Microsoft has finally made public the next releases of Office and SharePoint. All dubbed "2013," these new versions are both radically different and also much the same. While the announcement is merely a day old, there’s been a flurry of activity in the blogosphere and twitterverse about the new version.
A great deal of the activity has come from people who were under NDA. Between Microsoft’s Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs), software partners, early adopter customers, and consulting firms working with those customers, there’s been pent up blog, book, and twitter pressure. But all of these people were under non-disclosure agreements. Now that most of those restrictions have been lifted, the flood gates have come open. In fact, Marc Anderson (@sympmarc) tweeted “[h]as everyone in #SharePoint land stopped working since the 2013 beta dropped?”
Lest you get caught up in the excitement (or the confusion), step back. It will be months before the products are ready for prime time. It will be even longer before the best practices are discovered, documented, tested and rewritten. As much as everyone will want to be the first to talk about some new feature, there will be a lot of misinformation or information that is simply wrong (or wrong by the time the final product ships). I encourage you to absorb what you can, when you can, but do so in small doses and be aware that some, if not much of what you read, see, and hear will not be fully vetted.
Stay tuned for more updates. This is a big launch for Microsoft and will speak volumes of their collaboration business for years. It also represents a time for you to evaluate your existing investment in SharePoint or consider a new one. SharePoint leads in collaboration marketshare. However, while Office will likely retain a dominant hold within many enterprises, SharePoint is not the only game in town. Paying attention to this next release should be only a part of your calculus.