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SharePoint Social – Now and the future

This is the second post in a series about Microsoft, SharePoint and Enterprise Social Networks. In the first post we looked at Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer. In this post we will look at SharePoint On-Premises, its native social experience, and the power of Beezy.

SharePoint is now very clearly divided into two key products – On-Premises and the Cloud version. The Cloud version, SharePoint Online, gets a lot of attention. As well as being a popular product in its own right, it is available as part of Office 365 which Microsoft is actively marketing to a wide range of customers.

This doesn’t mean that SharePoint On-Premises isn’t still going strong. Quite the opposite is true. Many tens of thousands of businesses rely on it. Many millions of users login each day to get on with their daily work. Both SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013 are very capable platforms in which companies have invested lots of time and money.

A proportion of these SharePoint On-Premises customers will have long term plans to move to the Cloud, but will be hesitating for a number of reasons:

  • A desire to maximise their current investment
  • Waiting for certain features or functions to become available in the Cloud
  • Waiting for Cloud governance and privacy models to mature
  • Not the right cultural move at this time

Other customers will have no plans to move to the Cloud at all. For some SharePoint On-Premises offers the right fit, integrates well with existing internal systems, and keeps their data in house under their control. There is simply no business case to make a move.

 

SharePoint On-Premises and the social revolution

As we touched on in the last post Microsoft has no plans to integrate Yammer fully with SharePoint On-Premises, and many customers don’t wish to rely on Cloud services in any case. This leaves customers with the following core ‘native’ SharePoint social features:

  • Newsfeed – A central activity feed of updates and news
  • Following users and content – SharePoint 2013 supports ‘following’ both users and content, including documents. This enables updates and notifications.
  • Community site template – A dedicated SharePoint template designed to update the traditional ‘message board’ function.

These features are solid, though not revolutionary. They are limited, and they are fixed. Whilst Microsoft is fully committed to new service packs for On-Premises customers, these have historically focused on security fixes and patches rather than new features. Microsoft has also categorically stated that there will be ‘no more investment in social features for On-Premises SharePoint’.

But there is an alternative, and that is Beezy.

 

An innovative social product

Beezy gives SharePoint On-Premises customers a powerful alternative when it comes to Enterprise Social Networking. We address the concerns of enterprise customers, those that don’t want to miss out on new ways of collaborating and communicating but are happy with SharePoint On-Premises as a platform. We enable companies to deploy a beautiful, intuitive and easy to use Enterprise Social Network that has a clear business purpose.

Core to Beezy are the following:

Social Collaboration

Beezy supports public and private communities where employees can share documents, events, links and other content. Our Microblog feature supports updates, questions and polls and feeds into dynamic activity walls. A powerful search and filtering component helps to surface important business knowledge, tacit information and useful conversations.

Town halls

Our Town Hall feature supports question and answer sessions between groups of users. Senior managers can use them to address team or departments, or project groups can use them to drive collaboration. Sessions can be scheduled for specific times, speakers designated, and supporting materials and documents distributed – all via Beezy.

Talent finder

Talent Finder updates the age old org chart with a new visual style, unique interface and powerful tools. With a real focus on speed, Talent Finder makes it easy to find the right person and right profile in real time. Data includes SharePoint profiles, Active Directory information, Beezy activity and even third party services and databases.

Knowledge center

Knowledge centers allow knowledge to be captured in a structured manner, whilst maintaining all of the great benefits of social software. Leveraging the SharePoint Managed Metadata service, Beezy combines the best of SharePoint and Social to ensure the right data is captured in the right manner.

 

Future plans

You can find out more information about Beezy for SharePoint 2010 and 2013 ‘On Premises’ customers here. We also have a number of videos highlighting key improvements over native SharePoint features.

Join us for part three of this series when we will be looking at some of the exciting projects Beezy has on its product roadmap, including our plans for Apps and Office 365.

Maximo Castagno

Maximo Castagno

Chief Product Officer. I’m a sociologist designing for humans since 1998.