Productive Collaboration with SharePoint 2013
SharePoint Server 2013 has been redesigned to work with keyboard/mouse or touch input and to display equally well on screens that can range from smart phones and tablets to workstations for power-users. The focus of SharePoint 2013 remains to provide easy web-based access to people, information, and applications and to promote productive collaboration, and major enhancements have been added in the areas of application and work management, social computing, enterprise search, self-service business intelligence (BI), Excel integration, interoperability, security and compliance, performance, reliability, mobility, and scale.
SharePoint Server 2013 is offered in Foundation, Standard and Enterprise editions that can be can be deployed in a traditional on-premises environment. SharePoint Online, available in two plans, is offered under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model either as a standalone application or as part of an Office 365 suite, which includes access to Exchange, Skype for Business, Microsoft Office clients, and web apps. Microsoft's Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model for SharePoint Online makes it affordable for businesses with limited budgets to benefit from enterprise-class deployments of SharePoint with features like geographically distributed datacenters and advanced disaster recovery capabilities. You can also use SharePoint Online to extend a local SharePoint Server 2013 deployment and shift selected workloads to the Cloud.
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants offer affordable remote and on-site consulting, development, and troubleshooting services for companies of any size who want to migrate to SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Online from earlier editions of SharePoint, create or enhance SharePoint applications, assess and validate a SharePoint 2013 environment's security and compliance, troubleshoot connectivity or synchronization issues, and manage the vast web-based ecosystem enabled by SharePoint 2013 including portals, intranets, extranets, document and media management solutions, blogs, wikis, data warehouses, business analytics, search tools, workflows, and other mechanisms that facilitate information sharing and collaboration. Progent can help you integrate SharePoint 2013 with SQL Server or SQL Server Express, with Exchange, and with Office applications. Progent can also help you understand the relative cost and functional advantages and limitations of on-premises, Cloud-based, or hybrid environments for your SharePoint 2013 solution.
New and Enhanced Features of SharePoint Server 2013
SharePoint 2013 is full of new or improved capabilities. Some of these features require the Enterprise version of SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Online Plan 2. Also, SharePoint Online is updated regularly with new features without requiring your IT administrators to install patches or upgrades. Because SharePoint Online's feature set continually evolves, the capabilities available for a given local deployment of SharePoint Server 2013 could differ significantly from those available through SharePoint Online.
SharePoint can be thought of as a massive web application and development platform, and the functional areas that have been addressed by the many enhancements in SharePoint Server 2013 are correspondingly extensive. They include authentication, Business Connectivity Services, eDiscovery, mobile devices, records management and compliance, business intelligence, social computing, web content management, workflow, and search.
Some of the major enhancements to SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Online within these categories include:
For general descriptions of many of the basic SharePoint functions that have been enhanced in SharePoint Server 2013, refer to Progent's SharePoint Server 2010 consulting services.
Authentication in SharePoint 2013 is the mechanism that validates the identity of a user who asks permission to perform defined operations on a specified resource within a SharePoint web application. SharePoint 2013 simplifies claims-based authentication and supports new authentication capabilities for Exchange 2013 and Lync Server 2013 as well as for applications available in the SharePoint Store or App Catalog.
OAuth 2.0 Support: Server-to-server and app authentication is now supported via the Open Authorization 2.0 (OAuth 2.0) web authorization protocol.
New PowerShell Cmdlet: A new Windows PowerShell cmdlet makes it easier to migrate from classic mode to Windows-based claims mode.
Expanded Logging: SharePoint 2013 logs many more details, such as where authentication requests are redirected, to help you identify and troubleshoot authentication issues.
- Business Connectivity Services
Business Connectivity Services (BCS) allow SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 clients to access data external to SharePoint 2013. BCS accomplishes this by establishing a connection to the data source, executing a query, and returning the results.
OData Support: You can now use Open Data Protocol (OData) to connect to external data sources such as applications, services, and stores.
Event Listener: The new event listener allows SharePoint users and custom applications to receive notifications of events that occur in external systems.
Apps for SharePoint: Apps for SharePoint are self-contained applications that can be added to a SharePoint site. They are securely isolated, contain all the resources they need to function, do not modify the underlying system, and are easy to install and delete.
Export External Lists to Excel: You can now export an external list to Excel 2010 or to Excel 2013 in a way similar to exporting native SharePoint lists to Excel in earlier versions of SharePoint.
The eDiscovery capability of SharePoint Server 2013 helps corporations protect their business, expedite audits, support litigation, and meet regulatory requirements by providing efficient mechanisms for finding, preserving, and exporting critical information from mailboxes, SharePoint sites, or file shares.
eDiscovery Center: The new eDiscovery Center site template allows you to build a collaborative web portal for accessing individual discovery cases to search, hold, and export content.
