Microsoft SharePoint Implementation & Customization
Microsoft SharePoint is a highly flexible and customizable off-the-shelf package which provides corporate intranet, document management and content search functionality. Typical uses include providing a company or team portal or workspace, tracking virtually anything, managing different copies of documents, pictures and other files, and creating internal discussion boards, news articles and blogs.
As a range of different functionality is provided by SharePoint, careful planning is required to achieve the ideal implementation and maximize its effectiveness for users. We help you to get the most out of your SharePoint implementation, from understanding the out-of-the-box functionality to developing advanced customizations and utilizing SharePoint functionality and content via external, custom-developed applications.
Two versions are available, SharePoint Foundation 2010, which is included at no additional cost with a Windows Server License, and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Standard (formerly Microsoft Office SharePoint Server), which is licensed separately. SharePoint Foundation 2010 provides outstanding value for small to medium-sized organisations, and is also ideal for workgroups within larger organizations. We can also assist with larger SharePoint implementations, using the full version, for a large team or organisation-wide solution.
Document Management & Version Control
Many organisations use SharePoint for its document management capabilities alone. SharePoint's document management capabilities are powerful and flexible, yet simple to use. If your organisation or department primarily stores files on network drives, frequently uses email to transfer documents to colleagues, lacks a system for tracking changes, or struggles with users who require remote access to files, then SharePoint has the potential to provide a huge productivity boost.
Documents stored in SharePoint are automatically versioned, which means that every time someone makes a change, the user and date is recorded with a version number. Instead of overwriting the previous version of the file, a full history is maintained, making it possible to compare previous versions of the document. A file can be temporarily locked to prevent other users from making conflicting changes while another is working on it. Because the whole system is based around a web browser, it is much more robust than a file server for remote access, and offline functionality allows laptop users to keep their own copies of documents. Finally, the link feature allows the same document to reside in multiple folders, elimintating the confusion caused by multiple copies. SharePoint functionality is also integrated into most Office 2007 applications, meaning that the learning curve is minimal and working with SharePoint documents is no harder than a traditional file server.
All of the content stored within SharePoint can be accessed and manipulated via external custom applications. We can also show you how to use all of the above functionality.
Corporate Intranets, Team Collaboration & Workspaces
Corporate intranets created with SharePoint are built from modules or components known as "web parts". These can be either out-of-the-box web parts or custom-built web parts developed by us. This design allows the entire site to be customized by users once the necessary web parts are ready, and also facilitates the building of mashups, or pages comprised of content from various different sources, including other web pages. A variety of site templates are also provided for discussion boards, wikis, issue tracking, blogs, news items, etc. In short, a corporate intranet built with SharePoint can contain virtually any type of content, and is extremely flexible and extensible.
A SharePoint server can host many different sites. This means that Team Collaboration sites or Workspaces can also be created specifically for a particular project, team or department. This provides the team with their own mini-intranet site with similarly customizable features, including their own document management system. External users, such as customers, can also be given access, making these workspaces ideal for geographically-distributed teams.
Enterprise Search for Documents, Intranets & Public Websites
Enterprise search solutions used to be limited to large organizations who could afford high-end, appliance-based search products. Smaller organisations could use the features of SharePoint Foundation for intranets and internal document management, but were forced to use to external providers, such as Google, for public websites or systems containing both publicly-accessible and private documents. These solutions typically provide little control over content indexing and search results. However, when correctly configured, the SharePoint and Search Server are able to fill this gap for small to medium-sized organisations.
Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express provides document indexing, website indexing and search capabilities without any further licensing fees, in environments where a single search server is sufficient. This is adequate for many small-medium organisations. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 scales to larger deployments where multiple search servers are required.
Apart from within SharePoint, the search capabilities can be utilised in public websites, custom intranet solutions and other applications, without the need to ever expose the SharePoint interface. We can integrate it into your website, intranet or other custom-developed applications to provide users with a fully-integrated but powerful search solution. We use it for the search facility on this website.
Would you like to know more about SharePoint? Let us show you what it can do for your organization. Contact one of our friendly consultants to discuss your requirements or to organize a demonstration.