Communities are really special collaboration sites, if that helps you envision them better. They are not exactly like the communities you may be use to in solutions like Telligent, NewsGator or Jive, but the social computing capabilities are much better than 2007.

3. Content

In many ways, this pillar should really just be renamed Document and Records Management, but there's two many words to fit on the new SharePoint wheel. Maybe this is where the enhancements have really taken SharePoint from a departmental, or SMB solution to a real enterprise option.

There have been massive improvements to metadata creation and management, and taxonomy. You can set retention policies on content types, which can, by the way, be created globally. The amount of documents that can be added to SharePoint 2010 has increased significantly and the support for external data storage makes it that much better. You've got in place records management, a record management center, auditing and version control, and much more.

Important to note here that all these capabilities support not only document-based content, but web pages and social content as well.

DoD5015 certification is still not available, but likely in the works, as is support for the newly official CMIS standard.

4. Search

With the acquisition of FAST and its integration into SharePoint 2010, search has improved a great deal. Of course FAST Search for SharePoint is not the default search option. That, too, however has seen a number of improvements.

5. Insights

SQL Server 2008 R2 has added a number of self-service business intelligence capabilities, including some new functionality that works for SharePoint 2010. This is business intelligence for the information worker including dashboards, scorecards, reports and more.

You now have PowerPivot for SharePoint and Reporting Services 3.0. To take the business intelligence capabilities to the next step, Microsoft has added Performance Point Server to the SharePoint platform, renaming it PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint.

6. Composites

Remember, SharePoint is a platform. And with SharePoint 2010 comes a rich API and the new Business Connectivity Services. It has become much easier to integrate data from your line of business systems, mixing in a little collaboration, a rich security model, upcoming support for CMIS.

These composite applications can be built without diving into the world of developer code as well using tools like InfoPath, SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visio 2010. Cheers and woots just went up among the information workers, and shudders of fear among IT.

It's a New World for SharePoint

SharePoint, 2007 and 2010, is a popular, if not the most popular, topic among analysts, content management vendors and organizations. You can't talk solutions without SharePoint coming up. The improvements to SharePoint 2010 are going to make those discussions that much more interesting.

Now we aren't saying that SharePoint 2010 is for everyone, or that it should be at the top of your list when selecting a solution to meet your needs. But the fact remains, it is here, there are massive improvements in areas that should catch the attention of WCM, ECM and Social Software vendors and you can't ignore power of that SharePoint community.

We have been talking about SharePoint for a few years now, and we aren't going to stop. What we are going to do is dig deeper to bring you the information you need to make a sound decision on if and how you use SharePoint in your organization. Join us in the discussions.