The server-side components of Microsoft’s new Office system, Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS), were recently featured at their first major European conference in Berlin. Attended by around 2,400 IT professionals, and supported by over 80 partners, the conference signals the start of Microsoft’s big push to get customers and partners moving towards this new business productivity platform.
Over the last few years, Microsoft Office has evolved from a suite of standalone personal productivity tools into an integrated collection of programs, servers, and services. Although optimum value is only likely to be delivered when all of the components are used together, Microsoft’s new business productivity infrastructure is certainly grabbing a great deal of attention in the corporate market – in fact, far more than Windows Vista.
On the client side, familiar Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, Outlook, and Excel, have been updated with a new look and feel in the hope that this will unlock more of the value contained within these desktop productivity tools. While the training required to bring this about is going to add significantly to corporate IT budgets over the next few years, early indicators suggest that Microsoft’s user interface engineers might have finally got it right this time around.
On the server side, Windows SharePoint Services version 3.0 technology upgrades the basic file-sharing capabilities of Windows Server 2003 to provide a platform for team and workgroup collaboration. Moreover, this technology also provides the foundation services for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 – Microsoft’s corporate portal offering and framework for its business intelligence, business forms, content management, and enterprise search initiatives.
Taken as a whole, this ‘system’ adds up to a very competitive and compelling information worker technology stack, and yet if one considers the various elements separately, then there is very little that could be described as outstanding or revolutionary. However, the opportunities for third-party developers and independent software vendors are such that we may well see many extraordinary offerings coming to market over the coming months.
Uncovering the real business value of the 2007 Microsoft Office system could take some time, and so all organizations should inspect Microsoft’s new offering very closely to see if it meets their business needs. However, one thing is for sure, SharePoint Server 2007 is now undoubtedly the center of the ‘Microsoft Office Universe,’ with Exchange Server now playing only a supporting role.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)