SharePoint 2013 is due for release in the first quarter of 2013 – and for once, the sequel far outstrips the original
The modern work environment is changing rapidly and more and more workplaces are allowing employees to work from home. Many employees now log on to virtual workspaces to access necessary information, and submit pieces of work. It is in this type of scenario where SharePoint 2013 comes into its own.
Ready for the mobile workforce
Developers have stayed abreast of current employment trends and have built in many features to assist remote workers, even including links to social networking sites, where the software can flag pages and sites that might be of interest or relevant to users.
One of the biggest features of the new SharePoint 2013 is the social networking aspect. No longer are Facebook and Twitter frowned upon by bosses, rather they are encouraged as a quick, cheap and easy way to take the pulse of a customer base. Regular tweets or posts keep customers interested and remind them of the business, making them more likely to choose the company next time they purchase.
The new offering boasts a newsfeed keeping track of up-to-the-minute posts and has a new tool called Community Sites, designed to help the user fully integrate social networks with his or her business needs. To a business that has many employees based at remote locations, SharePoint 2013’s social network feature can help to combat the sense of isolation that can occur to a homeworker. Colleagues and employers can now chat and share designs, spread-sheets and other information, as they work. For those on a tight deadline, there is no longer the worry of having to fax, or drive in paperwork, it is all there, ready and waiting as soon as they hit ‘save’ on the final draft.
Ready for multiple devices
Another important change made to SharePoint 2013 is that of device-friendliness. The programme can be accessed on a multitude of devices, so users can stay connected on a tablet or smartphone, while out and about.SharePoint 2013 has also been designed with a love for apps. Users can download these from external sites, and it is also possible for companies to design apps, restricting their use entirely to the private SharePoint 2013 files. These can help businesses to keep track of employee travel, spending, work hours etc.
Ready to share, store and search
It’s all about sharing! Not only on social media as discussed above, but the programme is also geared to work well with other programmes, particularly the recently released Office 365. This assures end users that documents, files and images will not only be safely stored for others to access them, but they will be compatible with the programs used by the other parties.
The biggest and best feature of the new SharePoint 2013 is the enhanced and perfected search facility. The developers have worked hard to make it very easy for both IT departments and end users to quickly and easily find the data and files that they need to, whether it is stored on-site on servers, or off-site on the cloud or another remote data storage facility.
But are you ready?
Preparing for SharePoint 2013 requires some changes to be made in the way business is done. Moving towards cloud storage is becoming inevitable as technology changes, and SharePoint is designed to work well with off-site storage systems.
Each user must be given access to SharePoint and taught how to access files and projects and how to save them once they have completed their piece of the work. Users may prefer to use their own equipment if working from home, while others may expect to be allocated company equipment. IT staff members must be trained in virtual workplaces, so they can set-up, maintain and update all the information needed to run the business smoothly, while keeping the system safe from hackers with malicious intentions.
The changes that need to be made to prepare for the advent of SharePoint 2013 should be simple and straight-forward to implement.
The hardest task may be to persuade those accustomed to dressing in work-appropriate attire and arriving in the office at one minute to nine o’clock that the process is unnecessary and that they can, in fact, work better in their own home at their chosen time of day!
Marcus Austin works for Firebrand Training as a technical author.