Cisco taking on SharePoint

November 11, 2009

In case you missed it, Cisco took the wraps off its social/collaboration strategy yesterday at its Collaboration Summit (#ciscocollab) summit in San Francisco. Cisco fired a salvo deep into the territory of Microsoft and IBM Lotus (and to a lesser extent, Google) with its own suite of products covering messaging and social computing. Cisco also introduced numerous video and real-time collaboration products designed to broaden access to its telepresence suite, mate video with WebEx web conferencing, and easily enable inter-company collaboration.

On the social/messaging front, Cisco introduced the following new products:

Cisco Pulse – An on-premise applications that analyzes messaging, tags, content, and e-mail to essentially create an internal cloud tag for users, groups, or the entire organization. Cisco’s markets Pulse as allowing you to “Take the Pulse” of your organization. Pulse is an embedded application into Cisco’s new Media Engine platform.
Enterprise Collaboration Platform – Maybe not the greatest name, but this is Cisco’s SharePoint/Connections killer. Not only does it provide the shared workspace and collaboration capabilities of others, but Cisco embeds voice and video sharing and integrates personal profiles into other communication application. Essentially ECP could become the ultimate user portal, allowing workers to manage all their communications and collaboration through their home page.
Show and Share – this is a video editing and content management application. The “killer app” is that it can split the audio track from a video, and then transcribe the voice track into text so it becomes searchable. Users can view video by looking at transcript and only watching the parts they want. This also runs on Media Engine. The user interface is similar to iMovie, and users can easily take their own videos (that Cisco hopes you will create with its Flip camera), edit them, but in chapter markers, and publish to their communities.
Cisco WebEx Mail – A SaaS service based on their PostPath acquisition. WebEx mail supports a rich AJAX-based web client, or existing Outlook clients, as well as any mobile device that supports ActiveSync (or BlackBerry BES). Cisco is offering a 25 GB mailbox, arguing that WebEx mail will enable administrators and users to end the pain of PST files, especially as video drives larger and larger mailbox sizes. WebEx mail provides in-the-cloud security as well.
In addition to all of these announcements, Cisco introduced a new UC client (on-prem, or hosted as a WebEx product) and new options for cross-company federation for video and presence (see the posts over on No Jitter for more details.)

Now comes the questions: What’s the go-to-market strategy? How do they provide support? How do they build a developer community? How do they differentiate themselves from Microsoft, IBM (and SocialText and Jive)? What’s the ROI? How do you integrate legacy applications or even potentially federate between Cisco and Microsoft collaboration applications? All these and more to be asked, and hopefully answered over the next 2 days. [From Enterprise 2.0 Blog » Blog Archive » Hi Everyone, Cisco Is Here]

What is SharePoint ?

November 5, 2009

Having been priviledged enough to attend the second SharePoint conference this year and given the opportunity to see both Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer deliver the keynotes at these two events, one point became very clear. What is SharePoint? I have known the answer to this for some time and pleasantly surprised when Steve Ballmer did not have an answer to this that impressed me. It took to long for him to get the point across and by the time he did I had lost my will to live.

The point being that the CEO of Microsoft did not have the words to properly define his best selling product, where do we as mere mortals and sales people even start with this concept that at every release seem to consume more and more functionality and products under the banner of SharePoint.

Well I’m pleased to say that Steve’s lieutenants did not have difficulty in bringing the point across. The answer is pretty simple really. It is an Information Operating System. This might make it easier to help identify the types of problems customers currently have and can be suitably resolved on the SharePoint Platform

SharePoint can be viewed in two primary dimensions:

SharePoint as a Product

One as a product where the opportunities are broadly speaking directly related product core features. An example of this might be Document Management, Records Management, Search etc. These types of solutions often find themselves competing with best of breed products, and when compared on this basis more often than not it seems to be a relatively costly competitor. Depending on your licensing arrangements in place.

The following often misleading concept is that of using SharePoint product features and finding that they have shortcomings. Primarily this could be attributed to the design principles of the product not to be a best of breed but to provide a stable platform for building these types of solutions on top of.

These gaps are filled by ISVs focusing on a variety of areas including disaster recovery, migration and functional enhancements such as CRM and Project Management to name but a few. Considering al of these elements when evaluating the suitability of SharePoint for your needs will help inform your decision.

When extending the scope of the implementation you may indeed find that better ROI can be achieved, the following section considers this viewpoint.

