SharePoint 2007: Ring In the New… And the Old - InformationWeek
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11/22/2006
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Tony Byrne
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SharePoint 2007: Ring In the New… And the Old

It seems that the world is almost slowing down a bit as Microsoft readies a final version of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the quite substantial upgrade to a nearly ubiquitous SharePoint 2003. SharePoint is many things to many people, but customers typically deploy it as a lightweight collaboration portal. With this latest version, Microsoft is trying to extend the product's reach. Microsoft has certainly broadened SharePoint functionally, but sometimes "enterprise" means depth

It seems that the world is almost slowing down a bit as Microsoft readies a final version of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, the quite substantial upgrade to a nearly ubiquitous SharePoint 2003. SharePoint is many things to many people, but customers typically deploy it as a lightweight collaboration portal. With this latest version, Microsoft is trying to extend the product's reach. Microsoft has certainly broadened SharePoint functionally, but sometimes "enterprise" means depth as well as breadth, and some of the old shortcomings (such as performance and administration) persist.In our latest CMS Watch portal report, we've identified seven common enterprise portal services; MOSS excels at two: Collaboration and Web Development. "For use as an enterprise portal, MOSS will remain an unlikely fit for most e-business scenarios or enterprise-wide deployments in large organizations," according to lead report analyst, Janus Boye. "MOSS adds a long set of new features, but MOSS should still only be considered for departmental collaboration or intranet scenarios in mid-market organizations already using Microsoft intensively."

Other Report findings include:

The previous dependency on Internet Explorer is gone, but the most value from enhanced Office integration will come to those enterprises concurrently upgrading to Office 2007. Customers on older versions of Office may find their usability mileage varies.

• As with the previous version, ease of installation obscures difficulty in customization and ongoing maintenance; administrators can easily get in over their head.

• Microsoft's all-important consulting channel will need substantial time to absorb and learn the tool. Experience with previous versions of SharePoint suggests that this learning process will be measured in years.

• Microsoft has not issued clear plans for subsequent releases.

It's worth testing MOSS, but don't count on an early, enterprisewide roll-out until Microsoft and its all-important channel work out more of the kinks.

Tony Byrne is founder and lead analyst at CMS Watch. Write him at tbyrne@cmswatch.com

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