We Wish You a SharePoint Upgrade and a Happy New Year

By Brian Prigge

With the SharePoint Conference right around the corner in March, I have heard people wondering what Microsoft could possibly be announcing so close to the last release of SharePoint.  There will certainly be a cool new feature or two poised and ready to release. 

I have also spoken to people who are, unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum and claim they simply don't care about the new features.  In my opinion, those who claim not to care are suffering from “New-Feature Envy.” 

Anyone stuck on an old version of SharePoint can explain new-feature envy.  It's that sinking feeling that slowly comes over you when you realize it will be years before you can use the new features of the latest SharePoint release. 

The only known cure for new-feature envy is a SharePoint upgrade.  Because procuring budget for a SharePoint upgrade might be difficult, here are a few points to remember while making your case.

SharePoint Offers Productivity

In the past few decades, we've seen amazing advancements in technology.  We've gone from a world where computers didn’t communicate at all to a world where computers communicate over thousands of miles in well under a second.  We've gone from computers that take up entire rooms to computers that fit in our pockets.  All of this advancement has happened in the name of productivity.

SharePoint 2013 brings with it a large number of advancements in the way it handles the changing face of technology.  There are vast performance improvements, including the Minimal Download Strategy (MDS). 

MDS is Microsoft’s way of minimizing the load time of the page.  It's a move that Microsoft made to appease both business users looking for faster load times and IT folks looking for less network traffic. 

SharePoint 2013 also brings device channels and cross-browser compatibility.  No longer are we tied to Internet Explorer and a sub-standard mobile experience.  We can choose how and when we want to consume the information within SharePoint, leading us to make better, more productive use of our time.

SharePoint Offers Extensibility and Stability

As any SharePoint administrator will tell you, third-party and custom SharePoint Solutions are scary.  Many of these solutions require carte blanche access to all resources within the Farm, run as part of SharePoint’s own code, and have complete license to bring down the entire environment.

With SharePoint 2013 came the new App Model for SharePoint development, and SharePoint administrators rejoiced.  Extending SharePoint’s functionality no longer requires giving full access to your systems to a third party. 

Now, you can limit the permissions of a particular add-on and the third-party software is no longer running as part of your SharePoint installation.  It's a separate system that simply has access to talk to your SharePoint environment. 

This code isolation means that your system is more secure and more stable when dealing with third parties.  Therefore, your administration team is less likely to object to new add-ons, which means your system will be more extensible and able to satisfy more business needs with less effort.

SharePoint Offers Better User Experience

In earlier versions of SharePoint, the user experience was based largely on the structure of the system.  It had very little to do with the anticipated user behavior and was difficult to modify. 

Thankfully, in SharePoint 2013, the user experience was completely rebuilt.  The interactions are based on how the user is anticipated to work in the system.  All of the Office experience is under one roof, including email.  Most importantly, SharePoint 2013 is easier to customize than any other version.

These are just a few of the vast improvements that are included in SharePoint 2013.  Any one of the new features could help strengthen your case for a SharePoint upgrade. 

Brian Prigge is a SharePoint Architect with RAMP, where he leads the implementation of RAMP's suite of video hosting, search and discovery solutions into custom SharePoint integrations. He has been working with SharePoint for over five years and has a deep knowledge of both the solutions model and the app model for custom SharePoint development.  If you're suffering from New-Feature Envy, tweet him at @brprigge with the feature you're looking forward to and #UpgradeAlready.

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