Last month I wrote about all types of server software: Windows Server for sharing files, SQL Server for databases, Exchange Server for email, and Internet Information Server for hosting websites. But I didn’t talk about the fastest-selling server software ever because I was saving it for an article of its own. It is Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, otherwise known as MOSS.
A few months back, I wrote an article on how SharePoint was gaining popularity as a collaboration tool for organizations. That article talked about SharePoint in general, and didn’t differentiate between the free Windows SharePoint Services you get with Windows Server, and the much more expansive (and expensive) MOSS. (Past articles are in my blog; see the caption at the end of this article.)
This article will talk about features only found in MOSS. To help me prepare for this article, I tapped on Nicom’s Senior SharePoint Consultant’s shoulder, Brad George, and this is what he came up with.
“My Site”. This feature provides a single place to go to compile all tasks that are assigned to you—documents, links, contact information, and other content that applies to you. Your very own corporate website.
Enterprise Search. As data and information proliferate in organizations, how do you know where to look for something? Is it in a database, in a document, in your email? Enterprise search brings all organizational data into a single searchable interface, and can be extended to third-party databases. Extra security features of MOSS can be used to ensure users only see the information they are authorized to see.
Workflows. Workflows are pre-defined processes for doing business. MOSS provides you with out-of-the-box workflow templates for approvals, feedback, signatures, and document expiration. Customized email alerts can be used to make this process more effective.
Records Management. MOSS allows you to set central policies for archiving and retaining email and other types of documents. This not only manages your corporate knowledge, but is also great for legal and regulatory purposes.
e-Forms. Using products called InfoPath and Forms Server, you can create intelligent electronic forms, called e-forms, to collect information from business users, with sophisticated security and data validation. Users only need a web browser to fill out these forms and save them in document libraries. Forms Server is a separately-licensed SharePoint product whereas InfoPath is part of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of applications.
Business Intelligence. MOSS allows you to bring all of your organizational data and information into dashboards to monitor your own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Integration with Excel 2007 allows that product’s capabilities to be used within SharePoint in a controlled environment.
Integrated internal and external content management. Using MOSS for Internet sites provides you with a single content management platform for everyone who interacts with your business—secure intranet for employees, secure extranet for partners, secure internet for customers.
MOSS comes in several types of licensing arrangements depending on your needs. Although it will work well with earlier versions of Microsoft Office, it really integrates well with Office 2007. In fact, pretty well all of the content in MOSS can be managed with Outlook 2007, a program well known to many corporate users.
This article barely scratches the surface of what MOSS can do and how it is configured. If you want to learn more about MOSS, Nicom IT Solutions will be putting on a free seminar in Halifax in the near future; drop me an email and I will make sure you get an invitation.