SharePoint and evolving business needs
With the cloud, enterprise technology is gaining more functionality and features faster than it ever has before. Due to the consumerisation of IT there is now a clear expectation from end-users and the business that new features that provide business value will become available for use.
Whilst this applies to cloud-only services, like Microsoft Teams and Planner, it also rings true for the technologies that support the day to day operations of an organisation, like your intranet or document management system.
While supporting infrastructure, like email, is relatively straightforward to migrate to a new version, large organisations often perceive a migration from SharePoint 2007 as rather challenging, especially if a great deal of customisation is present and the infrastructure has not been maintained well. Moving to a new version of SharePoint to gain a few new features can seem like a large challenge to take on with little pay-off.
However, in the nearly ten years since SharePoint 2007’s release, unless you are familiar with SharePoint Online, you’ll be surprised to find out just how many new features have arrived on the platform – many of which Content and Code are helping organisations like yours to improve processes and ensure employees have the right tools available to support improved productivity.
Working with the specialist SharePoint migration solutions from our partner Metalogix, we can mitigate or remove a lot of the barriers to a successful migration from a number of sources. We will go into more detail on how we can assist you later in the Blog series.
Designed for a bygone era of working
The wider Office Server 2007 platform was designed for a slightly different age. It’s built specifically for the challenges facing organisations back then. Which included the need to;
- Share documents
- Manage workflows
- Interface with business intelligence systems
- Support a workforce primarily using Windows desktop PCs
Jump forward to 2017, and today’s modern workforce expect instant access from laptops, tablets and mobile devices as well – with far tighter security requirements.
The user expectations of SharePoint have also changed accordingly. Real-time co-authoring of documents is expected and a given. There is now a requirement for simple and deep integrations into other applications for the frictionless sharing of documents, all with the ability to interface seamlessly with the cloud. In many cases, this is combined with a total move to cloud services.
SharePoint platform improvements
Between the initial release of SharePoint 2007 and the latest on-premises and in the cloud versions, a great deal has changed.
When SharePoint 2007 was first introduced, the focus was primarily on content management. Core document management functionality was improved, allowing for metadata, versioning and document check-in/check-out functionality to run alongside workflows to provide the ability to automate processes.
What changed in SharePoint 2010?
SharePoint 2010 brought new functionality that provides some of the core components for one of the most popular services used today – MySite, which latterly evolved into the OneDrive for Business Service.
The foundations for real-time document collaboration were laid and SharePoint 2010 was the first version of the product that was truly a cloud-first product, launching as part of the Office 365 service as well as on-premises.
Further evolution with SharePoint 2013
The introduction of SharePoint 2013 evolved the MySite functionality into what was originally known as SkyDrive Pro. As the product evolved, this was renamed to OneDrive for Business, and brought the SharePoint team site view, familiar to many today, alongside new application models.
Deeper integration across the wider Office server suite was introduced, including Site Mailboxes – combining an Exchange Mailbox with a SharePoint team site for more fluid collaboration experience.
Collaboration for users without the Office 2013 suite installed also arrived, with the suite-wide Office Web Apps server arriving. Built atop a SharePoint foundation, Office Web Apps server allowed users to edit documents online in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business without needing an installation of Office.
Across other Office apps this foundation product was used for Lync Server 2013 and Exchange Server 2013 for document viewing in meetings and Outlook Web App.
The gift that keeps on giving
The latest iteration of SharePoint, SharePoint 2016, truly brings the best of SharePoint Online to on-premises, including the addition of modern team sites and the OneDrive for Business experience that end-users will be familiar with if they’ve used consumer OneDrive services.
Far better Hybrid functionality has also arrived, allowing users to have a single view of online sites and on-premises sites, a Hybrid OneDrive for Business experience, and unified search.
Additionally, improvements to compliance options have arrived, allowing data loss prevention policies to be created to ensure data is restricted from accidental sharing; along with in-place hold functionality to ensure data is stored in line with organizational requirements for retention of data.
The core platform for collaboration
As a consultant and Office 365 MVP coming from an Exchange Server background, it’s been easy over the years to look at SharePoint as a disconnected, separate product in the Office Servers suite focused on very specific use-cases, or simply as a platform for creating heavily customised applications.
Today, whilst SharePoint can and is used for some very useful customised purposes that provide some pretty unique functionality that our clients rely on, SharePoint itself has become more than just that platform.
The underlying improvements have incrementally removed the traditional barriers to adoption that have in the past led to a reputation that getting SharePoint (or any similar document management solution) widely adopted is difficult.
Organisations Content and Code work with who start with SharePoint Online or 2016 today have a platform that benefits from far deeper integration than ever before. Ultimately this resulted in a friction-free user experience when they combined technologies together.
Simple things, like a great sync client; rich integration with Outlook (thanks to Modern Attachments) and being in the cloud; productivity enhancements such as Office 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams – mean that adoption of modern SharePoint is not only a lot easier, it’s fundamental to support a digital workplace.
Look out for the next post in our upgrading SharePoint series soon – “Should I buy or rent my SharePoint environment?”. For more information on the new SharePoint and how you can implement it into your business, contact Content and Code today.
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A little bit about our author
Principle Technology Strategist | MVP - Exchange & Office 365
Steve is a 5 times recipient of the MVP (Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professional) award from Microsoft, is a regular international conference speaker, podcast host, regular blogger, plus he is the author of a number of best-selling Exchange books. Steve has worked on a vast number of Exchange and Office 365 projects across customers large and small, often with complex requirements and would love to help you on too.
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