Favorite Features Of SharePoint 2010 From An Intranet Consultant’s Point Of View

September 21 2010 2 comments

This is a list of favorite features of SharePoint 2010 from a consultant that helps clients to find out and describe their requirements for intranet services. During the past years working with SharePoint 2007 there were many dark moments where the platform didn’t really live up to expectations. These top-5 items are my favorite additions to SharePoint 2010 that make my work easier with clients:

1. Search enhancements (mainly facets).

Faceted search is something that many clients have wanted for a long time and finally it comes straight out-of-the-box. Another great thing is that having facets that are built based on metadata model makes the designing of metadata model so much easier. Using search as example clients can more easily understand what is the purpose of the metadata model from an end-user point of view.


Also the capabilities what FAST adds to basic search are amazing. Even preview features can be worth the price in large organizations where searching for presentations is a key task.

(Side note: The left side “navigation” on search results pages have many names. FAST likes to call these “refiners”. Some other search products prefer “guided navigation” term. Some even call these “navigators”. Researchers and consultants that are not pointing to a specific product usually refer to this functionality as “facets” and “faceted navigation”. My preferred choice would be faceted navigation even when talking about FAST.)

More information: Article in CMS Wire, by Jed Cawthorne: “How Search Has Improved in SharePoint 2010”.

2. Metadata driven navigation.

Metadata driven navigation helps to navigate large document libraries and helps clients to understand the importance of metadata. Metadata driven navigation is something that has been talked about for years, but practical features to support it have been few. The most promising usage scenarios for this functionality seem to be in situations where large document collections need to browsed easily.

It will probably take years that this really takes off, but at least the ball is rolling now.

More information: Article in CMS Wire, by Jeff Carr: “SharePoint 2010: Using Taxonomy & Metadata to Improve Navigation & Browsing”.

3. Managed metadata service.

At last there is a central management functionality for the metadata model. Enough said.

More information: Article in CMS Wire, by Stephanie Lemieux: “Overview: SharePoint 2010 Metadata and Taxonomy Management”.

4. Ratings and tags.

Ratings are probably the #1 feature that clients asked, but what was not available in SharePoint 2007. And besides being a cool feature ratings can also help findability of documents. Users can easily see which documents have been rated high and users can also sort results and lists based on ratings.

Another closely related feature are tags and notes which could be described as “My Links 2.0” feature set. By tagging favorite documents users can collect a personal, categorized bookmark collection about their favorite internal documents and information.

5. Workspace –client.

Not having offline capabilities that match the “Notes world” has been a pain for years. At least now we have an answer that does not require third-party software. And even though this next argument is very much in favor of Microsoft’s revenues I will say it: Workspace –client makes upgrading to Office 2010 more enticing and this way knowledge workers can get all the benefits from SharePoint (with SharePoint 2007 too many clients skipped the Office upgrade and left knowledge workers struggling with their 2003 software packages).

Watch an overview video of Workspace-client.

Summary: Favorite features of SharePoint 2010 from a point of view of intranet consultant: 1) Search enhancements (mainly faceted navigation), 2) Metadata driven navigation, 3) Managed metadata service, 4) Ratings and tags, 5) Workspace –client. All these additions mentioned in this article make knowledge worker more effective and help her to find content more easily. Also these are all out-of-the-box features that have been designed to work as a part of the bigger picture.

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