Below are the questions participants asked at the recent Webinar “How To Implement an Effective Email Attachment Solution in SharePoint”. If you would like to view the webinar, please go here.
Q: If the SharePoint site is a hosted site and is authenticated via forms based authentication how will this affect the Outlook integration?
A: While Colligo does support Hosted SharePoint sites, at this time it does not support Forms based authentication. This is a feature we are actively looking in our roadmap for a future release of Contributor.
Q: When we work offline, where are the offline docs stored? Is it in the local .pst files?
A: Colligo Contributor does not store data in a .pst file. It stores information and the local cache outside of regular Outlook files and therefore minimizes any impact to Outlook. The SharePoint structure and metadata is stored in a SQL database and the SharePoint content is stored, in native file format, in the Windows file system.
The location of the cache is configurable but by default is located in the local users’ application data area e.g. c:windowsusersUSERNAMEAppdataLocalColligoOfflineClient in Microsoft Vista. The cache is shared and used by all of the Contributor interfaces – Client, Outlook Add-In and File Manager.
Q: Is there full support for Outlook 2003?
A: Yes, Contributor supports the use of both Office 2003 and Office 2007 – and the Outlook Attachment Handler feature is available for both Outlook versions. In addition, Contributor is supported on both Microsoft XP and Microsoft Vista installations and 4.0 will provide Windows 7 compatibility.
Q: How do you upload incoming email attachments directly to SharePoint WITHOUT saving to hard drive first?
A: The Colligo Contributor attachment handler is designed to automatically upload outgoing email attachments to SharePoint then replace them with a link. Attachments in incoming emails can be uploaded using a simple drag and drop. For example, using the Contributor Outlook Add-In, the destination SharePoint locations are revealed as Outlook folders in the users’ mailbox area. Users then simply drag attachments from an incoming email and drop them onto the desired folder. Contributor will upload the item to SharePoint. In fact, the complete email can be similarly moved and Contributor will create an .msg file including the attachments, auto-extract the email metadata and then upload it to the SharePoint site.
When users link SharePoint document libraries into the Outlook folder tree, they can choose whether the library is to be cached or not. If the library is cached, then all emails are saved to the local hard drive then synced to SharePoint. If the library is not cached, the emails are synced directly to SharePoint (though they are cached temporarily to enable offline operation), and are not saved on the hard drive.
Q: Can you only use Contributor for internal e-mails within a company or only those who have access to the SharePoint site?
A: No – the Contributor Outlook Attachment Handler facilitates the uploading of attachments to SharePoint without placing any restrictions or limitations on the SharePoint site. It does, however, require that the recipients have access to the SharePoint location or locations where the attachments are stored.
In addition, due to the wide variety of email policies, it was determined that the ability for enterprises to create custom rules engines to match their particular email business logic was the best extension to our solution. This enables enterprises to determine what they want to happen in any scenario and then use the rules engine to assist their email users in meeting those requirements.
Q: What about the email itself? Does this get stored in the library or just the attachment(s)?
A: The Colligo Outlook Add-In Attachment manager facilitates the uploading of attachments or the insertion of existing content as attachments into draft emails. Because the email is in draft form (it has not actually been sent through Exchange) the feature does not currently upload a complete .msg file.
The Colligo Contributor Add-In for Outlook, however, does support the uploading of complete emails as .msg files to SharePoint via a drag and drop to Outlook folders that are linked to SharePoint document libraries.
Q: Has any of this changed with SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint WorkSpace 2010?
A: Unfortunately until Microsoft publishes the final feature set of the 2010 products, we cannot comment about specific features or uses. However, as a Microsoft Gold Partner, Colligo works to align its products with the Microsoft roadmap and to extend their ease of use and functionality to meet current business needs. Contributor supports its feature set across a range of Microsoft product versions enabling customers to migrate freely while maintaining a consistent user experience.
Q: How do you handle security for the attachment location on SharePoint?
A: The Contributor Outlook Add-In Attachment Handler facilitates the uploading of attachments to SharePoint without placing any restrictions or limitations on the SharePoint site. In order to open and view attachments, it does require that the recipients have access to the SharePoint location or locations where the attachments are stored. A custom attachment rules engine may be developed to ensure such access permission exist for each recipient.
Q: How do you handle OWA users?
A: Contributor is a PC client application which uses the full Outlook email client. At this time the Attachment Handler feature is not available via the OWA client.
Q: How much of the rules code is already written? In other words, do I have to be a coder to use this?
