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Microsoft SharePoint 2013 indepth explanation

29 Aug 12

Thanks to the folks at Intergen, who've put together this explanation of Microsoft SharePoint 2013.

During July 2012, Microsoft publically shared details about Microsoft SharePoint 2013 for the first time.  Coinciding with its announcements around Office 2013, Microsoft also released beta software, including that for SharePoint 2013. While no release date was given, we can expect the final version of Office, including SharePoint, towards the end of 2012.

Microsoft SharePoint 2013 contains a significant number of improvements to previous versions of SharePoint, in key areas such as mobility, productivity and social. We recommend that if you’re considering a new SharePoint deployment or upgrading from a previous version, then now is the time to understand the new features on offer and use this as the basis of any assessment you might make.

As with earlier versions of SharePoint, the platform can be used on its own as an enterprise content management solution or web content management solution, but even greater value can be derived through its integration with the other applications in the Microsoft Office range, and the other enterprise applications (such as the Dynamics ERP and CRM solutions) that will take advantage of its capabilities over time.

Intergen has already been working with SharePoint 2013 for over six months as part of the early beta programs. This means we’ve already seen it in action in an enterprise setting and can advise you on the best way to move forward with this new technology.

This paper provides a high-level overview of the key improvements in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 and what benefits these provide organisations.

Social for the enterprise

Compared with SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010 took a big step forward in the Social space, with rich My Sites and some micro-blogging capabilities. SharePoint 2013 goes well beyond 2010 and brings the capabilities of Yammer, Twitter and LinkedIn to the enterprise space. The main benefits of these capabilities are information sharing and connectivity between staff in order to reduce silos and speed up knowledge transfer. Key capabilities of Social include:

» Rich micro-blogging with ‘@’ and ‘#’ tags and replies allowing staff to quickly communicate with a small or broad audience. » A full activity feed allowing users to see all activity in one place and stay in the loop on key events or communications.

» The ability for users to follow people, sites, tags and documents and get updates in their activity feed.

» New Community Sites (think fully-featured discussion boards) with experts, badges and reputation points. Perfect for special interest groups, new staff or general communications and collaboration.

With Yammer, the enterprise microblogging service, now owned by Microsoft, Microsoft has signalled that it will aggressively evolve the SharePoint solution – with Yammer – to ensure the “social enterprise” will become a reality. While details of how Yammer and SharePoint might be packaged and integrated are yet to be disclosed, Microsoft is well-positioned to become a leader in workplace social software.


With so many versions to choose from – foundation, Standard, Express, fAST – the range of search options from Microsoft has always been challenging to understand. Now there is only one version of search, and it is amazing! The best capabilities of all products have been combined into one. Think search suggestions, document previews, continuous crawl, recommendations, social distance ranking, deep refinement, auto identification of company names, advanced analytics, even more integration, easy customisation and you are getting close to what the new search capabilities provide.

What does all this mean? A highly engaging search experience for end users that provides the fastest, most accurate results ever seen in SharePoint.


Accessing knowledge and enabling collaboration have been cornerstones of Microsoft SharePoint since its first release in 2001. There are a number of improvements in this space which take SharePoint to the next level:

» Users have a folder on their desktop which syncs directly to their My Site. Companies use this instead of personal drives, making it easy for staff to store documents within their own space, conforming to templates and enterprise metadata. Essentially this provides Dropbox-type-simplicity with full enterprise level control at the back end; the best of both worlds.  » A new area in My Sites rolls up a user’s tasks across the entire SharePoint environment as well as Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Exchange. This creates a proverbial “one-stop shop” for users instead of going to tasks lists across the platform. This delivers a huge productivity boost!

» There are a number of general user interface improvements such as easy list creation, searching and editing and drag and drop document uploading.  You’ll be surprised at how much easier SharePoint is to use and user adoption and training will benefit from these improvements.

» A new Share feature allows users to easily share sites and content with each other rather than dealing with complex permissions. » There a number of new and welldesigned collaboration templates available, delivering organisations great value from SharePoint 2013 straight out of the box.

» Access Services has been completely rebuilt and now exists as a standalone solution, separate from SharePoint.  Access now has far more capabilities for rich forms and reports now than were provided in SharePoint 2010.


SharePoint 2010 provided some great functionality for intranet, extranet and public-facing websites. the capabilities in SharePoint 2013 have raised the bar and positioned SharePoint well and truly as a leader in the web content management space. features that are new to SharePoint 2013 include:

» A new Product Catalogue capability allows site navigation to be defined using metadata. Product pages then aggregate content from a number of sources onto the page using the new Content by Search web part. This powerful capability allows eCommerce and knowledge-based sites to be quickly developed and to adapt over time as product categories and taxonomy changes.  Site collection boundaries are no longer an issue for publishing content!

» Digital asset management has greatly improved, with much better handling of images and video content. for example you can select the thumbnail used for a video just through the browser, display YouTube videos and manage multiple renditions of digital assets.

» Search Engine Optimisation has been implemented, with friendly URLs and auto sitemap generation.

» A new Design Manager puts all the branding aspects of the site in one place with the ability to import non-SharePoint HTML from a designer and apply to a site and a much simpler theming engine.  Designs can also be easily exported and imported. Overall these capabilities make designing websites much easier.

Thanks to Intergen for sharing your expertise with the Techday community.

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