SharePoint as a Platform

When we see SharePoint as the Information Operating System the opportunities are endless. Consider the Windows Platform, can we truly begin to name the number of solutions built on it each with a specific need and each with a set of requirements defined by a segment of the market that created the demand. These applications all have one thing in common, without the capabilities of the Operating System it would be impossible to build these in a cost effective fashion as each product would have to build their own mechanism of instructing the hardware on the appropriate instructions.

When taking into account the common elements that the applications in your organisation currently have and how many those are duplicated. Not only on the same platform but also across other platforms. Now consider the time and effort it took to construct these application features and add to that the overhead of managing them on a daily basis. Considering these elements to inform the design of single platform for implementation of enterprise wide applications might yield more returns than can be imagined. Simple and easy, however we should not under estimate the time and effort to get to this “nirvana”.

It does help to take step back and define clearly the objectives , formulate a strategy and subsequently a migration plan. Keeping all implementations aligned with benefits realisation against a Clearly Defined Business Case.


SharePoint Online Price Drop

November 4, 2009

Microsoft is cutting its Exchange Online pricing from $10 per user per month to $5 per user per month. It also is cutting the price of the BPOS bundle — which includes SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, Communications Online and Live Meeting — from $15 per user per month, to $10 per user per month. [From Microsoft chops prices of its hosted enterprise cloud offerings | All about Microsoft |]

SharePoint Server 2010 – Getting Started link guide for developers

November 4, 2009

SharePoint Developer – General info

SharePoint Developer – Specific topics

Background info

[From SharePoint Server 2010 – Getting Started link guide for developers]

SharePoint 2010 (The Bottom Line)

October 27, 2009

Having seen what the trends are as outlined by Steve Ballmer, these are some of the items on the long list of new features and enhancements that I thought warrants a mention.

For starters the name has changed to drop the “Office” element from the brand, this does not mean less integration and in actual fact the integration has been enhanced to allow for surfacing data into the clients such as Outlook and Word with productivity enhancement tools and configuration. To crown it this data can be made Read / Write.

Secondly the strap line has changed to “The Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and Web“. The wheel has changed somewhat however not too much and still provides the high level overview of grouped functionality.

The value propositions are as follows:

Connect and Empower People

Cut Cost with Unified Infrastructure

Rapidly Respond to Business Needs

This simplified message very much aligns with the three stakeholders that you will most likely encounter namely Users, IT and the Business. All the messages and enhancements can easily be grouped under these three main headings.

The enhancements that I believe will open new opportunities for SharePoint are the following:

Multi-tenancy – That recurring revenue stream that have been eluding you forever and a day might very well no be possible as it allow tenants to happily live together in perfect harmony on a single implementation. The only caveat is that you should be able to speak PowerShell, a small sacrifice really.

Scalable Architecture – much more granular than before and allowing for a configuration that can be as standard as you want or as complex as your environment requires. Service Applications (preciously shared service providers) are now broken down into true service that can be scaled out depending on you needs and even load balanced via a built in feature or additional load balancing provisions should it be required.

Tagging – Aka Metadata, Folksonomies, Taxonomies. Whatever name you choose for this, it certainly makes the content relevant and up to date by allowing real users to associate the context they want to their data. I can see this taking off a big way. Managing structure taxonomy, something I have had many a request for in the past, is now done and can be shared across farms. Pretty decent to be honest.

Standards Based – In broad terms much of what is been developed have followed some sort of standard where applicable. The most notable instance of this is the web interface that is WCAG 2.0 compliant, someone did slip that it is AA however I have seen no written evidence to this effect.

When 7500 people come together to Share their enthusiasm for a software product that is not so much for recreation, you start thinking resistance is futile…

SharePoint Conference 2009 Keynote Summary

October 21, 2009

Steve Balmer had a good introduction to what he believes the strategy will be going forward. I’ll summarise my view of the world as I see it, not always aligned with those of others.


It basically comes down to what analysts have been saying for a long time. Any enterprise has an IT services element that can broadly be divided into two types of offerings. These are Differentiating Services and Non-Differentiating services.

With the new “cloud” looming large it seems that no one will commit to fully move all there services into it as yet but that it would be a good place to move all non-differentiating services freeing up resources to create the stuff that makes you (your enterprise) unique and gives you the edge over the competitor.

Good candidates would not to be moved would be your eCom Site that outperforms any high street store. Chances are you would not want to surrender this to the cloud as yet. However stuff like document management, mail etc might be good services to release into the cloud allowing to focus more resource onto the areas that will allow for innovation.

