SharePoint logoAt long last, Microsoft SharePoint 2013 officially arrives today. It’s been a long road, starting with planning meetings back during SPC2011, through the previews last summer and invitation-only release since then. Many of us have had the chance to work with SharePoint 2013 and its cloud companion, Office 365, for a good while. But as of today, SharePoint is officially released. And Dell Software has been there every step of the way, with our support for SharePoint 2013 migration, ready now, and 2013 management governance, releasing this week.

Quest Software - SharePoint 2013 launch

There have been some recent discussions online about SharePoint user satisfaction. Our own conference research has borne this out. Across recent conference attendees, 60.6% have reported reasonable satisfaction with SharePoint’s traditional document-centric collaboration. But user satisfaction drops to 20.3% for newer capabilities like business intelligence, applications, workflow and social.

So now what? What to expect from this release? To start, Microsoft has made a huge investment to enhancing many of those “unsatisfying” workloads, like social. For IT, I’d look at three major changes that will have a huge impact on the information worker experience:

  • Social – Microsoft’s commitment to enterprise social is finally here, with integrated newsfeeds, hashtags, previews, and community sites – along with mobile clients – that allow you to make social activity the hub for distributed collaboration, rather than an afterthought.
     
  • Search – Integrating the user experiences of Bing, the FAST search engine and the SharePoint UI delivers a search interface that’s accurate and self-tuning from day one - with integrated previews, thumbnails, and usage metrics. It’s also easy to embed “automatic” searches by full text or dynamic metadata navigation to make it ever simpler for your users to focus on what they need, instead of where it is or how to find it.
     
  • Apps – Microsoft has invested in a new, lean footprint, cloud ready application model, with an accompanying application store. Business users will be able to directly match their needs my downloading apps on demand from apps stores run by Microsoft and/or the enterprise. But it may be some months before we see a fully populated app ecosystem for SharePoint. Be patient.

All of this comes with some key enhancements to core infrastructure, with new server roles for Office Web Apps, workflow and cache. There are also changes in storage management, particularly Shredded Storage, which allows large files to be broken into small storage units for faster updates. It probably goes without saying that Dell can solve your hardware needs. But how can Dell Software help your SharePoint 2013 readiness?

  • Migration - With our Migration Suite for SharePoint, we’ve been ready to migrate to SharePoint 2013 or Office 365 since the preview day code was released to Beta due to our agentless approach. Click the link to try a 30-day trial of Migration Suite for SharePoint.
     
  • Applications – Learning a new API and developing new apps from scratch is a big learning curve and a support nightmare. Using Quick Apps for SharePoint is the fastest and most supportable way to allow professional and citizen developers to start building apps right now. Plus, our free Social Hub app is available now in the Microsoft SharePoint app store – it’s our first SharePoint 2013 app and demonstrates our commitment to Microsoft’s strategic shift to the new cloud-ready API model. Let us learn it for you.
     
  • Storage Management – The great news is that whether or not you use traditional or “shredded” storage, Storage Maximizer can help. Shredded storage helps with update efficiencies – but it doesn’t solve the core problem of oversized content databases. Storage Maximizer can manage the size and performance of all your content databases during migration and beyond.
     
  • Security and compliance. As SharePoint becomes the “book of record” for enterprise content, security concerns become paramount. Social tools mean more individual users sharing content with a diverse user base. That’s a very complex security model. Similarly, the initial positive response to the search improvements means more users will be searching. Without governance, unsecured sensitive material will be found. Reporting and managing on SharePoint security is essential to sustain user trust and confidence in the reliability and safety of the platform.

Don’t forget about adoption! Architecture, design and installation only go so far. SharePoint 2013 offers more user-based capabilities than ever. Usability, apps, governance and management are essential tools to sustain user adoption.

Welcome to SharePoint 2013. Microsoft calls it “the new way to work together.” We’re happy to be the new way to work with SharePoint.