Please note that this post refers to a preview edition of SharePoint 2013 – features and functionality may change before the product ships.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering some of the new capabilities in Microsoft SharePoint 2013. There are lots of new features, but here are the main themes…

Social capabilities – I’ve argued that SharePoint 2010 is a great social platform, offering MySites, profiles, enterprise search (featuring expertise location), and integration with unified communications. Gartner agreed, with Microsoft sitting in the highest position of the Magic Quadrant for social collaboration in 2011. But looking ahead it’s clear that customers want some more specific ‘social’ features to sit on top of the heritage SharePoint capabilities of document / content management, team collaboration and line-of-business applications. So, SharePoint 2013 adds…

  • Easier sharing of content
  • Ability to follow almost everything… documents, people, tags, sites and communities
  • A newsfeed to provide a digest of everything going on in your world, either an all-up view or within specific sites
  • Posting into your newsfeed, and liking items
  • Communities, with their own entry portal, and offering contributor rankings and awards
  • Improved profiles, with the focus on expertise and experience

SkyDrive Pro – every user gets a document library of their own to store and share documents. It’s now much easier to upload documents – you can just drag and drop from Windows Explorer. And the Windows Explorer integration means that SkyDrive Pro content can be accessed in a familiar way on the desktop (and when not connected to your network). A hover-over window provides the ability to share and follow (depending on your rights), details of who the document has been shared with, and a live preview of the document.

A new approach to creating sites – SharePoint 2013 is focused on allowing users to get their new sites up and running as quickly as possible with the capabilities they need. Although web parts are still very much part of SharePoint 2013, it’s much easier to add capabilities to a site through a ‘get started’ banner and an app store-like model. For example, the ‘get started’ banner asks if you’re working on a deadline, and if you are you’ll need…

Tasks – SharePoint 2013 recognises that you have personal tasks (and they may live in Outlook) and also that you may be assigned tasks in various other sites. No problem, SharePoint 2013 pulls them together so that you can view and manage all of your tasks in one place. You also get an intuitive colour-coded time-line and an synopsis of your deadlines. This is certainly something that I’ll cover in more detail.

There’s a lot more to discuss about SharePoint 2013, but this is the list of topics I’ll start with. Stay tuned for more info coming soon.

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