Enabling and managing social networks (for business use) with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Very comprehensive overview about MOSS 2007 in relation to social networking.

While the competition is playing Microsoft down by spreading incomplete information on our social networking capabilities (slide 25,26) (more on this in a couple of days), but the most recent Gartner MQ on Magic Quadrant for Team Collaboration and Social Software sets the scene: Microsoft furthest ahead.

Lawrence and his team do a great job in explaining Microsoft’s capability in social networking. be sure to read the whole post :

While the Microsoft / Facebook expanded partnership announcement made earlier today doesn’t have anything to do with SharePoint, the publicity it generated will likely get a lot more people to start thinking or asking about the value of social networking capabilities within an enterprise and between a company and its business partners as well as its customers. Eric Charran (Senior Consultant in Microsoft Consulting Services), Dino Dato-on (SharePoint Ranger), and Greg Lang (Program Manager for Microsoft Enterprise Services Communities Tools and Infrastructure) have written a soon to be published white paper that addresses the topic of the importance of social networking in an organization and how to properly implement MOSS 2007 as a social networking solution. Excerpted below are key portions of the white paper, which I hope will get you to think about MOSS 2007 as your default option for enabling and managing social networks for business use. …

About Office SharePoint Server as a Social Networking Solution

… Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 adds a significant social networking context to its existing collaboration and communication features and capabilities. By providing a framework for the establishment of user profiles and the ability to understand the organizational hierarchy between these profiles, Office SharePoint Server can easily connect information workers and organization members together.

Using the concept of individual, customizable user profiles, Office SharePoint Server allows users to publish their own personal and team information to the organization. Combined with information from organizational directory services such as Active Directory or other Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), Office SharePoint Server builds a foundational organizational hierarchy that is used to present workgroup and colleague information to organization members. This rapid method of presenting friends and colleagues in an automated fashion provides quick access for information workers to teams and extended resources. Office SharePoint Server logically extends existing organizational directory services, combined with additional information sources to knit together a team-based view of organizational relationships and presents them to the user. …

About Office SharePoint Server Social Networking Features

… Through the use of Office SharePoint Server as a collaboration platform, organizations can benefit from the productivity and communication enhancements exposed by social networking features. SharePoint exposes social networking to information workers and organization members through the use of colleagues. Colleagues are a list of friends, team members and co-workers that are related to a specific person through the establishment of a user profile. Colleagues are presented to users through a user’s personal site (My Site) and are built using foundational elements that are established when Office SharePoint Portal Server is implemented within the organization.

Based on the organization’s implementation of products including Active Directory, Exchange Server, Live Communications Server 2005 or Office Communications Server 2007, Office SharePoint Server will mine this information at the individual user level to determine other team members, organizational managers and direct reports and virtual team members that should appear on an individual’s colleagues list. The colleagues list, presented through web parts on an individual’s personal profile page of their My Site will list these related individuals and provide contact, presence and organizational information to visitors.

Through the use of colleagues, organization members can find subject matter experts, key contacts and business relationship owners in the enterprise and gain instant access to the methods of communication with those personnel. This aspect of social networking allows for increased lines of communications, quick decision making and an optimization of human resources. …

Source: Enabling and managing social networks (for business use) with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
Author: sptblog
Date Published: Thu, 25 Oct 2007

Peter de Haas
Peter de Haas

Peter is gedreven door de eindeloze mogelijkheden die technologische vooruitgang biedt. Met een scherp oog voor het herkennen van oplossingen waar anderen slechts problemen zien, is hij een expert in digitale transformaties. Peter zet zich met volle overgave in om individuen, teams en organisaties te begeleiden bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe vaardigheden en het implementeren van innovatieve oplossingen.

