Last week, I asked you whether it would be helpful to have a SharePoint 2010 “sandbox”—even if just in read-only mode—with which to explore the new features of SharePoint 2010. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
I will move forward with setting something up over the coming few weeks, with the goal of having something online for you before I go to Vancouver for the Olympics on January 23rd. Stay tuned and thank you to those of you who took the time to write and express your interest!
This time last year, we published “MVP Predictions for 2009” which, for the most part, came true: Most of the predictions centered around the fact that, despite the poor economy, SharePoint adoption would continue its astronomical rise, which it did.
The sold-out SharePoint Conference, with 7000+ attendees and many dozens of vendors touting new solutions, is a testament to that. Gary Lapointe’s prediction that SharePoint 2010 would shine a spotlight on the need to know PowerShell was also spot-on.
This year, I queried the MVP community for its predictions. Here’s a sampling of what many IT pros and developers who spend a lot of time supporting SharePoint and the community predict about 2010.
Tobias Zimmergren foresees that, with the introduction of all the new capabilities of SharePoint 2010, customers and companies will quickly realize that building standard and custom solutions on top of SharePoint 2010 is a whole lot easier than it used to be. He voices the praise raised by many developers: that Microsoft has really covered a lot of the pain points from previous versions and done a great job in providing a solid platform from which to work.
Tobias, an MVP out of Sweden, just wrote a fantastic (English language) introduction to the Client Object Model for SharePoint 2010 and plans to publish a lot of “Getting Started” guides in the next few months covering a variety of developer-oriented aspects of SharePoint 2010.
Sean Wallbridge, a SharePoint MVP in Victoria, BC Canada, says: "Demand for SharePoint is still on the lower crest of the tidal wave in my opinion. I expect we'll see even greater demand and momentum in 2010, particularly with the arrival and enthusiasm behind SharePoint 2010. 2007 has been around for some time ... yet the convergence of related technologies getting faster and better (bandwidth, maturity of browsers/technologies and more acceptance by end users of web based business), has only recently meant that SharePoint is really becoming a household name and need. This is particularly noticeable in the SMB market that I primarily play in – SharePoint isn’t just for the Enterprise. SharePoint is a product that can change how a company does business - whether deployed across the Enterprise, or simply providing a 'quick win' for a departmental application.
In addition, acceptance and increased interest in the "cloud" and the ability to fire up a SharePoint site "today", should result in even more businesses looking to SharePoint to exorcise technology demons such as the waste of energy that exists in email today. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the uptake of SharePoint in the next 12 months to reach figures close to double the total implementations of SharePoint to date. Businesses, attitudes and networks are ready for SharePoint … now." See Sean's blog for more about SharePoint.
Asif Rehmani predicts that SharePoint Designer 2010 will be a Game Changer. He says, “With the upcoming release of SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010 (SPD) will rise to its true potential as The Tool to customize and build solutions on top of SharePoint.
"SPD will become the application of choice for business analysts, site administrators, power users, IT professionals and even developers to create robust applications using SharePoint's powerful underlying components. This trend will continue to take effect in the SharePoint community as more and more people realize that there is only so much you can do using the browser and aside from resorting to writing code using Visual Studio, SharePoint Designer is the best option to truly realize their investment in SharePoint. Asif Rehmani shares his SharePoint expertise through his blog and excellent video clips.
Woody Windischman predicts that the target on SharePoint's back will only continue to grow as it gains ever more capability and mindshare. Virtually every new product that has anything to do with document or content management, Enterprise 2.0, or "collaboration", will either be designed to work with SharePoint, or be hailed as a "SharePoint Killer."
"Any perceived minor weakness in SharePoint will be elevated to the status of "fatal flaw" in their campaigns. Of course, none of these "killers" will be anything of the sort, and many (most?) won't even be truly competing in the same space. But people will still need to wade through the marketing materials "just in case."
Liam Cleary, a SharePoint MVP in the UK and Senior Solution Architect at SusQtech, has noted that the previous version of SharePoint was and is still a great platform. "It is a great core platform that has taken many businesses to further heights of automation and compliancy than ever before. With the advent of the new SharePoint 2010 platform the big bets will be with the enhancements to collaboration such as document sets, centralized metadata and records management. Not only this but search will play a big role over the next year, raising the pitch of the battle between Microsoft and Google.
"SharePoint Search goes head to head with all the search providers in the market place, particularly within the enterprise. With the advances of SharePoint’s core search and the FAST search capabilities, businesses will be able to create a unified search experience across documents, media, public facing content and line of business data. The new SharePoint 2010 platform will give rise to new deployments both small and large; we will now see SharePoint taking up even more market space even than before.
"But let’s not forget the developer story here: The new tools and the new UI will allow developers to create compelling applications that historically would have been WinForm applications. Now they can be designed to sit inside of SharePoint 2010, further unifying the user experience across enterprise applications. This is a great time to be working with SharePoint. Now is the time to prepare your business for the next wave of user adoption and experience." Liam's blog can be found at helloitsliam.com.
