Social Networking with Sharepoint Server 2007 – a limited solution to a wider business requirement

The most comprehensive summary I’ve read so far on Microsoft’s foray into social networking via their Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007) product. The article is an extract from a forthcoming white paper written by three Microsoft gurus – Eric Charran, Dino Dato-on and Greg Lang.

The article seems a bit too preoccupied with the profiles, active directory and people search facilities at the expense of how they’ve implemented tools such as RSS, wikis and blogs. However, it does seem to be a vast improvement over the facilities offered on Sharepoint 2003. Given the usual complexity that Microsoft seem to automatically build into the deployment of any of their products, it looks like it could meet the  social networking requirements of most organisations, provided that networking and collaboration is limited to within the organisation’s firewall. My guess is that it would be hugely expensive to deploy as a social networking solution across and between organisations,  e.g. for connecting councils in local government or for collaboration between agencies and learning providers in the education sector. Sector-wide social networking solutions for business still seem to be limited platforms such as GovX or I&DeA, and products such as Blogtronix and CommunityServer. Still, given the huge investment that many organisations have already made in Microsoft’s Office products, I anticipate a huge take-up for MOSS 2007. I just hope they’ll also recognise its limitations for (social) networking outside the firewall.

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