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7 things about SharePoint 2013 all IT pros should know

Jonathan Hassell | Feb. 13, 2013
Microsoft SharePoint 2013 builds upon previous releases in 2007 and 2010.

End-user training. SharePoint 2013 includes a new feature called "deferred site collection upgrade." This essentially lets a specific set of site collections run under SharePoint 2010 while SharePoint 2013 code is installed. You are basically running SharePoint 2010 code within the 2013 product, which makes it easier to test and maintain compatibility with any custom code and applications you have built on top of SharePoint.

It also eases the transition for your users between the look and feel of how SharePoint 2010 libraries and sites operates. You can get the benefit of deploying the new product while you manage the timeline on which you convert the look and feel of your site and turn on the new features and capabilities that face your end users. This is a good thing.

More, better, mobile device support. Of course tablets and smartphones are all the rage these days. With SharePoint sites becoming the home for more and more work product in all sorts of businesses, Microsoft had to address the problem of the poor SharePoint experience for mobile devices in previous versions.

There is now an HTML5 coded view known as the "contemporary" view that is optimized for speedy access across iPhones, iPads, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. There is also new support for push notifications, so SharePoint 2013 can reach out and push a message to your device based on a variety of factors. Location awareness has been built in as well, if you plan to develop location-aware applications on top of the SharePoint platform.

SharePoint 2013 Concerns: The Onsite vs. Cloud Conundrum

Of course, SharePoint 2013 isn't all wine and roses. Here are two pain points:

Migration. Of course, migrating anything to something new is an endeavor typically fraught with frustration, trouble and delays, and you probably never end up quite where you thought you would end up. SharePoint migrations are certainly no exception to this rule; there is a reasonably high bar to even getting started.

In short, you cannot move to SharePoint 2013 unless you are already running SharePoint 2010, unless you purchase some third-party tools that are on the market now or will come onto the market soon. This is a reasonably big obstacle for many organizations that are either still on SharePoint 2007 or are already underway with their SharePoint 2010 deployment plans.

Different product editions. As part of Microsoft's cloud strategy, the company is offering this product in two flavors: SharePoint Server, which you install on your own premises and in your own datacenter-just like all previous versions of SharePoint--and Office 365, which runs "in the cloud" in Microsoft's own datacenters. There is a ton of overlap when it comes to features and capabilities between the boxed product version and the cloud-based subscription service, but the company is hoping to appeal to all subsets of customers.


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