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Microsoft Architect Outlines Offline Support in Office 2007

I noticed this excellent post by Scott Jamison, an Information Worker architect at Microsoft. He clearly discusses the approach used in Office 2007 for taking SharePoint content offline, which he describes as follows:

Outlook, Groove, and Access each support varying degrees of offline sync with SharePoint, based on the strengths of that application

Note: bolding mine.

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SharePoint 2007 Uptake Should Be Quick

One of the most interesting findings from our survey was the speed with which organizations intend to deploy SharePoint 2007. We asked two questions on the topic: When are they planning to deploy WSS 2007 and when are they planning to deploy MOSS 2007. We expected to see deployments late in 2007, but to our surprise, respondents indicated deployment sooner.

53% of respondents indicated that they would deploy WSS in early 2007, while 17% indicated late 2007. However, 26% of respondents were not sure when they would deploy. So, of those that ARE sure, 72% were deploying WSS in early 2007 and 23% in late 2007 – a total of 95% in 2007.

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Office 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh

We've been playing around with the <a href=";DisplayLang=en" target="_blank">Office 2007 Beta 2 technical refresh</a> today and haven't found anything too surprising yet. We've installed the new server and the client apps and, so far in testing, Outlook, Access and Groove seem to provide the same level of capabilities as Beta 2 for taking SharePoint offline, although there seem to be some improvements and changes. Once we've completed the testing I'll put together evaluations and post them here as I did for the previous beta versions of <a href="">Groove</a> and <a href="/blog/topic/outlook-2007/">Outlook</a>.

In preparation, I did some searching on the web to see what others had been saying. I noticed an August 31st <a href="" target="_blank">post by Eric Cherng</a> where he described the need for offline access to SharePoint content:

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SharePoint History and the Local Tech Community

I just found a very interesting post about the History of SharePoint on Sharon Richardson’s “Joining Dots” site. Her bio says she’s been in IT for 16 years and spent six of them at Microsoft. Clearly, she gained a lot of experience and knowledge as the UK lead for SharePoint at Microsoft. I had a chance to poke around her blog and I think she has some very interesting insights, such as this post entitled “Chasm Microsoft”. I’ve been a big fan of Geoffrey Moore since he came to Vancouver in 1994 to present a two day seminar on his new book, Crossing the Chasm. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing him speak a couple of times at the annual ACETECH forum in Whistler.

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The Need for Tools to Access SharePoint Content Offline

One of the open ended questions we asked in our survey was how respondents were using our offline SharePoint tools today. Below is a summary of some of the most common answers:

Who uses offline SharePoint tools?

  • Department and division managers: traveling to remote locations.
  • Sales people: when on the road or at a customer location.
  • All staff: to provide access to SharePoint when they are offline.
  • IT project managers: to take offline copies of IT project related sites for use when on client premises.
  • Engineering project managers: to be able to view content when working off site.
  • Consultants: to enable them to work in the field.
  • Analysts: to access the latest commodity information when they travel.
  • Frequent travelers to, and staff in, foreign countries.
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    Colligo SharePoint Survey Shows High Adoption Rate Among End Users in Large Organizations

    We asked our survey respondents to tell us how many employees worked in their organization. 38% had over 1000 employees, 31% between 100 and 1000 and 31% below 100. So the majority of Colligo for SharePoint users who responded to the survey are from larger organizations.

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    Offline SharePoint End User Survey

    &lt;img class=&quot;alignleft&quot; title=&quot;&quot; src=&quot;; alt=&quot;&quot; width=&quot;369&quot; height=&quot;175&quot; /&gt;Response has been strong since we launched Colligo Reader and Colligo Contributor in the spring of this year. Now that there is a critical mass of users of the Colligo for SharePoint products, we felt that it was time to survey our customers. We learned a lot about the nature of SharePoint deployments at their organizations, their plans for future upgrades, how they are using our products, how they like them and what features they will be looking for in the future.

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    Office 2007 features for taking SharePoint offline

    In his blog, “Adventures in home working”, Steve Richards pointed out that no one has really published a thorough matrix comparing the features and benefits of different approaches to taking SharePoint offline. As he says, Microsoft has some demos of office 2007, but they don’t go deep enough to really understand the strengths and weaknesses of the implementations.

    We’ve tried to do a bit of that here. So far, we’ve looked at Groove 2007 and Outlook 2007. Fine, but as our new marketing manager pointed out, I committed here to a summary of Outlook 2007 beta 2 and then a deep dive into Access 2007 and, as yet, haven’t done it. Rest assured that I’ve done the testing … I just haven’t posted the results to the blog yet. But, hey, it’s the summer so cut me some slack! (excuses, excuses). Anyway, in the next couple of weeks I’ll get to those posts.

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    The Colligo community is expanding / get ready for the next release

    I noticed this post by Alpesh Nakar at SharePointBlogs about his recent need to take SharePoint offline. He referred to Edwin Hakopian’s blog mentioning Colligo Reader and Colligo Contributor as a possible solution. I was pleased to see that after using it, Alpesh thought Colligo Reader was “…just great! Just what I needed!!!”. Thanks, Alpesh, for the feedback and thanks to Edwin for pointing it out in the first place.

    We’ve been really pleased with the overwhelming response to our offline SharePoint products since we launched in April/May. We’ve had thousands of downloads over the past few months and many positive comments from users.

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    Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference

    I’m in Boston this week at the Worldwide partner conference. Lots of people here – the conference is jammed. There was an accident in one of the tunnels last night – apparently part of the roof fell on a car – so everything is delayed.

    Of course everyone at Microsoft is charged up. I just sat through a gold partner luncheon talk with Chris Caposella. Nice to see Microsoft putting so much emphasis on SharePoint.

    I just noticed a mention about our offline SharePoint products on a Olaf’s blog (in German). Thanks Olaf!

    I’ll post again if anything interesting comes up.


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