This year has been abuzz with the newest Microsoft product releases, from the much anticipated Surface, Windows 8 phones and a new version of Office, there really is a whole new wave of products that are available to the masses. SharePoint 2013 is a huge component of the story, but it is important to see that it is still only a piece of the story. 

When you step back and look from the outside in, it becomes clear that SharePoint, which is part of the Office family, is just another piece of the puzzle that is bringing the consumerization of IT to the organization.

The newest release of SharePoint is focused on the end user -- how they work and why they work. The natural elements of SharePoint allow for users to easily work together without having to think about the tools they are using or why they are using that specific tool. This is especially evident with the new social features in SharePoint.

Items -- that in previous releases of the product were hard to configure and manage -- are now integrated directly within the product. Users can easily access from their "My Sites" information that is very specific and targeted to the user -- including all of their assigned tasks anywhere in SharePoint. From one central location users can manage the content that directly applies to them. This approach aligns strongly to the same types of features that are available in the other products released this year.

Transition from the Internet to Work

In a conversation with Richard Reilly about the larger ecosystem at the SharePoint Conference, we discussed how important it is for Microsoft to fully understand how users transition from the Internet to work.

Technology surrounds us and we have become expectant of how things should be, mostly based on how we work with technology outside of work. We come to the office expecting that we should be able to utilize technology to improve our day to day tasks. In many cases, we have these expectations without really giving a second thought to the tool we are using or why. We just expect to find what we need and to be able to do it, without hassle, red tape or extensive training.

Take the example of the grocery list. You go shopping 1-2 times a week -- if you are a typical family you likely follow a similar path or pattern to how you shop. You have a common list of items that are staples and purchased on a regular basis and you have a process for shopping, which, in most cases, likely includes a tool. The tools can vary and can depend on many factors, but two common things that you could use in this case would be a tool to manage a grocery list or a tool to help you know what is on sale and where so that you can get the most for your money. While it's true that both of these examples can be done the old fashioned way -- through newspaper ads and a grocery list -- it is also highly likely that technology plays a part in how you shop. If you still need convincing, just hop on over to Bing and see the results that are returned when you search on “grocery app”.