We recently released publically available additional ribbon tabs  for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 applications to help new users easily find interesting and informative content and support them in navigating around the new UI.

 

These are available from  http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/Browse.aspx?DisplayLang=en&nr=20&productId=4289AE77-4CBA-4A75-86F3-9FF96F68E491&sortCriteria=date

The commands on the new tab give easy access to free content on Office Online that helps you learn the applications such as Word 2007 quickly.

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In my bLog posting i have covered Information Rights Management (IRM) quite alot and its one of the key reasons why customers move to the higher end of Office 2007 SKU’s though many organisation fail to see the value and purely look at the license cost. IRM is a way to provide privacy protection for a Microsoft Office document and to ensure that sensitive information is only viewed by appropriate people. For example, you may want to report quarterly financial data only to select members of an executive committee one month before the data becomes publicly available in a financial statement, so they have time to prepare public relation responses and make appropriate business decisions.

Windows SharePoint Services Version 3.0 or later supports IRM on a document library and all the documents in that library (whether or not those individual documents are enabled with IRM). Once the document is uploaded to a document library enabled with IRM, the document, in effect, becomes IRM-enabled.

Excel Services does not support loading Excel workbooks that have been enabled with IRM, and it does not load an Excel workbook if it is enabled with IRM or comes from a document library enabled with IRM. However, if you want to take advantage of IRM, you can load an Excel workbook without IRM into Excel Services, open the workbook as a snapshot, and then save the snapshot to a document library that is enabled with IRM.

For more information, see the Microsoft Office Excel 2007 Help system and the Office SharePoint Server Central Administration Help system.

Excel Services is a Microsoft Office SharePoint technology that makes it simple to use, share, secure, and manage Microsoft Office Excel 2007 workbooks (.xslx, xslb) as interactive reports in a consistent way throughout the enterprise.

There are three basic components to Excel Services that interact with each other and together form the overall structural design of Excel Services;

 Excel Calculation Services (ECS) is the “engine” of Excel Services that loads the workbook, calculates in full fidelity with Microsoft Office Excel 2007, refreshes external data, and maintains sessions.

 Excel Web Access (EWA) is a Web Part that displays and enables interaction with the Microsoft Office Excel workbook in a browser by using Dynamic Hierarchical Tag Markup Language (DHTML) and JavaScript without the need for downloading ActiveX controls on your client computer, and can be connected to other Web Parts on dashboards and other Web Part Pages.

 Excel Web Services (EWS) is a Web service hosted in Microsoft Office SharePoint Services that provides several methods that a developer can use as an application programming interface (API) to build custom applications based on the Excel workbook.

Because Excel Services is a component of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you can also take advantage of many SharePoint technology features such as, controlling, securing, and managing access to spreadsheets, server-based performance, and ability to scale well when users are added.

So where does this start to get fruity? Well the answer is as always when we start to look at some deployment scenarios to mkae this thing real.

Of course, there are countless ways that you can use Excel Services, but the following is a representative list of scenarios and examples to help you better understand how you might use Excel Services.

Business intelligence dashboards  An executive committee has access to several company dashboards that act as an up-to-date financial scoreboard for the company. To continuously assess company performance, the main dashboard summarizes Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as sales goals, target revenues, and profit margins, on a monthly basis. Additional dashboards summarize market news to help analyze financial risk for current and new projects, and to display charts of critical financial data to help evaluate different investment portfolios.

Retail store decision-making tool  A retail chain summarizes critical point-of-sales data on a weekly basis and shares it with suppliers, financial analysts, and regional managers. Reports include current items below inventory, top 20 selling items by sales categories, important seasonal data, and transaction counts by each store.

And for me the most interesting scenario and where the richest vein of IP protection is concerned;

Proprietary financial analysis calculation model  A large financial institution has researched and developed a pricing model that is private intellectual property. The results of the formula need to be shared with some investment managers, but the formula that is used to calculate the pricing model must be secure and never be publicly revealed. This pricing model is extremely complex and takes a long time to calculate. Every night, the pricing model report is calculated and created on a fast server, saved to a trusted location, and displayed on a Web Part Page, but only to those who have appropriate permission.

The following is a comprehensive but not necessarily complete list of the functions gained by having Word 2007 with Sharepoint 2007.

·         Enterprise Content Management o   Ability to complete meta-data in the Information Property Panelo   Ability to create custom Information Property Panels with business logic using InfoPath o   In-client workflows (initiate, complete, etc.)o   Ability to see a document requires workflow actions (approve, sign, etc.)o   Ability to see a document is locked and requires check-out to be modifiedo   Ability to see relevant corporate policies right in Officeo   Rich Document signature workflow process·         Ability to author and publish web content·         When opening a Word 2007 document from SharePoint 2007…o   ability to see all previous published and draft versionso   ability to restore back to any previous versiono   ability to perform a graphical comparison between any two versions·         Ability to create a new Blog posting or Wiki in SharePoint right from Word·         Barcodes and meta-data labels when printing content

So here is a scenario i have recently been involved with  and i thought it worth a post as it would easy to get caught out on this – “I’ve recently installed SharePoint Portal Server within the organisation. As a start I’ve purchased approximately 150 user CAL’s for the Portal, if I allow someone access to a portal site as a ‘Reader’ does that constitute usage of one of those licences or does it only apply to someone that can contribute and officially ‘use’ the site?

