Microsoft has quickly created a major presence in the enterprise content management (ECM) market with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007(MOSS). To help IT managers assess SharePoint as an ECM platform, Tisson Mathew, Chief Technology Officer at Aivea, an IT Consulting firm with deep Microsoft technologies experience, provides some insight into the increasingly popular platform. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is generating considerable visibility as a strong performer in enterprise content management. What’s behind this? Tisson Mathew:
Microsoft is focusing on Enterprise Information Management
(EIM) which is a superset of ECM. EIM encompasses enterprise application data sources such as ERP and CRM as well as enterprise content including files, Web pages and forms.
From Microsoft’s perspective, SharePoint connects people, process and information.
The new and enhanced content management features in Office SharePoint Server 2007 fall within three areas:
* Document management
* Records management
* Web content management.
Office SharePoint Server 2007 builds on the core document management functionality provided by Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, including check-in and check-out, versioning, metadata and role-based granular access controls.
Organizations can use this functionality to deliver:
* Enhanced authoring
* Business document processing
* Web content management and publishing
* Records management
* Policy management
* Support for multilingual publishing. What are the strengths for SharePoint as an enterprise content management application? Tisson Mathew:
It is an excellent choice for Microsoft-centric IT organizations and integrates document management technology with already familiar Microsoft Office desktop applications. The software also provides strong web content management by working with Microsoft ASP.NET and Visual Studio.NET.
Another strength is how SharePoint manages and controls unstructured content
like Microsoft Office documents, Web pages, Portable Document Format (PDF) files and e-mail messages. It also streamlines business processes that are a drain on organizational productivity. From a collaboration perspective, what capabilities does SharePoint offer to improve workflows? Tisson Mathew:
SharePoint offers excellent integration between its ECM and collaboration technologies. This makes it a strong option for IT managers looking for applications to improve how office professionals collaborate and work with documents.
Office SharePoint Server 2007 is an important part of the overall Microsoft collaboration vision to help an organization work more effectively with others. It provides features that include improving team productivity, managing document creation processes, streamlining business processes and supporting community knowledge. Most office workflows involve paper documents. What’s the best way to capture paper-based information into SharePoint? Tisson Mathew:
Collaboration requires ad-hoc document capture so documents are available to people when they need them.
For example, the eCopy Connector for SharePoint makes it easy for any office worker to scan documents directly into SharePoint from a multifunction printer (MFP) or scanner. It helps ensure all relevant information is instantly available by indexing and storing paper-based information to SharePoint. When evaluating applications to add document scanning capabilities to SharePoint what should IT managers consider? Tisson Mathew:
First, look for an application that has zero footprint on the SharePoint Server. Next, consider the user experience. For example, users already know Windows-based file structures and document scanning should utilize them to ease user adoption.
Also, make sure your document imaging application has out of the box capabilities to avoid customization issues. You shouldn’t have to change SharePoint to accommodate capture. For example, the document imaging software should authenticate users at the MFP the same way users are authenticated at the Windows desktop.
About the Author
Tisson Mathew is Chief Technology Officer of Aivea
an Enterprise Software Consulting Services company based out of Portland, Oregon. With over 12 years of experience in information technology research, development and management, he is responsible for driving Aivea's overall technology and professional services strategy.