“The Social Layer”
Microsoft has gone social in a big way with SharePoint 2013. Over time, Microsoft has been evolving their social layer with each new release of SharePoint. Traditionally, the SharePoint product team would work on the next version release 3 or so years in advance which would reflect that time period onto the features of each new version. The 2007 SharePoint version focused its social collaboration offerings on the My Site, availability of wikis, and blogs. Then came the SharePoint 2010 release. SharePoint 2010 was actually developed in 2006; a time before Facebook, Twitter, or iPhone’s existed. However, SharePoint 2010 did take a leap with social by offering social tagging, the NoteBoard and microblogs. Finally the latest version; SharePoint 2013 was released. SharePoint 2013 is relative to today’s world. SharePoint 2013 focuses on social collaboration, employee engagement, and breaking down the silos of geographically dispersed teams. SharePoint 2013 has several social features that today’s workforce is used to. Hashtagging, Liking, Following and even @mentioning are all available in OOTB SharePoint 2013.
There is a new Community Site template that brings gamification into the environment. Gamification has its own layer of social collaboration that encourages users to interact with the portal; to start discussions, comment on previous discussions, earn points and even earn badges. The new Community Site template really provides a great place for forums of knowledge sharing to transpire.
The new SharePoint Newsfeed app shows items from other users in reverse chronological order and can be added to any page in any site. SharePoint’s search feature has also been improved to take advantage of the new social capabilities by allowing users to search within Newsfeed conversations or by searching for a certain hashtag or @mentioned people across conversations.
SharePoint 2013 has all the right tools to get your organization started with an Enterprise Social journey. SharePoint 2013 is made for today’s world of workers that are used to toting multiple devices and communicating, collaborating and connecting over a vast array of social media platforms.
Microsoft has also gone social in a big way with the acquisition of Yammer back in 2012. Yammer is Microsoft’s microblogging and collaboration platform for enterprise social networking. When you look up the word, Yammer, in the dictionary, it is described as informal dialect. In my opinion, the informal dialect that we have in our respective organizations is where the innovations and ideas transpire. Now that Yammer Enterprise is a part of the Office 365 Enterprise offerings, it is just that much easier to take advantage of this amazing platform. True collaboration is born in Yammer environments allowing users to connect to geographically dispersed teams, share and collaborate on documents, utilize Yammer’s robust search engine to dig up hashtags, and quickly find expertise in the organization within the contacts in Yammer. Yammer does offer a freemium version to any organization out there with a company domain. But, the Enterprise version definitely gives us more control for governance and eDiscovery scenarios. Yammer’s open API’s also open the door to integrating Yammer with your own applications or some other common applications like Dynamics CRM, Salesforce, and SharePoint.