Silicon Valley Speaker Series
Remarks by Kurt DelBene, Vice President, Authoring and Collaboration Services Group, Microsoft Corporation
“Implementing XML Web services with Microsoft .NET”
CARTER MASLAN: So, good afternoon. I’m Carter Maslan. I’m director of Evangelism in the Platform Strategy Group and I’d like to thank you for joining us here for the February Silicon Valley Speaker Series.
Today, Kurt DelBene, vice president of the Authoring and Collaboration Services Group at Microsoft, is speaking about the business benefits of using SharePoint Portal Server to improve collaboration and productivity within organizations.
So today the search for electronic data can be like searching for a needle in a haystack, and if you look at the amount of time people spend doing that it costs them a significant amount of money.
Kurt is going to discuss how SharePoint technologies can help organizations make their information work for them and will highlight the successful results that businesses using the technology have seen.
In his current role, Kurt is responsible for the development of the Office document and Web page authoring and collaboration products, including Microsoft Word and SharePoint Team Services.
Kurt joined Microsoft in ’92 and has served in several roles on Microsoft product development teams, including general manager of Outlook Messaging, group program manager of Microsoft Exchange, as well as the group manager in Microsoft’s systems division, where he was responsible for fax and embedded systems software.
Before coming to Microsoft, Kurt was a management consultant with McKenzie and company, focusing on business strategy for technology companies. Prior to that, he was also a software developer and systems engineer at AT & T Bell Labs, where he worked in graphics and imaging software.
Kurt holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the University of Arizona.
So now I’m happy to introduce you to Kurt DelBene.
KURT DELBENE: Thanks, Carter.
I’m going to talk a little differently than the pitch that Carter talked about. What I’d like to do is kind of give you guys a background about how we think about the collaboration space and in that sense give you some idea about where we see our products today, where we see them going in the future, what we think the distinctive competencies are that Microsoft brings to the whole collaboration space, and that will give you a sense of what are the ways we think about the products, what are the kinds of features you should expect to see from the products moving forward.
And then we’ll turn it over to Trina, who will give you a demonstration of the SharePoint family, basically SharePoint Portal and SharePoint Team Services together, I believe, both of those, and we’ll give you a sense of how they work together to provide a collaboration environment for users.
I thought I’d start with we bring in CEOs, Microsoft brings in CEOs every year for an annual summit, and one of the questions that we asked last year was, “Which of the advances do you think will have the greatest impact on your business over the next five years: Knowledge worker productivity, how you have your business relationships, your B2B business relationships, doing business process integration and just general manual productivity improvements.”
And what they came back and told us is that they still believe that knowledge worker productivity was the number one thing that would impact their business going forward, and I think that’s fairly telling. I think one of the things it says is that they’ve realized in things like messaging or desktop productivity that huge gains have happened in the past in terms of ability to make knowledge workers productive. I think it also says that they still realize that the most important asset that they have in their organization is probably knowledge workers, the people who actually create the content for their organizations and come up with the new ideas.
So we really have to come up with better ideas and better ways to continue this trend of productivity.
And the third thing I think they’re telling us is that we don’t think the work is done and we still have expectations of you, Microsoft and the other members of the industry, to move forward and to actually bring that next huge wave that they saw with the automation of the desktop and desktop productivity, they expect that wave to continue.
So I think that we have a responsibility and we have to figure out where that next wave of productivity is.
And I think it’s a fairly challenging thing to do. If you look at the kind of productivity projects that people are working on today, they really span the gamut. Project teams are trying to figure out how do they complete their projects faster and under budget; R & D teams, how do I take a product from concept and get it to market very, very quickly; sales groups, once they find an opportunity, how do they respond to that opportunity, how do they bring information from previous opportunities to bear on this new opportunity as quickly as possible, and the list goes on.
And as I look at that list, I try to say, “Well, what’s the common thread or the common factor in all of those.” And the only thing I come up with is that the kinds of productivity improvements that they’re working on and the projects they’re engaged in span the entire breadth of a business problem. And that actually makes things fairly difficult. It’s no longer taking a little point and doing something like automating e-mail; it’s literally how do I take the business that R & D is involved in and how do I automate that end to end.
So I think that means that we have to start thinking about things in a more holistic fashion. We need to think about how do I attack the entire business problem and bring solutions to bear that solve that problem and automate the process all the way through to completion.
