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Web-based applications showed us how to build software that emphasizes sharing and collaboration. These applications, which don't require a per-workstation license or deployment on each desktop in the organization, often make a lot more sense than all those databases floating around in the evolutionary approach I discussed earlier.

When Microsoft first introduced SharePoint Team Services (STS) as part of the FrontPage XP suite, users gained another element in that evolutionary approach. Suddenly users had an application that allowed them to create simple data-entry and information-management solutions—without training, without complex client tools, and without having to wait for a developer in the IT department to build a database for them.

Today, SharePoint Foundation is part of the package when an organization purchases a Windows Server operating system, making SharePoint easy to deploy.

Letting end users develop applications in SharePoint makes a lot more sense than doing it in Excel or Access - The IT department can see what users are developing. The data can be secured. A SharePoint administrator can monitor the permissions given to each site, each list—even to list-item objects. No longer do we have to hope that users have set passwords on their Access database files. Now the security of the information is integral to the system.

What kind of evolutionary information-management can be done with SharePoint? Why has it succeeded with users?

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