10 years of change in SharePoint
Can you remember what phone you had 10 years ago?
Perhaps it was the Motorola RAZR – reaching peak sales in 2006 and destined to become the best-selling clamshell phone in the world. Boasting an impressive 2.2-inch screen, electroluminescent keypad and mini USB port for data, the ultra-sleek RAZR had sold over 50 million units by August that year.
A decade later, however, and the phone pales in comparison to current handsets. The top-tier iPhone 6s, for example, has 25,000 times the internal storage and 40 times the camera quality while still measuring 0.25 inches thinner than the RAZR. In fact, the two mobile leaders – Motorola and Nokia – who were battling for market dominance in 2006 have since been bought by Lenovo and Microsoft respectively. This march of progress is often the case with technology. And therein lies the basis for this new blog series.
Microsoft’s SharePoint has improved hugely since its inception in 2001. Much like you wouldn’t continue using your Motorola RAZR today given the choice of other highly-capable smartphones, those using older versions of SharePoint are missing out on some excellent new and improved functionality. Even a platform like SharePoint 2007 – which is still very popular – is a long way from the functionalities of the modern-day SharePoint.
In this blog series, Upgrading SharePoint 2007 will explore the reasons, method and means for you and your business to upgrade to the latest versions of the platform. And to start with, we’ll be looking at how much SharePoint software has changed since the 2007 version.
A new strategy and a market leading product
In recent years, Microsoft has implemented a cloud-first, mobile-first strategy to bring products such as SharePoint and the Office Suite into the modern business era. While Office 365 has witnessed massive adoption, on-premises installations – particularly 2007 and 2010 – remain prevalent in many large organisations.
Extended support for SharePoint 2007 ends on the 10th October 2017 – so if you’re going to upgrade, now is the time to start taking action. A full-scale content migration project is no mean feat and enough to deter many large organisations. However, the three SharePoint versions since 2007 have introduced a number of big enhancements and features, with many persuasive reasons to upgrade. Let’s look at a few.
ECM and document co-authoring in SharePoint 2010
Enterprise content management (ECM) refers to the organising and storing of content relating to a company’s processes and functions, and is an integral part of any successful SharePoint system. SP2010 improved the extensibility of ECM in SharePoint, simplifying the management of digital assets, documents, records with the addition of eDiscovery, metadata and web content functionality. For further control, the ECM Programming Model allowed users to create custom solutions with functions that support three types of programming: API for server-side programming, a client object model, and Web services for client-side programming.
Before the turn of the decade, working on the same document almost exclusively involved sharing email attachments. Integrating with Office 2010, SharePoint 2010 and document collaboration removed the need to pass documents around. This was one of the first cases where companies could co-author without the hassles of version conflicts and manually merging changes.
At its core, document collaboration allows multiple users to work on a document together, either in turn or simultaneously with document co-authoring. One of the biggest additions to SharePoint 2010, it greatly improving user productivity and sparked a method of working that is now considered a must in the modern workplace.
A redesigned UI in SharePoint 2013
With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft introduced their “Modern UI” (or Metro as it was previously known) visual overhaul of the platform. A new style that was applied across the breadth of Microsoft products from Windows 8 to Xbox, SharePoint 2013’s interface was redesigned to focus more on the consumer and how they wanted to work.
The new design utilises ‘tiles’ to lay out features or software in a clear, easily distinguishable format. Greater use of typography and whitespace also better communicated features and functions. Aside from looking great, Microsoft believed having a consistent look and feel across all apps – Office desktop and web, SharePoint, Office 365, etc. – would boost user familiarity and productivity.
Mobile access & feature packs in SharePoint 2016
SharePoint 2016 saw equal focus on Microsoft’s mobile-first, cloud-first mantra, though this time mobile is in the spotlight with the SharePoint mobile app. Launched at the same time as SharePoint 2016, the native app offers a dedicated method of accessing company content on mobile devices. Currently available on iOS with Android and Windows Phone versions soon to be added, the app enables users to stay connected to their important content, sites, portals and people from their intranet while out of the office. Previously only available via a web browser and very much compartmentalised separate apps (such as the SharePoint 2013 “Newsfeed” app) a dedicated and ‘holistic’ SharePoint app has been a pressing user request for some time. SharePoint 2016 means users can stay connected wherever they may be.
Microsoft plans to make even more features available to SharePoint 2016 users than the current release in calendar 2017, with at least one feature pack available in November through its “Public Update Channel”. The idea is for Microsoft to allow the new experiences and frameworks first delivered in Office 365 to become available to SharePoint Server 2016 customers soon after, meaning users won’t have to wait for the next on-premises version of SharePoint to take advantage of some of the cloud-born functionalities.
Make a modern move
Considering that the changes we’ve highlighted here are just the tip of the iceberg, we firmly believe that an upgrade to either SharePoint 2016 or SharePoint Online in Office 365 can offer a huge increase in business value.
Features such as Office document co-authoring, great search and mobile accessibility can only be found in a modern SharePoint system. Yes, a full migration is a serious undertaking – one that requires thorough planning, patience and time. But the return on investment such a system can offer is considerable. A lot can change in 10 years, and your enterprise technology should represent that.
The next post in our Upgrading SharePoint series takes a deeper look into the changes SharePoint has witnessed over the last 10 years, and why you can’t afford to get left behind. For more information on performing a safe and secure migration to SharePoint or Office 365, talk to us today.
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About the author:
Head of SharePoint Platform
Ben leads Content and Code's SharePoint Platform practice which focuses on the more technical aspects of SharePoint Online, SharePoint on-premises and everything in between. He has been working with SharePoint and related technologies such as SQL Server and AD FS since 2008.
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