Why SharePoint 2013 is not just an evolution, but a revolutionBusinesses need to get serious about collaboration. Every day there are new tools and services released for different aspects of working and sharing. But finding a single holistic solution that integrates seamlessly with your existing software and systems, and gives you all the functionality you need, is key. We believe that Microsoft has managed this with SharePoint 2013.Microsoft has had three whole years to update SharePoint: much longer than the average upgrade cycle. The delay has paid off: it has given Microsoft time to build, review and improve major new capabilities which will benefit both business and end users.Here’s why your business should embrace SharePoint 2013:1. Social Focus Microsoft is really highlighting how everything in SharePoint 2013 is social. This includes tags, social bookmarks, ratings, micro blogs, follows and new social feedback mechanisms. To accommodate this, every employee effectively gets their own home page. Microsoft also plans to better integrate Yammer with SharePoint when its acquisition is complete. Social is a major focus and benefit to businesses, enabling them to build teams and easily share knowledge within their organisation.2. Business Intelligence (BI) New Business Intelligence capabilities are far more powerful, making it easier to analyse and understand corporate data. Analysts such as Gartner and Forrester have tipped BI as a key growth trend that will give businesses a competitive advantage. SharePoint 2013 will let you ride this wave, with new features in Excel for BI including near-instant analysis, better visualisations and controls. 3. Better Branding The ease of branding through improved design features in SharePoint 2013 will be worthwhile for many businesses. Richer themes, including background images, will give site owners much more control over visual style. They can easily design a public-facing website or a corporate intranet. Web content management is also much easier. 4. Cloud Storage SkyDrive Pro makes it much easier to store and share and sync documents. It works like an enterprise version of Dropbox. You just drop files into the browser window, and choose who you want to share it with. If you want to share it company-wide, just move it to the “Shared with Everyone” folder. You can also sync with a local drive. There’s also “shredded storage” to remove file duplicates and streamline document storage.5. Going mobile SharePoint Server 2013 offers new, optimised viewing experiences for different mobile platforms. You can easily render a single SharePoint published site in multiple formats for different devices. SharePoint push notifications can be sent to Windows Phones, as well as Office Web apps also enjoying enhanced viewing via mobile browsers.6. Apps Availability Great news for both end users and IT departments: Microsoft is introducing an Apps Store in SharePoint 2013. There’s already an active market for SharePoint add ons, and now it will be even easier and quicker for users to get new features. As well as a public Apps Store, curated collections including in-house apps can also be offered. This means that users are Empowered to safely download their own apps instantly which frees up IT staff. 7. Streamlining tasks Project work and teamwork is greatly improved through task management capabilities. These include a visual timeline of tasks, task-tracking, a to-do list, as well as a unified task list that doesn’t need any coding, allowing you to view all your SharePoint and Outlook tasks in one place. 8. Records management Compliance is much more seamless in SharePoint 2013, enabling you to better protect your business. You can create and manage retention policies in SharePoint Server 2013, and they will apply to SharePoint sites and any associated Exchange Server 2013 team mailboxes.Amid all this excitement, there’s still no release date for SharePoint 2013. But regardless of the timing of its launch, it’s set to be one of the most transformative solutions for businesses worldwide.Are you planning to upgrade to SharePoint 2013? What features are you waiting for?Philip Scott is Brennan IT’s Software and Business Solutions Practice Manager.