Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit

Why it is worth to move over to SharePoint 2013

The cost saving aspect of Microsoft SharePoint is the major commercial reason for business enterprises being attracted to this versatile collaborative platform that has been in use for quite some time. Indeed the technical benefits of the platform influence the decisions in its favor but no matter how good the technicalities may be it would not have cut ice with the business decision makers unless it was accompanied by a good measure of cost advantage that organizations might derive from it. After all return on investment is what matters and so far

With Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit having been launched for some time now, there might be some people who are yet to gauge the cost advantage that the updated version brings with it. Several features have been enhanced in the new version that enhances the technical functionalities while offering the users a slew of cost benefits also. So, from a techno commercial perspective, it makes good sense to migrate to the latest version of SharePoint. Moreover, the improvements in the user interface and the integration of features of social media and mobile devices are even more compelling reasons to adopt the new version. Organizations entitled for an automatic upgrade to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit as per stipulation of their license agreement should waste no time to take advantage of some of the key benefits that are outlined below that bring with it cost benefits, direct and indirect.

·         Licensing changes

·         Modified document storage

·         Inbuilt search

·         Social features

·         Mobile device compatibility

Changes in user license

The architecture regarding the capabilities of user license enforcement has been changed dramatically in the new version. The change would enable companies to have two kinds of licenses – Standard and Enterprise within a single a SharePoint installation or farm. This was not possible with SharePoint 2010 and companies were compelled to bear the cost of the license that was much more as compared to the optimized usage of the platform by its users. This can be explained by looking at the trend of usage of the SharePoint platform over the past few years.

Every user in an organization never uses all the features of SharePoint although the license fee that companies pay entitles them to its full usage. This happens with any other application like Microsoft Office also where 80% features of Office are used by only 20% users while 80% users make use of only 20% of the features. Despite knowing this fact, the companies did not have any option but to buy either enterprise or standard user license. Alternatively, organizations had to buy set up SharePoint farms to enable them subscribe to the enterprise and the standard edition.

In any organization there will be a mix of users who use the both the standard and enterprise edition features in certain proportions. In the new version, it will be possible to mix licenses and user groups can be assigned to the specific license group. Companies willing to avail this benefit have to turn on the feature at the time of installing SharePoint.

This is a major cost saving proposition of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit.

Modified document storage

There has been a remarkable change in the way documents and data are stored in SharePoint 2013. This is important from the perspective of Document Management System which is the starting point for all organizations. The system allows content management, publishing, maintaining several versions of the document and many more and companies leverage the varied features.

The concept of shredded storage or incremental storage has been implemented. As several versions of a document is stored in SharePoint, every time a change occurs to the document the entire document is saved and stored in addition to the one that is already stored. This means that if there are two revisions in the document then there would be three versions (including the original) stored. This means that the total storage space for that particular document is three times that of the original document.

In SharePoint 2013 the storage of new versions of documents has been made incremental or shredded. This allows saving of the complete original document and for the newer versions only the modified portions are saved. This is achieved by shredding the documents into fragments, storing it as XML and the changes to the document in the new version are only captured and stored instead of the whole document. Storage requirements are thus significantly reduced and contributes to indirect cost saving.

Search enhancement

Organizations handling huge documents and contents that may run into millions often need the assistance of a search engine that enables them to sift through the documents to search data based on context, people, and visuals and with features of tunable relevance model to cater to the organization’s requirements. Until Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit had been launched, Microsoft’s FAST super search engine was being used by these organizations. This is a separate resource that had to be subscribed at extra cost.

In the newer version of SharePoint the features of FAST have been integrated thereby allowing organizations to avail the benefits without having to bear any extra cost. This is one of the most important upgrade that would enable organizations to browse an entire document when previewing the search results in addition to thumbnail previews together with all the other features of FAST that would help organizations to leverage the benefits of search. But to avail the complete range of benefits of the new features, the organizations have to maintain good standards and discipline.

Social features

In today’s competitive business environment every organization is inclining more and more towards social computing and are in need of advanced infrastructure that can support them in achieving their objectives. Taking note of this requirement, Microsoft has enhanced the social features in the latest version that has many commendable features that adds a lot of value to the platform. For Community sites there is a new site template in Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit. Organizations can now build a dedicated site that allows reputation building based on the contributions of the community members as it is possible to build community members using the feature of discussion threads, as well as earn badges that reflect the level of reputation of a community member. There are a lot more features of the social face of the platform. Taking advantage of this aspect, organizations can now launch a community site to make their social presence felt in a better way and reap its benefits without having to incur any additional cost.

Mobile device compatibility enhancement

Microsoft has made good for the inherent weakness of mobile device compatibility of SharePoint 2010 and has brought about some drastic changes in SharePoint 2013 that is going to impact the organizations greatly. Although mobile computing had caught our fancy over the last few years and is growing at a tremendous pace, it is sad the SharePoint 2010 was lagging behind. But it is heartening that the weakness has been overcome completely in SharePoint 2013. The support to mobile platform has been greatly enhanced in SharePoint 2013. When a user requests a site from any mobile device, the site will be rendered on the device in classic, contemporary or full view mode depending on the kind of device of request. The contemporary view is optimized for browsing experience on mobile device and is provided in HTML5. To avail this facility the feature mobile browser direction of the device has to be activated and needless to say the device has to be a smart one.

Activation of the push notification feature enables SharePoint to send alert notifications to the mobile devices of the application users provided they have subscribed to the facility in a site. Sending SMS notifications is also possible in the new version.

The location feature is another notable addition to SharePoint 2013 but it is only available programmatically and not to all and sundry.  This feature allows applications to use geo location data. The applications can now access and become aware of the location data of the user and can leverage the data in developing strategies that are targeted to the geographical location of the user. Applications in SharePoint get a complete new flavor with the enrichment of the data by bringing geo location within its ambit.

The SharePoint platform has matured over the years and organizations are aware of its collaborative strength but the new features address many user needs that will make a lot of difference in the way the platform was being used.

Despite the challenges of migration from SharePoint2010 to Microsoft SharePoint 2013 audit, it is worth moving over to the new version that offers cost benefit for organizations. Looking at the bigger picture beyond cost benefit, SharePoint 2013 can make organizations reap huge benefits that will be outweighing the thought of sticking to the older version. One thing is that is for sure is that the return on investment with SharePoint 2013 is just too attractive to stay away from it.