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3 reacties

  1. Peter, On the collaboration side, as well as the content management side, I would agree that SharePoint Products & Technologies are quite solid. Virtually every client I talk has some level of discussion going on regarding the platform – even those that are Notes/Domino shops are at least doing a compare/contrast and looking at where QuickR fits.
    What I find interesting are people that are SharePoint shops that are looking specifically at Lotus Connections as a possible supplement to SharePoint given its incomplete support for social computing.
    When it comes to social computing, social networking, social media, etc. – I would challenge any assessment that positions Microsoft as “far ahead” – lumping the two topics together is a basic mistake in research and analysis.
    I read throught this article and there are numerous items that reveal a lack of topicl knowledge, poor design assumpions and incomplate functionality.
    There are some points of strength as I have pointed out before – but this remains very much a work in progress if we are talking about social networking.

  2. Mike,
    As we’ve discussed earlier the social networking side in Microsoft’s platform is devloping and not up to par with Best of Breed solutions.
    I do think it is up to par with enterprise demand in this stage of “web 2.0 adoption”
    Both out of the box as well as Combined with partner solutions Microsoft is already able to put forward a very comprehensive social networking experience.
    I do see your point on Notes Domino shops looking into Quickr. Afterall it provides them with WIndows SharePOint Services like functionality and integration with Office about 3-4 years after Microsoft. BUt they simply may be looking for short term ways to protecct their DOmino legacy investment.
    I honoustly doubt your remark that organisations that have adopted SharePoint as their platform for clooaboration and content management would be looking into Lotus Connections. This may be incidental, but they most certianly have not talked to their Microsoft account team.
    Sure there is work in porgress but I hope you agree that Microsoft has proven to be capable of putting forward a very comprehensive and impressive platform over the last 5 years or so and guess what we’re not playing catch-up with the competition, in many ways we’re leading / entering new ways … work in progress is everywhere aslo with the competition in many ways…

  3. Peter, I would not agree that it is “comprehensive” at all if we are talking about today’s shipping product – especially from a technical perspective:
    The REST interface that enables the types of mashups BEA and IBM are showing is lacking (yes, there are some nice Popfly demos), no support for Atom/Atom Pub, no feed management subsystem out-of-the-box (need a partner), the blog implementation out-of-the-box is suboptimal as is the wiki capability out-of-the-box (need a partner), there is no tag/bookmark capability out-of-the-box and the social networking features, while the best of what is in the platform, are not (as you agree) as good as best-of-breed.
    Microsoft will point to Codeplex but that’s a bit of a misdirect – Codeplex is not a formal product, it is “as is” code, components do not undergoe the quality assurance process given to real “products” – there is no support from Microsoft and there is no guarantee that anything on Codeplex will be supported down the road. It is as if your own IT group build those extentions – not bad, but Microsoft is being somewhat misleading I feel for instance in the way that the Community Kit is tossed around like it is a formal SharePoint extension – blurring the line helps with marketing and competitive positioning but confuses customers on the different between real product and shared source.
    I have talked to several organizations that are “SharePoint shops” that are looking at Lotus Connectons – it has come up multiple times in client calls and onsite visits.
    I think architecture groups do not necessarily check with Microsoft before looking at market options to support their business needs.
    MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 were designed to meet the needs of a unified collaboration and content platform – and to also provide a platform for composite applications. To position it as a social computing platform is simply incorrect. Does it have some attributes – yes – was it designed that way – no – will it get better in the next release – yes.
    Again – solid platform for collaboration and content – but really just average in terms of a social computing platform and behind in almost all areas when compared to best of breed. Better by 2010 – yes – I expect thing to improve a great deal but it may not be as dramatic as people hope it will be.
    The question is – what do companies do between now and then? Wait, rely on Microsoft to continue to select partners to fill gaps? Go down the Codeplex road (which might be a dead-end)? Look more “stratically” at some of the social computing suites (e.g., Awareness, HiveLive, Select Minds, Jive)? Inch out a bit further and look at something like Lotus Connections (agree, you probably need to have some other affinity for IBM to make this practical)? Maybe kick the tires of what Oracle might deliver (given that most companies have some investment in its application portfolio)?
    Navigating the next 2-3 years is going to be quite challenging for IT groups.

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