NetworkWorld: Marines flex their muscle with SharePoint

Good example of an Microsoft SharePoint deployment is what you could call a mission critical environment. A solution based on SharePoint in combination with CorasWorks Workplace Suite is used  by the US Marines in Iraq …

… While the Marines have been serving in every conflict since the Revolutionary War, there is one thing they have never had at their disposal – a virtual work environment to keep them connected.

That has changed with the Iraq conflict as the Marines are piloting a virtual office collaboration system built on the back of Microsoft’s SharePoint Server and the CorasWorks Workplace Suite, a set of business intelligence tools for building collaborative and workflow-based applications.

Marines playing a support role behind the front lines in Iraq use an application built for the SharePoint system to request supplies needed in the field. The Marines use a browser to access the secure system to request equipment and touch off an electronic workflow process that can be tracked from beginning to end. …

Similar solutions are already used for quite some time for example by the FAA. Ron Simmons who is the director of KM integration for the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) seems to especially like the fact that SharePoint allows for a fully browser-based solution:

… Simmons created a similar system for the Federal Aviation Administration in 2002 that started out with 50 users. By 2005, it had 22,000 users and had been designated the FAA’s enterprise collaboration system and was being used for such tasks as storing engineering drawings and collaboration notes. The following year, Simmons was recruited by the Marines.

“I teasingly say that the FAA was version 1.0 and the Marines are 2.0,” says Simmons.

Just like the FAA system, the Marine Corp version has a browser as the only front-end software needed on client machines and it operates over a secure extranet using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

SharePoint serves as the repository and CorasWorks provides a layer of business intelligence. …

The current solution is still based on SharePoint 2003, but that’s only a matter of time. Furthermore Simmons is also considering of expanding the solution with Real Time capabilities using Office (not Live) Communications Server 2007 in the near future:

… He is now eyeing an upgrade from today’s SharePoint 2003 running on Windows Server 2003 to the recently shipped 2007 version that more tightly integrates with the Office family of tools.

Simmons is evaluating the improved workflow capabilities in 2007 supported by the new Windows Workflow Foundation technology and Live Communications Server (LCS) 2007, Microsoft’s real-time communications hub.

“LCS allows you to have presence or [instant messaging] capability within SharePoint,” says Simmons. “To me that changes group dynamics. Now while you’re sitting in a meeting you can connect to your staff through IM.” He says the goal will be to all a real-time communications element to the entire system.

“I get around to a lot of federal agencies and I can say in government we are reaching a tipping point to moving to SharePoint as our office environment,” says Simmons. …

Cool huh : “in government we are reaching a tipping point to moving to SharePoint as our office environment”

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gepassioneerd door de grenzeloze mogelijkheden van technologische vooruitgang. Met meer dan 35 jaar ervaring in de IT heeft hij talloze ontwikkelingen zien opkomen en hun impact op organisaties en mensen meegemaakt. Met een scherp oog voor het identificeren van oplossingen waar anderen alleen problemen zien, is hij een ware expert in digitale transformaties.
Peter helpt individuen, teams en organisaties bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van baanbrekende oplossingen. Zijn inzichten en ervaringen maken hem een gewaardeerde bron voor iedereen die de nieuwste technologische trends wil begrijpen en toepassen.

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