Woods Bagot deploys SharePoint 2013 early


blog It’s only just been formally released for official use, but Australian architectural design firm Woods Bagot has been using early versions of Microsoft’s SharePoint 2013 software since early this year, a new case study published by Microsoft recently has revealed. Some key paragraphs going into some of the new features:

“The social-networking-style newsfeed feature in SharePoint 2013 was what really grabbed us,” says [Felicity McNish, Global Knowledge Manager at Woods Bagot]. “With newsfeeds, our employees can share ideas, conduct conversations, keep up with colleagues’ work, and learn about changes to documents as soon as they happen.” Users can also search newsfeeds and preview documents in them. She adds, “With the addition of the new social features, we can use SharePoint to help us quickly achieve a more engaging intranet.” In general, the social features in SharePoint 2013 are deeply integrated into the product as a whole.

Other features that interested Woods Bagot include integration with SkyDrive Pro for on-the-go access to cloud-based documents, and drag-and-drop functionality across SkyDrive folders and SharePoint lists, sites, and newsfeeds. The firm can also use SharePoint 2013 to analyze newsfeed usage and content, providing metrics to spot trends. Another area important to Woods Bagot was functionality to support its extensive use of Microsoft Office Web Apps and reporting and calculation services. SharePoint integrates with Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services and improves on its integration with Microsoft Office applications, including Excel, Excel Calculation Services, and Office Web Apps.”

To me, the fascinating thing about this case study is that it demonstrates how effctive Microsoft’s notorious ’embrace and extend’ development philosophy can be, when the company already owns so much of the enterprise software stack. Internal corporate social networking? Wasn’t that the domain of Yammer (of course, now owned by Microsoft), Salesforce.com and Socialtext? More flexible enterprise cloud storage options for employees? Wasn’t that the domain of Box (formerly Box.net), after the initial consumer success of Dropbox? With everything Microsoft does, it seeks to build in new features to its corporate platforms which other vendors are providing. And this SharePoint case study is the perfect example of how effective that can be.

I’d be interested to hear from readers who have actively chosen to use rival platforms to SharePoint for this kind of internal collaboration deployment. What else is out there, and why would you use it instead of the Microsoft option?

Image credit: Microsoft


  1. As a developer of both Notes/Domino and SharePoint I can safely state that SharePoint is an almighty bag of crap.
    It is great out of the box, but lord help anyone doing customisations.

    It is ridiculously inflexible and the deployment process leaves a lot to be desired…I have been told that the easiest way to implement a proper SDLC is to invest in a 3rd party tool…there is nothing OOTB.

  2. There is no alternative the Microsoft stack/ecosystem/juggernaut, as any dedicated reader of Delimiter can tell you.

    And no surprise, really. The functionality is amazing! Not only can we send emails and add things to each other’s calendars, we can also store documents! On servers! On good days, we can even get them back.

    It’s simple to set up too. All you need is Microsoft Sharepoint, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Windows Servers (lots), Microsoft Windows clients, plus the necessary Client Access Licences (at least two per employee) and you’re good to go! Even with the five times the rate of inflation licence fee increases that are about to come down the pipe, it’s still an absolute steal considering the functionality that you get.

    I explained this all to our CIO, as he was leaving the office for his afternoon round of golf, and he was totally on board, especially when I explained that it’s what all the other CIOs are doing too. “Don’t try to be too clever or different to them”, he explained, “cos’ nobody likes a smart arse”. Go Australia!

  3. I think you are right to identify this as a stack play from Microsoft. As an enterprise social platform, SP2013 is better than previous releases, but I can’t imagine any enterprise actively picking SP2013 because of its stand alone out-of-the-box social capabilities aren’t the best.

    However, bearing in mind that WB was using SP2013 in beta, other companies are still working with a previous version of SharePoint which is even less capable. Perhaps wait another 6 months and ask this question again?

    BTW I looked at SP2013’s social capabilities and blogged about it here http://rippleffectgroup.com/2012/11/27/is-sharepoint-a-platform-for-social-business/

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