You can’t run and you can’t hide … from Sharepoint 2010

It’s true … you can’t run, and you can’t hide. The inexorable roll out of Sharepoint 2010 (SP2010) is about to begin in earnest. From my brief and unscientific poking around on our trial instance, it looks like SP2010 answers many of the niggling questions I had about SP2007 – particularly in the user-generated content (UGC) space. The enhancements Microsoft has made to the social functionality compared with SP2007 are significant – better blogs, better wiki functionality, beefed-up personal profile and social networking-type functionality (within the constraints of the SP environment of course) all integrated into one platform … good stuff.

As it looks increasingly inevitable that SP2010 will power a significant portion of our intranet going forward – including our social media functionality – I should be excited … and I am … sort of … and sort of not.

I’m not sure why, but the prospect of SP2010 powering our social content leaves me feeling slightly depressed. It may just be that I’ll be sad to see all the lovely social tools I so lovingly helped to nurse into the business being replaced by the SP monolith … or it may be something deeper … more intuitive. I can’t help feeling that we’re going to lose something fundamental by institutionalising … or even corporatizing … our social tools in this way. While I always wanted our social and collaborative content to be fully integrated into the mainstream way of working inside our organisation, this wasn’t how I had imagined it would happen – it appears you just can’t please some people.

On the other hand, this could be the best thing to happen to corporate social content since its conception … and I may just be an old social media dinosaur … I guess only time will tell.

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  1. Why is it they always roll these things out
    in Ernest – why don’t they give some other
    place a chance.

    Similarly I read again today that there’s 2,000
    jobs in Jeapordy – They always have these jobs
    – spread them around a bit more!

  2. I can see where you’re coming from, but I’m actually quite optimistic about it! I think those who generally perceive the social element of collaboration tools as gimmicky and non-applicable to their business life will be more likely to engage with a tool that has the credence, authority, familiar interface and does the bulk of the integration with other applications and tools for them – i.e. SharePoint. The 2007 version already does this, but SP2010’s stronger elements of UGC, collaboration and content rating framework gives more credence to the social aspect of importance of peer reviewing. I think the biggest winners are those who’ve previously had to seek this elsewhere – just as you describe. Crucially, I think this will help bridge the gap between these two user types by re-appealing to those who previously found it frustrating (and who are usually strong advocates). If some of this energy is re-directed towards SP2010, I think it could lead to a more inclusive culture where everyone can compromise to a common tool. Seasoned users of other social media tools are unlikely to abandon them altogether and I don’t think they are in any long term danger because they are the source of innovation and adaptation – in comparison SP2010 is just playing catch up!

  3. Is there a risk of locking BT into IE as the only viable browser if Sharepoint is widespread? My understanding was that the general move in Intranet Management circles (Within and without BT) was for browser-agnostic applications.

  4. James – I agree about the need for browser agnostic applications … however, IE has alway been the only supported browser in BT as far as I know and I haven’t heard about any relaxation in that approach. I have no knowledge of how SP2010 works in other browsers … it’s an interesting point and I’ll ask the question.

  5. P.S – I’ve done some testing on my 2010 test site and I’ve personally not come across any limitations so far… big problem in 2007 was integration to Office apps (and esp. Outlook sync functionality). Just re-tested it now and it works perfectly. Hopefully it remains this way with Office 2010.

  6. The term “Old Social Media Dinosaur” strikes me
    as funny, sort of like how we say “traditional
    e-learning”. Things are moving way too fast
    for us to stay still for long.

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