Announcing SharePoint 2010

folks, Mikey is doing the happy dance today with the much anticipated unveiling
of SharePoint 2010 here at the SharePoint Conference 2009. Anyone who knows me
knows how excited about SharePoint I can get as an Enterprise Enablement platform.
However, as excited as I have been in the past this coming version has me
positively jumping. With each release of SharePoint we have witnessed a steady
growth in the capabilities of the product as it has grown to embrace major
enterprise workloads such as collaboration, portal delivery, search, content
management, business process and forms, as well as business intelligence. As
big as that growth has been though it pales in comparison to the advances in
this iteration.

SharePoint 2010 is absolutely the
biggest most important release of SharePoint to date and in the opinion of this
techie the single most important product release since Windows 95! Think I have
drank a little too much of the Kool-Aid? Well consider how this rev of
SharePoint addresses connecting and empowering people, cutting costs through a
unified infrastructure, as well as providing a platform that facilitates a
rapid response to business needs. Need more convincing after reading this post?
Then be sure to check out "What makes Microsoft SharePoint tick?" by Mary Jo Foley. After
that if you are still wondering what all the fuss is about why not check out these three videos by the SharePoint team that provide an overview of
SharePoint 2010, as well as focuses for the IT Pro and Developer. Once you are
sufficiently salivating then be sure to pre-register for the SharePoint 2010 beta here!!

Connecting and Empowering

For years Microsoft struggled with
how to introduce new features in to its Office products and make them easy to
access. With each release as more features were added they were increasingly
buried within an application menu system that was great for a limited set of
features but which struggled to surface capabilities to users. After years of
intense research and usability testing Microsoft introduced the Ribbon, a
contextual user interface, which surfaces features and functions depending upon
the activity the user is engaged in. With this release of SharePoint the Ribbon
comes to SharePoint as well. "So what Michael, what does that even mean?"
you might ask. Simply put it now means that end users will have a common
experience across all the Office System application whether desktop client or
browser based. It will simplify the access to features that would be beneficial
to users and administrators that might otherwise not be so obvious.
Furthermore, it means that training and the user learning curve will be reduced
across the Office System stack. Learn how to interact with one Office System
product and you will know how to interact with all of them, including
SharePoint. Reduction in the learning curve means broader adoption and a
quicker ramp up to productivity.

With the advent
SharePoint 2007 adoption and use of the product really skyrocketed. People
started using it to collaborate in storing documents in libraries and data in
lists. Once all that information made its way to SharePoint though the
inevitable question arose, "how do I take my data with me offline?"
Enter the latest edition to the Office Pro Plus line-up, SharePoint Workspace.
SharePoint Workspace is the revamped Groove product that enabled rich, secure,
peer to peer collaboration for workers on the go. With it's genesis in the
security realm SharePoint Workspace now allows you to take all your SharePoint
content with you permitting anywhere anytime access to the data you need to get
your job done. Need to proxy out content from your SharePoint Intranet
environment to a client or partner but don't want to extend direct access to
them. No problem. You can provide them with a non-time bombed copy that will
give them perpetual access to your workspace/content you invite them to at no
charge. SharePoint Workspace is the definitive bridge between hosted
applications and disconnected access.

Smart Phone use and
capabilities have exploded since the release of SharePoint 2007. While
SharePoint 2007 offered basic mobile access to its content the new version has
kicked it up a whole notch... and then some. Keeping in mind the new 3 screen
vision at Microsoft for applications (browser based, mobile device, and PC)
this version of SharePoint out of the box will bring a smile to mobile workers
faces. Users will get a rich view of content within SharePoint via their smart
phone browser access. Additionally, they will be able to edit content directly
from those same devices if they have the appropriate permissions. Mobile access
is all the rage now and this version of SharePoint delivers it in spades... out
of the box!

With new features
like personal password management, Office web applications, enhanced Web 2.0
features and more, SharePoint 2010 delivers the richest possible experience in
reaching across the firewall to connect with partners and customers. Now your
internal content creators can set aside concerns about HTML, PHP, and the like.
They can confidently produce documentation in Office, publish it to SharePoint
and know that their intended consumers of that content will be able to open it,
and if they have appropriate permissions, even edit the content, all from a web
browser. Those users on a PC with Internet Explorer? Check! They can
access/interact with the content. Are they running a Mac with Safari? Check...
and ditto! Running a Linux box with Firefox? Check again! 🙂 SharePoint can
now extend the reach of its content, including Office created documents to
everyone while retaining the high fidelity quality that users expect.

Cut Costs with a Unified

Web 2.0 applications are all the
rage now. Different apps delivering different capabilities aim to tackle
blogging, wikis, discussion boards, document management, and more all try to
deliver great "best of breed" experiences. Trying to implement a
hodge podge of applications in a piecemeal fashion presents a number of
challenges to any Enterprise implementation. Today's corporate IT operations
groups know that the real cost of any software is not in the up front purchase
but in the subsequent maintenance and integration of those applications.
SharePoint 2010 squarely meets the needs of today's Enterprise.