And I think that’s changed the way we start thinking about our products as well. Historically we have thought of our major asset as Office and we truly do have the lion’s share of the install base on the desktop, which is great. It means we can think about features that everybody can make use of. We can think about corporations rolling that set of functionality out all at one time and bring their users up to that next level of functionality. So we’ve really just thought and focused historically mostly on the desktop.
Where we have thought about servers we’ve done it in a fairly limited fashion. We’ve thought about Windows Server, how do we do file share capabilities, how do we make use of those within Office. Exchange has probably been the tightest point of connectivity with Outlook, the product that I used to work on. We actually, absent what some people sometimes think about the relationship between Outlook and Exchange, we actually work very, very tightly together and that’s been a relationship that’s been strong over the years, and there’s a very intimate knowledge between the Outlook client and how Exchange as the messaging server works.
But that’s really been kind of the limitation of what we’ve been able to think about in terms of the server side of the equation, so we can think about the whole knowledge infrastructure. And I think that’s one thing that’s actually changing.
So where we initially thought of we are the desktop, let’s think about a few servers that we really need to interact with, we’re actually broadening the pie in the future.
One recognition of that is we now have a couple of server products that we think about in Office as being core to our strategies now. There’s SharePoint Team Services, which is a collaboration environment, out-of-the-box, Web-based that you get when you get Office XP. It will be delivered into Windows from this point forward. And there’s SharePoint Portal, which is how do you create a portal for your organization, how do you find information in the organization, how do you manage documents in the organization, and I think the Office team, certainly the client side teams that I manage are working very, very tightly with the server infrastructure to think about the problem much more holistically, how do I think about solutions that I can deliver that are client and server solutions that really address the whole problem. And I think that’s a different way of thinking than we’ve done in the past.
One of the strengths that Office has always brought to the way we do our work is we think in terms of scenarios. We don’t think in terms of features. We always say what is the piece of work that the user is trying to accomplish and let’s think of that end-to-end.
And when I think about the whole space of collaboration, I don’t think we think about it in terms of collaboration per se. We back up and we say what is the user trying to accomplish. And for me it really comes down to a cycle that we call the knowledge creation cycle, which is how do I start from a problem and create the solutions to that problem.
And that really starts with an opportunity that comes out in your business, you know, there may be external factors that drive you to decide to go into a new market, et cetera, new opportunities to improve your process. Whatever the problem is, there is an exogenous factor that starts you thinking and thinking, “Hmm, I’ve got to solve this problem,” or you have your boss telling you, “You need to solve this problem.”
So what’s the first thing you think about doing when you solve the problem? The first thing you naturally want to do is find information in the organization that will help you solve your problem. And there are a couple of things that I think are very key there. The first thing is we need to create a single place in the organization that allows you to access information regardless of where it is in the organization. So I want to go to a single place. I want to know that that place will likely solve my knowledge location problem.
Probably the biggest and most important technology in that process is search. So you want to be able to have a great search tool that gets at all the information in the organization regardless of where it is. One of the keys there is there are all sorts of legacy repositories of information; you have to be able to get at that information as well as the information that’s here and now that’s being created just now, which is in a lot of cases in team collaboration sites. So regardless of where the information is in the organization you need to be able to get at it, and that information is going to be in documents, it’s going to be in experts, it’s going to be in team collaboration sites, it’s going to be in a myriad different places, and search needs to bring all of that together.
Another important part of search is it’s not just finding textual information in a lot of cases; it’s actually an iterant process where I see some data about my problem and I do some analysis of that data. That provides new insight, which causes me to do refined searches and narrow down the problem.
So just going to a search site is not the solution to having this single plane of information. You have to be able to present line of business data that helps me find the more quantitative aspects of the information I’m looking for and also let me drill down and do analysis right there so that I can refine the particular piece of information that I want to find. So that’s a really key aspect to it as well.
Now, I don’t want to go to the site all the time. I want to be able to just go back and do my work. I’ve found the particular information, but I’m still a subject matter person that’s interested about a particular subject matter. So I want a way to come back to that source as new information comes available, and I don’t want to actually have to just periodically every week go the site where I once found the information. I want it to actually come to me and say, “Hey, there’s new information that you might find interesting, based on the searches that you did in the past.”
