Document Management Solutions
January 28, 2004 10:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm investigating document management solutions for a client running Office 2003. After spending quite a bit of time digging through their marketing junk, I still can't tell the difference between Microsoft Sharepoint Services and Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server. Can anyone explain these things in non-Microsoftese?
posted by oissubke to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Well, unless I'm mistaken, the services run on the server... right? The Sharepoint Portal Server is the software you install on the server machine, and it then offers services through its portal.. I've been messing around with it at home, never could make it do anything useful with my Office 2k3 installs. What are you up to, I'm curious?
posted by ac at 11:01 AM on January 28, 2004


Sharepoint Services is a workgroup-level server app that's good at organizing documents, etc. Portal Server is more enterprise-level, and could be used (for example) to organize an entire company's worth of Sharepoint Services sites.

Imagine Sharepoint Services as a whole bunch of PHP Nuke sites, and Sharepoint Portal as a Yahoo directory of them, kinda.

Generally, nobody likes using any of this stuff, either from the developer or end-user standpoint, from what I've heard.
posted by anildash at 11:55 AM on January 28, 2004


I echo Anil's sentiment of the sucktitude of both products. We use Server at work for our intranet portal, and the Services for our document repository. Both suck intensely, although the Services suck less.
posted by Succa at 2:35 PM on January 28, 2004


This particular client gets free software from Microsoft, hence their inclination to use Sharepoint.

I'm aware of the suckitude, though. Does anyone have any recommendations for more user-friendly solutions, particularly with regard to document management?
posted by oissubke at 5:13 PM on January 28, 2004


If those recommendations were to include a system that forced users to comply with organisation document naming conventions, I would also be interested to hear.
posted by dg at 6:23 PM on January 28, 2004


I did a tech review of Sharepoint for the management of my big ol' IT house, back when it was still in beta, and was involved in a shootout evaluation of some best-of-breed DM solutions for inhouse use and sales to clients.

I agree on the suckage of Sharepoint, whether you look at it from a portally perspective, a document management perspective, or a knowledge management or workflow perspective. Most products in this space try and do all of these overlapping things, to one degree or another.
I assume Sharepoint's gotten better over the last three years, but based on the comments above, perhaps it hasn't gotten that much better.

The winner of our shootout was Eastman's product, by a nose, which was dependant on an Outlook/Exchange infrastructure, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective. We ended up building our own rather than doing a deal with the Eastman people, though, in part due to the expense that our client base could reasonably bear.

(Looking at the Eastman site, I don't anything like see the product that I'm referring to through all the corporate wankspeak. Perhaps they sold it to someone else. I seem to recall there being some doubt about the future of it from the Eastman execs we spoke to at the time, come to think of it, which was another factor that put us off...)

I can't even remember who the runners-up were, but I think they were Australian products (I was in Oz at the time).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:11 PM on January 28, 2004


This was the Eastman product in question. I have no idea what's become of it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:16 PM on January 28, 2004


Sharepoint 2001 and Sharepoint 2003 are, as I understand it, fundamentally different beasts. I'm currently working on a project designing and rolling out WSS as an intranet solution; the only reason I ended up on the project was everyone else knew 2001 that according to the Project Manager/Architect "is hindrance to knowing Sharepoint 2003". Microsoft has a cute little chart explaining the differences, there is a better one, but it's buried somewhere in the Office 2003 site.

Personally I think WSS would work great in certain organizations, i.e. IT with a focus on document collaboration (called document workspaces, that are basically sub-sites) for clients, RFP's, RFI's that sort of.
It’s not without its faults, the main being you need SQL Server installed (which is ridiculous!) and configured for search, you need to use FrontPage to edit themes, etc and you can’t do distinct filters in lists (that nearly sunk the project).

All up WSS isn't bad for free, if you can put up with some of its down sides.
posted by X-00 at 1:36 AM on January 29, 2004


i wonder if anyone has any links to non-microsoft alternatives... i'm impressed with sharepoint - but would rather go open source, or give a little guy some loot for a similar solution (secure, file managment, project management, calendar, project contacts etc... )

thanks in advance.
posted by specialk420 at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2004


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