By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Recently Microsoft released Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to business customers, and lynda.com began to roll out training on the Office 2010 applications. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking to some of our lynda.com authors about their experiences with Office 2010 and what this latest version can do for businesses.
SharePoint is at the heart of Microsoft’s enterprise collaboration efforts. Today’s Q&A features staff author Simon Allardice, who is developing a rich line of courses to help businesses understand how to get the most out of SharePoint. Look for his SharePoint 2010 New Features course, just released today in the Online Training Library®.
Q: We’ve joked that lynda.com should create a course called What the Heck Is SharePoint? Simon, what the heck is SharePoint?
A:What is SharePoint? is a question that can’t be answered simply. And that’s because SharePoint is not a product. It’s not a solution to a problem. It’s a platform that you use to build a hundred solutions to a hundred different problems, and it will be different for you than for anyone else. You can use it to create internal collaborative websites, or manage huge public websites. Move all your content (documents, spreadsheets, presentations, even audio or video) off your desktop and into SharePoint to manage it better. Work with document management, versioning, and workflow. Use its search engine to search all your stuff. Bring all your information together on-the-fly to understand it. And SharePoint even helps you extend itself when you need to add more features.
This thing is more like an operating system than it is an Office product. And everyone underestimates SharePoint. Everyone. It’s bigger than you think it is. And it’s more useful than you think it is.
Q: Why should businesses be excited about SharePoint 2010?
A: Most people think that it takes Microsoft (or indeed, any software company) a few versions of any product to “get it right.” Well, we’re a few versions in with SharePoint. They got it right. This latest rev is a hell of a product.
The overall user experience is significantly better. The user interface is hugely improved. It’s finally multi-browser. The tools (SharePoint Designer 2010, SharePoint Workspace) are tighter. Integration with Office is smoother. The new features—things like PerformancePoint Services, integration with Access and Visio—range from “cool” to jaw-droppingly impressive.
SharePoint is such a huge technology—and SharePoint 2010 is bigger than ever—that it’s difficult to learn it by yourself. But if you take a few hours exploring it, you’ll know things other people don’t. You won’t have to fight with it. It won’t puzzle you. You’ll find it more enjoyable. And that time is worth it, because SharePoint, used correctly, makes your life easier. It can take care of many things you have to do yourself—many of which you may not even realize till they’re not taking up hours of your day anymore—and it really can give you new ways of working that you may not have considered yet.
Once you realize the right approach with SharePoint—that it’s a platform you build your solutions on, not a solution itself—any knowledge worker in your organization should be able to spend just a few hours in SharePoint and do something cool, something useful.
Q: lynda.com just released training from you that teaches how to customize SharePoint sites with SharePoint Designer 2007. How robust is SharePoint Designer, and are users generally aware of everything it can do?
A: SharePoint Designer, like SharePoint itself, is a vastly underestimated program. And there are three—very different—reasons to use it:
As you can imagine, the folks who use SharePoint Designer for reason 2 are often totally different people than for reason 3. If you create workflows, that might be all you do. You could be completely uninterested in the design capabilities of SharePoint Designer. Or vice versa. In my course, I focus on the “Customize the look of SharePoint sites ” part.
In short, if customizing SharePoint sites is something you think will be part of your future—or is something you want to be part of your future—then this tool needs to be in your skillset. No question.
With online video courses at lynda.com, you can reach your goals faster. Learn software, improve your skills, and get an inside look at how the professionals work.
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Tags: Collaboration, Enterprise, Office 2010 training, SharePoint Designer
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