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Understanding Organizational Uses of SharePoint Technologies

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This chapter is from the book

In this chapter

  • Determining Who the Solution Is for and How They Will Use It

  • Defining the Goals for the Implementation

  • Network Upgrades May Be Required

  • Sample Windows SharePoint Services Implementations

  • Primary Uses of Windows SharePoint Services

  • Sample SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Single Server Implementations

  • Sample SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Server Farm Implementations

  • Standard Uses of SharePoint Portal Server 2003

  • Expanding SharePoint by Integrating with Other Applications

  • Leveraging Complementary Microsoft Products with SharePoint 2003

  • Leveraging Third-Party SharePoint Add-ons

SharePoint 2003 technologies provide a versatile framework and powerful set of tools that can be used to enhance many different business processes. The extent of what SharePoint can do is limited only by the creativity and imagination of the developers and users. Whereas Chapter 1, "SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services Technology Primer," and Chapter 2, "What's New in SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services," provide an overview of the features of SharePoint 2003 products, this chapter explores several different standard SharePoint 2003 configurations that organizations are implementing and some common ways they are benefiting from the document management and collaboration features offered.

Because SharePoint can be configured in an almost unlimited number of ways, when you take into account different types of databases, different server farms, and combinations of Windows SharePoint Services and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (not to mention third-party add-ons), this chapter discusses only the most commonly encountered configurations.

This chapter also serves as a foundation for the following section, Part II, "Planning and Implementing a SharePoint 2003 Environment," by giving real-world scenarios and applications of the SharePoint products. In addition, this chapter provides some insight into how organizations are leveraging third-party applications to further enhance the value of the SharePoint 2003 solutions.

Determining Who the Solution Is for and How They Will Use It

It is important to have a general idea of the different types of users who will be accessing the SharePoint environment before moving into the testing and development phase, or there is a risk of having to "start over" when new requirements come to light. The users may all be internal to the company, all external to the company, or as is true in many cases, a combination of both.

If the users are all internal to the organization, the security requirements will typically be less stringent because it is assumed that internal users are trusted, and the threat of the anonymous Internet hacker does not need to be considered.

Where the users will be accessing the SharePoint solution from is also important. All SharePoint users may be full-time employees of the organization, but they may need access from anywhere in the world, and from Internet terminals as well as from laptops and home computers.

On the other hand, the SharePoint 2003 implementation may be client or partner focused, in which case the design may be significantly different. This chapter looks at some standard components of both internally and externally facing solutions.

A best practice in most IT implementations is to implement a solution in a phased approach, and it is helpful to determine who will be part of the initial phase of the implementation because these individuals will act as the vanguards of the solution. The initial users should be willing to learn a new technology and have the time to do so, as well as fill roles that will benefit from the new tools offered by SharePoint. Part II discusses these considerations in more detail and discusses some of the key items to review regarding the network environment in general.

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