As the SharePoint Conference 2012 kicks off in Las Vegas this week, it’s a great time to examine our progress to date as well as where Microsoft SharePoint is headed.

SharePoint has come a long way since its launch 11 years ago. Originally envisioned as a way to manage documents, today it has evolved into a highly versatile platform that can be used for sharing ideas;  organizing information; keeping projects on track; connecting teams; discovering insights;  building applications; and managing costs, risk and time.

SharePoint is now the leading collaboration platform for 135 million users  and 4,000 partners delivering innovative solutions. In just a little over a decade, it has reached more than $2 billion in revenue. Wow!

The New Way of Working Together
Despite the massive popularity of SharePoint, we’re not resting on our laurels. The SharePoint team continues to leapfrog expectations by making the platform even more innovative and powerful. The result is the new SharePoint, which makes sharing easier than ever through important new mobile, social, search, project management and usability features. Here are seven reasons why businesses will love what they see:

  1. A new and simplified user experience: Users can share documents inside or outside their organization with a single click, drag and drop content into document libraries, edit lists inline, and create new sites in seconds.
  2. Easier to store and sync documents: Employees can use SkyDrive Pro to store and sync their documents across all their devices.
  3. Simpler task completion: With the new SharePoint, employees can organize their work with task lists and project timelines. They can also consolidate task management across SharePoint, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Project.
  4. A smarter search experience: The new SharePoint makes it easy for users to find what they’re looking for with the new and improved FAST Search. They can also customize and narrow their search for more relevant results and discover related people and documents with recommendations.
  5. Dynamic websites: Users can create dynamic websites with cross-site publishing and enhanced web content management.
  6. Greater scalability and faster performance: An enhanced cloud architecture within the new SharePoint allows for greater scalability and faster performance.
  7. Easier eDiscovery for compliance: The new SharePoint introduces a new unified policy management and eDiscovery solution that works across the new releases of SharePoint, Exchange and Lync.

A Must-Have Technology
Already, four out of five Fortune 500 companies use SharePoint as their social and collaboration platform. What’s more, many companies that use competitive solutions maintain their SharePoint investments. From easy-to-create workflows, to built-in records management for compliance, to the ability to locate experts with “My Profile,” businesses can accomplish far more with SharePoint than they can using Google Apps.

Going forward, my prediction is that SharePoint will become a must-have technology for nearly every business. Says J. Peter Bruzzese of InfoWorld: “Given the impressive features and UI enhancements in SharePoint 2010, I've been uncertain about what Microsoft could do to SharePoint 2013 that would actually make it better.” Yet the bottom line is that “SharePoint 2013 is better than the last version.”

Positioned for Continued Success
As the management consultant, educator, and author Peter Drucker once said: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” With the new SharePoint, Microsoft is creating a successful future by helping businesses increase their agility and attain a competitive edge.

If you haven’t already, be sure to try the new SharePoint Online in the Office 365 Preview. We welcome your comments and feedback.