SPC11: Paul Javid & Dave Pae on ‘SharePoint 2010: Improving Productivity with Social’

This morning at the SPC, Microsoft Social Product Manager Paul Javid and Social Technical Product Manager Dave Pae presented a session on the topic of Improving Productivity with Social in SharePoint 2010.  Paul said at the outset that "We've seen a proliferation of how we connect and how we share online" in the past 10 years, but there are "still a lot of unanswered questions."  Segueing into a history of social computing, Paul pegged its beginning to social wikis and blogging platforms, which led to the understanding that "we're all publishers" (or can be if we so choose).  Next up were LinkedIn and Facebook, allowing us to connect directly with friends and, shortly thereafter, we "started seeing different types of platforms emerge" which enabled users to share rich media, photos, and videos with friends (YouTube and Flickr).  What Paul referred to as the "social Web" followed, with such sites as Twitter and Foursquare.  Finally, Paul shared his (and, presumably, Microsoft's) belief that "where social is going [in the future] is around deeper connections."

Discussing enterprise social strategy, Paul said that with the consumerization of IT, enterprise/SharePoint "social is clearly influenced by consumer perception and consumer desire" in terms of the social tools we use in our personal lives.  With 93,000+ "partner individuals, the fact that we have such a large ecosystem enables the future of SharePoint to grow as a social product."  Paul then provided a brief history of social in SharePoint, from Microsoft Site Server through SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010.  Paul then said that now "we're hearing a lot about Office 365 [which] says 'here's where social is going' … and we want to enable anyone to turn on this capability in just a couple clicks."

Paul explained that internally at Microsoft, socially "we've build the equivalent of a Wikipedia" called Infopedia, and it's "all about our concept of how we use community knowledge."  FAST, in turn, "will help connect me to other people" based on search topics, while My Sites, integrated with Lync, enable instant, contextual contact.   As well, the Activity Feed enables "people to be connected to each other as colleagues," and "Academy Mobile … is our equivalent of YouTube for the enterprise."

Moving on to address "What's next, what's coming with Microsoft?," Paul said that "the market today looks at productivity and collaboration as separate issues," distinct from social computing, but "at Microsoft, we think they're the same [and] social, to us, is how we think about the future of productivity."

At this point, Dave began the demo portion of the session, beginning by showing a branded SharePoint portal, and editing the page to demonstrate the available editing and customization options, saying that "SharePoint allows you to build portal sites that impact your whole enterprise."  Next,  Dave showed a department level site, to bring people together and interact with team members (via the Note Board), and demonstrating the presence technology which makes contact information and options immediately available.  Using Lync 2010, Dave demonstrated an IM with Paul, including a very cool new feature, Translator, which converted Dave's typed English into Spanish ("Viewing English, sending Spanish" appeared at the top of the IM window).  During the IM conversation, Dave shared a document so they could walk through it together, and said that the entire exchange could be recorded and saved as a video file to SharePoint when complete.

Demonstrating collaboration on a Word doc, Dave showed the co-authoring feature which allows multiple authors to edit a single document at the same time, including built-in version management.  Through the My Site, Dave showed that you can visit a colleagues' personal site, featuring embedded contact info and the ability to IM and initiate a VOIP call via Lync, as well as featuring an Activity Feed, Org Chart, and more.  Within a user's Profile site, Dave also showed the Content and Tags and Notes tabs, status updates (surfaced in the Activity Feed for others to see), and summed up by saying that "My Site is a great way to store information and have it shared centrally."

Concluding his demo, Dave showed a branded SharePoint blog which had been made to "look like a modern consumer blog page" using CSS.  Dave then added a picture to a post, editing/resizing, and publishing.  Saying that it's also important to be able to find this information, Dave wrapped up with a quick demo of FAST search, including integrated inline preview of search results, business card integration, and search refiners.

Paul concluded the session by showing some screenshots of branded SharePoint 2010 customer social sites, including the intranet sites of Accenture, Telus, and EA to demonstrate what's possible with branding.  Referencing a recent Gartner survey of social in the workplace which placed Microsoft in the leader quadrant, Paul ended the session proper by observing that social "integration across our entire productivity suite [at Microsoft] aligns nicely with how analysts are thinking as well."


Read our complete coverage of Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011.

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