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Microsoft SharePoint 2013 - How good is new office collaboration suite?

Microsoft takes up such major trends as cloud readiness, social collaboration and mobility with SharePoint 2013. The ultimate goal is a uniform user experience

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With SharePoint 2013, Microsoft takes up established trends and carries forward its development as an enterprise platform. Nevertheless, there will still be software in the future that delivers a few percentage points of functionality more for dedicated applications such as document management. SharePoint 2013 is eminently very suitable as an IT platform, however, for the efficient collaboration in companies. If one expands the perspective to the uniform user interface for all types of applications, end devices and customer segments, for which Microsoft is aiming, the actual potential of the platform becomes apparent.
With the introduction of apps, a new dimension of “Consumerisation of IT” in the business customer segment is opening up. It still remains to be seen whether apps will prevail for the provision of business applications or whether the mini applications will be used simply for additional functions. In any case, the new SharePoint version has created the technical and infrastructural conditions for it. One downbeat note for IT managers: Fundamental changes in the architecture turn the migration of earlier versions to SharePoint 2013 into a challenge, especially in the case of installations that have been heavily adapted to company needs. A migration is inevitable, though, if companies want to use SharePoint in the future for complex scenarios in the cloud or in hybrid forms. IT decision makers should also contemplate swift migration to SharePoint 2013 if the intended deployment scenarios are close to the key investment areas of the new version: cloud readiness, social collaboration, mobile devices and Web content management.

Applications of SharePoint 2013

- Web content management: provision of Internet or Intranet presences
- Collaboration: support of collaboration and knowledge management
- Document management: management of documents across their entire life cycle
- Business applications: automation of structured processes based on forms & workflows

Other new features in SharePoint 2013

- Access apps: automated provision of SQL databases and forms for simple business applications
- Excel forms: usage of Web-based Excel forms for the retrieval of data and further processing of data of diverse types via OData
- External lists: link of external data sources by way of OData and export functionality to Excel
- eDiscovery: extracting contents from SharePoint and Exchange and compliant safekeeping for legal cases
- Workflow server: dedicated Windows Azure Workflow server with visual workflow modelling based on Visio and expanded functionality (e.g. stages, loops)
- Office apps: integration of dynamic contents from SharePoint or the Internet into Office 2013 applications

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