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SharePoint 2013 in Office 365 has lots of Features Emphasizing Collaboration that can be Confusing

Rehmani Consulting, Inc has published a webinar, Tour SharePoint 2013 User Interfaces. This webinar is available for public viewing at no charge. The webinar is presented by Asif Rehmani, a SharePoint MVP and trainer.

In this webinar Asif presents a new feature of SharePoint 2013, “Newsfeeds”. This feature is included with Team Sites and, with exactly the same name, My Sites. Newsfeeds for Team Sites is accessed from the Quick Launch bar that runs vertically on the left side of the Site Owner user interface. In contrast, the Newsfeeds feature of My Site is accessed from the Office 365 Top Links Bar, which includes other Office 365 features like Outlook, Calendar, etc. We understand why it made sense to include a separate Newsfeed for My Sites, but wish that a different name had been chosen for the feature to better differentiate it from Newsfeeds for Team Sites.

Newsfeeds work very much like Facebook’s “What’s On Your Mind” feature, LinkedIn’s “Share an Update”, or Google Plus’ “Share What’s New”. As such, we think Newsfeeds for Team Sites will be a highly useful feature to support cross departmental collaboration for large organizations in the public and private sectors, especially where SharePoint Governance mandates that any/all activities undertaken for specific projects be noted with a news entry. The “Sharing” feature, which is accessible from the Office 365 Top Links bar in the SharePoint 2013 User Interface is, as Asif Rehmani notes, a powerful feature that works with Newsfeeds to empower users to select and follow individuals, documents, lists, etc. Once the selections have been made, any updates from these shared entities will be presented within the Newsfeed information stream.

As Asif points out, another potentially confusing feature is the “Sites” button included within the Office 365 Top Links Bar. Site Collection Administrators may assume that the “Sites” button provides access to all of the Sites within a Site Collection. However, the “Sites” button only provides access to the My Site for the specific user. Once again, we think that a more informative name ought to have been selected for this feature.

Microsoft has included access to its “Sky Drive” service directly from the SharePoint 2013 User Interface within Office 365. We wonder whether security concerns will arise regarding this feature on the part of businesses and other organizations that want to carefully manage how users synchronize personal information with digital asset repositories that are the property of the host.

If you need to put together an opinion on whether it will make sense for your organization to plan on a migration to SharePoint 2013 through Office 365, you should think about whether it makes sense to contact us for more detail than we provide in this webinar. Asif Rehmani has developed substantial familiarity with SharePoint 2013. We welcome opportunities to engage with organizations considering purchasing our consulting services to better facilitate successful attainment of objectives. Either telephone us at +1 630-786-7026 or contact us via email, we will be happy to learn more about your specific objectives, relative to SharePoint, for your organization.

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