Today most pharma companies are using SharePoint 2007 for their intranet. The trend seem to be that most of these companies will upgrade to SharePoint 2010 within the next one or two years.
At Daman we have been investigating the new benefits of SharePoint 2010 for a while. Among others we have updated our own intranet to SharePoint 2010 and been using the new features.
SharePoint 2010 gives a better and more intuitive user interface. E.g. Ribbons, which was introduced in Office 2007, is now also included in SharePoint 2010. This gives a context specific menu, so it is easier for the user, to find out the possibilies on a specific page.
Several developer productivity enhancements are also introduced. These will lower development costs of customized features. These also makes it more easy to create better user experience with Java Scripts or Silverlight. Especially when you have a very strict system setup, which most pharma companies have, this makes it possible to still create attractive good looking intranet pages.
SharePoint 2010 is capable of handling much bigger amounts of data. This is good news for phama companies, which indeed have a lot of data and information to handle and share.
Business Intelligence is another area with significant improvements. You can use Excel to import large amounts of data from various data sources and quickly generate pivot tables. These pivot tables can then be shared with other users by publishing them to SharePoint 2010. Excel Services, the server-side Excel functionality provided by SharePoint Server, has seen a number of improvements as well. It can now also handle much bigger amounts of data and due to the improved developer features, much more advanced enhancements can be made. Product Managers can take advantage of these tools to do better analysis of the data available and to share the highlights easily with the users of the site.
SharePoint 2010 also introduces a notion of sandbox solution packages. These are designed to improve security and manageability. Sandbox solution packages restrict the scope to which a customization can be applied. By using this system administrators can open up for more customizations of the intranet sites.
In SharePoint 2010, social network capabilities are improved. Now just about every element such as sites, documents, videos and blog posts are taggable. Users will be able to rate artifacts and recommend it to others. This way it is much easier to share relevant information between the users.
These ratings are also used during Search, so that the most relevant elements are most likely to be at the top of the search results. This and several other improvements have been done in the search area. Due to the large amount of information in pharma industries we especially see the improvements in search functionality as a key improvement to SharePoint.
The improved social network capabilities also enables that the users of a site can be much more active and involved. To get the users involved in the site is often a big hurdle and these features can help in this area.
What do you see as the key benefits of SharePoint 2010? At Daman we are looking forward to share our experience and knowledge about these new features with you. There is a lot of good stuff to be taken advantage of.