A: No, you don’t have to be a coder. Contributor provides an out-of-the-box attachment rules engine which manages uploading based on limiting the total size of included attachments. This has configurable limits for both warning and blocking emails from being sent and requires no coding. Partners are available to develop customized engines if required.
Q: Can you use the plug in to upload received files or to force attachments to be stored in SharePoint?
A: The Contributor Outlook Add-In can be used to manage inbox content. The standard features in this product include ability to drag and drop emails and/or their attachments to SharePoint locations which are identified in the users Outlook folder tree. In addition the Add-in support the use of Outlook rules to provide a more automated method of moving emails into SharePoint. More information on using SharePoint to manage emails can be found in our Resource Centre.
The attachment manager in Colligo Contributor 4.0 can be used to force users to upload attachments to SharePoint.
Q: What if I am travelling and I get an email from a co-worker whose attachment is uploaded to SharePoint? Am I forced to connect using VPN to access SharePoint and thus the attachment?
A: Contributor will insert a URL to the storage location within SharePoint and the recipient will need to access the SharePoint site to examine the attachment. The actual connection to the SharePoint site will depend on the capabilities of the device used to receive the email and where and when such access is required. For example: this could be used to support corporate information policies where emails can be read on mobile devices but documents must be secured with the enterprise domain.
If you are using Contributor to cache the location where email attachments are stored (such as a team or department site), you would be able to access it when you are travelling (assuming the email was sent prior to your last sync).
Q: I want to restrict the reading of the attachment to just the recipients plus myself. Do I need to create document library and set the permissions accordingly to mail recipient list?
A: You could do that if you want. If the scenario is one where you are sending attachments to the same team members often, then you could set up the permissions beforehand. However, creating a document library per set of attachments may be too great an overhead if the recipients are constantly changing. Unfortunately we cannot enable users to set item level permissions through Contributor, since they are not directly available using client side APIs. A custom engine which combines the client side interface with a custom server side web service to set permissions could be a possibility. (This may have security and credential implications).
Q: Would there be any limitations imposed by my IT group that would limit the use of Contributor?
A: Colligo Contributor is a standard .Net application and is a client PC only installation which requires no server components or configuration. Generally if users are able to install software on their PC they can install and use Contributor. Contributor also uses the same SharePoint services as Microsoft’s products (Internet Explorer, Office, etc.) and it only extends whatever access has been configured on the SharePoint sites (i.e. it uses the same access and security configuration as the SharePoint site) so PCs which can access SharePoint are normally configured with sufficient access for Contributor. There may, however, be IT policies on information management, retention and storage, etc. which will impact the usability of Contributor.
Q: How does this work with SharePoint single sign on?
A: Contributor supports Active Directory credentials including NTLM and Kerberos but not Single Sign On at this time.
Q: When using the insert attachment link, how to search for content? Large lists should have search facilities (by doc type and wildcard)
A: The Attachment Handler is used in conjunction with the Outlook Add-in product which support filters and views to manage content and information. Your suggestion, however, for search type facilities will be added to our roadmap process.
Q: Any plans for Colligo to allow users to create rules to strip attachments from incoming mails and put them into the “Colligo for Sharepoint” folder based on set criteria (PDF from x address goes to this folder)?
A: At this time we have not formulated a specific plan for this type of feature although it is an item in our overall roadmap list.
Q: How is this licensed?
A: As a client application, Contributor is licensed on a similar basis to a Client Access License (CAL). Each user needs a license which is associated with the machine the software is installed on. Volume discounts are available.
Q: How can users quickly find the correct document library – if they are used to browsing the web front end and using bread crumbs?
A: In order to pick a document library destination for attachments, a user must first link it first to Colligo Contributor. They can do this from the browser (using the Connect to Outlook button on the tool bar) or by pressing the “connect” button in Outlook. Available document libraries are then shown in the list of locations when saving attachments in SharePoint. Contributor always remembers the last location picked and displays it as a favourite location.
Q: When will Colligo 4 be out?
A: Colligo Contributor 4 for Windows Vista & Windows XP is in the final stages of its beta program and is expected to be released the week of October 12.
Q: We use CRM 4.0, where e-mails and contacts can be archived. How does that fit that with Colligo and mails in SharePoint?
A: CRM has its own database of emails, contacts and information relating to customer engagement. There is no direct linkage of information between information stored in CRM and information stored in SharePoint. The decision whether information is stored in CRM, SharePoint or both would be a matter for significant IT analysis and would require a solution beyond the scope of Contributor, although Contributor could be part of that solution.