Another key aspect is the view needs to be unique to me. If I am a sales manager, the view that I see in my single window into the information has to be different than if I’m a product worker or if I’m an R & D person, like I am. I want that information tailored to me on a couple of elements. I want it tailored based on what my role is in the organization and I want it tailored based on what my particular interests are. So if I’ve gone to this site a few times, I’ve refined what it is I want to know about this site and I want to see information that’s more tailored to what it is I’m particularly interested in.
So those are the features that we actually think are kind of key in this one place, this one view onto your world of information in the organization, but another thing we think is very important for you to think through is that you’re really making a platform investment here. It’s not an investment just in a single application, although we certainly sell this as a server application; you’re making a decision about how you’re going to integrate the line of business data that is in a lot of disparate systems, how do you integrate that in to a single place. And so that you’re going to have to decide are the aspects of this platform the ones that I want to standardize across my organizations. There is going to be some integration required to get these legacy systems brought into this platform, brought into this page. So do I really believe in the platform that is behind this particular product?
Obviously, we espouse the Microsoft .NET platform. We certainly build our products around that. But as I think just overall whatever product that you decide to choose in this product space, you have to think about it as a platform decision.
So if you take all of that wrapped together, this is basically the domain that SharePoint Portal Server is in. It’s create a single window onto my information regardless of where it is in the organization; present analytics to the user, present line of business information, help them find information, help them find the solution to their problem.
So now I’ve found the information and I’ve maybe gone to a team site. I’ve found the places that I want to go to find information. I’m ready to start tackling the problem. I move into this space of collaboration and this is a place where you want to be able to create team ad hoc sites. You basically want to be able to say I’ve got three people together; create a team site. Low, low barriers to entry; basically go to a Web Site, click here, say “create this site” and I’m ready to roll. And it literally has to be that simple. It has to be very simple creation, very flexible administration. If somebody gets added to my team later on, I don’t want to have to go to our IT organization to add them on; I want to be able to just go that Web Site and boom they’ve been added.
It also has to be integrated in the way people work, and I think this is really key. I’ve been working collaboration probably for about six years now, especially working with Outlook and Exchange, and one of the problems we run into historically has been the whole out of sight, out of mind problem. You create these collaboration environments and then you forget about them, because they aren’t tuned into how it is that you do your work day to day. I spend so much time in Outlook; how do you integrate in the collaboration sites that I’m part of into the Outlook experience? How do you bring them into the Web pages that I spend all my time in? I’ve got a portal; how do I integrate the content that I see in my portal, how do I integrate in my team collaboration information in the same place?
So we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how do we get around the out of sight, out of mind problem to make these collaboration sites very, very present for the user.
There are two kinds of collaboration that we think about in this space. There’s both structured and unstructured. And I think about in the unstructured world it’s kind of the ad hoc teams; you toss some documents up there. You have some discussions, et cetera. There’s also an element here, which is the more structured communication like workflow. Workflow and the more structured applications are more the domain for Exchange Server as opposed to SharePoint Team Services, which is much more the domain for the ad hoc team based collaboration.
So the focus in the way we think about investments in the Office team is that SharePoint Team Services is really where we’re investing in the server infrastructure for collaboration, and that’s in concert with actually taking the functionality of the server and building the access of that into Office to make Office a great front end for the collaboration environment.
For instance, and I’ll mention this later on, one of the things we’re thinking about for future release is if I’m in Word, how would I take an STS site, a SharePoint Team Services site and how would I represent that for the secure documents that I’m working on? If I’m working with others in a document, I’d certainly want to see what other comments people have about the document and work with them interactively as I’m within the Word frame and working on the Word document.
So as we go forward we’re definitely thinking about how do we integrate it in with Office just to bring more functionality to the user but also to get around that that’s where the person works, they work inside of Office, and how do we bring that collaboration environment directly into that.
So now the user has created their content or they’ve collaborated together and think they have the answer. They want to create the final content. What’s important here? And actually this bears more in what are we thinking about in terms of Office moving forward, where does Office need to go to really get the next set of users energized about using it.
And one of the things we’ve focused on is we hear a lot of times people say, “You know, haven’t you got every feature that you ever wanted in Office? Why would I want another feature in Office? Surely it does everything that I would want and more.” And what we find in a lot of cases is at the same time, “Yeah, but it doesn’t really do that.” So we run into one problem of the feature is there in a lot of cases but people don’t know it’s there and another case the particular features people want, there are some that aren’t there because it’s kind of got the 80/20 but it doesn’t have everything that every user wants to use.
