Monday, September 5, 2011

My Experience with SharePoint 2010 New Features

My experience with SharePoint 2010 and My Experience with Truth  by GandhiJi :)

I’ve summarized my personal favorite features in SharePoint 2010.

1) Sites (Web Experience)

Microsoft have incorporated the Office Ribbon within SharePoint 2010. Not only does this allow, web editing ‘in place’ ( WYSIWYG, ‘Drag and Drop’ etc - Like many other site builders have allowed for years!), but provide support for multiple browsers.

Workspace (previously called Groove) allows offline working and synchronization. It also supports advanced features like bringing external business data offline. Its also smart enough to sync changes and not entire files!

Office Web Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote etc) now means that not only can multiple people work on the same document.(Different people can work on different sections at the same time) Plus, you no longer have to have the latest version of Office stored locally on your laptop or PC. Its all done through the browser.

SharePoint Workspace Mobile Client provides a clean way to view SharePoint on mobile devices and also allows offline access. This Allows search and navigation on content within a browser

2) Communities (Enhanced Social Networking)

In true Web 2.0 fashion, Collaborative Content of Blogs, Wikis, Calendars, Discussions, Tasks, Contacts, Pictures, Video and Presence.

Social Feedback allows users to provide, Bookmarks, tagging and Ratings on ALL content types. Social Tagging allows all users to add tags to all forms of content.

User Profiles can now reflects expertise via Tagging or even make recommendations based on an Outlook or OCS plug-in that crawls your outbox and picks up the subject matters you most talk about. (This is ‘opt-in ‘of course, so your boss won’t automatically know you are an expert on Fly Fishing due to your outbound emails)

MySites contain enhanced Newsfeed (like the Status update on face book), personalized content and Quick Access to Content and social network. This also encompasses a facebook type ‘wall’ for letting users interact with each other the way they do in their personal lives.

People Connections show online presence and also allow you to search colleagues using an Interactive Organization Browser (using Silverlight)

3) Content

One of the most exciting features that I feel the business will really appreciate is Top down Taxonomy / Bottoms Up Social Tagging. Essentially, this lets Users (rather than the publisher) define what the content is (So someone might tag this blog post as “SharePoint 2010”, even though the title is completely different.) This means that content should be easier to find as the users are the ones labeling it.

Large Lists and Libraries now allow tens of Millions of documents to be stored (Big failing in MOSS 2007 was it struggled at 2,000+). Enterprise Metadata generally means it’s easier to apply Metadata (tags, keywords) and thus easier to find information.

Digital Asset Management now allows Thumbnails, Metadata and ratings for images & Video Streaming from SharePoint.

Governance & Records Management Features now make it a lot easier for compliance people to do their job using SharePoint.

4) Search

For me, this is the best and most useful component of SharePoint.

SharePoint 2010 now provides a completely Interactive Search Experience. Some much needed things like automatic search query completion (like Google or Bing), Spell Checking and Wild Cards (“Did you mean?”) generally make it easier to find stuff!. Another massive factor is generally Connectivity is a lot better.

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) replaces the Business Data Catalogue and makes it easier to both search external databases, but also provides the ability to ‘read and write’. The great thing about this also is you can create Search Connectors without writing any code using SharePoint Designer. (Free tool that comes with within SharePoint).

For Enterprise customers, FAST can be utilized (which is the mother of all search!). This will allow users to search EVERYTHING! Including multiple platforms, databases and other external systems used across the organization.

There is a lot more relevance in the search results now, as this includes social data such as tagging and usage. People Search incorporates Social Networking algorithms, so results are displayed dependent on the degrees of separation between you and your searches. (Think LinkedIn style!) A Phonetic Search Algorithm for finding names is pretty cool also.

Increased Scale and Platform Flexibility now also makes it quicker and easier to search Millions of items.

4) Insights (was B.I)

Insights will be much loved by the accounting types and generally anyone that is swamped by reporting numbers who needs to publish the data in an elegant, professional presentation style. Excel Services allows user rich visualizations such asHeat Maps and Spark lines present data. Think of a map that Police Forces could use that plots where Anti-Social behavior is happening based on an Excel Spreadsheet and you get the drift.

Performance Point Services now gives enhanced scorecards, dashboards KPI’s & navigation features. SQL Server services such as Analysis Services and Reporting Services are now easier access for reporting.

Gemini is the name for the memory database that allows reporting on Excel Spreadsheets containing millions of lines of data without needing a developer.

Visio Services – Allows rich user rich diagrams to be produced within SharePoint and also includes SharePoint workflow designer. Very handy for process mapping!

5) Composites (Custom Solutions for SharePoint)

As I said, Microsoft are really empowering the Power users and composites is a handy toolkit that gives competent users the tools they need to build their own applications without IT. These are the main ones.

SharePoint Designer

• Office Ribbon

• User Customization

InfoPath Forms Service

• Easy way to build forms

Access Services

• Lets you create and publish database applications

Sandbox Solutions

• Allows custom code to be produced in local sites without affecting the whole SharePoint Platform E.G Webparts, Event Receivers. Same will apply for “SharePoint Online”.

Business Connectivity Services (was BDC)

• 2 Way Connectivity


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