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
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The portal components of Office SharePoint Server 2007 include features that are especially useful for designing, deploying, and managing enterprise intranet portals, corporate Internet presence Web sites, and divisional portal sites.

The portal components also make it easy to connect to people within the organization that have the right skills, knowledge, and project experience. Office SharePoint Server 2007 simplifies the way in which people work together and this is one of the key elements for me. People hold the key to success in many organisations and not just because of what they know but also because who they know and how to go about getting things done!

Top Features at A Glance:

  • Enterprise Portal templates· Site Directory
  • My Site Personal Sites
  • Privacy Controls· Social Networking
  • Portal Site Templates
  • Site Manager
  • SharePoint Sites and Documents Roll-up Web Part
  • Colleagues and Memberships Web Parts
  • Real-Time Presence and Communication
  • LDAP Pluggable Authentication Provider
  • User Profiles· Profile Store
  • Profile Synchronization
  • Profile Directory Import
  • Audience Targeting
  • Mobile Device Support

Windows SharePoint Services

December 4, 2006

Windows SharePoint Services builds on the operating system and database services to support requirements ranging from a team site for a workgroup, to large enterprise portal solutions serving over 100,000 employees and staff (such as Office SharePoint Server 2007), to a corporate Internet portal supporting millions of users.

Windows SharePoint Services platform services provide the following security-enhanced, scalable, reliable, high-performance capabilities:

  • Storage
  • Management
  • Deployment
  • Site Model
  • Extensibility
  • Security

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

The element of Microsoft Office System 2007 that i am responsible for  includes features geared towards collaboration and data sharing. As such, Microsoft Office 2007 features server components for applications such as Excel, which work in conjunction with Windows Sharepoint Services, to provide a collaboration platform. SharePoint works with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, which is used to host a SharePoint site. Excel server exposes Excel Services, which allows any worksheet to be created, edited and maintained via web browsers. it features Excel Web Access, the client-side component (see earlier post on the differences in the Office SKU’s) which is used to render the workseet on a browser, Excel Calculation Service which is the server side component which populates the worksheet with data and perform calculations, and Excel Web Service that exposes Excel functionalities as individual web services. Sharepoint can also be used to host Word documents for collaborative editing, by sharing a document. SharePoint can also be used to hold PowerPoint slides in a Slide Library, from which the slides can be used as a formatting template. It will also notify users of a slide automatically in case the source slide is modified. Also by using SharePoint, Powerpoint can manage shared review of presentations. Any SharePoint hosted document can be accessed from the application which created the document or from other applications such as a browser of Microsoft Office Outlook.

Microsoft Office 2007 also includes Groove, which brings collaborative features to a peer-to-peer paradigm. Groove can host documents, including presentations, workbooks and others, created in Microsoft Office 2007 application in a shared workspace, which can then be used in collaborative editing of documents. Groove can also be used in managing workspace sessions, including access control of the workspace. To collaborate on one or more documents, a Workspace has to be created, and then those who are to work on it have to be invited. Any file shared on the workspace are automatically shared among all participants. The application also provides real-time messaging, including one-to-one as well as group messaging, and presence features, as well as monitoring workspace activities with alerts, which are raised when pre-defined set of activities are detected. Groove also provides features for conflict resolution for conflicting edits. Schedules for a collaboration can also be decided by using a built-in shared calendar, which can also be used to keep track of the progress of a project. However, the calendar is not compatible with Microsoft Outlook.

The 2007 Microsoft Office System, also known as Microsoft Office 2007, is the most recent version of our productivity suite. Formerly known as Office 12 in the initial stages of the beta cycle, we are scheduled to be make the suite available to volume license customers on November 30, 2006, with general availability following in early 2007. Office 2007 contains a number of new features, the most notable of which on the surface of it is the entirely new graphical user interface called the Ribbon, replacing the menus and toolbars that have been the cornerstone of Office since its inception.

Office 2007 also includes new applications and server-side tools which is where the real changes have been made. Chief amongst these is Groove, a collaboration and communication suite which was originally developed by Groove Networks before being acquired by Microsoft in 2005. Also included is Office Sharepoint Server 2007, a major revision to the server platform for Office applications, which supports “Excel Services”, a client-server architecture for supporting Excel workbooks that are shared in real time between multiple machines, and are also viewable and editable through a web page.

My earlier posts on the the Versions and SKU’s covers the capabilities in more detail and details the main solution areas we address such as Content Management, Enterprise Project Management, Business Inteligence and Electroinc forms and Automated workflow.

Veggies, Vegans, Carnivores the lot – By offering suites that include tailored sets of applications and features, the 2007 Microsoft Office system helps address the unique needs of an organization and its employees- whatever their appetite might be for our technology. The volume-licensing suites, Office Standard 2007, Office Professional Plus 2007, and Office Enterprise 2007, all boast features and applications that support information rights management, integrated content management, and customized electronic forms – with varying degrees of integration. In addition, the variations in included applications allow organizations to license a software suite with the specific tools users need to perform key tasks and i hope my previous posts have clarified what you get with what and more importantly what you don’t!

While Office Standard 2007 enables users to participate in document-based processes and simple collaboration, Office Professional Plus 2007 and Office Enterprise 2007 in conjunction with Office SharePoint Server and other Office Servers provide advanced functionality that supports sophisticated collaboration and the ability to define and initiate business processes. The decision about which suite or suites are best suited to a particular organization should be based on an understanding of the business needs and collaborative style of the organization and its employees, as well as on the applications and functionality available to meet those needs. The office system 2003 was a big step forward but the integration and added functionality within this release is streets ahead. I’m really excited about some of the stuff you acheive OOTB and look forward to working with organisations over the coming years to help them get the most from it!

