Time permitting, I am planning to write a series of blogs on features I am really excited about in SharePoint 2010. I will be looking at SharePoint 2010 features from an IT productivity perspective. In tough economies businesses are continously trying to get the best out of their IT investment. As Time to Market is an important factor, smart organizations are looking for a platform which enables quick development on reliable platforms. I believe these companies will use SharePoint 2010 as an enabler, providing organizations top return on their investments.
One of the features I am quite excited about SharePoint 2010, is using SharePoint as an Application Developmet platform. Even though SP2007 provided these features to some extend, the new features of SP 2010 gives quite a candid story. The most common requirement at departmental level for most companies is to create internal applications which performs CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) operations against back-end LOB systems as well as the ability to search and perform BI Analytics on the data. For instance if CONTOSO is a financial company dealing with lending, CONTOSO may have a variety of intranet applications which enables searching customers further drilling down to their outstanding balances and amortization schedule etc. Further you may have other applications which forecasts risks. Business Users would constantly work on this data at different levels and would want to collaborate on these data. At the end of the day these are all applications which deals with LOB external data, as mentioned earlier. SP 2010 provides the ability to easily create pages which retrieves data from LOB systems using external list using Business Connectivity Services. The back-end data could even come from WCF service or REST interfaces, enabling us to create custom business logic at the service level. Furthur you can customize the list pages using InfoPath to provide customized look and feel. You can even use enterprise level metadata tags to tag these list items and search against them, using a centrally managed taxonomy. You can now create appealing data visualizations using SP2010 charts, and do advanced Business Intelligence using reporting services. The reason I am so excited about this feature is because, I think from an ROI perspective this feature can solve most of the requirements for department level applications which traditionally are developed using plain ASP.NET. Moving thee apps to SP 2010 would save a lot of development effort, and further provides lot more OOB features of SharePoint to make the data searchable as well as the ability for business users to collaborate on the data using OOB SP 2010 social features such as tagging etc.
More exciting features to follow