All right stop! Collaborate and listen (Sharing Points)

January 28, 2009

The importance of Office Integration with SharePoint

Filed under: MOSS, Office 2007 — Tags: , , , — stephenmuller @ 1:14 am

I recently did a talk at the SharePoint usergroup (I apologise about the screen resolution to all who were there) about the importance of focusing on the integrating of Office 2007 and SharePoint.

Typically a SharePoint implementation can make additional demands on users time in regards to saving and opening files from SharePoint. The process of locating the correct Doucment Library and using the correct content type means creating new documents are not as simple as the File New in Word.

Additionally to save a document they need to find the correct Document Library (if they did not create it from there) and then add any meta-data to the file. Again all of which adds additional time (Small yes but add that up for people whose job it is to create and edit documents and it will add up) to the traditional way of creating and saving documents.

However many clients I have spoken to have said that they are happy to spend that additional time if that means that they get a benefit to them, not to management but to them. This includes faster access to the correct file (Searching), one copy of the file (make sure your versioning is turned on) and an interface that is simple and easy (Good architecture and design) and meeting the projects goals of course.

Many users I have found work within the Office products almost exclusively, by leveraging the integration functions within MS Office 2007 and SharePoint users can continue to work within them. This clearly can mean a lot to users as they do not need to change their work habits too much. Training is the key.

I will not go into the features of the integrations but I have added some links below to help you to understand its capabilities.

 

A good list of all the integrations features

http://blogs.msdn.com/brittog/archive/2007/02/16/wht-you-get-with-office-2007.aspx

 

This link compares the office versions and SharePoint versions

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=E0D05A69-F67B-4D37-961E-2DB3C4065CB9&displaylang=en

 

Outlook Integration

http://windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/95919/sharepoint-integration-with-outlook-2007-part-1.html

 

Integrating OneNote

http://sharepointsolutions.com/samples/OfficeSystem2007IntegrationDemo.pdf

 

The link below is from me, but it is something administrators can do to create folders for users. It has the added bonus of being able to be targeted to audiences.

http://stephenmuller.com/2008/06/24/creating-office-save-and-open-shortcuts-for-sharepoint/

 

There are addins one can purchase to make the integration even better as well. The best one I have used is from Colligo and it links with Outlook.

http://www.colligo.com/products/sharepoint/contributor_add-in.asp

 

To sum up, dont overlook the integration with office as it allows users to continue to work with tools they are familiar with, yet still enable them to interact with SharePoint.

Spend time talking to the users to understand how they work, do they use Word/Excel or Outlook, even products like PowerPoint and One Note can be effictivley integrated with SharePoint. Make sure your architecture makes sense to them and uses terms they are familiar with. Spend time training the users about how to use the integration features. I like to provide cheat sheets to help they are one A4 sheet with pictures broken up by tasks like How to Save or How to open another document. 

Some things can also be done at via the administrator this includes the creating of folders as discussed above and email enabling your libraries.

A sucessfull SharePoint Integration really does depend on the users, if they do not work with it because it does not assist them it will not be as sucessfull as it could.

Note: If people want me to outline the integration features of Office let me know and I will do a post.

 

Any questions email me.

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