So there are certainly opportunities to increase the amount of features there, but we run up against this wall of how do we get those users that next feature so that the user can actually make use of it. How do they see that it actually exists and how do they easily get access to it?
So we’ve invested a huge amount of time in Office XP and it’s going to be an ongoing basis of taking the functionality that’s already in Office or that we’re adding to Office and actually making it more acceptable to the user, so the things that you see like Smart Tags where it actually can scan through a document or scan through an Excel spreadsheet and find contextual information that it can then pop a menu for you on particular things about that content that it found. So, for instance, if I’ve got a law citation that I’m working on, it can actually scan and find citations. Westlaw is one company that’s actually published a Smart Tag on document citations for legal use and it can have the drop-down menu where I can go access legal databases on the information. I can go look up information about the plaintiff or the defendant, et cetera, so getting smarter about actually looking at what he person is trying to do and provide them contextual information that’s specific to the particular task in mind.
Another thing we’re doing in this area is Work Panes, where that as we know what the user is trying to do we can have a pane in the right hand side that says, “Ah, I think I see what you’re trying to do. Let me give you these three options, which you think are relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish.”
So I think what you’ll see in Office, certainly you see it in Office XP in a very, very big way, but you see on an ongoing basis is how do we release this functionality that’s already there, understanding the context that the user is working in today.
And there have been some dramatic productivity improvements. You see things like 200 percent productivity improvements on some estimates from companies that have deployed Office XP. There are a number of citations that we’re talking to customers about, showing real benefits in terms of worker productivity just by taking the particular functionality that’s there and making it more accessible to the user.
Another aspect of the whole content creation process is it’s invariable an iterative process. So I create some content; it causes me to ask some new questions and rolls me back into the collaboration process. And what this means is it’s very important again to think about how do I take Office and my collaboration servers and roll them together and have it be a seamless process so that as I create content I can drop it back into the collaboration space very easily, I can let other people know that it exists and basically iterate on that content until I’m finally happy with it.
Another thing that’s important here is the capturing of taxonomies, and by taxonomy I mean basically what are the keywords that people think about when they’re going to go search for that information; how do I organize the information in my whole organization so that people can later on access that information.
It’s important to capture that taxonomy at the point where the person is actually in the documents saving the documents. So we’re actually building functionality into Office so that you can capture that taxonomy so it can later be used by search functionality like SharePoint Portal to go ahead and find that document, find that citation across the organization more easily.
So that’s very, very key and again shows the interconnectedness between the content creation process and the whole process of creating knowledge and finding that knowledge later on.
There’s not too much to talk about in terms of presentation. Certainly PowerPoint is a big piece of it. You know, you’ve created the content, you want to present it out to people. It needs to be simple. We certainly focus on how do you make simple things inside of PowerPoint, how do you simply publish the data to repositories. We’ve thought a great deal about when I’m in word, for instance, how can I publish to a SharePoint Portal document repository in a very, very simple way so that it doesn’t pull me out of a normal file save operation, making that very, very simple for the user.
We’re also starting to think a lot about how do we go beyond thinking about PowerPoint simply as a way to create good content for meetings to how do we think about being more productive in meetings per se. So there is an investment area underway in terms of thinking about STS as a place to convene meetings and to make it share agendas, things like that, basically facilitate the whole process of having a meeting in the same way we facilitate the process of creating a document; a very important investment area for us.
Another important aspect of presentations and distributions is the whole idea of notification. I’ve created this document. I want to let people know about it. I don’t want to just broadcast it to everybody, which happens too often. I want to be able to just save it to a repository and people who have had an interest in that particular information, they ought to get a notification immediately that says there’s more information from a particular author or on a particular topic that’s of interest to you, so that you’ll get that alert in any fashion that you find of interest.
Now, anybody who works in a modern corporation today knows that they kind of get inundated with these notifications today. They’re called e-mail. So the question becomes as you get more and more of these kinds of notifications, how do you send them down, how do you control them so that you’re not just constantly getting barraged.