Improved In-place Holds: Content, including sites and mailboxes put on hold, is preserved in its original hold state for compliance officers, but users can still edit or even delete it without altering the original on-hold content.
eDiscovery Export: You can now export the results of an eDiscovery search (including documents, lists, pages, and Exchange objects) for subsequent import to a review utility.
Enterprise-wide eDiscovery: You can centrally manage eDiscovery across multiple SharePoint farms, Exchange servers, and file shares and you can configure SharePoint Server 2013 Search to crawl all file shares and websites that contain discoverable content.
- Mobile Device Support
SharePoint Server 2013 delivers improved viewing experiences and enhanced usability for various types of mobile devices.
Optimized Mobile Browser Experience: The new Mobile Browser Redirection feature, when activated, checks the mobile browser accessing a SharePoint 2013 site and automatically renders an optimal contemporary view if the browser supports HTML5. This provides a modern browsing experience for mobile device users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts.
SharePoint Server 2013 Offers Optimal Screen Rendering for Mobile Devices
Device Channels: Mobile channels allow you to create different site templates that display the same content but have custom page layouts and style sheets for specific devices or device groups.
Push Notifications: Registered applications on mobile devices can receive notifications from a SharePoint 2013 site about events taking place within the site such as an addition to a list or an item being updated.
Location: A new field type for geolocation allows lists to display latitude and longitude coordinates as pushpins on Bing Maps, making it possible to create applications that monitor, record, or highlight location-specific data.
Business Intelligence Content: SharePoint Server 2013 allows users of mobile devices such as iPads to view various types of dashboard content, including PerformancePoint reports and scorecards plus Excel Services reports.
Office Web Apps: Office Web Apps Server, which has been repackaged to run as a standalone server rather than a companion product to SharePoint, provides enhanced browser-based Mobile Viewers for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint optimized for users interacting with documents on smart phones.
- Records Management and Compliance
SharePoint 2013 continues to support records archive and in-place record retention features of previous releases of SharePoint Server and adds support for site-level retention policies.
Site-based Retention: You can create, manage, and apply retention policies to SharePoint sites as well as to Exchange Server 2013 team mailboxes associated with the sites. When a project ends, SharePoint will delete the artifacts associated with the project, such as documents and lists and emails, according to the time period specified by the site policy.
Rights Management Connector: With Microsoft's optional RMS connector, you can allow your current on-site servers to use their Information Rights Management (IRM) functionality in conjunction with the Cloud-based Azure RMS services. This allows you to guard internal and external documents or images without the need to deploy extra infrastructure.
- Business Intelligence
Business intelligence (BI) in SharePoint 2013 provides comprehensive BI tools that work with Office applications as well as with other Microsoft platforms including Excel 2013, Excel Services in SharePoint 2013, PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013, and Visio Services in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, and SQL Server.
Excel BI: The new In-Memory BI Engine (IMBI), also called the Vertipaq engine, enables fast analysis of millions of rows and is completely integrated into the Excel client. The new Power View Add-in for Excel allows you to analyze modeled data by interactive visualizations, animations and smart queries and also lets you create advanced storyboard presentations to share results.
Excel Services: Excel Services have been enhanced with data exploration improvements, field list and field well support, calculated measures and members, enhanced timeline controls, the ability to specify SQL Server Analysis Services servers for more advanced analytics, and a streamlined Business Intelligence Center site template.
PerformancePoint Services: Users can now copy complete dashboards and dependencies to other users, servers, or site collections. You can also migrate individual items and content to different environments via PowerShell. In addition, the BI Center is simpler, with easy-to-use folders and libraries.
Visio Services: A new Maximum Cache Size service parameter has been added along with corresponding Health Analyzer rules, and you can now collaboratively insert comments in a Visio Drawing on the web via Visio Services in full page rendering mode.
- Social Computing
Enhancing social computing is a major focus of SharePoint Server 2013 and the platform delivers an improved management and end-user environment plus new support for enterprise-class collaboration and sharing. Important new social computing features introduced with SharePoint 2013 include My Sites, Newsfeeds and Microblogging, Community Sites, and Community Portals.
My Sites: The My Sites user interface has been updated and offers simpler and consistent navigation across all My Sites. My Sites also now includes the new Microblog and Newsfeeds features.
Microblogging and Newsfeeds: The Newsfeed page in My Site now has microblogging capability that allows users to post comments and replies to conversations, post pictures and links, use tags to define keywords, use mentions to tag users in posts and replies, click a Like button, and customize their newsfeed by following people, documents, sites, and tags.
