Saturday, October 3, 2009

SharePoint 2010 for End Users

Everyone has heard about the new version, but as an average end user you probably would not have seen it yet or know much about it. It may also be a couple of years before your company decides to upgrade to the new version. So why should you care and what does this mean for you, especially when you are battling to get the current version under the belt? I’m probably the last person to write anything on the new version, but here’s my 5c worth.

When working with a powerful tool like SharePoint, you always need to keep the big picture in mind and remember the 3 cardinal words : plan, plan, plan. You need to know what SharePoint 2010 will have to offer out of box so you don’t overcomplicate your current solution and do any custom development without an upgrade in mind. Just be aware, that’s all. And when the time comes, do the necessary research and get help if necessary.

What is going to be important is making sure you are on Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007 now already. If you are still on 2003 versions and planning to hop, skip and jump versions to start fresh on 2010, you are going to have a very steep learning curve. The user experience is so vastly different from the 2003 versions it’s just not true. Get all your users onto Office 2007 as soon as possible and start getting used to the interface. The integration from Office into SharePoint is seamless; having one without the other is pointless.

This is what it looks like, (see the Site Actions button has moved to the other side of the screen and the ribbon is a permanent feature) :

Just as SharePoint teaches you to think differently about your information and how to access it, there has been a change in thinking in Microsoft as to how to offer SharePoint. The terminology of 2010 is quite different to 2007. You’ve all seen the pie chart (value offering) of 2007 :

This is what the one for 2010 looks like :

What does it all mean?

Sites – they aren’t being referred to as portals anymore, (there goes my easy explanation of what SharePoint is). Sites are designed to share information securely and cover all mediums; intranets, internets, extranets and team sites. Checking in / out multiple documents is now a breeze!

Communities – empowering people to work together seamlessly in new ways, (think out of the box).

Content – management of content from its creation to its destruction and sharing it in ways to make it come alive.

Search – FAST had been integrated to make rich people search and data effortless. Previously ‘locked’ business data (line of business, transactional databases, etc), can now be searched as well. Getting results right the first time was the top focus.

Insights – allowing you to make better decisions faster and viewing data, people and systems effortlessly in order to make those decisions.

Composites – ‘rapid business solution development’, meaning you can build solutions with ease on top of SharePoint now. SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio integration is far less complicated.

More new lingo for SharePoint 2010 :

Web Edit – right now we use the Content Editor Web Part now to make the site look pretty, but it’s a hassle to change. Web edit allows you to change the web part in the browser. Images can be easily uploaded now and formatted. Adding web parts looks completely different and far more user friendly. Default Silverlight web parts are also available which end users can leverage.

Rich Theming – you can import themes from your PowerPoint presentations now. Nightmare for the Governance fanatics out there, but great news for loosely governed team sites looking for some individuality.

Multiple Browser Support – SharePoint will look the same regardless of the browser you are using, (IE, Firefox etc).

Visio Services – design your business processes (workflow) in Visio and simply upload it. SharePoint will automatically display the processes in the browser.

Business Connectivity Services – the evolution of the Business Data Catalogue, (advanced users only). It also offers integration with Office and has offline capabilities.

SharePoint Workspace – the old Groove. Also has great integration with Office and offline capability.

Entities – new to SharePoint Designer which has had a major user interface revamp, looks a lot more like SharePoint now and easier for the end user to operate, (thankfully). Entities allow you to connect to backend systems.

Rich Media Support – slides, videos, animations, sounds, etc are all integrated and make your presentations come alive like they never have before.

Connect and Empower People – across time zones, business partners and firewalls to connect to customers. Ability to access SharePoint on your PC, on your phone or via the internet. High focus on social computing.

Cut Costs With Unified Infrastructure – means integration across all technologies with seamless search. It also means one training module, not 20, on one technology. The enterprise class infrastructure allows you to build applications in your environment yourself.

Rapidly Responding to Business Needs – the platform consists of and supports all line of business applications, business applications and rich applications for high end business needs. No more ‘rip and replace’ programming required.

But apart from all this cool functionality, it’s just downright pretty!! I can’t wait.

That’s it for now. Makes you wanna rush out and buy it hey. :-)

Watch the sneak peak here, (it's around 130MB in case you are using 3G or have a cap).


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