Recently, we have been gradually exposed to SharePoint 2013. I mean sure, you might have been one of the 10,000 attendees at the Conference in Vegas but have you taken the time to sit down and analyze what a migration to SharePoint 2013 would mean for you? Previously, I have covered in a SharePoint 2013 migration (http://en.share-gate.com/blog/migrate-to-sharepoint-2013-introduction) series the different features and supported scenarios to help you get started. In this article, I want to focus on what SharePoint 2013 means to the Power Users.
If you are like me, you might get excited about the latest and greatest gadgets and features that come with a new version of a product. When SharePoint 2013 was announced I was looking at apps, the new Design Manager, how pages are coded, etc. However, to the Power Users in your company, it’s just another technology to help them do their job. And a big one that is bringing them a lot of work in fact. They are forced into the world of IT to provide solutions to the End Users. Columns, Tables, Site Columns, Web Parts, these are things they now have to learn and understand to provide the solution in SharePoint.
You can call it SharePoint 2013 now, it won’ t matter to them. They want a tool to help them do their job. SharePoint 2013 will only be good if it actually helps you increase the amount of work you do for the same amount of time it used to take you.
I was lucky enough to be speaking in SharePoint Saturday St Louis on January 12th of 2013. My session was related to some of the benefits Search will bring to us. More specifically, the Content Search Web Part.
In short, the Content Search Web Part is the new and improved Content Query Web Part. If you don’t remember what that is, the CQWP allows you to query any content in your Site Collection and display it using reusable styles. It is one of the most powerful tools for a Power User in SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010. Why? Because it allowed the Power User to provide no-code, reusable solutions throughout the company. The Content Search Web Part, takes it somewhere else. Instead of querying the Site Collection like the CQWP, it actually talks to Search directly. This means it has access to everything the SharePoint Search has been configured to Crawl.
The real power of the Content Search Web Part is in its easy to use Query Builder and the Design Templates that go with it. You can learn more about that by downloading the slides (http://www.slideshare.net/benjaminniaulin/sharepoint-2013-content-search-web-part-get-it-all-in-one-place-and-style-it) I made available after the SharePoint Saturday.
Basically, it allows the Power User to build his own queries without knowing much about coding or managed properties. Ex: Get me all the blog posts in the company where the category is SharePoint. Or, Get me all the Tasks assigned to the user currently logged in. These are queries the Power User will be able to build in just a few minutes now.
Even better, it allows them to display the results using “Display Templates”. These are reusable HTML files that will give a look to the results of the query done above. It can show up as a slider, events calendar or even a full page. In SharePoint 2013, an entire page could be rendered as the result of a search on the logged in user.
Unfortunately, this is something that is only available on the On-Premise Enterprise version, though there is an expected release on Office 365. But I wouldn’t count it in the less expensive plans
So what does this mean to our Power Users that need this Web Part to build Sites in just a few seconds? Well, you can actually do mostly everything with the Search Results Web Part. It allows you to build queries and use display templates as well. There are a few differences however. The Content Search Web Part was really built to make it easy on the Power User to manipulate the content that comes out of this Web Part.
During my session on the Content Search Web Part at the SharePoint Saturday, I could tell by the reactions of the Power Users in the room how helpful this will be for them. Creating a Query based on search and styling it without too much effort, perfect!
Of course there are a lot more features in SharePoint 2013 that will alleviate the work from Power Users to provide specific solutions using SharePoint to their Business Users. The message I am trying to convey in this article is to remember that SharePoint 2013 is nothing but a technology that helps your business run better. To do that, it needs to help the Business Users quickly and with the least amount of efforts possible. I believe there are a few features that will help you do that in SharePoint 2013.
Which feature do you think will give your Power Users an advantage?