The answer to this question is as follows “organisations must acquire and assign a CAL to each device or user that accesses your instances of the server software directly or indirectly.”  Therefore, even if the users are accessing the server to only read documents, they still require a CAL.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 helps organizations provide business intelligence (BI) capabilities to every employee so they can share, control, and reuse business information to make better business decisions. The BI features in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provide Web and programmatic access to published Office Excel spreadsheets, programmatic reuse of critical LOB data, and easy development of Web-based BI dashboards that can incorporate rich, data-bound KPIs, Web Parts, and published spreadsheets.

Top Features at A Glance:

  • Web Access to Published Spreadsheets
  • Integrated, Flexible Publishing
  • Programmatic Access to Published Spreadsheets
  • Data Connection Libraries
  • Business Data Catalog
  • Business Data SharePoint Lists and Web Parts
  • Business Data Actions
  • Data Connection Libraries
  • KPIs/Dashboards
  • Report Center Web Sites
  • Excel Services Management
  • BI Web-Parts
  • Server-based Excel spreadsheets and data visualization

For the first time ever, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 enables users to create forms, populate them with data from business applications, publish them on the Web, and initiate document-oriented workflows – all that directly from their familiar Microsoft Office user interface or from within their Internet Browser.

Top Features at A Glance:

  • Deploy and manage forms centrally
  • Integrate forms with Outlook 2007
  • Import forms· Digitally sign forms
  • Create forms without coding
  • Integration with business applications

The new and enhanced content management capabilities in MS Office SharePoint Server 2007 comprise three areas:

  • Document Management
  • Records Management
  • Web Content Management

Windows SharePoint Services provides core document management functionality: major and minor versioning, check-in/check-out document locking, rich descriptive metadata, workflow, content type–based policies, auditing, and role-based-access controls at the document library, folder, and individual document levels.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 builds on these capabilities to deliver enhanced authoring, business document processing, Web content management and publishing, records management, policy management, and support for multilingual publishing.

Top Features at A Glance:

  • Web content editor and in-context authoring
  • Authoring processes (traditional)
  • Enterprise-wide layout templates
  • Scalability
  • Integration with business applications
  • Enterprise-wide metadata management
  • Enterprise-wide templates for all types of content
  • Integration with Office 2007 through a task bar and information panel
  • Version control, check-in/check-out
  • Document workflows (to be customized with MS Office SharePoint Designer)
  • Integration with business applications
  • Tamperproof repository storage
  • Integration of  “e-mails as records”
  • Policy definition and monitoring/auditing

Underpinning everything we do at Microsoft is Search, its embedded in all of the new releases not to mention MOSS. The search engine of Office SharePoint Server 2007 has been enhanced significantly. It now offers consistent search features based on common paradigms. Search result relevance has been optimized, and new functions for finding individuals or skills have been added. Data in LOB applications can now be indexed and searched. The usability and scope of the search functionality has been further improved.

Top Features at A Glance:

  • Define the relevance of search results
  • Integration with business applications
  • Seamless search engine integration with Exchange 2007 and SharePoint 2007
  • People Search: Search by employee or expertise – can be extended by the ‘Knowledge Network’
  • Include back-end systems (databases ERP’s,…) in teh search scope (by using the ‘Business Data Catalog’)
  • Enterprise scalability
  • Contextual relevance
  • Comprehensive searches for personal and business data

I fequently get asked about the key component characteristics of our Communication and Collaboration tools as people enter into the lifecycle of product analysis and evaluation with a certain job in mind. I have decided to run a number of short posts that will detail the main themes or challenges that are met by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) in order to satisfy many of these requests. So here goes # 1; 

With Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, it is all about finding, retrieving, managing and collaborating with information and content. . Microsoft SharePoint Technologies provides organizations with one single, integrated platform to support all intranets (including team and individual sites), extranets and Web applications across your enterprise.Whether content management and search features, business forms and business intelligence, or collaboration and portal functionality – from now on, you can manage and use it all across all of your enterprise’s systems and business units from within the familiar Microsoft Office GUI.

Top Features for collaborations at A Glance:

  • LDAP integration and support for other authentication providers
  • Offline access to all lists and document libraries
  • Knowledge management tools for networking and knowledge sharing
  • My Websites: personalized GUI with an individual website for each user
  • Blogs, Wikis, e-mail integration
  • Project management “lite”
  • Offline documents/lists
  • Outlook Integration