SharePoint -- What's Ahead?

This is an important week for Microsoft. In the face of a major offensive from Google’s “Gone Google” campaign, they launch Windows 7 and also reveal some interesting developments at the SharePoint conference in Vegas.

Microsoft has incorporated feedback from over 17000 customers and 4000 partners for SharePoint 2010 which is due in the middle of 2010. From rebranding (no Office and no MOSS is the name) to usability improvements to functionality changes, you can expect many things.

One of the major shortcomings of MOSS, as our readers of the SharePoint and other reports know is that you can only work with a specific document and not with a collection of documents. So as an example, you cannot have a process flow for an RFP that consists of a Word document, an Excel spreadsheet and a PowerPoint presentation. You have to instead work with each individual document.  In SharePoint Twenty-Ten, you will actually be able to work on “Document Sets” and be able to start a new process right from Microsoft Word. We will of course closely look at this and other similar changes in our ECM report.

There are some major improvements expected in Collaboration and Compliance areas as well. Microsoft has also made major investments in other areas such as Taxonomy, Content Processing rules, distributed deployment and so on.

Microsoft is also projecting SharePoint as an Internet Development platform. There’s some interesting work happening in integration of Visio with SharePoint designer that will make it easier to create workflow based applications.

However, like all roadmaps, no one can be sure of what actually makes it to the final release. This will be a major release, going much beyond cosmetic name changes and rebranding. Microsoft’s marketing will have you believe that because it’s one single platform consisting of Sites (Portal), Communities (Collaboration), Content (ECM and WCM), Insights (Analytics), Composites (Mashups) and Search, your TCO will be lower as compared to that of competition. But make sure you evaluate carefully. We will be closely watching and reporting.

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