As Microsoft SharePoint websites are used to store vital information and processes, it’s extremely important that upgrades to your sites and service are swift and effortless yet preserving the original content and structure of your site. We’ll all agree that everyone either upgrades or move away from the platform.
Hence let’s talk about why businesses are accelerating their upgrades or where (in terms of workload) they are considering an ‘early’ upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 (from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 / SharePoint 2010). It’s pretty important to understand that why do people upgrade and, it’s worth noting why the IT team have to think about upgrading their technology.
- Upgrades provide multiple ways to do things in a more efficient way supporting the increasing demand on IT.
- It’s difficult to maintain old versions of a technology like Microsoft SharePoint. There is a scarcity of resources who have experience or knowledge of Microsoft SharePoint 2003 as
• there were less Microsoft SharePoint experts back then and
• Experienced professionals wanted to work with the latest versions.
- Often Microsoft SharePoint upgrades provide increased support for standards or newer technologies like improved browser support, device support, and windows/office integration can support related upgrades or the growing needs that result from new technologies in the workplace.
- Due to excess of options and increasing expectations for technology user experience and ease of use, IT needs to be more responsive and should speed up upgrade cycles internally to indicate they have competitive offerings and usability. This is also needed as leaders within organizations do tend to buy into SAAS.
- In multi-device environments, there is increased pressure for IT to provide support and options which was not supported or considered earlier in the past.
To understand why people are planning to upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013, here are some of the Business Benefits and Reasons for Microsoft SharePoint 2013 upgrades are listed as under:
- End User enhancements – better Productivity & User Adoption
The substantial enhancements done in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 are those that don’t require profound technical understanding to see the value of it. In case of some organizations enhancements like easier drag and drop, simpler sharing of content and general UI improvements may be a strong driver (due to increase in user adoption and productivity) for encouraging a partial upgrade of generalized team sites or content.Beyond these basic end-user enhancements, below is a list of points which can be a strong motivation to upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 farm.
Easier sharing and permissions management for websites.
Cross site collection roll ups and less site collection boundaries.
Enhanced Task management and instinctive (yet configurable) task rollup and aggregation (across Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange etc.).
Themes and a more accessible design experience for many developers or end users.
Embedded and intuitive social capabilities.
- Improved Search Experience & Engine
It’s good to see the effort Microsoft has done incorporating FAST and BING capabilities in a way that makes sense. This new search fundamental makes it so much easier to use the out of the box search experience from an end-user perspective. Below is a couple of points (not a complete list) WRT why the new Search is better and enhanced capability set. The feature that allows you to see (as you type your search – or after you search and are reviewing the results) what you have searched for and selected previously is such a simple yet impactful feature. For recall scenarios, it will have a significant positive impact. Content by search allows a user very easily build the query they want and see the results as they build it.
Much faster crawl of new or changed content (due to continuous crawling and general performance enhancements) makes sure that results are up to date and relevant.
- Other Enhancements & Benefits Technical benefits typically motivate upgrades only when there is a clear cost benefit. An organization may be able to predict considerable storage savings and performance improvements based on shredded storage improved caching, and improved control/flexibility at a site collection level (for organizations that have distribution model based on site collection access rights/controls). Based on technical changes or factors like this, the organization may be able to provide reasoning and benefits for upgrading that reduce technical limitations, or provide IT cost savings.
It’s much easier to extend comparable to many social enterprise tools. Though there will still be a need for third-party improvements on top of the improved Microsoft SharePoint 2013 model, even without these tools it supplies a fairly complete social experience out of the box. When you add up the new enhancements, the richer feature set and improved capability can stand on its own as a reason to upgrade for some organizations.
New Document Set features may be important if you are heavily leveraging this feature.
Organizations looking out for multilingual support may find the improvements to variations and automatic translation to be a driver for upgrading.
Metadata navigation, image renditions, clean URLs, and other WCM improvements may be extremely important for your public facing website or publishing based intranet site.
- Enhanced mobile browser experience For some companies this may be a deciding factor to upgrade. For smartphone mobile devices, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Preview provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts. Classic View: This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view
Contemporary view: This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone 4.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0.
About risks, well it’s true that there are risks involved around cost when you don’t upgrade. While these aren’t often the primary drivers they can still motivate upgrades. A few examples of these potential costs are:
- It costs more to upgrade from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 than it does from Microsoft SharePoint 2010 to Microsoft SharePoint 2013.
- Integration scenarios and third-party product availability may vary based on the versions of your Microsoft SharePoint implementation.
- Moving from Microsoft SharePoint 2013 to Office 365 will be pretty easier than moving from other versions of Microsoft SharePoint to Office 365.
- The amount of content in your organizations is always growing and storage becomes more challenging to coordinate, control, and manage over time. With the new versions of the product and the underlying storage technologies (like SQL), new features enable scalability, performance, and flexibility (thanks to shredded storage).
- Some web-based systems require certain browsers or browser compatibility that can be costly or challenging to maintain over time when they are not upgraded.
- When you skip a version or two it results in even more significant changes for the end user experience and can be more challenging to train (at all levels) and deal with the change management involved.