Microsoft is taking Sharepoint 2013 on the road. With a fresh focus on mobile, they are making a strong case for upgrading.
The popular file sharing and collaboration tool has long been a one-stop shop for project managers, software developers, and the sales team. However, as workforces have gotten more mobile, the need to support Sharepoint on smartphones and tablets has increased. At the same time, social networking is changing the way we collaborate.
Sharepoint 2013 integrates social networking features, including the ability to "follow" certain users, and the ability to suggest documents you might be interested in based on your document history.
In order to accomplish this goal, they addressed deficiencies when it comes to mobility. With Sharepoint 2010, if you want mobile access, you have two options -- use a mobile browser or purchase third-party apps.
There are many complaints with mobile Web browser access for SharePoint 2010. There are browser compatibility problems, and sites are rendered in a very antiquated, clunky mobile format. It's just not a mobile platform that you want to use on a regular basis. The only mobile OS that works well with SharePoint 2010 is Windows Phone 7 -- but since the market share for these phones is so low, it's almost a moot point.
Third-party apps available for iOS and Android help, but they lack consistency across the different apps and mobile operating systems so they are a nightmare to support.
With Sharepoint 2013, it seems like Microsoft is on the right path. For one, the SharePoint team is ramping up efforts to make the mobile browser experience much more enjoyable. According to Microsoft's Website: "SharePoint Server 2013 offers improvements to the mobile browser experience with the introduction of a new contemporary view."
Even more importantly, Microsoft is finally getting around to making native apps for smartphones and tablets. It's well known that native apps are preferred by most users, and I believe that the addition of native apps will really take off within the enterprise and bring SharePoint social networking use to a whole new level. Even though Microsoft seems to be working on Windows Phone and iOS versions of native apps, it's probably only a matter of time before an Android app becomes available.
If you're considering a business collaboration tool or are looking to upgrade from SharePoint 2010, it looks as if there are a number of features that justify using the 2013 update. The new upgrades to social networking will certainly make it more functional. But the focus on mobility will really make your teams far more productive in and out of the office.