Gustavo Velez, an MVP MOSS from the Spanish-speaking world, raises a very real concern about the 64-bit requirements for SharePoint 2010 and their impact on adoption. He says: "I am really afraid for the future of SharePoint 2010. I mean, SharePoint is already big in the Enterprise and SMB market in north-America, Europe and some places in Asia, and the new release will make it only bigger. But the world is more than this “first-world” places, and SharePoint 2007 is widespread used in south-America, Africa and other less capital-powerful countries. And I am afraid about the reception of SharePoint 2010 in this places.
"At the moment, I see that the most used version of SharePoint in central- and south-America is WSS, not MOSS. Why? Because almost no company (from big to small) can afford to pay for MOSS licenses. Of course, SharePoint Foundation 2010 will stay for free, but you must use 64 bit hardware and the last software versions to run it. That means, the trend will be: “SharePoint 2007 is working just fine for us... to migrate to the new version, we must buy new hardware and software... we will stick with 2007 till... well, we will see, but in any case, we will no migrate in the next years...”. I need to say, I understand the technical reasons to go for 64 bits and new software, and I respect the business decision of Microsoft to go for it. But under the actual and short term future economic situation, I don’t see a great acceptation of SharePoint 2010 outside the big companies, big expenders. And it makes me worried about the future of SharePoint 2010 by the little guy, in the little (but countless) companies in the 400 million Spanish-speaking community that are using SharePoint 2007.”
Sahil Malik, a SharePoint MVP and INETA speaker out of Washington DC, foresees that the better development tools for SharePoint 2010, and sandbox solutions architecture will fuel an emergence of a large number of custom SharePoint development projects. Since these projects will now be built using better tools, and will be more manageable, the products we will build on SharePoint will be increasingly more compelling, sophisticated, and perhaps even more complicated. As a result, the demand for good SharePoint consultants will continue to rise, and the supply will not be able to keep up. Sahil blogs regularly about SharePoint and related topics.
And for me, Dan Holme, I too believe that as much as SharePoint 2007 set the enterprise IT market on fire for Microsoft, SharePoint 2010 will be even more incendiary. No doubt about it that SharePoint 2010 is extraordinary—as big a revolution as Windows 7 over Windows XP, but without the unfortunate intermediate stumbling of Windows Vista. And I’ll venture to make the following predictions:
• A TechEd launch party: While the beta of SharePoint 2010 is a great tool, and well worth downloading and exploring to prepare for the final product, there are enough bugs, hotfixes, and workarounds that Microsoft will have to release another build—my guess is sometime in the next 4-6 weeks—in order to ensure it's stamped out all the deployment bugs. This will push the release-to-manufacture (RTM) into the second quarter of the calendar year (but still in line with Steve Ballmer’s promise of “first half of 2010” release), making TechEd the launch party for SharePoint 2010. This schedule is not based on anything I’ve been told, but rather on many years of watching Microsoft try to time its marketing efforts: They like to throw a party and a TechEd party in New Orleans is an obvious venue.
• An upgrade path: I’ll also venture to predict that Microsoft will, somehow, find a way to give pre-release users of SharePoint an option to upgrade to the RTM version. But be aware: right now, Microsoft has clearly stated that there will be no upgrade path from SP2010 beta to RTM, so plan accordingly but hope for better. I am just a die-hard optimist, and find it hard to believe that they won’t throw a bone to their customers who have suffered through the bleeding-edge alpha and beta programs.
• A new “wish list” for SharePoint: Earlier this year I pressed the community for a “wish list” for SharePoint, and the vast majority of wishes came true with SharePoint 2010. Now a new wish list will be born when 2010 is released: some big items, some small items.
On the “small” side, Microsoft really should pre-load SharePoint with an iFilter and icon for PDFs, particularly now that Office applications save natively to PDF. It’s a crime that admins will have to configure this themselves on each new server and farm.
On the “big” site, I predict that Microsoft’s initial solution for “high availability” will be an easy target for critics and third-party vendors: SharePoint 2010 can roll over to another SQL server—great—but the roll-back story is half-baked at best. And Microsoft is behind the ball on geo-replication and geo-distribution of SharePoint content, which after two versions will have to be at or near the top of the enterprise customer wish list for SharePoint 15. When SharePoint 2010 hits production use, we’ll see what other big wishes arise, but kudos to Microsoft for providing so many of the wishes from WSSv3 and MOSS 2007.
• Continued revolutionary innovation from Microsoft: And, only because I’m a wishful thinker, I will predict that Microsoft will stun the world with a completely revamped, Zune-like platform for Windows Mobile next summer, perhaps even at TechEd. I’m really, really stretching and dreaming for this one, because I’m weary of my experience as a citizen of the People’s Republic of iPhone: great device, lousy cellular electronics, and a disastrous technical partnership with its primary carrier in the USA.
Conversely, I’ve been thrilled with my initial experience on my Zune and, of course, on Windows 7. Along the same “big stretch” prediction path, I’ll hope for the release of the rumored Courier device, which I will be first in line to purchase should it come to fruition: iSlate move aside!! C’mon Microsoft—save me from the otherwise inevitable slide toward consumer iDevices!
OK, those last few big stretches wore me out. So, enjoy the run up to 2010—both the new year and the new SharePoint—and I’ll see you next week in the next decade! May the twenty-teens bring us all an infusion of health, happiness, and humanity.