This year’s SharePoint Conference held in Vegas revealed many developments with the platform. We of course already know about the highly-anticipated release of SharePoint 2019. However there were other interesting bits of info that users of SharePoint will be looking forward to checking out. One major update was the use of AI in SharePoint. Even more ability to have automation in the platform? Looks that way!

Microsoft AI in SharePoint with analytics, data management and cognitive services could be really groundbreaking for its users – and it won’t be just for developers either, it’s for everyone who uses SharePoint. Above all, Microsoft want specialised features in the platform to become more mainstream and part of the everyday use of SharePoint.

Every organisation uses SharePoint differently – what is a standard however is the importance of SharePoint lists. Lists are used to track critical business data, such as legal information, expiry dates, reference codes (just about anything!)

SharePoint have further developed lists to work better with Flow and PowerApps.  because of this, it’ll be easier to edit, prepare and build lists, as well as analyse and share the contents.

So what’s available now?

Currently there are lots of updates you can check out – here’s one in particular that many companies could really make use of:

• Image Analysis

This is something you may have already heard of that’s been rolled out. For many, images make up important information for records management, such as receipts, business cards, security passes and more. When these are uploaded into Office 365, it gets scanned for object recognition. Important metadata is also gathered such as geolocation and any extractable text images. You’ll have the ability to filter your information based on the metadata included with the image.

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Speaking of image analysis, you can also currently teach the Cloud to recognise new objects for auto-tagging.

…And the new SharePoint stuff?

Here’s a summary of Microsoft’s announcements:

• Flow for Cognitive Analysis – Process any text for sentiment, key phrases, translation or moderation [Available Now]
• Row Formatting – Create immersive formatting for any list or library with scripting [Available later 2018]
• New ways to create lists – Create lists based on Excel, templates, or other lists [Available later 2018]
• Quicker list editing – Edit list content in place, and paste data from other sources [Available later 2018]
• Link list items – Connect list items to Planner, Outlook calendars, locations, and more [Available later 2018]
• Realtime list updates – See updates to lists and libraries instantly without refresh [Available later 2018]
• Analyse lists with Power BI – Connect list items to Planner, Outlook calendars, locations, and more [Available later 2018]
• Build Microsoft Flow workflows with Visio – Model a new process in Visio and export it to Microsoft Flow to activate and run custom processes [Available July 2018].

What stands out quite significantly for us is the ability to analyse lists with Power BI. We all know that Power BI is an incredibly powerful toolso the more it can be integrated into office 365, the better. There is so much data (both real-time and offline) in SharePoint lists. So, to be able to automatically mine that data and create great charts, further insight and more visualisation on that data is a real plus. You can also pin those insights to the home page of your list for easy access across your organisation – so sharing is even easier.

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Being able to build Microsoft Flow workflows with Visio is also a potential game changer for many SharePoint users. Microsoft Visio allows businesses to capture their processes using brilliant modelling capabilities. Anyone who creates flowcharts or SharePoint workflows can now use Visio to design Microsoft Flow workflows. If you want to share and collaborate this information, Visio has a commenting and sharing functionality built in to allow access to more users.

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We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 holds for the SharePoint platform and its further integration with the various apps within Office 365. As we’ve said previously – everyone uses SharePoint differently, but it’s starting to look like collaboration and ease of use with multiple users is really taking the forefront of its development over the next few months. If you’d like to chat to us more about SharePoint, get in touch, Until then, watch this space!