There’s a lot of noise on the street since the announcement of SharePoint 2013. We’re headed towards the largest SharePoint conference of the year in Las Vegas this November and it’s only going to get louder. Where does that leave you, the end user of SharePoint? About where you were before the announcement came out, I would think. It should not affect you at all.
Where Is All the Noise Coming From?
If you listen closely to the groundswell, what you hear is a bunch of developer geek speak about SharePoint 2013. There is the marketing coming out of Microsoft, but the Man-on-the-Street conversation is mainly from developers and IT Pros who are talking to each other about how to set it up, how to optimize it, how it is different from 2010. This has absolutely nothing of relevance for people using SharePoint on a day to day basis.
The day to day talk is a distraction to SharePoint end users. In general, the users are not interested in the technology, they are interested in the solutions the technology can provide. This is nothing new. We had the same type of situation after the release of SharePoint 2010. At that time, I took the same position: It’s going to take two to three years for SharePoint 2013 to become relevant to the daily user.
The Current Situation
SharePoint is not an app that gets upgraded every month as part of an update cycle. It is a development platform for providing business solutions. Large clients who rolled out SharePoint 2010 in the past two years are going to find it hard to justify moving on to 2013 in the near future, unless they can find a business justification for spending the time and money it will take to make the transition.
At conferences where I speak, I ask people what SharePoint version they are currently using. Over the past year it has been mostly 2007, with half of those using a hybrid solution that combines with 2010. Those clients who are implementing SharePoint for the first time will start with 2010, but those with existing infrastructure are going to stay with that until there is a real business reason, real financial justification, to run an upgrade.
So Who is 2013 For?
With that said, who should be interested in SharePoint 2013? Why, developers of course! 2013 is still in beta. Enough said. Stop reading and get back to work. Unless you are a developer, an author or a training company, why are you concerned about SharePoint 2013?
I’m not being facetious. I think it is a real distraction for day to day users to be concerned about the “new” functionality of SharePoint 2013: Social, My Sites enhancements, Managed Navigation, the App Store. To upgrade to 2013 is a business decision that will have to be justified at a much higher level than the end user. Will the business gain enough impact to make that upgrade worthwhile?
What’s my advice to people actually using SharePoint to get their work done? Keep your head down and out of the line of fire. SharePoint 2013 isn’t for you. For now, let the developers and IT Pros work through the bits and see what’s there. When your company is ready for it, they will let you know.
Editors Note: If you're intersted in another view on SharePoint 2013: