Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Everything you might not want to know about Sharepoint

Gartner's  Karen Shegda reviewed Microsoft's swiss army knife product which is Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server (MOSS) 2007.
The new features are wikis and blogs plus people search.
Content management had major updates and records management to keep DoD happy (Dod 5015.2).
The MOSS is not seen as an Enterprise Content Management product. MOSS builds on Windows Sharepoint Services (WSS) and on top of basic Windows File Services.
The MOSS portal provides Search, personalization, news, presence and calendaring. We will see Sharepoint increasingly integrated in to the Unified Communications Server stack.
The claim is that team collaboration is a sweet spot with team sites, task management, wikis and blogs. However, from what I have seen of the Wiki capability it is still well behind the curve in comparison to other wiki products such as Socialtext.
One content management gotcha is that compound documents are not handled by Sharepoint.
MOSS has multi-layered security. Site administration, Service administration and central administration.
Integration of MOSS depends on your level of commitment to the Microsoft Ecosystem. However, I have seen instances where things like datasheet edit capabilities get disabled if you have a mixed Office 2003/2007 product set. For example Office 2003  with Project or Infopath 2007. Beyond the Microsoft Ecosystem integration is required. Like a lot of Microsoft software - you can make it do just about anything - provided you want to sit down and cut plenty of custom VB or .Net code.
My experience is also that you need to buy in to the Microsoft stack. Don't try running Sharepoint using Safari on a Mac. If you want to run FireFox on Windows you are best to install the IeTab add-on for Firefox that basically run Internet Explorer inside Firefox.
Succeeding with Sharepoint
  • Set up governance
  • Set a policy on the life of team sites
  • Develop a high-level common taxonomy. This is especially true in compliance-controlled environments like Financial Services and Healthcare.
  • Create an approval process for sites
  • Build a library of useful templates and third-party tools
  • Determine who owns the user experience for different classes of users
Some third party tools bridge Sharepoint Gaps
Quest software - management tools
Infonics and Syntergy - replication tools
F5 Networks and Riverbed - WAN Accelerators
Casahl - Content migration
Don't overlook the substantial supplemental costs:
  • Additional database licenses
  • internet server for public sites
  • Office 2003 or 2007
  • MOSS requires a standard or Enterprise Client Access Licence (CAL)
  • For offline access to Sharepoint you will need Groove desktop clients
First steps
  • develop your content management strategy before acquiring technology
  • Focus on people and behavior. Fit tools to the process. Don't bend processes to the tool.
  • Prioritize for flexibility. Avoid monolithic design. Build in a modular manner.
Sharepoint and Content Management
One part software and four parts professional services. In other words there is a lot of custom integration required.  
What is the difference between collaboration and an Intranet. Collaboration is dynamic and often real-time, two-way and asynchronous. The Intranet still tends to be a one-way publishing paradigm.
Sharepoint and Document Imaging
Sharepoint is only suited to lightweight document imaging and workflow. It is not designed for heavyweight transactional document imaging applications.

1 comment:

  1. good stuff. whatever happened to Knowledge Navigator?