The power of Office 365 is that it gives you the ability to bring together SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Office Web Apps to build integrated solutions that work. Microsoft announced about a year ago at the International Legal Technology Association that they were already working internally on Matter Center, an integrated solution for the Microsoft Legal and Corporate Affairs team.
Matter Center was created for the Microsoft legal team as a way to find, organize, and collaborate on files using all the Microsoft Services and Office Clients they were already routinely using. These tools included; Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, and SharePoint Online Sites. Since Matter Center is built using tools that professionals were already using, it made for an easily adopted, scalable solution that worked across platforms.
As shown in the 200 level Ignite session that thoroughly demoed the capabilities, Matter Center was built using Office Add-in (formerly App) model. The next step for Microsoft is to connect Microsoft’s powerful api’s to harness even more features. This solution should work on both on-premise and in the cloud, although the details still seem a little fuzzy as far as SharePoint 2016 is concerned, but it appears that Microsoft anticipates it to work.
Microsoft does intend to package this solution for the community although there is no timeline for this happening. The walk away from this is a two-fold message for all Office 365 and SharePoint users (not just those within the legal vertical).
The first being, as we saw with NextGen Portals, Microsoft is intending on providing more direct and packaged solutions for users. They are using customer’s wants and needs to drive innovation.
The second is that they are providing great examples of the extendibility of the Office Add-in model. SharePoint developers are hopefully going to be able to package their own solutions leveraging similar capabilities. This is also the trend we are hoping to see with NextGen Portals (building a panda in a tree).
If you are in the legal industry, Microsoft’s Matter Center is definitely something you will want to keep your eye on. Everyone else will want to continue to look to Microsoft to come up with other ideas and examples of how to combine Office 365 and SharePoint features to create easy packaged solutions that boosts the productivity for your organization.