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.


Unknown said...

Users should be opening documents from the SharePoint sites directly which already provides automatic opening and saving of files to the SharePoint library. Open and Save menu items are an old and unintuitive way to locate documents in a SharePoint library. Plus you are removing the ability to utilize the search capability in SharePoint to quickly find documents if you are unsure of their location. Overall this is going backwards, not improving the user experience.

Jeff Cate said...

That's one way to look at it, Noel, but my view is a little different.

Over the past five years, having trained thousands in our classrooms we have seen that there is not a clear preference (or right or wrong answer) on the way people desire to open and save documents in SharePoint.

My personal opinion is that there needs to be many different alternatives available to satisfy as many preferences as possible.

I'd be interested in seeing what others think on the subject Noel is raising? Anybody else have an opinion?

Unknown said...

Jeff, I could not agree more, this is a great product that transform MOSS as a true document management system. It should have been in th ebox in the first place.

Cheryl said...

It looks good, but I have an issue with the permissions for moving documents. If the users have an 'Explorer' environment in which to move documents, can they still manage this if their permissions in Sharepoint won't allow it?

Anonymous said...

We used OPEN TEXT DM solution since 6 years and MOSS since 2 years, the big problems with DM is the integration with OFFICE, it is a real hell for users and support.
MOSS is quite transparent for end-users and I think it is a big miss that MOSS cannot offer the possibility to allow user to define his own autoincrement field simply.

Jeff Cate said...

@cheryl: WISDOM DMF full understands and respects permissions on sites/libraries/documents.

So, if a user doesn't have permissions to a site/library/document, they will never see the particular object in any of the tools that WISDOM provides - including the WISDOM Explorer tool.

Unknown said...

Among the many impressive features of MacroView's DMF is performance: I'm watching it being used in a Live Meeting from the other side of the globe (I'm in Florida, the presenter is in Syndey), and every search, drag/drop, view refresh, and save of documents, including e-mail attachments from Outlook to MOSS, happens in a second or less; maybe a couple of seconds for very large documents. Pretty amazing behaviro for webinar presentation!