As we slowly inch closer to vNext aka Office 14 I have recently been thinking about some of the productivity and connectivity features I really wish Microsoft would concentrate on. I am pretty sure none of these are addressed in Office 14, but maybe it is not too late to start thinking about them for the next product cycle.
Presence and Modular Messaging
One of my current pains is centered on integration with various messaging services. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts MSN / Live Messenger never really took off and within the enterprise, Communications Server was just a bit too late to take hold. There really needs to be a mechanism for integrating with multiple messaging platforms. There are plenty of web applications that do this well, it is nothing new.
In my current environment Skype is the standard messaging tool. It is secure, operates very well internationally, and the price is pretty attractive as well. I have extended our user profiles in MOSS to include the Skype Contact information and written a simple web part to display status and connection commands. While that is all very valuable, it sure would be nice if we could use this to communicate online presence, or if it could be easily integrated into the presence actions through configuration. I am currently looking into the ability to extend that functionality with the Skype functions, but so far have not had much time to dedicate to that.
Users can currently add RSS to a page via a standard web part, but what I would really like to see is a true Enterprise RSS solution that supports subscription management, categories, the ability to share feeds with colleagues, and content based recommendations.
It would also be nice if there were web services or web parts that helped expose the data so that the functionality can also be integrated into site collections that support things like Communities of Practice.
SharePoint URLs have gotten too long. I frequently run into instances where URLs being tracked in SharePoint lists and menus are over 250 characters. This is a pain for end users to work with, but even worse if you try and save it in a SharePoint link field the value gets truncated.
Time will tell…
Time will tell what they end up adding to the platform, but I think these features would help to foster collaboration and information sharing across the organization.