It has never been clearer how important simple but powerful collaboration tools are to the success of organizations of all sizes. This has driven our vision since the beginning and we are profoundly thankful for your support growing SharePoint as the leading collaboration platform for over 135 million people and 4000 partners delivering innovative solutions. The SharePoint team has always been incredibly passionate about leapfrogging expectations and today we’re excited to announce the preview of the next version of SharePoint.
It’s been a busy year. Last June we expanded the simplicity and reach of SharePoint 2010 through our Office 365 cloud service. Since then, tens of thousands of organizations with millions of users have moved to Office 365 to improve their productivity, reduce costs and enable IT to partner with users to drive their organizations forward. The team has been working on both quarterly updates to SharePoint Online and our most exciting release of SharePoint yet. With the new release, we are delivering SharePoint as a service and server simultaneously for the first time and laying the foundation to deliver significant new capabilities to the cloud first in the future.
Introducing the New SharePoint
This is the first of many blog posts with more details to come in subsequent posts and at the 2012 SharePoint Conference. The highlights:
- New SharePoint Experience – Building on our heritage as the easiest way for teams to collaborate, we re-designed the SharePoint user experience to be clean and simple. The new SharePoint provides quick access to your newsfeed, documents and sites with engaging new experiences for saving documents, editing lists, sharing content, theming sites. And if you want to take SharePoint with you on the go, you can share documents and update your newsfeed from your mobile phone or tablet to keep you connected from virtually anywhere.
- Pervasive Social Networking – We’re expanding on SharePoint’s collaboration tools by adding rich new microblogging, newsfeed, community and other social features. Pervasive following of people, sites, documents and hashtags across SharePoint means you can see and act on the latest information in one place. In addition, last month we announced Microsoft is acquiring Yammer, the fastest growing enterprise social networking vendor, and that after the acquisition closes, we will expand the connections between Yammer and SharePoint and other Microsoft technologies.
- SkyDrive Pro – SkyDrive Pro makes it easy it to work with your documents in SharePoint – save, sync, share and collaborate are all drop-dead simple. The name conveys the simplicity and increased consistency with our SkyDrive consumer cloud service while reinforcing the “Pro” features of SharePoint like social networking, collaboration, search, metadata, workflow and compliance. Click “Sync” on a SharePoint library and you will get the documents offline in the Windows Explorer, Office applications and more. SkyDrive Pro is part of both the SharePoint service in Office 365 and server.
- SharePoint Sites – The new “Sites Hub” shows all of your sites in one place – whether they are sites that you have created or followed or sites that have been promoted by your organization or our new recommendation platform. We streamlined the new site experience and expanded team collaboration tools beyond SharePoint’s rich document libraries and lists to include new team newsfeeds, team OneNote notebooks with real-time co-authoring, task timelines and Exchange team mailboxes.
- Projects for Everyone– Since the most common use of SharePoint sites is to help teams get work done, we added task management capabilities to any team site and a personal view of all your SharePoint and Outlook tasks in one place. For project managers, we’ve made it easy to sync a site’s tasks list with Project Pro or add Project Online to get a view of all your organization’s projects and tasks.
- FAST Search and Recommendations – One of the largest investments we made this release was building on the most advanced enterprise search platform in the industry to deliver innovative new search experiences, dynamic web sites and unified compliance. Combining the next generation FAST technology with learnings from Microsoft Research and Bing we provide powerful navigation of documents, sites, people, conversations, videos, reports and more through a new extensible query framework.
- Dynamic Publishing – This release also improves the productivity of site designers building engaging, multi-device, multi-lingual intranet and internet sites. SharePoint 2013 supports designs coming from 3rd-party tools in HTML (vs. primarily low-level ASP.NET templates) and simplifies delivering dynamic sites through the new FAST content-by-query platform, content re-use, integrated translation, new video features and more.
- In-Place Governance and Compliance – Building on new content management and search tools, we are introducing a new unified policy management and eDiscovery solution that works across the new releases of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync without expensive and low fidelity duplication of content.
Again, this just scratches of the surface of all the new capabilities that we will cover in future posts.
Given our history supporting ISPs and large enterprises, SharePoint was designed from the beginning with cloud principles of statelessness, load balancing and partitioning. SharePoint 2010 added native multi-tenancy and content and search scalability to hundreds of millions of documents. With Office 365, we introduced a massive scale service fabric (deployment, monitoring, disaster recovery, etc.) to run tens of thousands of servers in multiple datacenters supporting hundreds of millions of users.
With SharePoint 15 we take the next step in investments for both Office 365 and on-premises SharePoint. New architectures like Velocity Distributed Caching, SQL Server Sparse Columns and Shredded Content Storage allow us to support more users, content and events with lower SQL Server I/O and better overall performance. Our new Profile Storage and Sync system increases directory freshness and supports our new social networking features. Finally, major tuning of our Page Rendering Framework reduces server-side rendering 50% and improves client-side rendering with the largest gains coming in Office 365 where we add Content Delivery Network support. Again, we’ll cover a lot more here in the future.
Great SharePoint Deployments
While designing the next wave, our team met with hundreds of customers and partners around the world which influenced not only the evolution of the product but also the guidance that we will update in this blog and on MSDN and TechNet. I wanted to emphasize two points as we roll-out the new release:
- Use SharePoint as an out-of-box application whenever possible - We designed the new SharePoint UI to be clean, simple and fast and work great out-of-box. We encourage you not to modify it which could add complexity, performance and upgradeability and to focus your energy on working with users and groups to understand how to use SharePoint to improve productivity and collaboration and identifying and promoting best practices in your organization.
- Be thorough in custom web design, development and testing – We know many SharePoint sites are published portals or custom web apps and are excited about the new features we designed for these scenarios. We encourage you to review the new features and guidance to reduce the amount of custom work you need to do. But even there, code is code and we encourage you to validate your design early in your development cycle and with particular focus on peak usage performance testing for how your customizations impact HTTP and SQL Server roundtrips. We have guidance and page and object caching techniques that can help here.
Thanks for reading our first post on the new wave. We hope you:
- Try the new SharePoint Online in the Office 365 Preview or SharePoint Server Preview. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you move to Office 365 running SharePoint 2010, we will handle the upgrade to SharePoint 2013 for you.
- Follow the SharePoint Team Blog. We will post more details in the coming weeks with a deeper dive into our enterprise social investments, the new app development model, business intelligence, search and content management.
- Attend the 2012 SharePoint Conference in November. It will be our biggest and best yet. It is a great place to connect and learn best practices from the rapidly growing SharePoint community. There will be some exciting new product details that we plan to share at the event vs. in this preview.
Corporate Vice President SharePoint