Collaborative capabilities in SharePoint are positioned as merely one of six major functionality areas, the others being portal, enterprise search, enterprise content management, business processes and forms, and business intelligence. This is an extensive product that addresses an extensive list of business needs.Wow. Where else have we ever seen a product do so much? I mean, one platform that handles all that? All kidding aside, welcome to the party, Michael. :-) Customers have been doing all that for nearly two decades with Lotus Notes and Domino. In fact, there isn't anything particularly revelatory in what Sharepoint Portal 2007 delivers. Michael's favorite features are as follows:
- Blogs and Wikis - As far as I know this has always been part of Notes in the form of discussion databases, it just didn't have a supercool buzzword attached.
- Shared Notebooks - The concept is that you can store information in a central repository and you choose who can view it. Again, it's a discussion database.
- Knowledge Network for Collaboration Auto-Discovery - For those of you still awake after reading that, the idea is some sort of server-based spider searches your e-mail to find out what you're an expert in, then lets you choose whether you want to tell the rest of your organization. I think Lotus had something called Raven or KMStation that was similar, but it died because nobody cared. I guess in a large organization this might be useful for those times when the person who handles Responsibility X could be in another country. For the other 97% of companies I just don't see it being relevant.
- Engine for Human Workflows - Basically a set of six or eight document-centric workflow choices, such as fill out your TPS report then select the "Forward to PHB" option. There isn't really much to say, other than it's nice this is easily accessible to end users. Doing it in Notes is still several orders of magnitude simpler for a developer. Notes doesn't have a built-in way to extend this to end users, though, and that is a shame.
If your business or organization has the financial wherewithal to embrace Microsoft's Office 2007 system, plus the people to manage and maintain the resultant infrastructure, SharePoint is good move.That excludes me.
Picked up from Peter de Haas, the article is available from Messaging News Magazine.