SharePoint Trends from the Trenches

Cloud computing, social computing, mobile computing--these trends and the concerns they raise in IT inevitably end up affecting SharePoint, too. SharePoint expert Russ Basiura discussed these trends with us this spring, and along the way we speculated about SharePoint v15, just for fun.

Basiura, the founder of the Philadelphia SharePoint User Group, is CEO and chief SharePoint architect of RJB Consulting and has been around SharePoint since before it was called that, in the Tahoe days.

SharePoint Pro: What are some easy wins with SharePoint?

Basiura: "People talk about SharePoint as a silver bullet and it's not. There are cases where they need a specific line of business app to do what they need. A specific legal compliance usage, for example, would require custom development."

"We try to help clients on low-hanging fruit with SharePoint first. SharePoint search is one of the greatest ways to get instant ROI. You can put up a search center, plug it into file share or database systems, and start indexing content. In a couple days, you can search that information and instead of hunting inefficiently, you can find it quickly. We tend to steer organizations to those things first, then start looking at specialized apps where SharePoint might have to be developed or customized."

SharePoint Pro: What trends are you seeing in SharePoint?

Basiura: "We have end users of SharePoint who want to access SharePoint on their own mobile devices, and they're asking, 'Why can't I access the internal SharePoint portal on it?' It's the broader adoption of SharePoint that's causing this, and it's accelerating."

"I think with v15 there will be improvements. Today the mobile view is limited, and it's hard to use a regular browser. With Windows 8 and wave 15, the SharePoint interface will change, I think--be more mobile friendly, make it easier for users to navigate using Slate devices. V15 will allow an easier environment for using mobile devices."

"Search is becoming much more of an application. A lot of history around search was negative. SharePoint 2001 and 2003 search was awful. But Microsoft made improvments with search, especially with FAST. I'm a big fan of search. Best Buy uses SharePoint as a search application. You have a search engine returning results based on users. People think conventionally about SharePoint and building. You need SharePoint to deliver that content, not for someone to build it."

"We've seen a lot of concerns in healthcare around the cloud--they see the benefits but the downsides are so great. They're being very cautious. If a patient puts personal information into a cloud-based system, how do you control that? When it's inside their network, they have a lot more control. Technically, you can still control it via federation, but they're still struggling with that."

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