The SharePoint 2013 Intranet

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There are a lot of reasons to buy into or upgrade to SharePoint 2013: the latest iteration of Microsoft’s portal-web development platform represents a massive, multi-million dollar upgrade on the previous version of SharePoint (a version that was typically oversold given its underwhelming if not frustrating performance and lack of execution). SharePoint 2013 is a massive upgrade to 2010, but it’s not all good news, and it’s not a solution that fits every organization.

 
Prescient intranet home page using SharePoint 2013
Prescient intranet home page using SharePoint 2013

Here at Prescient Digital Media, we upgraded to SP2013 at the beginning of the year, and haven’t looked back. Though some problems persist, the bugs and challenges are not as persistent as 2010. There are some obvious improvements (pros) and some persistent issues (cons):

PROS:

  • Cloud – feature parity cloud version (of course this was supposed to be the case, in large part, for 2010)
  • Mobile – enhanced mobile access experience (of course, this was promised for SP2010, and it fell embarrassingly short)
  • Social – enhanced social networking (nearly completely lacking in prior versions)
  • Web CMS – enhanced publishing and management interface

 

CONS:

  • Branding – although it’s apparently easier to implement new custom designs on SP13, MS has openly cautioned against customizing the home page
  • Search – to be honest, I really don’t know how to gauge this yet, but they improve search in every release and have thrown billions at it, and yet its always underwhelmed its audience
  • Social networking – My Sites and Newsfeeds are still isolated and separate of the main intranet

 

There are far more pros than cons, but there should be at the price MS charges. SharePoint is perfect for a small to medium-size intranet in a .NET environment that requires a web development platform focused on enterprise content management. But it is not cheap, typically requires a lot of work and customization, and doesn’t always work as promised.

The Prescient Digital Media intranet features a lot of customization and customized web parts, including those for:

• Calendar
• Sales Pipeline
• Client Projects
• Invoicing
• Social Feeds

This intranet case study is a featured case study at the 2013 Intranet Global Forum conference in New York City, October 24 and 25, but a sneak preview can be viewed online a free webinar replay called SharePoint 2013: Social Intranet Case Study.

Speaking of conquest, the Chinese learned Mongol lessons the hard way, and built the Great Wall. Although a firewall is requisite with any intranet, not just a SharePoint intranet, walls kill collaboration and employee knowledge management. More salient, key lessons can be drawn from implementing and working with SharePoint 2013:

• Licensing represents a fraction of the cost
• Planning and governance are mission critical – mission critical
• Custom or third-party web parts and applications are almost always required
• Social collaboration doesn’t just happen, it’s earned
• Change management is the key to success
See a complete video webinar replay of the SharePoint 2013 Social Intranet Case Study from Prescient Digital Media

 

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