Earlier this month, the SharePoint world converged on Las Vegas, with more than 10,000 registrants discussing the latest and greatest in SharePoint 2013. As widely publicized, the show was all about the latest version of the product, and it didn’t disappoint. There is no question that SharePoint 2013 will change the landscape for collaboration platforms while raising the bar against its competition through the new app model.
One question in my mind is where and how organizations will adopt the new version and model. Companies will need to know what their SharePoint maturity is and measure their potential effectiveness under the changed model. If you are trying to find your way through this discussion, take a look at my series on the State of the SharePoint Union. While I can see small and mid-size companies moving up to 2013 quickly, the jury is out on the speed at which large organizations will do the same.
With the show now a distant memory (save for Twitter), here are some takeaways that stuck with me:
Microsoft has thrown out the sandbox concept and introduced the new cloud app model for designing apps. This is a concept that Windows 8 users will easily adopt and understand through mobile devices available today. Developers and users now have the ability to design an application “app” that can be built with consistent Web standards and technologies, which offer the desired flexibility, with consistency across Office and SharePoint products. Fundamentally, these will be individual mini-programs that can be executed through and from the SharePoint interface. Think of this as now being able to create that specific app for your HR timesheet needs that you have been looking to deploy.
One of the long-standing value statements that I have preached to clients is the concept of single-source data: creating information once and using it multiple times within your SharePoint environment. SharePoint 2013 will now offer managed navigation and cross-site publishing to facilitate reusing content across multiple site collections. Through cross-site publishing, you will now be able to share a specific item list or page library as a publishing catalog, consume a catalog from search, and enable authoring multilingual sites from a common authoring site collection.
Personally, my favorite takeaway from the show was the announcement that the Internet will now be included in the Enterprise License. This means the US$50,000 license previously required to take your SharePoint environment to the public is no longer.
With Microsoft’s push to attract more clients using their 365 model, and to move them away from on-premise servers, SharePoint’s Senior Director Jared Spataro announced 90-day release cycles in his conference keynote. “We’re at the end of three-year release cycles, and the beginning of cloud release cycles, every 90 days,” he said. There was no immediate word on the details of the release cycle or how it will impact on-premise environments, but this announcement was one that many attendees were talking about all week.
Those who previously used SharePoint Workspace to synchronize online and offline documents will be looking to SkyDrive Pro to now facilitate this task. As someone who relied on Workspace to always have the right version of a document, I’m looking forward to now using SkyDrive Pro to store, share and synchronize documents. If you haven’t started using SkyDrive yet, it is a simple signup and a great way to get introduced to the process. Just make sure you have your business-critical documents on your desktop before a long flight.
With the momentum coming off the show, and the amount of vendor e-mail in my inbox, there is no question this will be an interesting year for SharePoint and the marketplace in general. Though there has been no formal announcement from Microsoft on a 2013 conference, rumors are rampant that it will be a November show in a familiar place.
Eric is the EVP of Systems Integration for Concatenate, a software firm focused on maximizing SharePoint through product innovation and systems integration based in Toronto. You can reach Eric by e-mail at email@example.com or on Twitter at @rizinsights. Read his other SharePoint thoughts on his blog at www.ericriz.com.