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Year in Review: 13 SharePoint highlights for 2013

It’s been a big year and I thought I would take a moment today to cover some of the SharePoint highlights for 2013.

1) SharePoint moves to a “services-first” offering

Wave 15 of Office brought us a number of new features to SharePoint Online including improved search, IRM, and more.  Although the SharePoint Online offering still doesn’t have features that on-premises has, we are moving into an era where Office 365 is going to be getting features before anything else now.  That means if you want the latest and greatest features, you should be using SharePoint Online.  A good example of this is Power BI for Office 365.  That doesn’t mean on-premises is dead, but it does mean you will be waiting a while before getting new features.

2) Microsoft confirms on-premises isn’t dead

People have been predicting the upcoming demise of on-premises for a while now.  A lot of this was really do to unclear messaging.  While it is obvious that Microsoft is focused on the cloud, it wasn’t obvious about the future of the upcoming server products.  In the last month or so, the messaging has made things cleared with Bill Bear reiterating updates are coming as well as Jeff Teper has been commenting in the SPYam group.

3) Confusion about release cadence of on-premises cleared up

At SPC12, Microsoft stated that the release cadence was changing for SharePoint.  However, there was quite a bit of confusion there too.  Did this also include SharePoint on premises?  The answer is a resounding no.  In general, organizations are barely equipped to complete an upgrade of SharePoint once every three years let alone on a more frequent basis.  Bill Baer’s post also confirmed the 2-3 year release cadence of on-premises versions will continue.

4) The year of Yammer

Alright, so every year is going to be the year of Yammer for a while.  Yammer is great and people want it now, but we know that integrating a service like this is no easy task and isn’t going to happen over night.  Enterprise Social is huge and customers have to make a big of a gamble on the direction they choose.  The out-of-the-box social features in SharePoint 2013 probably meet a lot of your customer’s requirements.  However, with the acquisition of Yammer, it’s hard to say how much investment you want to make there.  If you ask Microsoft, they will say choose Yammer every time, but until the integration effort makes more progress there is going to be a bit of a disconnect for users.

5) Service Pack 1 announced for SharePoint 2013

Service Pack 1 was announced to be coming early next year.  As a reminder, the goal of a service pack is to roll-up fixes and provide a new baseline for support.  So if you are expecting a heap of new features to come to on-premises as a result, I wouldn’t get your hopes up.  Not to say that it’s not possible though. For example we got the preupgradecheck command for stsadm back in SP2 for SharePoint 2007.  However, just keep in mind this is mostly about rolling up bug fixes and improving stability of the product.

6) Metalogix grows bigger through acquisition

It’s been a busy year for Metalogix as it continues to grow through a series of acquisitions.  They acquired Axceler’s SharePoint business back in August although I had been hearing rumors of it all year long.  This allows Metalogix to compete on a number of new levels.  This and with their other acquisitions certainly makes for an interesting market with the SharePoint ISVs.

In October, Metalogix then went on to acquire Idera’s SharePoint backup tools.  This one kind of surprised me.  From the time I have lived in Houston, I haven’t seen a whole lot of activity out of Idera at all.  I’ve known a few people that have worked there over the years, but at the community level, we have seen absolutely nothing out of that company in several years.  I guess it does make since though as Metalogix continue to fill in the gaps of it’s product suite to compete with AvePoint.

As a reminder, I am not endorsing anyone’s product here.  I’m just stating my observations.  If you work for Metalogix or AvePoint, please don’t feel the need to call me as you all always do anytime I post something even slightly mentioning one of your names. :)

7) Office Store expands

The Office Store came out late last year and I threw my hat in the ring by putting a number of SharePoint apps in there.  It’s hard to really say how the Office store is really doing, but they have been making continuous improvements to it all year.  Most recently, we saw the launch of International stores and the much desired subscription pricing.  Subscription pricing is huge because it allows developers to get recurring revenue.  This was a huge issue for provider hosted apps since the app developer has to account for the recurring costs of hosting the remote code.

8) Legal tangles with the use of the word SharePoint

In just the last week, we saw Microsoft’s legal team enforce restrictions on the use of it’s trademark.  Furkunap made a big deal about it but he wasn’t the only one that received notices.  Microsoft has every right to enforce the use of their trademark and I am surprised it took this long for some sites to be contacted.  What it comes down to is that you can use the word SharePoint in a manner that doesn’t portray you as being officially associated with Microsoft.  There is probably a better legal way of stating that I am sure.  I have to say I am quite impressed at the level of discussion of interaction by the @SharePoint account.  If you have any questions on what is acceptable, take a look at Bryan Bolling’s post.

9) SkyDrive name change

SkyDrive (the consumer offering) and SkyDrive Pro (what SharePoint offers) largely do the same thing and there has always been some confusion on the naming inside SharePoint.  In late July, Microsoft lost a lawsuit with UK-based Sky Broadcasting Group which is going to result ultimately in a name change.  My hopes is that the new products can better differentiate the consumer and SharePoint offerings.

10) Most SharePoint Online Sites have been upgraded

By now, most of the SharePoint Online sites have been upgraded to a version based off of SharePoint 2013.  This is a significant piece of Microsoft testing it’s capabilities to push out major updates to SharePoint Online.  While there are still some tenants out there that haven’t been upgraded, by now most people are on the new version.

11) Microsoft transitions to Devices and Services Company

In July, we heard a lot about the reorg at Microsoft as the company moves to a focus on devices and services.  With SharePoint moving to a service-first offering, this transition is of course significant for the future of the product.

12) SharePoint Conference 2014 announced

It may seem like so long ago, but SharePoint Conference 2014 was just announced in August.  It looks to be another great lineup of speakers (including myself :) ).  This will be the best place to go next year to learn about all things going on with SharePoint.  If you haven’t registered yet, head over to SharePointConference.com today.

13) 2014 will be the year of the hybrid

People have realized that we can’t just pull the plug on our on-premises servers and go to the cloud over night.  It’s simply not going to happen.  Now organizations are looking at a more hybrid approach to the problem.  For years now, we have already seen customers jumping to Office 365 for Exchange and Lync.  Now within the SharePoint Online space, we see organizations putting one foot in the clouds with SkyDrive Pro and personal sites.  We’ll continue to hear stories like these next year especially at SPC14.

Conclusion

It’s been another big year for SharePoint.  What else do you think has been a highlight of the last year?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Corey Roth

Corey Roth, a SharePoint Server MVP, is a consultant at Hitachi Consulting specializing in SharePoint and Office 365 for clients in the energy sector. He has more than ten years of experience delivering solutions in the energy, travel, advertising and consumer electronics verticals.

Corey specializes in delivering ECM and search solutions to clients using SharePoint. Corey has always focused on rapid adoption of new Microsoft technologies including Visual Studio 2013, Office 365, and SharePoint.

He is a member of the .NET Mafia (www.dotnetmafia.com) where he blogs about the latest technology and SharePoint. He is dedicated to the community and speaks regularly at user groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

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