SharePoint 2010 has new pillars

  • 16-Jul-2009

As many blog articles have noted (including the SharePoint Team Blog), Microsoft has released the "technical preview" of SharePoint 2010. What's significant though is a new graphic (shown below) for the famous six pillars of SharePoint.

Redmond's new six pillars

Figure 1 - New "six pillars" image for SharePoint 2010 -- Source: Microsoft

To start, you should realize that virtually every term previously describing SharePoint has changed; this may be part of a larger program to reposition the new version of SharePoint or simply a way to change the conversation. Significantly, Microsoft has completely removed of the word "portal" from the SharePoint vocabulary. Not only has Microsoft removed the word from the product name in 2007, they've now removed it as a pillar. In truth, "portal" is an overloaded term and generally not descriptive. Microsoft's did not seem to directly replace it in the new diagram. However, SharePoint is definitely Microsoft's portal platform, and it's curious what marketing messaging will develop around the new version in this respect.

The next big change is the removal of the term "collaboration." Readers of the SharePoint Report 2009 know that collaboration, defined broadly, is both a strength and weakness of the current release. In the 2010 timeframe, Microsoft is using the term "communities." Clearly, Microsoft seems to want to present a stronger social media story, perhaps addressing the existing collaboration weaknesses (at least in terminology). The community term also seems to be related to the new "sites" pillar, which implicitly was a part of the collaboration pillar in the 2007 platform.

In addition to the changes in terms, you may also notice a new pillar concept -- "insights." In early 2009, Microsoft announced licensing changes for their PerformancePoint server product. The change allowed SharePoint Enterprise CAL licensees to leverage the BI platform for no additional charge. In the 2010 timeframe, Microsoft is directly integrating certain functions of the old PerformancePoint platform directly in the product. BI has historically been a weakness of SharePoint. It's now obvious that Microsoft is working to both improve function and the conversation around BI in SharePoint.

There are other changes in the diagram, all pointing to a new way of thinking at Microsoft. It's unclear how these language changes will manifest in the product. What is clear is that they're shifting from broad categorical descriptions to a slightly more functional orientation. Whether or not these changes help to influence improvement in the new product is still an outstanding question.

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