So one of the investment areas we have moving forward is to think through Bill Gates’ whole notion of the information agent: How do I control the kind of information that actually does come to me and if I get something from my boss I may actually want to get that on my cell phone or I may want to get an alert in some other fashion or an IM message, because I know I’m on IM and I’m not looking at e-mail, but if I get it from some other bonehead that I don’t really care about I’ll just throw that away and every time I get it from this guy I just always want to throw it away.
And so we’re thinking through in Office how do I bring all those notifications together into a central way so I can decide what it is I want to discard and what is really important to me, so that I do get over this notion of getting information overload.
So that’s basically the whole process of content creation as we think about it. It’s how we think about pushing our products forward. I thought I’d lay that out a little bit in terms of where we position our products. Certainly in knowledge locations that’s all about SharePoint Portal, as I said. In the collaboration space it’s tight integration. It’s probably the tightest integration across all the different spaces. So you’ve got both of the SharePoint products going on there.
Certainly SharePoint Portal locates the information that’s in these collaboration spaces. SharePoint Team Services is the key collaboration environment for us. And then Office has integration into these collaboration environments, but we also think about how do we use these servers to push through the whole notion of collaborative content creation. Content creation is the domain of Office. It probably will remain primarily the domain of Office. And then once you get into presentation and distribution you certainly have the document repository aspect of SharePoint Portal. You have its ability to find things via search. Presentation is all about Office, also about creating effective meetings using SharePoint Team Services, and of course Exchange, which is the most common medium for actually distributing things still and will continue to be, so Exchange Server for e-mail.
We really think through that’s an important thing in terms of how we think about the scenario. People are so ingrained in the notion that the way I start distributing a document is via e-mail, so how do we actually take the point where I’m in Outlook sending an e-mail message and how do we give people other options as to how they might send that message or what they might do with that message to collaborate or that attachment to collaborate with others.
So again there’s the notion of being able to be at the point where the person is trying to make a decision about what to do with the document and give them more choices, give them those choices because we understand something about what they’re trying to accomplish and broaden the set of functionality that they can take advantage of.
I thought I’d spend a few minutes talking about what are our major investment areas moving forward. These are kind of Office futures, what are the things that we think are very important. I’ve talked a bit already about how do we unlock the productivity of Office that’s already in, the functionality that’s already there; also as we add new features how do we get around the feature creep that’s all there but you just don’t know how to get to it. That’s going to continue to be an important source of innovation for us and investment.
XML is obviously very, very key. It’s key on a number of fronts; one, just in terms of unlocking the data that’s already out there on the Web in terms of XML. We did some investments already of making Excel access information that is in XML format. We’re adding that functionality to all of the Office applications. Certainly you can think of scenarios where Word would be able to be a front-end to create documents where the actual data resides in an XML format on the Web.
Also in terms of content repurposing, how do I take data that was stored in XML and create compound documents, so the quintessential example is the financial investment house that wants to take an abstract from this source, a body from this source and bring them together in a particular single document that is a compound document of all these different formats. Thinking through those kinds of compound documents is a fairly simple thing if you think about XML being the lingua franca for all the data there. So we’re thinking through those scenarios and you’ll see us deliver solutions on those scenarios in future releases of Office.
And we do think about solutions in terms of end to end, so you won’t just see us add, for instance, XML functionality into Word or to Excel for that matter; you’ll see us also ship solutions that people can either use as is, for instance, maybe the ability to present or roll up data that’s across different Word or Excel XML documents into a summary report. It might be an example of an actual solution we deliver rather than just dropping the XML functionality directly into Word.
We’re also investing a great deal in terms of scenarios that come out of new hardware innovations, and the one that I think is probably the most interesting to us right now is the whole tablet investment that Microsoft is working on. This is a very ultra portable device, high-resolution screen, ink input so that you can write directly on it.
There are a number of scenarios that come out of that. One, for instance, is it has very high resolution so that you can think about actual scenarios where I read content, read long documents on this PC for once. I don’t know about you guys but basically when I get a document that’s over three pages I immediately print it out. But we’re getting screen display DPI that is 200 DPI per inch and with innovations like TruType you can actually have the experience on the PC start to match the experience of the printed page.
So we’re thinking through how does the user read more effectively in Word, for instance. We’re not very tailored for reading right now because you basically see the entire word UI in front of you every time you want to read a document.
So with this new hardware advance we’re thinking through how would I create a reading environment in our Office applications that’s matched to the hardware innovation.
