When a product attempts to combine the functionality of many applications into one overarching platform, its inevitable that clichés about kitchen sinks and Swiss Army knives will pop up. And youll usually hear that these products can do many things but no one thing well.
With Microsofts Office SharePoint Server 2007, many of the Swiss Army knife clichés do apply. Microsoft has combined a wide variety of enterprise Web application functionality into this single platform. Whether your business needs a portal, Web content management, document management, team collaboration, forms-based BPM (business process management), or records and rights management application, SharePoint Server 2007 is Microsofts offered solution.
But while Microsoft may be putting all of its eggs in one basket (there go those clichés again), its not the case that SharePoint Server doesnt do any one thing particularly well.
Yes, when it comes to high-level enterprise functionality, some areas of SharePoint Server 2007 come up short when compared to dedicated enterprise products. This is especially true when it comes to functions like document management, Web content management and BPM.
But SharePoint Server 2007 does many things very well, particularly where usability, manageability and interactive collaboration are concerned.
Most importantly—and the reason for which eWEEK Labs has given the platform an Analysts Choice award—SharePoint Server 2007 is the best product weve seen for getting a capable and feature-rich enterprise Web platform up and running quickly.
With this release of SharePoint Server, a standard server license starts at $4,347, a standard client access license starts at $93, and an enterprise client access license starts at $76. Pricing will vary based on licensing type and volume. These prices do not include Microsoft Software Assurance.
Like many products that combine lots of different functionality, SharePoint Server 2007—which runs only on Windows Server 2003—is modular in nature. Businesses that deploy the platform can pick and choose among the functionality they desire.
One of the core areas of SharePoint Server—and one of its strong points—is collaboration. A great deal of collaboration capability can be gained for free by using SharePoint Services on Windows Server 2003, but the full SharePoint Server system adds more team- and project-oriented features.
SharePoint Server 2007 also integrates with Office 2007 applications such as Outlook, Word and Excel for a deep level of presence-based and real-time collaboration.
However, a business need not use the latest version of Office to get some very strong collaboration capabilities out of SharePoint Server 2007. Even from a strictly Web-based interface, SharePoint Server continues to impress with its strong team-based collaboration options. (And this version of the platform, were happy to report, works as well with the Firefox browser as it does with Internet Explorer.)
Many of the new collaboration features in SharePoint Server fit neatly into the Web 2.0 basket, including integrated blogs and wikis, as well as deep RSS integration throughout the product. While SharePoint Servers blogs and wikis arent as capable as dedicated products, such as the Wordpress blogging platform, they will work fine for most internal corporate use.