The IT Leader's Guide to Multicloud Readiness
This guide provides practical key insights and important factors to consider to make informed decisions in your multicloud journey.
I have always felt that SharePoint is loaded with numerous hidden gems, features or functions available out-of-the-box but simply waiting for the right use case to unlock their value. This is one of the real value adds that working with knowledgeable consultants can bring—the good ones know those hidden gems, match them to a business need, and can help an enterprise deploy them to their advantage with a minimum of custom code.
The Meeting Workspace site template was one of these hidden gems, particularly in the 2010 edition. Over the years I’ve helped numerous clients get value out of these. The ability to create them from—and link them to—Outlook appointments, and especially recurring meeting series, is something that has helped many of my clients support regular meetings and store files, presentations and minutes from week to week.
For this reason, I was personally quite disappointed when Microsoft deprecated the Meeting Workspace template in 2013. Sure, many of its functions can be replicated with some configuration work and saved as a unique template, but if you want SharePoint to be a time-saver this kind of work strikes me as rather counterintuitive. Customers want SharePoint to come as loaded with ready-to-use features and functions as they can, so the loss of one in the otherwise-compelling 2013 edition was unfortunate.
I’m pleased to see AvePoint step into the gap here and give us a tool that should help fill the void of the Meeting Workspace. Recently announced on their website by Jeremy Thake, it seems the “Meetings for SharePoint 2013” app will be available in the Office Store app marketplace soon.
You can count me as someone who is very eager to download and install this app in our own SharePoint environment, and try it out internally. I know I’ve had a great many clients who will surely be interested in how it tests out, and I’ll certainly look to post about it once I’ve kicked the tires.
As a side note, this app marks an interesting move into actual user collaboration tools by AvePoint, who are best known (and rightly so) for a number of great utilities and governance products. Mr. Thake does note that “a premium app… can be unlocked on purchase for more enterprise-level reporting features”, which is more in line with AvePoint’s traditional focus on governance. This presents a good tie back to their existing product suite, but it begs the question—what other goodies have they got up their sleeves, and how long until we see them?