Community Sites: The new Community Site is a template for building a web forum to organize and encourage discussions among a wide range of participants from multiple groups within an organization. SharePoint 2013 includes an extensive selection of tools for moderators and participants to establish a productive environment for exchanging ideas and knowledge either by creating a stand-alone Community Site or by activating community features on an existing SharePoint 2013 site.
Community Portals: Once you have many Community Sites, you can use the Community Portal page to find your organization's SharePoint sites that utilize the Community Site template. The portal makes it easy for authorized users to uncover the best discussion groups for their interests.
- Web Content Management
SharePoint Server 2013 includes enhanced web content management capabilities to help you create Internet, intranet, and extranet SharePoint publishing sites by simplifying the way you design sites and by improving your company's authoring and publishing workflow. In addition, SharePoint Server 2013 allows you to utilize its powerful search functions to uncover dynamic web content on publishing sites.
Content Authoring Improvements: Content writers can now paste content from Word directly into a Rich Text Editor Web Part or an HTML field control on a page and retain the style defined by the site designer. You can also modify global menus or the current one by dragging menu items on the page directly. You can also embed dynamic content such as videos or map directions from other sites. In addition, you can display the same image at different sizes on different pages, and you can crop the same base image differently for different pages.
Variations for Multilingual Sites: The variations feature can copy content from a source variation site to target sites to make it available to specific audiences. Visitors are automatically redirected based on their browser's language setting. A new integrated translation service lets you select content for human or machine translation. Additional enhancements to the variations feature improve performance by supporting bulk page export, update logging functionality to make error messages more useful, and allow logs to be exported to Excel.
Cross-site Publishing: Cross-site publishing allows you to store and manage content in authoring site collections and display this content on various publishing site collections. Content changes in an authoring site collection are displayed automatically on all site collections reusing the content.
Catalog-enabled Libraries and Lists: You can now designate any library or list as a catalog and use the Cross-Site Collection Publishing feature to reuse that content on publishing site collections. The new Publishing Site Collection template allows you to manage catalog content. This is convenient way to create knowledge-base or article libraries or product catalogs.
Managed Navigation: The new Term Store Management Tool lets you define site navigation using term sets, which can be combined with the older SharePoint navigation based on site structure. This makes it possible, for example, to create product catalogs that can be navigated with one term set while a site's other pages can be navigated with a different term set.
Category Pages: Category pages are page layouts that allow you to aggregate and display specified types of structured content. A category page can be tied to a term within the term set used for managed navigation.
Friendly URLs: The URLs of category pages can be made up of meaningful terms specified in the term set and from properties from the library or list shared as a catalog. This allows URLs to be understandable to users and not just long strings of seemingly random ID characters.
Analytics and Recommendations: The new Analytics Processing Component analyzes site usage patterns to help identify items perceived by users to be the most relevant. You can add Recommended Items Web Parts to a site to use the results of this analysis for displaying recommendations for an item or document being viewed. For example, you could list recommendations under the heading "People who viewed this also viewed:" Information about site usage is available in Excel reports, which can help you understand site traffic and identify areas where a site can be improved.
The new Workflow Manager service is a workflow management platform built on the Windows Workflow Foundation components of .NET Framework 4.5 and can be managed and monitored by Windows PowerShell. Workflow Manager introduces a new class of workflow to SharePoint Server 2013 with features that include high density and multi-tenancy, activity/workflow artifact management, fully declarative authoring, plus REST and Service Bus messaging. Development tools available for Workflow Manager include SharePoint Designer 2013, Visual Studio 2012, Visio 2013, and InfoPath 2013.
Two SharePoint Workflow Platforms: By default SharePoint 2013 installs the SharePoint 2010 Workflow platform, which allows workflows created with SharePoint Server 2010 to continue working with SharePoint 2013. To run the enhanced SharePoint 2013 Workflow Manager you must download and install it and set it up to interact with your SharePoint Server 2013 farm.
SharePoint Designer Enhancements: SharePoint Designer 2013 has been enhanced to take advantage of the new Workflow Manager platform. New features include a visual workflow development environment powered by a Visio 2013 add-in, a new action that allows codeless web service calls from inside a workflow, new actions for creating and initiating a task process, new coordination actions that allow you to start a SharePoint 2010 workflow from Workflow Manager, a new Dictionary type, and new workflow building blocks including Stage, Loop, and App Step.
Workflow Manager Capabilities: The new Workflow Manager includes new enterprise features that include high density and multi-tenancy, elastic scale, activity/workflow artifact management, tracking and monitoring, instance management, fully declarative authoring, rest and service bus messaging, and managed service reliability.