Another example down at the bottom of the list is stock capture. I’ve got an ultra portable device here. I can bring it to meetings without worrying about it. How do I think about an application that it might actually capture that thought, think about those notes as something that I want to share with others, I want to repurpose into a final form document eventually. So we’re thinking also a lot about thought capture as something that we might want to invest in.
And then finally DRM is a very, very important topic today and with Office creating all these documents we’re thinking through how do I secure those documents so that if one person you just want them to be a reviewer but they shouldn’t be able to edit it, you should be able to do that. You should be able to send it to somebody and have it, poof, disappear after its expiration date. So Microsoft has already announced that they’re making a major investment in DRM. It’s fairly natural to think about that investment flowing into the Office set of products in future releases.
Probably the major investment, the single largest investment though that the Office team is making is in the collaboration space, and we think, as I’ve already said, we think of SharePoint as our collaboration server environment. The areas that we’re focusing in for the future are team collaboration. Obviously that’s the bread and butter of SharePoint Team Services today, including the meeting environment, as I mentioned, making meetings themselves more effective. Shared authoring: I’m in Word; how do I work with others in that context to create a document together?
We’ve already invested in that quite a bit and, for instance, there’s the share send for review feature that’s in Office XP today. But again how would I take the collaboration team environment that is in STS and actually bring it into Word so that I could work together on that document directly from within the Word user interface.
A lot of investment also in business intelligence and the SharePoint Portal investment kind of drives this in part because if you want the one window on information certainly there is business intelligence information that you want to present there. The assets that we already have in Access and Excel drive us to think about how do we use those as quantitative tools so that somebody can go to the single portal of information and maybe they see summary by quarter of sales information but then they want to drill down or do a pivot based on the sales person, et cetera. They don’t want to have to go into a separate tool to do that. They want to actually be in that same window and say, “Now, show me the pivot so that I can see how all my different sales people are doing.”
And Excel, for instance, or the data analyzer product that we announced recently are very, very good tools to do that and we need to think through how do we change those so that they’re Web accessible, so that they’re just things that you drop on the Web window and have the analysis capability right there.
Obviously, across all of our products we think in terms of how are they built on the .NET platform using ASPX or CLR; all the different buzzwords that you get in the .NET infrastructure, we will be fully compliant with the .NET buzzwords.
We’re investing a lot in terms of the enterprise abilities. These are things like scale, clustering, failover. We definitely want to deliver a set of collaboration servers that are truly robust and manageable for the largest organizations but as well can actually be installed fairly simply out-of-the-box so that you don’t have to have an IT organization to install one of these things.
So that’s a fairly big challenge, to be able to go from out-of-the-box simplicity but also scale way up to the enterprise level and that’s something we’re investing a great deal in.
So with that I will switch to talk a little bit about SharePoint and then we’ll go to a demo.
SharePoint consists of two products basically at this point. It is the family of collaboration technologies we have. The first one is SharePoint Team Services, which I’ve already talked about. It’s important to mention that we think of this as a technology, a technology that gets delivered into Windows. That has a couple of different implications. One it means as you buy a Windows server you’ll have SharePoint right out of the box, so that you don’t have to think about installing yet another server to get things up and running.
We’ve shipped it already. It ships with Office XP. But we ship that kind of as a point of expediency. Over time you’ll simply get it every time you get a new Windows server.
And the other aspect that’s very, very important there is we think of it as a platform. As much as we ship it out of the box, you click a button, boom you’ve got a team collaboration site, the other important aspect of that is the ability to customize it for a particular solution that you have in mind, either A) as an end user I want to, for instance, jump into Front Page and tweak it around, add a new box, et cetera, I can do that; or if I’m a third party I can actually use it as a platform to build a collaborative application on top of.
And then in the enterprise we have SharePoint Portal, which is a product. We think of it not as a technology but out-of-the-box a complete product that the person uses. Long term this product is positioned at being the premier portal product in the enterprise.
The other aspect that’s important here is SharePoint Portal makes innovations in terms of the enterprise portal space. As we think of those things as being transferable to the core platform, we will deliver those into Windows. So we think about things like single sign-on. One of the important things in the portal space is as I go to the single window into my organization I only want to sign on once, and, in fact, if I’ve signed onto NT that should be my only sign-on. But there are a lot of legacy systems out there that don’t, for instance, integrate with the Active Directory, so there is a need to actually do this additional sign-on, but again you only want to do that once and you want to have the credentials managed in a single place that I’ve signed onto all my different organizations or all my different back-end systems as a result.
