Posted by: RAH Infotech | April 30, 2012

Eight Ways to Prepare for the Next Release of SharePoint Now

Next Version Readiness Delivers Short Term Benefits while Setting up IT for Future Success

SharePoint is a rapidly expanding platform for enterprise collaboration, with a new release already on the horizon. Only two years after the release of SharePoint 2010, Microsoft is gradually revealing details on what users can expect in the next version, which many anticipate will be available in early 2013. With widespread expectations beginning to surface around social capabilities, the cloud, and a new interface, the early anticipation indicates users are already thinking about what’s next for SharePoint. As organizations start considering the next version, there are many ways they can prepare their environment today, to gain immediate benefits now, and be ready to quickly take advantage of new features later.

Quest Software, a leading provider of SharePoint tools for the enterprise, recommends organizations put a ‘next version readiness’ plan into action, and provides eight specific actions organizations should take to prepare their environment for the future.

Eight Ways to Prepare for the Next Release of SharePoint:

  1. Optimize the Environment: IT managers should start optimizing their organization’s underlying infrastructure by refreshing hardware if necessary, updating operating systems and applying current software patches. If the organization is operating on an old version of Windows or SQL Server, now is the time to upgrade to the latest version.
  2. Consolidate Content: Eliminate the islands of SharePoint within the organization and other legacy platforms, such as Windows File Shares and Exchange Public Folders, by centralizing the content and, if applicable, migrating content to SharePoint 2010. Doing so will ensure a much smoother upgrade upon the next version’s release.
  3. Consider Data Externalization: Now is the time to consider an externalization strategy, getting the systems in place to move large, old, and unused data from SQL Server content databases to secondary, less expensive repositories.  Taking advantage of SharePoint’s data externalization features will deliver performance efficiencies in the short term, and ease the upgrade or migration process in the long term.
  4. Develop a Governance Plan:  Investing in a strong SharePoint governance model now will pay huge dividends later, enabling IT to implement a mature governance system from day one in the new version of SharePoint. Plus, having a good governance system in place from project inception can mitigate many of the risks inherent in migration projects.
  5. Take Control of Enterprise Content Management: Now is the time to take inventory of what content exists, and get a better handle on what content should stay and what content should go. A well-defined retention policy is a governance best practice and ensures that only relevant content makes the move to the new environment.   Taking the time to define and implement your retention plan now ensures you’re set for a successful upgrade later.
  6. Prepare to Be Social: If IT hasn’t done so already, now is a good time to think about whether SharePoint’s social capabilities have a place within the organization. Consider whether social is a good fit culturally and, if so, whether it’s a ‘nice-to-have’ option versus a business priority. With this assessment completed, you’ll be ready to immediately capitalize on whatever features may become available in the new release.
  7. Avoid Heavy Custom Coding: Simply put, developers shouldn’t invent their own solutions that require a lot of heavy custom coding. Upgrading customizations can be risky, costly and time-consuming, and can result in potential downtime or data loss, especially after an upgrade or migration. Instead, developers are advised to use tools and techniques they know will be supported going forward.
  8. Establish a Cloud Strategy: Similar to preparing for social networking capabilities, start building a plan by determining whether a cloud, on-premises or hybrid implementation is right for the business. If SharePoint Online will play a future role, identify potential pilot projects and build out a phased approach for deploying SharePoint in the cloud. Armed with this assessment, you’ll be ready to move as soon as the next version is deployed.

For enquiries, please contact: RAH Infotech Pvt. Ltd. | Email:marcom@rahinfotech.com | URL: www.rahinfotech.com

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