If anyone follows what Gartner and Forrester have to say these days you would probably be wise to the fact that Mobile is the next desktop and that Television is an expected area for growth, most likely as we all know how to use it but in terms of getting useful data from it its pretty useless.

Following sound principles like standards, WCAG and more, makes life easier in terms of cross platform support, however Steve made it clear that all will not always be well related to operating systems that resemble fruit (Apple) and related browsers for obvious reasons.

Moving forward the design seems to focus on releasing data from the vaults (databases) that currently lock them up and to make it easier to govern implementations. “Dog food” and all that dictates that when you run an environment the scale of the cloud you would most likely want to know what you are doing, when it comes to operations. These lessons and tools are making its way into the product, however as rightly pointed out governance is 80% Process and 20% Technology

Development tools have also been enhanced to now actually “speak” SharePoint and the ability to run an implementation on Windows Vista and 7 makes it much easier to be productive. (This will not be done on my watch for the obvious reasons). Everything is moving towards PowerShell however it is not all there yet. Expect more to come I guess and yes STSAdm will still be working.

In summary all is pretty much as expected and as things are getting better in terms of scalability and governance. I can’t say that it was a big surprise except for SQL Server Power Pivot. Allowing you to work with masses of data in excel (desktop) and server-side at warp speed. Pretty impressive to say the least, part of brining BI to the masses

SharePoint 2010 the Long and Short of it.

October 20, 2009

Been really hard for me to drag myself to
Vegas for a week of sunshine and getting to see the new line up Microsoft has
installed for us in its new release of SharePoint 2010.

STSADM Template Names for creating sites

December 15, 2008

Can never find this when looking for it

GLOBAL#0 = Global template

STS#0 = Team Site

STS#1 = Blank Site

STS#2 = Document Workspace

MPS#0 = Basic Meeting Workspace

MPS#1 = Blank Meeting Workspace

MPS#2 = Decision Meeting Workspace

MPS#3 = Social Meeting Workspace

MPS#4 = Multipage Meeting Workspace

CENTRALADMIN#0 = Central Admin Site

WIKI#0 = Wiki Site

BLOG#0 = Blog

BDR#0 = Document Center

OFFILE#0 = Records Center

OFFILE#1 = Records Center

OSRV#0 = Shared Services Administration Site

SPS#0 = SharePoint Portal Server Site

SPSPERS#0 = SharePoint Portal Server Personal Space

SPSMSITE#0 = Personalization Site

SPSTOC#0 = Contents area Template

SPSTOPIC#0 = Topic area template

SPSNEWS#0 = News Site

CMSPUBLISHING#0 = Publishing Site

BLANKINTERNET#0 = Publishing Site

BLANKINTERNET#1 = Press Releases Site

BLANKINTERNET#2 = Publishing Site with Workflow

SPSNHOME#0 = News Site

SPSSITES#0 = Site Directory

SPSCOMMU#0 = Community area template


SPSPORTAL#0 = Collaboration Portal

SRCHCEN#0 = Search Center with Tabs

PROFILES#0 = Profiles



SRCHCENTERLITE#0 = Search Center

SRCHCENTERLITE#1 = Search Center

SPSBWEB#0 = SharePoint Portal Server BucketWeb Template

Install SharePoint Templates using Script

November 27, 2008

Place the scripts below in one

MOSS 2007 WSS v3 Email Configuration , Email Enabed Lists Email enabled Document Libraries using Exchange 2003

November 10, 2008


This is a re-post of a document I created when MOSS was still in nappies (or Beta that is). Now that I have a blog allowing me to post from Word using Metaweblog API.

MOSS 2007 has finally come to be a product we can install into production, the problem remains that there are some areas that can be tricky to say the least. Such an area is the Email Configuration. In this article I intend to cover this topic both in production and on test lab such as Virtual PC, something I use regularly to demonstrate MOSS 2007 and WSS v3 to clients.

So here are the steps we need to follow:

  1. Install MOSS 2007 or WSS v3 onto the base platform
  2. Install and configure the SMTP service on the machine you intend to send email from (MOSS or WSS v3 server)

In a test lab environment

  1. Install and configure POP3 Service.
  2. Configure Outlook Express

In Prodcution


  1. Configure Active Directory.
  2. Configure SharePoint Outgoing E-mail Settings
  3. Configure SharePoint Incoming E-mail Settings
  4. Test the Solution


Install MOSS 2007 or WSS v3 onto the base platform


Using media available to you simply install MOSS or WSS v3 on to the platform selecting the option relevant to your deployment. In this case it is a simple deployment to a single server with its own SQL Server 2005 Database.

