Yesterday around 8:40am, the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre had a noticeable buzz of excitement as the complimentary coffee started to take effect. Not really usual for a Monday morning, but there is much anticipation in the air on a major product release and the benefits it can bring to your business…
It’s SharePoint 2013.
From a humble beginning as a simple concept in 2001, we now have the 4th generation: a fully realised platform, not only concerning business needs, but also the integration of existing social media applications.
Exciting out-of-the-box features include:
- Focus on Community Sites
- Improved Templates
- Easier Customization of Web Interfaces
- Integration of existing social technologies
- Global Search
- Embracing the Cloud
SharePoint has always been a robust way of storing and, of course, sharing documents. But the interface can be a little difficult to navigate. With so many third-party developers now available to add layers of workflow and interfaces, the benefit of the product has been considerably increased and simplified. These developers not only allow you to record version changes, document control and on the fly collaboration groups, but also a more simplified way to migrate from one version of SharePoint to another.
The openness in the architecture as well as the sheer amount of companies offering impressive add-ons for SharePoint, such as graphically driven work flow generators, make it very easy to exploit the potential of the platform.
I can remember a time when it was remarkable to share a document over tcp/ip…Now I can tell you who read it, who edited it, and who we are waiting for to approve the changes that were made. On top of that, you can have an alert automatically mailed to you when any of the above happens.
As an attendee, one thing that is most noticeable amongst the presenters and speakers is the enthusiasm and excitement about the potential for SharePoint 2013 to radically alter the way collaboration software may have once been thought of. There appears to be openness between Microsoft and its consumers that I personally have not witnessed before…And it’s growing towards the point of a paradigm shift by acknowledging cloud technology.
My favorite seminar of the day was a remarkably candid insight from a SharePoint developer on exactly how development was carried out on the 2013 project, including the release date of 10/11/12, which to be honest is a pretty good date to predict 3 years in advance. For me, this was an amazing presentation. It was extraordinary to hear first-hand exactly where they cut off bug resolution and how much development time was involved in the 3 year project.
Based on my conversations with fellow attendees and exhibitors, the excitement is all about My Sites, community sites built straight from a template that includes built-in, third-party web apps such as Yammer, etc. This allows out-of-the-box sophisticated collaboration with impressive work-flows.
It has been a long first day of meeting smiling people, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the SP Evo 2013 so far. The third-party developers I have spoken with discussed the amazing ability to integrate cloud technology, knowing that you can collaborate very complicated work flows and varied file types such as CAD directly on your phone. I can see why people are genuinely excited about the possibilities presented by having Microsoft embrace cloud technology on such a versatile and powerful platform.