5 Cool, Must-Know Things About SharePoint 2007

SharePoint is being adopted by more and more large and small organizations every day. Designed by Microsoft, SharePoint Services simplifies collaboration and increases efficiency in the workplace by providing a single, shared workspace. Coordinating schedules, organizing documents, collaborating on projects, and sharing information and ideas is made easier, more effective and more convenient.

Besides increasing productivity, one of big benefits of SharePoint 2007 is an improved user interface and easy to use navigation. SharePoint also integrates Microsoft Office programs which makes it even more functional and user friendly.

So if you have heard about SharePoint, or maybe seen a demo, but you’re still a bit leery, here are 5 cool things you need know about it:

5. You Can Get Started with SharePoint for Free!

SharePoint Services 3.0 (also known as WSS 3.0), which contains most of the key functionality of the SharePoint platform, is a free download! You will, of course, have to own a copy of Windows Server 2003. If you already have a functioning Active Directory and DNS server, installation is a snap, and setup is easy.

Microsoft also offers Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (a.k.a. MOSS 2007), which is basically SharePoint Services on steroids and with more features. Upgrading to MOSS from WSS is not rocket science, and can be done later on — when dollars are available and more functionality is needed.

4. SharePoint is Easy to Use Out–of–the–Box

Most of the necessary work is done through a Web-based interface. Yep, you heard it right! Point a browser to the Central Administration page, and start clicking. No crazy MMC to wrestle, and no weird proprietary interface. Just you and sweet standards-compliant HTML rocking out to the sounds of typing and mouse clicks.

The best thing is: you can create multiple sites in minutes! If you can fill out a web form, you can do SharePoint.

3. Adding Users Could Not Be Easier!

As long as you’ve set up your Active Directory well, adding users is as easy as importing groups (or all of your Authenticated Users) into SharePoint.

2. SharePoint Reduces Email Storage

A lot of collaboration happens via email in most companies, but bouncing multiple versions of documents across a LAN sucks up bandwidth and storage like a 4 year old who’s just been given a Pixie stick. With SharePoint’s Discussion Boards, Workspaces, Document Libraries, and other cool tools, email can go back to being a communication tool rather than a file sharing service.

1. You Can Finally Search for Stuff You Need in a Way That Makes Sense

SharePoint has an incredible search functionality that, while it works great out of the box, can be tweaked and wrangled to make it even more functional. Add in the ability to search the full text of posted Word docs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and more, and you’ve got one serious powerhouse of information retrieval.

Be not confounded: SharePoint is incredibly powerful, but the girls and boys at Microsoft have put in some serious work in making it easy to use not just for the end users, but also for administrators. There’s enough power and accessibility for developers to create customized solutions as well. Get your head around it soon, as it is quickly becoming a standard part of operations everywhere!

Learn more about what SharePoint 2007 has to offer in my SharePoint 2007 Training.

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