Can SharePoint 2013 challenge other Enterprise Social Networks ?

In July Steve Ballmer announced SharePoint 2013 to an eager audience and gave access to the preview. New Social features, improved MySite interface, Skydrive for document storage, improved collaboration, Azure workflow, newsfeeds, improved records management and compliance….it’s a bucket list that seems to tick all the right boxes for an enterprise social platform. But the bucket has holes, Dear Liza….

The problem with SharePoint compared to other tools like Chatter/ Chatterbox, Box, Tibbr and now Oracle trying it’s luck after OpenWorld, is that it’s notorious to deploy out of the box and requires a lot of development and admin investment. SharePoint is really just a development platform that allows businesses to create specific solutions but for those who have invested heavily in 2010 (and even 2007) versions will find it a hard pill to swallow to move to 2013 unless they have deep pockets right now. For a lot of people they can’t shake the perception of a dry company intranet poorly realised and under-developed and with all the noise of enterprise social networks the last thing Microsoft needs is an intranet image.

Intranets are dead.


It’s fair to point out that companies like NewsGator has been creating solutions based on SharePoint for years and are pushing the social angle hard right now but the fact remains that Microsoft’s Partner strategy is strangling its own innovation and ability to satisfy a rapid business need out of the box. It’s the main reason companies like Salesforce, Box and TIBCO are winning in the enterprise social network stakes because you don’t need dedicated resources to build, tweak and develop, to borrow a phrase from Apple, ‘They just work’. What’s more is that with recent announcements from TUCON with a tie-in with Box, other vendors are getting the social enterprise picture a lot easier than Microsoft seems to be. Like another clunky IBM M&A news alert, acquiring Yammer thinking it can just bolt it on and make good things happen is a strategy stuck in the 90s. It also doesn’t help that it’s mobile functionality it somewhat clunky as well and in this current aggressive and fast-paced software economy, it’s unforgivable.

SharePoint 2013 isn’t actually available yet and it’s already looking outdated. Add to that the development cost to actually eke out the functionality to its best ability and you’re adding on more time and money when there are easier, faster and cheaper ways to reach enterprise collaboration.

Another cloud

Unfortunately there’s another cloud in the silver SharePoint lining and it was generated by Microsoft itself.

Jeff Teper, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for SharePoint said “We designed the new SharePoint UI to be clean, simple and fast and work great out-of-box. We encourage you not to modify it…We encourage you to review the new features and guidance to reduce the amount of custom work you need to do. …we encourage you to validate your design early in your development cycle….”

If you read between the lines, Jeff has alienated the development community by saying ‘look, don’t touch’. Whether it’s a deliberate move or not will unfold in time but Microsoft might just have given Salesforce, TIBCO and others their chance to wrestle SharePoint from the corporate purchase order.

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Categories: Future of work, Information Technology, Social / Collaboration, Workplace Reality

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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