That’s a feature that we will deliver directly into SharePoint Portal as a product but over time you should expect to see those kinds of core infrastructure pieces get delivered into the Windows .NET Server product line.
And again that comes back to the whole question of when you make an investment in a portal you’re making investment in a platform and so you think through what aspects of this product do I really think I should standardize across my products and how do I get those things standardized. Our particular mechanism there is, and it’s a Microsoft wide one, as things become generally applicable that lots of different people would be able to make use of those, we should just let that be an open thing that anybody can make use of and deliver it in the server. And that’s certainly the strategy that we follow with SharePoint Portal as well.
So SharePoint Team Services, and I won’t go into a great deal of detail here because I’ve talked about it mostly, but it’s collaboration sites for five to a hundred users. We focus on ease of use, out-of-the-box, boom, it’s immediately usable and gives you simple sharing of information whether it be contacts, documents, et cetera, across all users, Office users. As I mentioned, it’s customizable in Front Page. That is a key differentiator over some of the other products that are in the Web collaboration space that don’t have a rich tool to actually customize them. That’s something that we’re very, very proud of and another reason why Front Page is actually in my organization along with SharePoint. And over time we think of that as an application platform and a technology but as well as a single product.
And SharePoint Portal is positioned as an Internet solution. There are kind of three major points: Find information, share that information and publish it in the organization. That means, one, it’s out-of-the-box ought to be the simplest way to create an intranet. It ought to be able to be the simplest way to access information in the organization regardless of whether that information is, whether it’s in SharePoint Team Services, whether it’s documents in a document library, whether they’re on a store, whether it’s out on the Web, whether it’s in Lotus notes, whether it’s in Microsoft Exchange. Regardless of the source, you want to go to one search point and get at the information. That’s what SharePoint Portal search does.
And then we’ve added integrated document management in there because that’s the source that you want to get to. We’ve gotten a lot of demand from customers that they need a very simple yet robust way to check in/check out documents, version those documents, et cetera. So one key part of the value proposition of SharePoint Portal is out-of-the-box you get basic strong document management capabilities and another key differentiator there is those capabilities of check in/check out, those are drawn directly into Office so that if I’m in a Word document I can check it out from within Word, I can enter my keyword so that I can capture my taxonomy directly from inside the Office application. Basically it’s integrated into the way you do your work day to day.
So with that, I’m actually going to turn it over to Trina Seinfeld, who is going to give us a demo of SharePoint.
TRINA SEINFELD: Okay, so Kurt has talked to you a little bit about the knowledge creation cycle and I’m going to give you a demo of kind of how the SharePoint family really plays in that entire cycle.
So in this scenario I work for a company called Champion Zone, which makes sporting equipment, and I am in charge of marketing a new line of sports watches. So here I am presented with a problem where I need to go into the knowledge creation cycle. First, what I might want to do is look for some information about sports watch marketing that we have done in the past and what has worked and what hasn’t worked.
So what you’ll see here is SharePoint Portal Server. It’s basically a company homepage for Champion Zone. And each of these components of information actually re Web parts, giving me different types of information. So here you’ll see I have a news Web part, a categories Web part. As Kurt mentioned, one of the ways you might want to look for information is through a category taxonomy of organized information, so I might want to look for information that way. There’s also a list of quick links that I may want to go look at. I can see that there’s actually a whole business unit portal around the sports watch, so I might want to go take a look at that as well.
You can also see that the portal actually knows who I am, so in terms of pushing information out to me I can see here information that I’ve actually subscribed to. So within SharePoint Portal Server I can subscribe to a search that I’ve done previously. I can subscribe to a document or a folder or a particular category.
As well, as Kurt mentioned, we have integrated document management with SharePoint Portal Server so you’ll see that down here in this Web part where it says “awaiting your approval,” there are actually documents there that are in an approval process before they are going to be published to our intranet, so I can see that there are some documents awaiting my approval.
But back to my problem of needing to do a marketing campaign around sports watches.
The first thing I think I’ll do is I’ll search the site for watch marketing to see what we’ve done in the past. So this will go out and access the index that SharePoint Portal Server has built and again it’s enabled to access to multiple content sources. And I’m brought back with a summary of search results here. This is actually where I could subscribe to this search so if additional information came in that had to do with watch marketing I would be notified.
