SharePoint 2010, Mobility, Browser Compatibility, Compliance, and its Continued Dominance in the Marketplace
Like a stock trader who has purchased a “put” on a stock in hopes the stock value will decrease, I continue to see articles and blogs every now and then asking questions and making statements on doubts about how long SharePoint can remain dominant or how it will adopt to the ever changing mobile world. Also these folks question how SharePoint 2010 can meet compliance and eDiscovery challenges or replace Documentum, Livelink, FileNet, or other ECM\ERM systems.
My theory on these writers or speakers who have these opinions (or hopeful “stock puts”) is that they do only that… write and speak but really don’t ever set foot into a client’s conference room or have more of a vested interest in Livelink, OpenText, etc. succeeding, and don’t spend 5 days a week over months working with a client on their initial business requirements, political challenges, functional and compliance requirements, development best practices, roadmap, and governance challenges that the organization faces or will face. It’s one thing to speak in theory or abstract but a whole different world when you have a timeline, budget, and a client who is investing a great deal on a high profile project that will affect most everyone in the organization.
Mobility and SharePoint 2010
When implementing your SharePoint 2010 environment, which should be a Hybrid Platform to meet many of your organizations challenges over the years to come, mobility is something that must be in your organizations roadmap.
It is critical to gather your organization’s mobile requirements, such as:
- Is the organizations staff accessing Intranet\ECM content and will they need a specific tailored experience?
- What type of content do they want delivered to their mobile device?
- What devices (and version of the devices) is the organization going to allow (govern) users to have to access SharePoint? (I.e. Just BlackBerrys and iPhones or other devices as well?)
Note: This includes the browser compatibility governance the organization will allow.
- Are there specific business units or departments that would benefit from having business intelligence, analytics, and reports available at their fingertips wherever they are in the world and would that provide true ROI to the business?
- How will the organizations requirements around mobile affect our existing SharePoint roadmap or the existing configuration \ deployment we have in place and how can we adapt to stay ahead of the mobile curve
SharePoint 2010’s Mobile Browser Compatibility
SharePoint also supports a wide variety of mobile browsers, which includes:
- IE Mobile on Windows Mobile 5/6 and newer versions
- Safari4 and newer versions on the iPhone (3/4) and iPad (1/2)
- BlackBerry 4.x and newer versions
- Nokia S60
- Openwave 6.2, 7.0 and newer versions
- NetFront 3.4, 3.5 and newer versions
- Opera Mobile 8.65 and newer versions
Governing Mobile Devices \ Browser Support
Another little known fact is that you can govern the specific devices that can access your SharePoint experience and actually redirect the user to a specific template based upon SharePoint recognizing the mobile device’s browser and sending them to the specific template for optimal user experience.
I am guessing the detractors of SharePoint 2010’s mobile capabilities have not actually sat down with multiple clients and gathered the requirements, developed, implemented, and successfully rolled out either custom or tailored mobile applications to Fortune 1000 or large government organizations.
Technical Note: “In SharePoint 2010, the USERAGENT recognize for accessing mobile browser to redirect to a mobile view is managed by the file “compat.browser” within the server’s IIS directory that manages device profiles (If the web application port is, for example, 80, the file path will be “\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80\App_Browsers\compat.browser”). With a text editor, the file can be modified to change redirect behavior. The IsMobileDevice attribute of that mobile browser when set to FALSE will cause SharePoint to bypass the mobile view for that browser.”
This means you can govern the exact mobile devices as well as the pages these users will see to ensure an optimal mobile experience.
The PC is Not Dead, but We Are Headed Back to the “Dummy Terminal” Days (Somewhat)
We are years away from seeing major organizations completely get away from a desktop or laptop machine being used as a primary means of accessing the web browser to do their day to day tasks and activities. With that said, limiting the space on the user’s machine and forcing them to save their documents\content into SharePoint with the proper metadata (content types) tagging is upon us. Also, in the email world as PSTs are becoming a thing of the past, and we will also see the increase of users having increased (shorter) retention scheduled on their email to force them to either delete the email as it is not relevant or to move\archive it to SharePoint for storage as a record.
Note: There will always be exceptions when a user has a project or activity that may take years to complete and the email must be maintained for years to come but viewing email as well as social \ professional networking content as a record is definitely here today.
There have been 40+ enterprise projects that myself and my firm at EPC Group have implemented using SharePoint 2010 were the clients requirements were that SharePoint content must be compatible not only using Internet Explorer (IE) but also Safari (for MAC users) as well as Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. This was accomplished and you can, after a little configuration and testing, get almost the exact same experience on these browsers. There are some things natively that the users will not have the exact same experience with on these different browsers but that is where ensuring your mobile business and functional requirements are aligned properly to ensure project success and client satisfaction.
Compliance in SharePoint 2010
Your organization’s SharePoint 2010’s Enterprise Content Management Strategy should include information regarding:
- Personally Identifiable Information (PII): PII is broadly defined as information that can be traced back to a specific individual. Employees must distinguish between Protected PII and Publicly Releasable PII. All information identifiable to a specific individual is protected PII unless listed as publicly releasable PII.
- If government, Controlled Unclassified Information– “Controlled Unclassified Information” is a categorical designation, formerly referred to as Sensitive but Unclassified, that refers to unclassified information that is (i) pertinent to the national interests of the United States or to the important interests of entities outside the Federal Government, and (ii) under law or policy requires protection from unauthorized disclosure, special handling safeguards, or prescribed limits on exchange or dissemination. 
White House Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, Designation and Sharing of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), May 7, 2008
- 508 Compliance – Section 508 requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. GSA has been charged with the task of educating federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section 508 implementation. Using this web site, federal employees and the public can access resources for understanding and implementing the requirements of Section 508 as they apply to the development, procurement, maintenance, or use of electronic and information technology products and services, including software applications and operating systems, web-based internet and intranet information systems, telecommunications products, video and multimedia products, self-contained closed products and desktop and portable computers.
Note: For additional information: http://www.section508.gov/
SharePoint’s Continued Dominance
As we mentioned in a previous post, what other system can allow you to implement a Hybrid Platform with one licensing model, one common skillset for your support staff, and browser, mobile, and Microsoft Office compatibility with Social \ Professional Networking capability all built in? There is not one out there and that is why Documentum, LiveLink, FileNet, and many others are more and more wanting to “play nice” with SharePoint and offer more integration capabilities so that they have some option of even getting in the door or not being replaced.
Microsoft Office 15 which will continue to build on SharePoint’s already industry \ quadrant leading Enterprise Content Management, Social \ Professional Networking, mobility, collaboration, etc. to continue to be the market leader and “The Platform \ Ecosystem” for which organizations will turn to for at least the next 15 years.