Recommendations of sites to follow based on your interests and activity.
  • List of sites you’re following.
  • List of Top 8 most active sites.

Lists & Libraries

The modern list and libraries feature is a lot more intuitive and it’s also responsive to different screens. While various new features have been included in the modern Lists & Libraries, several features have also been removed altogether.

New Features:

  • Creating, uploading, and moving folders the same way as it’s done in OneDrive using the command bar.
  • Pinning documents to highlight them.
  • Linking to files instead of copying them across several sites.
  • Creating custom views.
  • Sorting, filtering, resizing, and grouping different columns and features.
  • Changing file information.
  • Accessing file previews.
  • Column formatting for list display.

Classic Features that have been removed:

  • The ribbon which was used for creating and uploading new folders.
  • Features that were enabled through the Ribbon like Popularity Trends, RSS Feed, Popular Items, Connect to Outlook, Connect to Office, Export to Excel, and others.
  • View Features like Custom Styles, Multiple Web Parts, and Item Totals.
  • Navigation Features like Tree View, Per-Location View, and Customized Navigation.
  • Column Types like External Data Columns, Geolocation Columns, and Publishing Columns.
  • List and Library features like Follow Feature and Content Organizer.

For a detailed overview of all the classic features that have been removed, you can read the official Microsoft document.

Team Sites

The Modern Team Sites are extremely collaborative and come equipped with modern news section, quick links, and site activity listings. This feature has also been modified to run efficiently on mobile devices.

The major differences between the classic and modern team sites include:

  • Home Page: The automatic features available in the home screen of a classic team site include Announcements, Calendar, and Links. The automatic features available in the home screen of a modern team site include News, Quick links, Site activity, and a Document library.
  • Branding: You can’t use site themes or custom CSS any longer for crafting your company branding. However, it’s now easier than ever to design your unique site customization and branding using the embedded design features.
  • In-Line editing of quick start menu.

For a detailed overview of all the other differences, you can read the Official Microsoft document on Modern Team Sites.

Communication Sites

A communication site is meant to communicate with other team and organization members using several reports, statues, and other forms of visual formats. These are easy to create and don’t need to use publishing site features. Furthermore, they don’t use a master page and can be used without sub-sites. Even though it’s not as structured as a publishing site, it’s a lot easier to handle and anyone can create a mobile-ready page without coding.

There are three templates for creating a communication site:

  • Topic: Web parts are available, so you can start sharing information immediately.
  • Showcase: Web parts are available to display images.
  • Blank: Custom design.

If you want to learn more about it, you can read Microsoft’s official document on creating a communication site.

Pages and Web Parts

Modern Pages use the web parts features to easily design beautiful responsive pages. Modern pages aren’t as structured as the classic web parts and pages, but they’re a lot easier to create. To create a page, you need the administrator’s authorization.

The Modern Pages use modern web parts to create the pages. These modern web parts are a lot more convenient and user-friendly and they do not allow the insertion of code like JScript to secure the platform.

Furthermore, developers can also create their customer modern web parts and extensions using the Microsoft Graph API.

The following are the best aspects of Modern Web Pages and Web Parts:

  • They are mobile responsive as opposed to classic pages.
  • In modern pages, the layout is completely flexible, and you can even change them after you’re done creating them.

For more information, you can read Microsoft’s official document on creating modern web pages.

Microsoft Flow

SharePoint Workflow and Microsoft Flow are both available in SharePoint 2019. These features are used for automating business processes such as the routing of documents for authorizations and approval. Unlike the previous SharePoint, the latest version allows users to access Microsoft Flow to automate processes even without an immersive developer knowledge or access to developer resources.

Should you Switch from SharePoint 2016 to SharePoint 2019?

It’s true that transitioning from SharePoint 2016 to SharePoint 2019 will need considerable work to ensure the migration goes on without a hiccup. However, there are several very convincing arguments in favor of switching.

The biggest argument in favor of switching to SharePoint 2019 is that it’s highly responsive. SharePoint 2016, and all the older SharePoint versions were designed to be used only in computers and laptops. However, over the past couple of years, we have seen a massive shift towards the adoption of multiple screens, especially mobile screens.

Even employees in offices and workplaces prefer working from their mobile phones. Furthermore, mobile phones allow people to handle tasks even while they’re on the move, traveling in a subway or don’t have immediate access to a computer.

SharePoint 2019 has been designed in a manner that it can be used on all screen types effortlessly. Not only is it likely to increase productivity through ease of use, but it will also allow your employees to handle tasks, edit documents, as and when the requirement comes up instead of having to wait to get into the office.

Having said that, the final decision rests in your hands and you need to decide what’s right for your organization. Before you decide, you should compare the features of SharePoint 2016 with those of SharePoint 2019. Below, we’ve created a table comparing their features.

✓ — Available

  • — Not Available

✗* — Available in a deprecated form.

FEATURES

2016

2019

IT Professional Features

 

 

Service Application Form

Distributed Cache

Claims-Based Authentication Support

Host Header Site Collections

Windows PowerShell Support

Read-Only Database Support

Shredded Storage

 

 

 

Site Features

 

 

Cross-Browser Support

OOTB Web Parts

Permissions Management

Mobile Connectivity

SharePoint Ribbon

Templates

Usage Analytics

 

 

 

Content Features

 

 

Design Manager

Document Sets

eDiscovery

External Sharing: Guest Link

Information Rights Management

Office Web Apps Server integration

Office Online Server

Unique Document IDs

 

 

 

Social Features

 

 

Community

Company Feed

✗*

Follow

Microblogging

One Click Sharing

Personal Site

 

 

 

Search Features

 

 

Content Search Web Part

Continuous Crawl

Custom Entity Extraction

Hybrid Search

Managed Navigation

 

 

 

Insights Features

 

 

Business Intelligence Center

PerformancePoint Services

✗*

✗*

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS)

✗*

Visio Services

✗*

Excel Services

App Catalog (SharePoint)

Business Data Webparts

Custom Site Definitions

Custom Site Provisioning

SharePoint Store

Client Object Model

Thank you for taking the time to review post and we truly wish you the best of luck on your SharePoint journey.  If you have any question about how migrating to a newer version of SharePoint can help your business, please feel free to call us (248) 344-2100 or email consult@softura.com

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