After you have completed the install and navigated to the SharePoint Central Administration,

Start -> Settings -> Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration

You will be presented with the view below. For now we will leave that intact and move on to install the SMTP Service.



Install and configure the SMTP service on the machine you intend to send email from (MOSS or WSS v3 server)


  1. Navigate to the Control Panel select Add Remove Programs , in the window select Add/Remove Windows Components.
  2. Select Application Server -> click Details left bottom -> select Internet Information Services (IIS) .
  3. Click Detail and in the next window -> check the SMTP Service -> select OK. Select OK again and then Next, this will initiate the install process.

NOTE: You will require the installation CD or the files in the I386 directory to be available as the process will requires these files to complete the process.

  1. Once the installation is complete , navigate to the IIS Manager in Administrative Tools -> Right Click the Default SMTP Virtual Server – > Select Properties .
  2. In the Properties Windows select the Access Tab, Add the users that can relay mail through this services. In production this will be the Exchange Server(s) in my case it is the same machine and my Laptop.

Well Done , we now have a SMPT service running on the MOSS 2007 or WSS v3 Server. The following step is to go back to the SharePoint Central Administration and configure the email settings.


Install and configure POP3 Service

This article was very helpful in explaining step by step. This is useful in a test lab.

Configure Outlook Express

  1. Open Outlook Express
  2. Select Tools -> Accounts -> Select the Mail Tab -> Add
  3. Supply the Email address you have configured using the article above
  4. Supply the POP3 server, in my case my Virtual PC
  5. Supply the SMTP server, in my case my Virtual PC


Configure SharePoint Outgoing E-mail Settings


  1. Select the hyperlink in the task list, alternatively navigate to Operations -> under Topology and Services select Outgoing e-mail settings.
  2. Complete the Form supplying the Settings to reflect your environment.
  3. Select OK to complete.

Your SharePoint server will now be able to send alerts to users.

Configure Active Directory


For production we need to create an OU in AD that will allow the lists to create contacts when they are mail enabled. For practical reasons we should dedicate this OU to SharePoint Farm.

  1. Open AD Users and Computers on the Domain Controller (DC) and create a new OU.
  2. The example domain could be and the SharePoint OU could be DLSharePoint in which case the fully distinguished path to the OU would be “OU=DLSharePoint, DC=peterverster, DC=com”
  3. We will come back to this as we will need it to configure the email settings.


NOTE: Ensure the Application Pool Account for the SharePoint Central Administration has access to the OU and Rights to create contacts.


Configure Incoming E-Mail Settings


  1. Enable sites on this server to receive e-mailby select yes.
  2. Settings mode = Automatic
  3. Use the SharePoint Directory Management Service to create distribution groups and contacts Select No for the test environment and Yes for a production environment using exchange.
  4. E-mail server display address, select the default domain, in the test environment this is “Win2003-SQL2005″, the name of the local machine. I production select your domain name in my case “peterverster”.
  5. Enable Accept mail from all e-mail servers

These setting above are fine for test labs , however in production we want to enable the email adresses assigned to the lists to be create in the AD OU we have create earlier in the document. For this we need to change a setting.

  1. Use the SharePoint Directory Management Service to create distribution groups and contacts? = Yes
  2. Complete the Active Directory container with the distinguihed path we created earlier on “OU=DLSharePoint,DC=peterverster,DC=com”
  3. Select the Options In the Directory Management Service that is appropriate to your environment.

We now have an MOSS 2007 or WSS v3 server that is ready to accept e-mail.











Configure E-mail enabled List


I have create a site on the default website and will use the Shared Documents to enable the list.

  1. In the document Library select Settings -> Document Library Settings
  2. In the Communications Settings select -> Incoming e-mail settings
  3. Allow this document library to receive e-mail = yes
  4. Select an E-mail address for this library, I selected shared@win2003-sql2005
  5. Select the method to group your incoming emails by


    NOTE: If you have configured a POP3 server in a lab, ensure the domains are different for SharePoint and the POP3 service , else you will receive delivery failures.





Test the Solution


Using Outlook Express send an e-mail to the address configured, wait for a minute or so and check

Your document library. Success !







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