SharePoint Server Gets Spotlight at Microsoft CEO Summit
In a post-keynote press conference with Microsoft executives and Infosys CEO
Nandan Nilekani, Microsoft pushed its vision for the next version of SharePoint
Server, scheduled to ship to business customers in October.
SharePoint Server 2007 will focus on solving what Microsoft calls the "last
mile problem" of business productivity, by providing flexible search of
both structured and unstructured data. The effort is aimed at unlocking the
vast stores of knowledge untapped by most enterprises, said Kevin Johnson, co-president
of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft.
"Studies have shown that as much as 80 percent of data and information
is stored on the individual's PCs within their business. And the fact that often
times 50 to 75 percent of information is actually held by one of the subject
matter experts within the company," Johnson said.
Microsoft at the event announced its Windows Live Search client product, which
will be integrated into SharePoint Server. The announced search feature is not
to be confused with the Web-based Windows Live Search, which can be found at
www.live.com. Microsoft says it intends to
rename the client search near the time of the SharePoint Server and Office system
launch, in October.
The new search functionality will be at the core of SharePoint Server's knowledge
"It provides a single point, an end-to-end solution, for the information
worker to find information rapidly, whether that information is on PCs, whether
it's on SharePoint sites, whether it's on the Internet, whether it's in structured
data such as line of business applications, or whether it is on the Web,"
says Johnson. "So they can find info, turn it into usable content, and
share it with others."
Microsoft is also extending the concept of social networks to the enterprise,
using the Windows Live Search client to let people seek out co-workers by areas
of expertise, role in the organization, and other open-ended criteria. Call
it MySpace for the suit-and-tie set.
SharePoint Server will automate the process by crawling data related to employees
-- including e-mail inboxes, contact lists and instant messenger contact lists.
The process enables the software to assign properties to each profile, as well
as to associated employees with others across the network. Employees can then
edit their profiles and select the information they want to present.
Infosys' Nilekani says that more flexible data systems are enabling the effort.
"XML search capabilities and metadata definitions are giving us the ability
to really get much better access to data and content that is not in a Microsoft
platform," Nilekani said.
Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.