Yesterday, I visited a leading research university in the North of England (there will soon be a case study and then I can name them) to learn more about their requirements for a research extranet. Before I go much further, they have already got this in place and to remove any hint of suspense you should know that it is currently based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003.
I wanted to know why the leader of the research team, which comprises 10 RAs and 3 PHDs plus my contact who is leading the team, why they selected SharePoint. His response was extremely precise and business like; he needed a tool which would:
The university researched the market and with the knowledge that it had a finite/small budget and concerns over current skill levels they found that the natural solution was SharePoint. 18 months on, the solution has around 40+ projects running under it with all of them sticking to the requirements laid out above. Now is the time to upgrade the solution to MOSS 2007 to bring further levels of functionality and integration to back-end finance systems, enhanced navigation and usability, better search capability and discussion forums. The out-of-the-box functionality that MOSS 2007 will give them means they will be presenting to their clients a highly professional integrated portal and will be exploring shared calendars and contact management to further increase collaboration.
By exploiting MOSS for all of the above, they are able to deliver massive value to the university and its clients with minimal costs and impact on IT resources.
Very impressive (well, I think so)