I’m interested in helping my users get excited about SharePoint 2010. I think there are tons of reasons to get excited about why upgrade, and why users should be excited about SharePoint 2010.
- Cross browser and client OS compatibility – So many people have been using Firefox and Safari and on and on. The world of browsers is not what it was 5 years ago. Beyond cross browsers it really is the ability for users to be cross platform. It’s the much improved experience with iPad, Macs, and a variety of browsers that some organizations have used this alone as justification to upgrade the servers. SharePoint went from having only one tier 1 browser to having 2-3ish, and going from having Chrome not even on the map to being a tier 2 browser (with SP1). Making Firefox and Safari equal citizens, or at least in principal is a big deal. Yes there are still a few places where you’ll find some ActiveX controls, but it’s for the most part a decent experience across common browsers even for admins. You’ll find fully XHTML compliant WCAG 2.0 AA level complaint pages meaning it has accessibility features that will allow browsers that support accessibility. Governmental organizations have been demanding these levels of compliance and those with internet facing sites want to reach all people. See Dux’s iPad and Mac writeup. I’ve been doing some of my own browser report checking and found we have a really good mix of browsers with Firefox over 10%, Safari at 10% and Chrome up at 7%, the rest of my world is Internet Explorer. We have less than 1% on IE 9 and less than 1% on IE 6. I’ve ran across issues on both of these, but backward compatibility on IE 9 addresses most of it. Here’s Microsoft’s Browser maxtrix for support and it gets a lot better in SP1 for Chrome as it moves to tier 2 support. There are also a number of mobile devices I’ll be working on getting support for. I plan to do a whole post on this topic soon.
- Client Side Application Development – While not all power users and definitely not the end user care about building their own apps, but more using the app. There are a lot of people who look at SharePoint as a platform for building their solutions. Some build on lists, some leverage workflows, and more. The all new Access services, PerformancePoint, Visio Services, and a ton more that’s packed into the SharePoint server that’s never been there. Tons of new functionality. Add on top of that a rich API for developers including REST/ATOM/RSS and Sandbox solutions and power users with some skills can do TONS more. Is there an Office developer? The person who’s building stuff with JQuery and cobbling together some views and dashboards will find there’s a TON more in the box in this version. As well the 2010 BCS is designed to be power user friendly with new read/write capabilities. Spend a little time with InfoPath 2010 and Business Connectivity Services and you can see line of business integration is becoming more native. Gray Knowlton the Product Manager for Office explains in his post on Office and SharePoint 2010 highlights "People are now discovering how easy it is to bind BCS entities to a SharePoint list, and then present that list data to users in a rich InfoPath form. Because InfoPath does a great job of making complex data interaction simple for end users, it is becoming a critical component of LOB solutions managed in the SharePoint environment." (Thanks @FabianWilliams )
- Scalable lists - If users felt their hands were tied working with lots of data and had to spread it out to meet SharePoint’s scale requirements. They’ll be pleasantly surprised that they can now support millions of items and can use the metadata follow their best practices. Many saw lists as a 2000 per list, this was never accurate, it was more about 2000 per view. Now people can throw all their million plus docs together leverage RBS and with out of the box scale they will be able to not have to worry too much about how it will affect others. Quotas are still in place, but even those should be relaxed by IT as content databases are more scalable. How about 30 million items in a list! There’s an updated SharePoint 2010 software capacity limits which goes into what now supports what levels.
Office Integration and Office Mobile apps – It’s amazing to me how much of what is really new and cool in Office 2010 is actually as a result of the integration with SharePoint 2010. A quick example of this is the multi user editing capabilities in Word 2010, cell locking and multi user editing in Excel and One Note. I recommend checking out Andy’s walk through on co-authoring in Word. Chart webpart. Publishing from Visio into Visio Services. There’s a whole suite of client applications for Windows Phone 7 including new presentation mode features for the mobile PowerPoint, and SharePoint workspace features for accessing SharePoint documents from your phone.
- Portability of Workflows – On one hand upgrade may give you some challenges around custom built workflows. The out of the box workflows and those designed in SharePoint Designer are TONS better. They now can be created, backed up and reused on other site collections. You use to lose a workflow if you did an import export and you’d have to recreate it during a reorganization of your content. Now they can be backed up with Designer as a .wsp solution file and re-added once re-imported. Lists themselves are more portable as well through powershell and unattached recovery, while this particular feature is something for IT, it pays off for end users that need to reorganize their sites. Check out this video on creating workflows in SharePoint 2010 or this how to video on the new workflows. See more on the enhancements to collaborative workflows in SharePoint 2010 by Paul Andrew on MSDN. They are much easier to build deploy and manage.
More control of SharePoint Designer – As a site administrator you’re always worried about anyone touching SharePoint Designer. Now as Site Admin you can decide who can use Designer for workflows and business process or who has access to modify the master page and layouts.
Calendar overlay – This very important feature allows you to connect to multiple calendars display them in a single view. The overlay works across sites in a site collection and even across different site collections. As well you can add items to the calendar by simply hovering over a day and clicking add, right from the view. (Thanks @EricaToelle )
- Improved List correlation and list relationships – SharePoint 2010 allows you to create relationships between lists in the same site collection. While Lookups existed in 2007, you now have ways of doing "joins" to query across lists where lookup column relationships are defined. You can use LINQ or CAML to write powerful applications using data from SharePoint. You can get more data from SharePoint 2010 List Relationships. Refer to Tobias Zimmergren’s detailed information on SharePoint 2010 how to for relational lists where he goes into features such as relational integrity and cascading deletes. If you’re really into data analysis, you’ll really like PerformancePoint now part of the enterprise set of features, as is Access services a brand new service application for working with data. Beyond that there’s SQL reporting services and SQL analysis services which have richer SharePoint integration and are often integrated into Business Intelligence deployments of SharePoint 2010. (Thanks
- Social tagging, and other social features – While I am a big fan of social media and what it can do for an enterprise and business in terms of braking down silos and collaboration. SharePoint 2010 brings new tagging features including tag clouds, noteboards (like a users wall), activity feeds, and a people centric including org browser. The enterprise wiki is a lot better, and you’ll find wiki pages in a lot more places. Great write up in this article on the Top 10 social features in SharePoint 2010.
- Content Management features – While the ribbon takes some getting use to and you may be ready to throw your machine out the window, the ribbon is a love hate relationship until you find out where all of what you’re looking for is. It’s designed to expose workflows, list settings, and working with lists in a much more straightforward way. Other enhancements to lists include (virtual folders) metadata based navigation, new site management features, rich document sets, multi-stage retention, file plans, document IDs, and a rich built in site theming engine which allows you to change your look and feel on the fly right through the web interface. Lists can now include content types for audio and video supporting many lightweight needs around digital asset management. Check out the Managing digital assets overview on TechNet and more on the records management capabilities in SharePoint 2010 from the ECM SharePoint blog.
Special Thanks to the Power user end user experts on Twitter: @EricaToelle @JenniferMason @Katscasa @