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Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Workflow User's Guide

Office 2010 can act as the front-end to a full-featured enterprise content management solution using the metadata and workflow capabilities of SharePoint 2010.

Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
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Microsoft Office 2010 In Pictures
With SharePoint 2010 in combination with Office 2010, you can control precisely what happens to documents within your organization well after someone hits "Save." In this article, we'll explain the key building blocks of SharePoint, drill down on key capabilities for growing businesses, and outline the business case.

A Brief Primer On Sharepoint

Suppose you've painstakingly compiled an Excel workbook containing a list of retail outlets worldwide that sell your brand-new product. If you're a sole proprietor, you might stop there. If you're a small business with a few employees, you might pass the Excel workbook around via email as needed, or better yet, put it on a shared folder on an Internet server so that employees can access the data at any time. To ensure data quality, you could use Excel's data validation features to confirm that each retail outlet had an employee assigned as the customer's main contact. Then, if you want to create a "Where to Buy" web page, you can export the data from the spreadsheet into a format that can be uploaded onto a basic website.

But what happens when your company grows? Before you know it, you're managing multiple workbooks for each product, the employee assignments fall out of sync, and the process of manually uploading information to your website becomes a much bigger task than you had anticipated. And as your company grows, you'll have other lists, data and documents to manage, with each business requirement spawning a separate project on the IT to-do list. Ultimately, you'll face a motley collection of point solutions that add up to an expensive and hard-to-manage IT infrastructure.

The SharePoint approach anticipates and supports the spread of data within a growing enterprise through a comprehensive approach to storing, managing and sharing information. As companies grow, they need to capture a wide variety of content; provide access to employees and partners through intranet sites; serve customers, suppliers and other stakeholders through external-facing websites; and manage the workflows associated with the content. While the specifics vary, the fundamental data requirements of an enterprise are reasonably predictable, and SharePoint implements a technology stack and methodology to deal with all but the most specialized business needs.

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