This article is by Dan Holme, AvePoint's Chief SharePoint
Evangelist. Dan was a
speaker at the European SharePoint Conference 2011.
Take a look at Dan's predicitions for 2012!
media and cloud
computing on the rise, the introduction of Microsoft
SharePoint 2010 and Office 365
marked major developments for SharePoint users in 2011. So, what
will the trends be in 2012?
1) The Forecast: Cloudy
With the introduction and success of Office 365, 2012
will see more businesses looking to take advantage of the cloud. As
additional functionality is introduced to the online platform to
bring features up to par with on-premise SharePoint 2010
environments, collaborative workloads such as team sites and
extranets are likely to be migrated into the cloud, allowing
anytime, anywhere access to business data. Businesses are likely to
take a 'best of both worlds' approach by buying into hybrid
solutions and plugging the gaps between on premise and cloud with
the help of third-party software.
One feature that could be added to Office 365 in the near future
is the introduction of an 'app store' for SharePoint solutions. In
addition, the cloud is also likely to be used more and more as a
replacement for temporary infrastructure, becoming a replacement
for SharePoint development, testing and proof of concept due to its
scalability and flexibility.
2) Tighter, Stricter, Stronger
Governance will be an important trend in 2012, as the
amount of data that businesses are required to store continues to
grow. In fact, a study released by research firm IDC, Extracting
Value from Chaos, states that the world's data is doubling every
two years. This is making it increasingly difficult to find
documents and manage site sprawl.
The increase in data will drive businesses to implement
governance across their SharePoint deployments in order to better
manage the content while at the same time ensuring that the data is
not accessed by unauthorised personnel. As such, 2012 will see
businesses develop governance plans that include input from both a
business and IT perspective, imposing stricter rules on access and
3) Consumerisation of IT
was huge in 2011 and is primed to continue in 2012. A wide variety
of computing devices, tools and platforms have permeated the
enterprise, and SharePoint has addressed this consumerisation trend
by supporting various browsers, operating systems and devices.
However, as it stands, mobile support is very limited and focused
only on the Microsoft mobile environment. Analyst firm Forrester
Research expects third-party software to make SharePoint more
accessible for other prevalent operating systems in the near
4) Moving onwards and upwards
Businesses that are currently using earlier versions of
SharePoint today are likely to focus their attention on upgrading
or migrating to SharePoint 2010. New features and functionalities
supported by the 2010 platform including, social and enhanced
enterprise search functions, are appealing to SharePoint users due
to the opportunity for fast return of investment.
5) Mind the gap
According to Forrester Research, lack of IT skills is an
issue for businesses that have deployed SharePoint. The broad scope
of technologies that Microsoft has built into SharePoint creates a
complex technical environment. As businesses increasingly
acknowledge the need to provide support for continuous improvement,
adoption and engagement, training and education will be a priority
for SharePoint users. Until administrators are adequately trained
to manage this evolving platform, the ability to fully optimise
SharePoint is limited. This year, third-party vendors will look to
address this skills gap and reduce the complexity of SharePoint
6) Taking Control of Data
In 2012, businesses will be looking to concentrate and
consolidate content in their SharePoint deployments. Storage
optimisation solutions for SharePoint will be the drivers behind
this consolidation effort. One such solution is SharePoint's Remote
BLOB Storage (RBS) APIs. However, RBS coding can be complex and
time consuming, so expect to see third-party vendors plug this gap
through storage optimisation software solutions and solutions that
are built directly into the storage hardware.
Alongside this, organisations are starting to apply ECM
methodologies, such as taxonomy and document holds in SharePoint.
This will encourage businesses to focus even more on governance and
7) A little birdie told me….
Social networks are one of the big trends of 2012.
Businesses that deployed SharePoint as a collaboration and file
share tool are now looking for the next step. Microsoft has been
touted as the 'Facebook for the enterprise' and is a leader in the
2011 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace.
Businesses will want to take advantage of SharePoint's new found
social capabilities, as well as out-of-the-box enhancements. Expect
to see more social features and functions to be added throughout
2012 by both Microsoft and third-party vendors.
2012 is set to be a year when businesses will change and develop
the ways in which they use and interact with SharePoint. There will
be a greater emphasis on governance and planning, and businesses
will also look to unlock SharePoint's full potential through its
cloud, mobile and social features. Where SharePoint doesn't improve
natively, third party vendors will offer a solution to help
companies maximise the value of this collaboration platform.
2012 will no doubt be another strong year for SharePoint, and
this summer Microsoft will release the public beta of the next
version of SharePoint, currently code named "SharePoint 15," and
many pundits expect Microsoft to make a big announcement at
SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas - watch this space!