Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Souping up SharePoint Document Management

Until SharePoint came along, organizations basically had two choices to manage their documents: proprietary document management software, like Documentum and Open Text (for those of us with deep pockets), and file servers (for the rest of us). But, since SharePoint emerged onto the document management scene in 2003, all of that has been changing rapidly.

There is no question that SharePoint has filled that critical gap in the area of affordable document management. Still, there are significant capabilities missing from the SharePoint document management feature set that growing organizations need, and that those using high-end proprietary programs don’t want to give up in their quest to lower costs.

Here are some basic features that SharePoint really needs in order to shine as a document management platform:

  • Easy navigation from within all of the Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, etc.) to open and save files in SharePoint document libraries. A tree-view type of browse dialog that pops up on “Open and Save” is really what is needed. That tree-view dialog should allow the user to locate the appropriate SharePoint document library - ideally in any SharePoint farm, site collection or site that the user has security rights to
  • Full integration of Outlook with SharePoint sites and document libraries, in order to support easy drag-and-drop storage of emails in SharePoint – including capture of metadata
  • Consistent dialogs for metadata capture when storing a document in SharePoint, regardless of the client program being used
  • Preservation of metadata and version history on documents when they are moved from one library to another (using drag-and-drop or copy/paste)
  • Support in Adobe Acrobat and Reader for opening from, and saving to, SharePoint libraries
Really, all of these features are about either A) ensuring that the document management system enables users that work with documents day-in and day-out to be very productive, or B) making sure that the data associated with the documents is accurate and complete. These are just two basic, fundamental objectives of a document management system that SharePoint struggles with out-of-the-box.

Wouldn’t it be great if these features could be added to native SharePoint at an affordable price? The good news is that a software company in Australia, MacroView Business Technology, has been working tirelessly since 2006 to bring these features to SharePoint in the form of a professionally developed and supported, 100% native add-in named WISDOM Document Management Framework (DMF).

WISDOM DMF lifts SharePoint 2007 to the level of the world’s leading players in document management systems. It adds all the missing features I listed above plus many others. And, a WISDOM solution is usually about half the price (or less) of a comparable Documentum, Interwoven, Open Text, Oracle or IBM solution.

We’ve forged a partnership with MacroView, and are now a U.S. distributor and integrator of the WISDOM lineup of products. To see what WISDOM has to offer, check out the overview video below and the WISDOM DMF product page and WISDOM Message (for Outlook) product page on our website.

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