As I mentioned last week, I've been invited to spend a few days visiting various teams within Microsoft. One of the first teams I had the pleasure to meet with was the SharePoint Team. Well, I didn't get to meet the entire team (its members are no doubt quite busy), but Richard Riley, the group product manager, demonstrated various features that illustrated the business value of SharePoint 2010 quite well.
With SharePoint 2010, Microsoft steps further into the Internet space for collaboration. With previous versions, the enterprise was the focus. However, with SharePoint 2010 the goal has clearly broadened to encompass the Internet (or extranet) needs of a business. Microsoft has broken down the capability areas of SharePoint into six points:
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- Sites: Ultimately, sites remain unchanged in concept from legacy SharePoint versions, although SharePoint 2010 polishes up the look and interactivity within them. Sites relate to the individual collections of pages that provide content for your internal and external viewers.
- Communities: When we think of "community," we might consider a variety of existing technologies dispersed through different methods. Twitter, MySpace, Yammer -- all of these help build communities (typically with the world at large), whereas SharePoint 2010 includes a variety of tools to provide the same functionality within the enterprise.
- Content: Content might be boiled down to document management, records management, and Web-content management.
- Search: Search features have improved, thanks to the integration of Fast, a technology purchased in 2008 from a Norwegian company. The improvements help ensure smoother performance when searching Web content, file shares, and line-of-business applications. One demo showed searching for data and coming upon a PowerPoint document that you could preview the slides directly within the search. My reaction: "Oh, that is nice!"
- Insights: Business intelligence (BI) capabilities are improved within SharePoint, thanks to the integration of PerformancePoint services combined with better Excel Web Services and Visio Web Services.
- Composites: This aspect has been described as the ability to develop customized enterprise solutions without having to custom-build applications or involving IT at every turn by using out-of-box features.