#SPC12 SharePoint 2012 Conference Wrap Up
I’m comfortably ensconced in my home office, space heater going, ears ringing with Vegas din, and sipping an AlkaSeltzer laden water to relieve my cold symptoms picked up from too many hours in too many packed conference rooms.
Wow, what a show.
Looking back over all my other previous postings, you may develop an impression of me as an unrestrained fan of SharePoint and its related, integrated technologies. You’d be right. I love the product and especially what I’ve seen in this new release. But, to be objective, let me run through the major items as I see them:
The Yammer acquisition is “terrifically exciting” (could that phrase become any more overused by MS staff?) but is a bit awkward right now. SP 2013 already had a bunch of great activity, newsfeed and micro-blog social components that look very nice. On the surface, Yammer doesn’t add much to that and, in fact, muddies the water a bit since no one at MS is completely certain exactly how they are going to fit in. In the long run, I think it will become the social messaging bus for all the business products (SP, Dynamics) and this will be a good thing. As a Yammer Enterprise user, I see the value of social and am a big believer in what this can do when used right.
If it wasn’t social being talked about, it was search. Combining Enterprise and FAST in this release is a good thing – the two products were unnecessary. Also, as anyone dealing with corporate content governance can tell you, creating stuff is easy – finding stuff is hard. What MS has done is create a search-driven system from structured meta-data and user managed tags that allows users to favorite, like, and share documents and see document previews in the search results. I think this goes a long way to making SharePoint ever MORE useable for content storage and, I believe, will kill file shares in the mid-term.
As with many things in this release, MS didn’t go for hot, new sexy features. They just vastly improved what was already there. PPS, Excel Services, Power Pivot and PowerView all basically function the same but have significant improvements in security model and usability that will make them much more useful to end users. That’s a hard pitch to make to your corporate masters driven by earning releases, splashy news press and units moved but they pulled on their big-boy pants and did it – and they did it across everything, not just BI. By doing so, they are showing a commitment to making this a real integrated platform not just a platform that can be demo’d but doesn’t really work.
Clearly, MS is staking EVERYTING on cloud. From O365 to ERP to CRM to AZURE, you are seeing MS move its entire business model out of your data center and into its own. But, while doing that, they are being realistic in understanding that no-one is going for a full cloud IT model. The ability to federate to Azure ADS and O365 for single-sign-on was very nice, as were the cross-platform development tools to bind all this stuff together and the cross-browser support message that was consistently and repeatedly delivered in every session. With that said, I still think MS is missing the boat on its Azure costing model. All hosting partners charge for a machine of a specific size and for blocks of storage; Azure, instead, charges by proc, storage AND bandwidth making cost management for app deployment in Azure a bit tough to manage costs. I will write more on this in a separate post. They addressed this a bit by allowing SP apps to be hosted in O365 at no charge, so that’s a big plus, but I still think more changes will have to come.
Yeah, I’m a fan-boy of Sharepoint but I’m not an idiot. I’ve seen MS screw up too many times with me being on the receiving end of it to unreservedly admire what they’ve done. The next two or three months, as the product is released and we start using it, will tell the real truth. But, IF they just do what they said they will AND IF they just keeping hitting the flywheel like they did with this release they WILL have a great product for us to use.