SharePoint, after more than a decade of development, has become infinitely more powerful and user-friendly over the years. SharePoint 2010 was revolutionary in the technological features that it provided compared to the 2007 edition, however many of these tools were difficult to configure and use, time-consuming or otherwise not pretty. SharePoint 2013 improves on the 2010 edition by creating a simple and fluid experience that users expect now with the proliferation of mobile devices and easy-to-use interfaces. SharePoint 2013 is intended to empower business-users and relieve stress on the IT department, as well as to make people want to use SharePoint. The key to achieving a high level of SharePoint adoption is upgrading to 2013.
The following 10 factors is how Microsoft has made SharePoint 2013 better for the business and the end-users.
1. Cross-site publishing
Change content once, and all pages using that content will be updated immediately. Previously, each page would have to be updated with the new content individually.
2. Web analytics
Find out how SharePoint is being used to better accommodate the business users with future upgrades. Also, web analytics apply to external facing sites as well, helping you to offer Amazon-style “Recommended for you” product offers, or related news search, for example.
3. Better design tools and content
The inclusion of HTML5 allows for easily embedded YouTube videos, Twitter posts, as well as many other graphics and multimedia. Drag and drop has been enabled to make designing sites far more user friendly. External tools like Dreamweaver and Photoshop can be used to generate custom branding for your site, separating your SharePoint sites from other businesses’.
SharePoint sites can now be specifically targeted at mobile devices such as phones and tablets, letting your business users access key information at times where it may not be suitable to have a full PC. Similarly, SharePoint sites can now be directed at large-screen devices like set-top boxes and Smart TVs.
5. Business Intelligence
SharePoint 2013 has improved dashboards and reporting tools to make analytics more understandable and available. As noted above, sites can specifically target mobile devices, putting the insights of your business intelligence practices in the hands of the employees regardless of their situation. Also, SharePoint 2013 has the ability to process massive quantities of data, helping you to uncover the value of the ‘Big Data’ that all the analysts are talking about.
6. Process Management and Workflows
Stronger interoperability between SharePoint Designer 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 allows business users and developers to better collaborate, resulting in more focused business processes and more efficient project management.
Too often SharePoint 2007 ended up as a mess of documents, and while 2010 greatly improved in this regard, too often it felt more like a document ‘dump’ than ‘repository’. The easily configured search feature in SharePoint 2013 offers functionality virtually out of the box and gives business people (not tech employees) a more user-friendly environment to find and access information.
8. Yammer and Social Collaboration
Microsoft acquired Yammer a few years ago, and has since incorporated the social media network into the SharePoint platform for 2013. Many companies admit that they are trying to become more ‘social’ organizations, and that starts with internal sociality rather than outward communication. Yammer’s inclusion in SharePoint 2013 gives businesses an opportunity to spark social networking and discussion within their organization, resulting in better collaboration, more knowledge of what is going on throughout the company, and driving user attachment to SharePoint. Further, Office Online is included within SharePoint 2013 for quick collaboration on the fly, from any device instantly, with authoring and version data kept intact.
9. Custom Applications – Public and Private App Stores
More development tools and languages are integrated, giving businesses more diversity and freedom when designing application solutions. SharePoint 2013 brings with it it’s very own app store, with publicly available applications and add-ons to give you the out-of-the-box functionality that you need. Interestingly, Microsoft offers to host a private app store, meaning that your business can create an app repository that houses all the company’s SharePoint applications, and the relevant business users can download the apps they want or need, much like through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. This offers the convenience of an app store, with the security of private business applications.
10. “But all my customizations are done in 2010, and I don’t want to break them”
Business decisions for the future often have as much to do with the past as with future goals. An intelligent business person would ask if and how the company’s previous investments carry on after a new purchase, project or technology deployment. With SharePoint 2013, parts can be segregated and designed to function under SharePoint 2010 code, allowing you to implement the custom apps as you need, but also giving the opportunity to add SharePoint 2013 features as the time and resources become available.
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