Microsoft plans SharePoint social boost in Wave 15

Improved social capabilities are coming to in Wave 15, the revamp of SharePoint and Office due out  from Microsoft in December 2012. However Australian and New Zealand companies are being urged not to wait but make the jump now into enterprise social media.

Details are gradually emerging of the roadmap for Office and SharePoint, known as Wave 15 internally at Microsoft. The products are likely to be under the umbrella of Office 2012, although this has not been confirmed.

Jon Barrett, Microsoft Australia’s Solution Specialist - Business Productivity said the improved new social media features in Wave15 would not match the richness of solutions such as Newsgator Social Sites.

“We are doing some of this work ourselves but we are absolutely relying on Newsgator as our primary partner in this space,” said Barrett.

“We are providing the key plumbing: document management, enterprise search, tagging, and line of business (LOB) integration.

“We do have basic social features in SharePoint, they will be improved in Wave 15 but that will not be at the level of feature richness that Newsgator has. If you go with what is in our current products or what you’ve heard is coming in Wave 15, you’re betting on a baseline set of features

“I would say as a customer don’t wait for Wave15, unless you’ve got a really slow social media strategy or unless you want to use some really baseline features, I would start going ahead with our platform and Newsgator on top.”

Barrett was speaking at a customer event in Sydney alongside presentations from NewsGator's CEO & President J.B. Holston and Stockland, the listed Australian property group that has deployed Newsgator and SharePoint 201 for an intranet solution for its 1200 staff.

Barrett also confirmed there would be broader platform support for rich media  in Wave15 across Android and Apple tablets and phones.

“The Office division of Microsoft, which makes SharePoint have said we are going to support multiple devices, ipods, iPads and Android devices. That’s a big change from where we were even 12 months ago, [focussing] on a Windows phone and IE browser.

“We are reaching out to other platforms because we realise the device world has changed rapidly and the software group is now saying let’s bet on having a cross-platform strategy as opposed to having just a Microsoft strategy

“You can go out today and get a OneNote and Lync client for Android and iPhone.

“The current Lync client on an iPhone does IM and Presence but it doesn’t do video. We will be adding video and audio features into the clients in Wave15, so there’ll be a richer experience around realtime on the Microsoft platform as well as on the Android and iPhone.

“I would expect there’s going to be other Microsoft Office applications happening on those devices when Wave 15 comes out in December. We are absolutely committed to bring out more and more applications across the device platform

“We are also engineering all of our products to be cloud ready, on-premise is second priority. Public cloud like Office 365 or private cloud.,” said Barrett.