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‘Discover SharePoint’ is All About How SharePoint 2013 Features Support Collaboration

Perhaps someone in the SharePoint product management team decided the real market for SharePoint are organizations with a burning need for collaboration. Discover SharePoint, Microsoft’s promotional web site for SharePoint (which includes a set of videos which each appear to comply with Section 508 U.S. Federal regulations), does a great job of presenting these features, but offers scant information on SharePoint’s capabilities for enterprise document and content management.

For example, Store, Sync and Share Your Content, presents One Drive for Business. The features presented are hard to differentiate from the features of any other shared document library in SharePoint itself. But One Drive for Business is simply a component of SharePoint, right? So why should users control sharing at the One Drive for Business level, when, to follow best practices, they should control these settings at the level of a shared document library in SharePoint?

The familiar tones of “easy” configuration, and “quick” set up are laced throughout the product presentations. But do these tones fairly prepare users for what they may experience when they actually implement SharePoint 2013. Keep everyone on the same page presents the basic steps required to “quickly” put up a team site. The narration emphasizes the importance of a SharePoint 2013 team site as a method of “helping to organize and keep your team in sync”.

The short video on this page devoted to the SharePoint 2013 team site (the total run time is, perhaps, 3 mins) quickly covers the promoted links at the top (which are now referred to as “getting started tiles”). The narrator briefly touches on the point and click branding features, and then turns to the sharing features, how to invite team members to view the site and participate, and, for organizations opting for SharePoint Online, Office 365, how to even invite people from outside an organization to view and participate in the site.

My concern about all of the above is the tendency to portray SharePoint as something simple to implement and to operate on a daily basis. The video tutorial set which we offer on SharePoint-Videos would not be as voluminous as it is (we offer over 830 video tutorials on SharePoint) if SharePoint were truly a simply application to conceptualize, plan, build, administer, and, for end users, use for daily computing tasks. A bit of complexity is not a bad thing, especially when best practices have been defined which make all of the above steps much more productive, with the end result a much higher valued implementation of SharePoint.

Ira Michael Blonder

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