My Chat with Jared Spataro on Socializing Outside of SharePoint

Yesterday there was a Facebook chat with Jared Spataro on enterprise social and SharePoint. He took questions on the social features within SharePoint, some general questions around social in the enterprise, and of course what can we expect in the upcoming version of SharePoint.

I love the social aspects in SharePoint 2010: tagging, newsfeed, my profile, etc. I think it’s a great step in the right direction. Social is an important piece in the enterprise, allowing users to collaborate using methods they’re use to is a no brainier. There’s plenty out there explaining why, I won’t dive into it here.

My biggest question, and area for concern, is that of socializing with external users, while keeping collaboration in SharePoint. It’s easy to chat with someone via Skype, and then email them a file, but now I have a separate file out there, a different version. Getting feedback and input directly with SharePoint is key. I’ve created many extranets for customers where they extended SharePoint for this sole purpose. Partners have to log in, navigate to the documents, contribute, then log out. Later partner accounts have to be cleaned up and removed from the authentication store. Such a large undertaking to get a file to a partner, and keep it within SharePoint.

So, with that in mind, my question to Jared was:

“Will there be hooks into external social networks (ala G+, FB, Twitter, etc) which can help leverage external users in collaboration?”

I asked the wrong question…

Great answer. I didn’t ask the right question. (who said there are no stupid questions). The following two fellows asked exactly what I was hoping, and got a even better answers.

Both of his replies are big hints towards a “Yes” to my question. With Microsoft’s focus shifting from connecting employees to “crossing organizational boundaries and making it easier than ever before to connect with customers and partners” is a HUGE step in the right direction. Awesome.

In addition to the above good news, Bjørn Furuknap revealed in his research of the next version of SharePoint the addition of a Document Sharing Web Service. I won’t go into details (check out his publications: http://sharepoint2013beta.com/) but it appears that this new service will allow sharing with some other cloud services, as well as providing an anonymous link to a document (similar to linking to a file in SugarSync or DropBox). Couple this with the new social, and hey, you might just be able to share with SharePoint!

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