- Why Would an Organization Want to Use SharePoint?
- Sharing, Managing, and Finding Documents Made Easier
- Finding Relevant Information
- Providing Efficiencies for Meetings
- Adding Value by Using Alerts
- Engaging in Online Discussions
- Getting Information from Users
- Informing Users with Announcements and News Items
- Creating Sites to Meet the Needs of the User Community
- Expanding SharePoint by Integrating with Microsoft Office 2003 and Other Applications
- Replacing Corporate Intranets
- Hosting SharePoint Sites on the Internet
- Communicating with Partners and Customers Through a SharePoint Extranet
- Best Practices
Communicating with Partners and Customers Through a SharePoint Extranet
The security and configuration tools within SharePoint 2003 make it easy to set up an extranet for working with external partners. External users can be invited to the site for collaboration and/or sharing of information. For example, an organization that uses a marketing firm could set up a SharePoint document workspace site where the marketing company could post its work. A discussion board could be used for providing feedback and ideas regarding the final deliverables. Versions could be maintained to enable reverting to a previous document if the revised one doesn't meet the client needs. If outside users are uploading documents, antivirus protection can be used, along with SharePoint's "block file extension" feature to protect the server from undesirable files.
Another use for a SharePoint extranet that applies to many types of organizations is to use SharePoint as a document repository. Sites can easily and quickly be implemented for partners to search for relevant information. For example, product specs and user manuals can be maintained on a SharePoint site for retrieval by customers, reducing the number of calls to product specialists. Government agencies can store forms and procedures on a SharePoint site for retrieval by the public. The beauty of a SharePoint document management site is that it is easy to create, easy to update, and doesn't require IT intervention to maintain.