What is new in SharePoint 2010?
The release of SharePoint 2010 is a great step forward from SharePoint 2007. If you still think SharePoint is no more than a document sharing system or a gizzad boxes to fast build a portal website, Microsoft want to make you believe that SharePoint 2010 has the ability to be your IT systems platform for your business with a fraction of the prices of other commercial enterprise management systems.  
SharePoint 2010 is packed with new features, some of them of interest to users, some of them for developers, and some of them to administrators. SharePoint 2010 is now a family of well organised technologies which can be utilised to build a comprehensive solution for your business. Let’s list some of its most exciting new features.

Customised support of lines of business services

SharePoint 2010 enhances customised development and offers more opportunities to align IT with the business lines. Its applications will not be limited to CRM solutions, contact management or company portals, but will also spread across business divisions and integrate enterprise resources using the power of Windows Workflow Foundation. Workflows are now more powerful, and do not have to be tied to a SharePoint list data as in the previous version. Additionally, site-level workflows are a powerful mechanism to create generic functionality.

Enhanced business Intelligence function
The Business Intelligence capabilities of SharePoint 2010 are significantly improved, from new product capabilities like balanced scorecards and interactive dashboards to improvements in Excel rendered content with Excel Services, improved and new capabilities for Self-Service information access, and creation of Business Intelligence assets. If you like sleek interactive business reporting functions, SharePoint 2010 can help through the introduction of Client Object Model, which allows code to run on clients’ machines for improved efficiency, and advanced web part, eg. an out of box Silverlight web part.

Unleashing legacy

With so few companies not already equipped with IT systems nowadays, SharePoint integration becomes a very pressing question. Thankfully, SharePoint 2010’s improved integration ability will ensure that existing systems do live a second life, as Business Connectivity Service and the integration with Microsoft Office applications will help you to consolidate data from heterogeneous IT systems. Office 2010 users are able to use Office Web Applications to view and make essential edits to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote documents directly over the internet with no loss of formatting. SharePoint 2010 improves the abilities of integrating various web applications together ranging from any type of assembly of web services or RESTful services, mashups, or business process management.

A Broader Reach

SharePoint 2010 offers broader browser support by including IE7, IE8, Firefox and Safari. It also supports microbrowsers and provides mobile native client for Windows Mobile devices to enhance mobile users’ experience. SharePoint Workspace 2010 replaces MS Groove and functions as a rich client for SharePoint applications, with the ability to synchronise information with a SharePoint site and to support offline work.

With an annual growth of 20% in revenue for the SharePoint franchise in 2009, the company from Redmond seems firmly heading toward a much increased presence in your server room. This release will bring added power, flexibility and simplicity, and has the potential to become the centrepoint of your IT infrastructure.

By Dr Yishu Ding