Search enhancements in SharePoint Server 2013 include a more intuitive user interface, relevance improvements, changes in crawling, discovering structure and entities in unstructured content, search health reports, and a new search architecture.
Search User Interface Improvements: SharePoint 2013 helps users to identify useful search results quickly by previewing a result document in the hover panel, displaying different icons to classify the result type (e.g., an Office document), displaying the number of replies and the number of likes with a newsfeed result, listing the most popular links on the site, and showing the picture and Lync availability of people in results. You can also customize how results are displayed for critical documents via a new "result type" rule.
Relevance Improvements: SharePoint Server 2013 improves search result relevance through new ranking models to determine recall and display order, a new analytics component that takes into account historic user interaction, query rules for specifying conditions and correlated actions, and "result sources" to replace scopes and federated locations for limiting searches to a specified set of content or a subset of search results.
Continuous crawling: You can configure crawl schedules to perform crawls continuously, doing away with the need to schedule incremental crawls.
Discovering Structure and Entities in Unstructured Content: You can set up the crawler to search unstructured content for "entities" like a document's body text or title, and you can build custom dictionaries to specify which entities to target.
Search Health Reports: The Search Administration Reports of SharePoint 2010 have been replaced and expanded in SharePoint Server 2013 with query health reports and crawl health reports.
New Search Architecture: A new search architecture for SharePoint Server 2013 incorporates major modifications and additions to the search components and databases in order to improve manageability, availability and fault tolerance, scale, and performance.
How Progent Can Help You with SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Online
SharePoint 2013 is a vast platform that can touch every person in your organization and impact every facet of your network. Progent has been delivering SharePoint support since the initial product was released more than a decade ago, and Progent has the breadth and depth of IT knowledge to help businesses of any size to plan and carry out a SharePoint Server 2013 deployment and create SharePoint 2013 apps that add significant business value to your information network.
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can help you evaluate the business advantages of migrating to SharePoint 2013 from earlier versions of SharePoint or from a different collaboration environment; determine whether an in-house, online or hybrid deployment is best suited for your organization; and select the most appropriate edition of SharePoint 2013. Progent can provide full project management services or assist in specific tasks associated with your SharePoint 2013 deployment.
Progent can help you set up server farms, documents, users, permissions, discussions, wikis, issue tracking and departmental sites, lists, libraries, surveys and calendars. Progent can also help you with Microsoft Exchange 2016 deployment or Exchange Server 2013 integration with SharePoint; SQL Server configuration and development; and Windows Server 2012 R2 migration; configuring Office Web Apps Server 2013 and PerformancePoint; writing and running PowerShell scripts; resolving Active Directory, DNS, and synchronization issues; setting up a SharePoint 2013 Development Environment; developing or troubleshooting SharePoint 2013 apps; and integrating SharePoint 2013 with System Center Service Manager.
Progent's Windows Hyper-V consultants can help you plan and deploy a virtualization solution that lowers equipment costs, streamlines management, and improves the performance and dependability of your SharePoint Server 2013 server farm. Progent's System Center Data Protection Manager consultants can show you how to set up and manage a reliable backup and restore solution and design and document a disaster recovery plan for your SharePoint environment. Progent's network security engineers offer comprehensive security and compliance consulting services to help you design and validate a sensible security strategy that supports today's BYOD style of computing. Progent's business intelligence (BI) reporting consultants can help you integrate diverse data sources and visualization tools, such as Excel Services and Visio Services, with SharePoint Server 2013 to build a management analytics solution customized for your business.
Progent's Cisco-certified CCIE network engineers can assist you to build and maintain an efficient, secure, responsive, and resilient network infrastructure that connects all your SharePoint stakeholders to one another and to your IT resources. Whether you have an in-house network, one that relies on the Cloud to provide infrastructure as a service, or a hybrid solution, Progent's Cisco consults help you design a robust network topology, and configure Cisco switches, routers, firewalls, VoIP systems, Wi-Fi infrastructure, and other components vital to a modern unified communications solution.
Save Time and Money with Progent's Online Consulting for SharePoint 2013
Progent's IT experts are experienced at providing remote consulting, troubleshooting, and application development services for all versions of SharePoint. Remote support saves the costs and delays of travel so that you get to your solution faster and more affordably. Progent has successfully delivered advanced online IT support to customers in every state in the U.S. (see Progent's customer testimonials). Progent can also provide onsite support in most major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S.
Contact Progent for Help with SharePoint 2013
To find out more about Progent's about consulting, troubleshooting, or application development support for SharePoint Server 2013, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.