SharePoint 2007 Demystified: How to Cash in on Collaboration Tools

Previous versions of Microsoft's collaboration tools lacked management prowess. SharePoint 2007 fixes that problem and packs in a sometimes confusing array of features from workflow to search. Here's how smart IT leaders are making this often-misunderstood product work for them.

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Mon, January 07, 2008

CIO — As the technology partner (head of IT) at global law firm Bryan Cave , John Alber saw increasing resources being devoted to keeping multiple information systems integrated and the data flowing among them. Over time, the law firm brought in what it considered the best tools to handle tasks such as document repositories, e-mail management, conflict-of-interest databases and calendar management, to help attorneys and support staff research, collaborate and stay abreast of case developments. And keeping those tools working together was a necessary price to be paid. But now, Alber is implementing a different approach: He's using the new Microsoft SharePoint 2007 platform as the common system for many of these tasks.

Until the new version's October 2007 release, Alber wouldn't have considered SharePoint, since its previous incarnation didn't have the management chops he needed. Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was widely considered a departmental tool good just for non-critical intranet sites and project-based file sharing, says Rob Koplowitz, a principal analyst at Forrester Research . But the new version brings in much of what an enterprise needs to manage documents, create project workspaces, manage information repositories and tie into content management, analytics and search tools—all with IT-based control over security, access management and data structures.

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