SharePoint 2013 isn’t your grandpa’s SharePoint

In the distant past (about 5 years ago real time which is like 20 years in IT time) my work had a SharePoint site that was not very complex.  It really didn’t do much and user adoption was not great.  Basically it was a file storage place that some people used, but most didn’t. SharePoint was some Frankenstein monster that was part file server, part website, and part intranet… in simple language, it was ugly.  Some of the bosses… the ones who didn’t use it… insisted that some of us use it and that most often led to grumbling if not outright pitchfork-type mobs.


I share this with you to let you know that you are not alone if your past experiences with SharePoint have left you less than excited about the platform.


But, oh my, how times have changed.  SharePoint 2013 is radically different from what has come before and shows itself as a huge evolutionary step in the lifecycle of SharePoint progression.  Out is Frankenstein’s monster with its lumbering hulk and inability to communicate and in comes Fifth Element’s Lilu with her sleek lines and massive adaptability.


Microsoft has redesigned SharePoint 2013 with social networking leading the way.  It now incorporates mobile and social media at the root systems.  SharePoint will now work across multiple-platform and BYOD environments as softer, gentler, mobile-friendly software.  With the different environment accounted for, no longer do admins need to configure for multiple-platforms and worry about who’s environment is broken.  And with the acquisition of Yammer, Microsoft is really hammering the point of “share” in SharePoint.  They even have an eye on boosting expectations about social and collaboration interactions with their new “Community Sites” offering.


One of the Program Managers from Microsoft who is working on SharePoint recently shared in a blog how “result types and display templates work together to create rich search experiences.”  She goes on to talk about how SharePoint has made it easy for the user to quickly find what they are looking for and how administrators can easily customize the search paradigm to show relevant information within documents being searched.  As businesses capture more and more data, leading into gigabits of information to sort through, this kind of deep and specific search capability will quickly set SharePoint 2013 apart from competitors.


SharePoint 2013 will also be entering into the “app store” mentality.  Developers will be able to publish apps in a “public store” or to specifically tailored community stores.  Microsoft has already committed to this path in Window8 by creating an app environment and an app store to go along with Windows8.  With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft is committing itself by opening up the developer tools that will now work within SharePoint.  Developers will be able to use a wide range of development tools and languages to create apps.  If your company doesn’t have a developer, no need to worry… Microsoft will also make available apps from 3rd parties.  Along with custom apps to share around with each other, Microsoft is also releasing a lot of management, legal, and design enhancements.


In conclusion… SharePoint is hot.  Gone is the old, painful document portal and arrived is a sleek, powerful, adaptive platform that can (and will) be many things to many organizations.  In pushing its cloud agenda, Microsoft is also offering SharePoint 2013 in the cloud.  Office365 brings SharePoint as part of its basic package.  Consider this from the Dummies site which discusses Office365, “…you can fire up Word, check out a document stored in SharePoint, make some changes, check it back in, review versions, and even leave some notes for your colleagues.”  No painful use of SharePoint is even mentioned… everything happens in Word meaning you never have to leave the Office software to use SharePoint services.  If you are a traditionalist, or suffer under regulations, there is still the SharePoint Server option to keep everything on premises.


Although there is no “hard date” for the SharePoint 2013 release, some organization already have access to the platform.  Microsoft’s most often repeated line is that SharePoint will be rolled out to different sectors at different times during 2013 along with other Wave15 products and upgrades.


Are you thinking about upgrading your current SharePoint?  Are you thinking about starting a brand new platform?  If you are interested in learning more about SharePoint 2013, or just sharing what enhancements and features you are looking forward to, please contact our SharePoint Practice Manager, Dallen Campbell, at Uncommon Solutions.