Here's something I'm going to spend awhile perusing over the weekend that I thought you might find useful.
Datamation published a reprint from Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Unleashed Thursday. Titled Getting to Know SharePoint, the 10-page chapter gives a great overview of what functionalities to expect from SharePoint 2007, including a discussion of WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 products and the licensing options.
There are also excerpts on integrating the Office 2007 suite with SharePoint and Web 2.0 functions.
It's a long read, so get comfortable - or use the links on the first page to skip right to the areas that interest you.
Normally, I'd have read all this before mentioning it, but I wanted to go ahead and bring it to your attention for two reasons:
First, I'm going to read it over the weekend, but I wanted to alert you to it while it's still shiny and new. Second, it ties in nicely with a Q&A published this week at IT Business Edge.
I blogged about the integration promise of Office 2007 not long ago. ITBE's Editorial VP Ken-Hardin -- who has a good dose of healthy cynicism and a longer memory than I -- points out that Microsoft has been promising that Office would integrate with back-end applications for at least seven years now. In other words, why believe them now?
I thought it was a darn fine question and decided to find out. And you know what? Turns out very few people want to talk about this.
Finally, I managed to interview Lee Nicholls, the global solutions director at Getronics. Getronics is a $3.4 billion global IT services company and Microsoft Gold partner specializing in Vista and Office 2007 implementations.
I asked Nicholls whether Microsoft's integration claims for Office 2007 are true. His answer was concise and honest: "I think it's the best start they've made on integration promises. I think they overdid it with Office 2000, because it just wouldn't have been possible to deliver on all of those things with Office 2000."
But, he added, he also doesn't believe anyone bought Office 2000 because of the integration and other cutting-edge promises Microsoft made at the time. In fact, he points out, nobody was worried about those issues then; even if Microsoft had offered Instant Messaging, no one would've allowed it in 2000.
Good point. I vaguely remember that year -- and it seems to me e-mail was just getting an honest start in government and small- to mid-sized organizations.
Nicholls says that Microsoft is delivering on its integration promise now, largely because the technology is just now capable of delivering on those promises.
But the real key to all this integration and great technology isn't so much Office 2007 as Sharepoint 2007, he noted.
SharePoint will become the business hub. The reason SharePoint 2007 is probably the most important product in Office 2007 suite is because, combined with all of those features of the other tools, SharePoint pretty much delivers on all of those promises Microsoft is making about it allowing us to work, and share content and become a "people-ready business," to quote Microsoft marketing.
The interview goes into a lot more detail about how you can accomplish back-end/front-end integration with Office 2007 and Sharepoint. Plus, it's just a fun read -- if I do say so myself.