Windows SharePoint Services in SBS 2003 [Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt]

Hello there – I am the author of Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best PRactices and I am posting a few pages in the WILD each day until SBS 2008 SHIPS!

Today we start chapter seven(7) which focuses on WSS (SharePoint to you buddy boy) in the SBS 2003 product.

cheers…harrybbbbb

harry brelsford, ceo at smb nation, www.smbnation.com and your fellow Microsoft Small Business Specialist (SBSC)

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Chapter 7 Collaboration with Windows SharePoint Services

Perhaps you’re seeing the other side of 40 and you remember a popular band called “Tower of Power” from the 1970s. This funky band had a well-received song called “What Is Hip?” That had jive, man! So one thing that’s hip in SBS 2003 with tons of jive is Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). Thus, it gets its own chapter and my guarantee (or I’ll eat a floppy disk) that you’ll find this one of the coolest things in SBS 2003. Get out your boogie shoes and get ready to do the WSS dance.

BEST PRACTICE: Expectation management time again! Remember that this SBS 2003 volume, dedicated to introductory and intermediate readers, is covering one heck of a lot of ground. And it’s doing so at a specific point in time (current as of the book print date). For that reason, I show you appropriate (and cool) uses of WSS in SBS 2003. But the footer on the bottom of each page points you to the SMB Nation and the Microsoft TechNet for updates to any SBS feature that have occurred since this book was penned. I also think that the resources section at the end of the chapter sends you forth with more resources to dig deeper into WSS than I have the page count to do here.

What Is Windows SharePoint Services?

I’ll start the WSS definition at the 50,000-foot level and descend to sea level (where you perform some procedures). At the broadest level, you could say WSS means different things to different people. It’s a “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” thang. This section will divide the discussion between technical and business.

 Visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet for the latest updates for any Microsoft product.

Technical Definition

The official party line is that WSS is a collaboration application. You’ll see this “message” by observing the collaboration language (along with team hugs) in Figure 7-1. Note that collaboration in this context primarily means an intranet portal page.

Figure 7-1

An overriding theme on Microsoft’s public SharePoint site is collaboration, collaboration, collaboration!

BEST PRACTICE: I wouldn’t accuse Microsoft of speaking with forked tongue, but it currently refers to other robust applications as supporting collaboration: Exchange public folders, Microsoft Project Server’s Project Central, bCentral’s Web Collaboration (www.bcentral.com), and previously Outlook Team Folders. Your challenge here is to separate the wheat from the chaff and decide what collaborative solution best meets your needs. In the SBS 2003 space, clearly WSS is going to be the most efficient and effective collaborative environment to deploy.

So one term you didn’t observe in Figure 7-1 above was “document management.” When I was teaching SharePoint as part of the Spring 2003 Go To Market hands-on labs, the emphasis was on collaboration (much like the language on the Microsoft site) and not on document management. But, just because Microsoft publicly deemphasizes document management doesn’t prevent me, as a third-party author, from doing just the opposite. The one thing getting me and my small business customers JAZZED on WSS is, in fact, the document management capabilities.

Why? you ask.. In Fall 2003, as I showed off the SBS 2003 Release Candidate to clients, they thought having an intranet page was cute, such as in announcing the annual company picnic. But they were sold on SBS 2003 when they saw the document management capability with their very own eyes! Finally, these small business owners believed they could bring order to the abyss of document management in their little fiefdoms. WSS presented an opportunity to extract themselves from the quagmire of mismanaged information. In short, my client, Mr. Wallace, could finally organize all of the existing real estate leases in his realty company. He’s been wanting to do that for years!

Business Purpose

WSS is an MBA’s dream come true. It represents, better than any other component in SBS 2003, the marriage of bits and bucks. It’s the intersection of income and interface, accounting and ActiveX. You get the picture. But, just in case you didn’t: WSS IS WHERE YOU WILLADD REAL BUSINESS VALUE ON THE SBS 2003 NETWORK.

BEST PRACTICE: I’m not going to repeat 625 pages of business stuff from my SMB Consulting Best Practices book here. I’m just planting seeds that WSS has a technical and business dimension to it and you’ll want to read that other book for more of the business discussion.

You should also take in Microsoft’s top 10 reasons to use Windows SharePoint Services at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/ techinfo/sharepoint/top10.mspx. I’ll save some “timber” and not rewrite those reasons here, so you’ll need to surf over to read ‘em.

 Visit http://www.microsoft.com/technet for the latest updates for any Microsoft product.

Acquiring WSS

The logical follow-up question to defining WSS is how to acquire it. There are four ways to acquire WSS:

                      SBS 2003. Relax and take a deep breath. You already have WSS in SBS 2003.

                      Windows SharePoint Services site. You can simply download WSS from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/techinfo/sharepoint/ wss.mspx (if for some reason this link changes, simply select Down­loads from the WSS site at Microsoft).

                      SharePoint Portal Server (SPS). Fact of the matter is WSS is buried on the SPS media.

                      bCentral. Using an application service provider (ASP) model, you can use WSS via the Web at bCentral (www.bcentral.com).

 

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