The 2007 release includes sophisticated IRM capabilities and policy controls designed to help organizations safeguard digital information from unauthorized use. Through integration with Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, these IRM features enable information workers to define exactly how recipients can use the information contained in Microsoft Office documents.

Specific features include:

·     Information Rights Management. In conjunction with Windows RMS, the IRM features of the 2007 release enable users to define exactly who can open, modify, print, forward, and/or take other actions with the information in Microsoft Office documents.

·     Policy Statements. Organizations can create policy statements for specific e-mail message types and embed these statements in the e‑mail message. Policy statements can instruct the reader how to handle the email message content or serve as a flag to trigger Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to process custom-defined rules. Table 2:  Information Rights and Policy Management Capabilities 

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Create IRM protected documents and e-mail messages. Grant access and editing permissions and apply policy templates to protected content.*

  P P

Read and use IRM-protected documents and e-mail messages, given appropriate rights.*

P P P

Apply policy statements to e-mail messages before sending.*

  P P

Read policy statements associated with received e-mail messages.

P P P
*Requires Windows Rights Management Services for Windows Server 2003.

The 2007 release streamlines data collection through integration between InfoPath 2007 and the core applications. Electronic forms can be presented as standalone forms in the InfoPath 2007 client or in the browser, imported into Groove 2007 workspaces, embedded in Document Information Panels and Task Panes, or embedded in Outlook 2007 e-mail messages so colleagues can complete forms without leaving the familiar Outlook environment. With InfoPath 2007 and Microsoft Office InfoPath Forms Services, organizations can also extend electronic forms solutions outside the corporate firewall, enabling customers, business partners, and mobile or remote users to complete electronic forms using many different Web browsers and mobile devices.

Features that take advantage of InfoPath 2007 forms include:

·     E-Mail Forms. The ability to embed an InfoPath form within an Outlook 2007 e-mail message provides a fast, efficient way to collect information.

·     Developer enhancements. Enhanced development capabilities enable developers to display richer content, including InfoPath forms, within custom Task Panes.

·     Document Information Panel. Support for InfoPath forms within the new document Information Panel enables organizations to define custom document properties and to initiate business processes from within a document based on those document properties.

Table 4:  Advanced Support for Electronic Forms Capabilities

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Complete, collect, and organize InfoPath 2007 e-mail forms in Outlook 2007.*

  P P

Host embedded, fully customizable InfoPath forms in Word 2007, Excel 2007, and PowerPoint 2007.*

  P P

Complete forms in Programmable Task Panes.*

  P P

Complete custom fields and execute custom business logic in Document Information Panel forms.*

  P P
*These capabilities require that InfoPath 2007 be installed on the client computer. Office Professional Plus 2007 and Office Enterprise 2007 include InfoPath 2007. Organizations that license other suites can purchase and install InfoPath 2007 separately.

In conjunction with SharePoint Server 2007, the Integrated Content Management capabilities of the 2007 release provide secure access to business information through a number of differentiated features and capabilities, including integrated document workflow, PowerPoint slide libraries, label and barcode attachment, and the newReport
Center portal.

·     Workflow. The workflow capabilities of the Microsoft Office applications and SharePoint Server 2007 support sophisticated document life cycle and enterprise content management. Integration between the Office applications and SharePoint Server 2007 allows users to initiate review and approval workflows, simplifying content review and approval processes, and reducing time spent managing documents through their life cycles. For documents stored in a SharePoint library with an associated workflow template, users can initiate the workflow process from the File menu in the Office application or from a browser-based interface.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes user-configurable workflow templates that can guide review and approval processes. Developers can also use Microsoft Visual Studio® or Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007 to define custom workflows, create document-handling processes, help users collaborate through portals and workspaces, and connect users to information in enterprise business systems.

·     PowerPoint Slide Libraries. SharePoint Server 2007 provides centralized storage for presentations and individual slides. PowerPoint Slide Libraries enable users to easily repurpose existing content and build presentations from existing slide sets, reducing the need to recreate content. Users can publish presentations to a PowerPoint Slide Library directly from PowerPoint 2007.

·     Report Center. In organizations that deploy Microsoft Office Excel Services, Excel 2007 adds the capability to publish worksheets with full fidelity to the Web, portals, and dashboards, provided by SharePoint Server 2007. The Report Center, a central repository for reports and spreadsheet data, ensures that all users have access to the same version of critical business information. The user who publishes the worksheet can control access to the information by defining what data is visible to others in Report Center and defining which cells can be edited by other users.

·     Barcodes and Labels. The 2007 release facilitates document and records management with the capability to generate and embed barcodes and labels within documents. Text-based labels or barcodes can be generated from document metadata, such as subject keywords or customer numbers. Labels and barcodes are printed with the document and can be updated automatically. 

Table 3:  Integrated Content Management Capabilities

Capability

Microsoft Office Standard 2007

Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007

Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007

Initiate document workflows and complete workflow tasks from within the Office applications.*

  P P

Initiate document workflows and complete workflow tasks from the browser.

P P P

Publish presentations and individual PowerPoint 2007 slides to slide libraries for later reuse.

  P P

Browse slide libraries from within PowerPoint 2007, build new presentations from individual slides, and get updates when slides change on the server.

P P P
Publish spreadsheets to
Report
Center and specify parameters and viewing permissions for spreadsheets and specific cells published to
Report
Center.

  P P
View and use spreadsheets published toReport
Center from the browser.

P P P

Create printable labels and barcodes from metadata and insert barcodes and labels into Office documents.

  P P

Read, print, and update existing labels and barcodes in Office documents.

P P P

*Certain workflow features require a valid InfoPath 2007 license.