SharePoint Conference Keynote: Releases and Roadmap – So what is new?

Yesterday the SharePoint Conference Keynote started and via my social media this blog post of CMS Wire was shared with me. While reading the blog some thoughts came up, so let me share this with you:

Here the first quote that caught my attention:

Jared Spataro, general manager of product marketing for Microsoft Office, followed Clinton. He focused on the vision and goals shaping the future of Microsoft.

  1. We believe the future of work is all about working as a Network.
  2. We believe in personal insights that can be heard when you cut through the noise.
  3. We believe in the power of an open development platform and a robust ecosystem.
  4. We believe that the future of work is only possible when people can work anywhere on any device where organizations can still manage them securely.

First impression is that there is nothing new here. Let me go through the list

1. Since the book of McAffee about Enterprise Social Networking the whole concept of social collaboration / social business is involved around the power of networking. Within IBM we are collaborating this way where I work in virtual teams on different projects and communication is done by sharing messages on my board and my network can read this. We even use the networking platform to work with customers and business partners, indeed as a network. And I am pretty sure that IBM is not the only company working this way. So why believe the future of working is working as a network. I know Microsoft was late at the table for social, thus they bought Yammer to catch up. But wake up: the future is now.

2. Putting social analytics in the visions and goals also shows that Sharpoint is lagging in the social enterprise platform. Most ESN vendors have social analytics build in. When looking what we do within IBM (researching social analytics) it is really tangible and not a vision.

3. Microsoft states here that it believes in an open development platform. I would have preferred that they would adhere open standards, like OpenSocial or ActivityStrea.ms. That would really open up the platform and make it really powerful. Just by opening up the API is imho not an open platform. Second the fact that Microsoft told SharePoint customers not to customize SharePoint too much does not help to support the vision of an open platform.

4. Microsoft tells people that they can work with any device anywhere. This is really a vision as there is still no Android Newsfeed app. Which is a very basic app to get the newsfeed information. Second: creating apps for the largest mobile operating systems is good, but they should put the design team to work as the usability is far from good, e.g. multiple apps to work with SharePoint, UI glitches and limited functionality. Looking at the Connections mobile app is is light years ahead in usability and capabilities.

Further in the blog there is a statement on new releases. Here is the quote:

next versions of SharePoint and Exchange will be released in 2015

I remember that Microsoft took over Yammer, as they were the company that could build agile software, with monthly/quarterly updates. So if you are now on SharePoint 2013 you have to wait, as usual, several years before being able to upgrade your on premises servers.

To looking at these points I can only see that what microsoft calls a vision and goals, it is just catching up on social and mobile. Nothing new here, most competitors like IBM, Jive, Sitrion, etc are already delivering this. And then the old school 3 years release cycle?

So why wait,for Microsoft to finally deliver,  if you can get the business value (on top of your current SharePoint environment) right now?