Out of the box
SharePoint 2010 delivers a seamless integrated offering that addresses
corporate needs around collaboration, search, BI, content management, social
computing, and more. By providing a comprehensive integrated platform
SharePoint can dramatically lower operational maintenance costs while
delivering real business value across all those workloads. Backup and recovery,
governance, development, help desk support. All these areas would need to be
addressed on a one off application by application instance if organizations opt
to go with so called "best of breed" applications. By climbing aboard
the SharePoint train organizations can focus on their core vertical areas
(manufacturing, financial services, etc.) while delivering world class
functionality across all the varied workloads covered by SharePoint.

Training has a direct
result against deployment and usage of any system in an Enterprise environment.
By simplifying and unifying the user interface in SharePoint with that of the
Office desktop clients SharePoint 2010 has lowered the learning curve for
adoption. Additionally, Microsoft has enabled many core internal training
scenarios within SharePoint itself. The introduction of streaming media within
SharePoint now natively enables scenarios such as application screencasting.
Value add releases such as Productivity Hub provide a platform and content for
training around SharePoint and Office.

In this economic
climate many IT shops are hard-pressed for hardware costs as well as
operational costs. With SharePoint's latest release Microsoft  delivers
the ultimate in flexibility for deployment. With hosted services available in
standard and dedicated configurations organizations can now choose to host all
or part of their SharePoint environment internally or externally on Microsoft
infrastructure. Want to initially stand up a SharePoint instance on Microsoft
infrastructure and then move to an internally hosted model down the road? No
problem. Microsoft can readily accommodate you SharePoint hosting needs.

Rapidly Respond to Business

As the importance of corporate
websites increases, whether internally or externally focused, SharePoint 2010
delivers an enhanced integration experience through through a number of
business ready mechanisms, not just via lengthy development engagements. With
the revamped Excel Services coupled with Gemini Excel is now a world class data
aggregator and visualization tool capable of handling more than a 100,000,000
rows of data! Your organizations Excel jockeys will have the power to deliver
rich dynamic data to the organization via SharePoint 2010. Has your
organization struggled with managing the proliferation of Access database
applications that in many cases have become mission critical? Enter Access
Services in SharePoint 2010 to harness the creative power of Access to create
departmental applications while now doing so in a manner which is centralized,
backed up and managed. Want to visualize dynamic process within your
organization? Enter Visio Services. Now you can link Visio 2010 to dynamic data
and process, publish it to SharePoint 2010, and content consumers can see live,
interactive, visualizations delivered courtesy of Visio Services. Want to link
SharePoint 2010 data columns to real business data? Now you can with Business
Connectivity Services (formerly the Business Data Catalog). SharePoint Business
Connectivity Services can also be bidirectional which means you can write data
to other applications from within SharePoint 2010 lists!

With a full range of
web services and integration capabilities (I haven't even brushed across Visual
Studio 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Silverlight, XRM, and more...)
SharePoint can deliver an integrated organizational experience as no other
platform can. By placing extremely powerful, and managed, tools in the hands of
business SharePoint 2010 free up an organizations development resources to
focus on deeper development tasks. By virtue of its deep integration with
Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint 2010 also serves as the pre-eminent platform for
developing integration interfaces in to an organizations multitude of legacy
applications. If the data exists in your organization then SharePoint 2010 can
get to it, integrate it, and present it in a meaningful way, all from one
unified interface. When corporate Intranets first burst on to the scene many
years ago there was a lot of hype about all the ways in which they would
benefit an organization. For years now that dream has been waiting. The wait is
over folks and the dreamed fulfilled is SharePoint 2010!


Now that the cat is
out of the bag and I am free to begin showing off SharePoint 2010 I will be
releasing a number of demonstration video posts here that dive in to the topics
I have covered here and highlight in a concrete way in which this latest
version of SharePoint is going to rock the business world. Be sure to check
back here for more information and demonstrations. Well the SharePoint
Conference is in full swing and it's time for me to head out and take in some
of the goodness. Be sure though to check out my action items to get you started
on your SharePoint 2010 learning today and pre-register for the Beta as well.



Michael's Must Do's:

Are you ready to
check out the new SharePoint 2010 site content including; Register for
SharePoint 2010 Beta Code, 3 Value Pillars of SharePoint 2010, SharePoint
Workloads Deep Dive, 10 New Demonstration Videos, Overview of Related
Technologies (SharePoint Designer, SharePoint Foundation), SharePoint
Communities Content (links to blogs, forums, etc), and more.

What are you waiting for? Get
started today!

Michael Gannotti is a
SharePoint Technology Specialist for the Microsoft Corporation and the author
of SocialMedia Talk with Michael Gannotti

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