This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Microsoft Ignite 2019 conference coverage

SharePoint, OneDrive cloud migrations get easier

Moving to SharePoint Online and OneDrive may get simpler with new migration tools. Plus, new features in the cloud services aim to entice IT.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Organizations will get new features for SharePoint Online and OneDrive, including some new migration tools to move on-premises SharePoint users to the cloud.

Some of the new SharePoint Online features include the ability to upload files up to 100 GB, customized SharePoint home site search pages, the ability for businesses to brand their SharePoint mobile app and customized footers where businesses can put privacy notices. Microsoft added the capabilities here at the company’s annual Ignite conference.

These features are an effort for Microsoft to encourage on-premises SharePoint customers to move to the cloud version, said Larry Cannell, senior research director at Gartner.

"That's where all their investment is; it's the future of Office," he said. "It's where Microsoft wants you to be. If you want any of the future innovations of Office, that's where you need to be."

New features

In October, Microsoft acquired to provide an easier OneDrive migration experience to businesses currently using Box, Google Drive and Dropbox. The capabilities from this acquisition will be free to Office 365 customers -- to be rolled out first in North America, then everywhere else. However, Microsoft will also release its own tools to enable on-premises SharePoint users to more easily migrate to SharePoint Online and OneDrive, said Dan Holme, director of product marketing for Yammer, SharePoint, OneDrive and Stream at Microsoft.

Other new SharePoint and OneDrive features include personalized mega menu navigation for employees on SharePoint home sites, the use of royalty-free stock photos, the ability to see versioning and what's changed on a SharePoint home site, hovercards in OneDrive that show all conversations associated with a document in one place, and multi-lingual capabilities -- which were previously only available in SharePoint classic.

Microsoft has been pushing customers to the cloud, said David Drever, a Microsoft Office 365 MVP and senior manager at Protiviti, a management consulting firm.

"[Microsoft] can provide more protections and features in the cloud," he said.

Introducing Project Cortex

In addition to the SharePoint Online and OneDrive updates, Project Cortex will use AI to automatically generate an enterprise knowledge base for businesses, without inputting information into a knowledge base manually, according to Microsoft.

The AI will use a process called concept mining to find patterns within documents that businesses have already created to make a knowledge base. AI will be able to comb over documents that users are working with to identify topics, which it will then promote to users who are working with and have access to that topic as a wiki-type page. Users then have the ability to edit, approve or reject this page before it goes live, and administrators will have similar controls, Holme said.

SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Outlook, Yammer and Stream files are all included in the file types that Project Cortex will mine.

Project Cortex will be available in preview later this year, and Microsoft will roll it out in the first half of 2020, Holme said. It will be a premium capability, but no pricing or packages are available yet.

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