With SharePoint Feature Pack 1 (November 2016 Public Update), Microsoft has addressed a key shortcoming in maintaining enterprise managed metadata across SharePoint Online in Office 365 and an on-premises environment. In preview, this feature allows one to now be able to implement a taxonomy across SharePoint Server 2016 (or SharePoint Server 2013) and SharePoint Online. Enterprise content managers... rejoice!
With the availability of this capability, an administrator can now either:
- create new term sets in SharePoint Online and/or
- copy existing term sets from SharePoint Server to SharePoint Online with Windows PowerShell,
then have them replicated daily in a read-only state back to SharePoint Server. This means that you can create your 'master taxonomy' from your existing taxonomies while maintaining the GUIDs of the terms, term sets, and term groups.
While this is a huge step in being able to maintain a comprehensive enterprise information architecture in a hybrid SharePoint configuration, what is still lacking here is a master Content Type Hub where content types could be published in SharePoint Online and be subscribed to both from there and from SharePoint Server. This would complete the paradigm for managing content types and site columns that potentially map to those term sets that would now available universally with this new unified taxonomy.
Read more about how to set up this capability here.