I can also see that there are matching categories within the portal, so there’s actually a whole category on watches that I might want to go take a look at.
I also can see that there’s a best bet here. And best bets are basically hand tagged items that people who really know this particular topic have said if someone’s looking for watch marketing they should really go look at this document first.
You can also see down here that there’s a variety of different matching documents that have come up as things that I might want to go access. They’re all Office documents I can get access to. In addition, I can see things like there’s a discussion board here that I might want to go look at.
There’s also a GIF file so I can go take a look at what the sports watch direct marketing campaign, what the latest graphic for that campaign was.
So I’m really getting access to a variety of different information types, as well as different sources.
So one of the things that I will take a look at is the sports watch promotion proposal, since it’s tagged as a best bet here. I can take a look through here and see what we’ve been doing in the past on sports watches.
Then I’ll go back to the portal and one of the things that I saw when I was back here on the company home page was that there was actually an entire business unit portal for sports watches, so I might want to go take a look there.
So here this is one of the business unit portals that’s specifically focused on sports watches, so all of the information that’s coming to me is coming from different line of business applications and different content sources very specific to watch marketing. So I can actually see sports watch sales here, see how we’re doing in different regions of the country year over year.
One other thing that I might want to go look at here is under marketing campaigns. I can actually go through and see — this is basically getting access from, information from, for instance, a structured data store that’s being presented to me in an Excel pivot format so that I can manipulate the data.
So here I’m going to look at different customer responses from different types of marketing campaigns we’ve done and I can actually interact with these Web parts just like I would with Excel. So this is an Excel pivot table Web part. I’m going to select a field list here and I want to sort by marketing campaign so that I can take a look and see what has been successful. And if you’ll notice, our Northeast region has done the best and they’re actually the only ones in the region that have done a direct mail offer. So that may be something that I want to do on a national level for my marketing campaign.
So I’m going to go back to the sports watch home page here and I will do a search for direct marketing and see what comes up. So there are a couple things that have come up here. I can look through and see what different types of information I’m being presented with.
One of the things that I may come across here is there is a team Web site on the actual direct mail campaign that the Northeast region did. So I’m going to go take a look at that and this is actually bringing me to a SharePoint Team Services site that the Northeast region set up specifically for their direct mail campaign. So I can get additional information from this team to see what was successful about their direct mail campaign. I can see things like team contact information and in a lot of ways SharePoint Team Services is like an electronic bulletin board. It’s where I can go and post information and share that with other team members. So one of the things I might want to do here under these contacts is list myself as a new contact, since I’m interested in direct mail campaigns. So I will add myself quickly here and you can see how easily it is to just add information to this team site.
I’ll go back to the home page. There are different discussion boards that I could go to, to see how the team has discussed the direct mail site. I could also go to a team calendar to understand when they did different things during their direct mail campaign.
One of the other aspects of SharePoint Team Services is it allows me to do an informal survey. So one of the things I could so is come to the SharePoint Team Services site and quickly put together a survey and ask other team members about a particular aspect of the direct mail campaign.
There are also additional links that I might want to go to share documents that the direct mail campaign team has posted to this site, as well as announcements or upcoming events that the team might want to be aware of.
So overall this is where I could get some additional information, but let’s say that I have decided now that I want to do a direct mail campaign on a national level, because I’ve seen that it really works well for the Northeast region.
One of the things then that I’m going to do now that I’ve kind of gone through the analysis phase, I want to create this new direct mail campaign to implement nationwide. So one of the things I can do, the first thing I have to do is create a brief template for a national direct mail campaign. So I’m going to go to the new document Web part and I’m going to select to create it.
Now, while this is coming up, one of the things that I’ll mention is that all of these Web parts we allow customers to create their own Web parts but we’ve also invested a lot with partners and within Microsoft to create a lot of Web parts to actually do the work for our customers. So we have a Web part gallery up on our Web site that has over a hundred different Web parts. We also have a new Web site that we just released a couple weeks ago called SharePoint D2D, which is really where developers can go, and IT folks can go to share information about SharePoint and get access to additional Web parts.
So this has brought up Office XP for me, and what I’m going to do is I’m going to name this project “National Direct Mail Campaign” and date today is the last day of February. Can you believe it? And one of the things I remember seeing some information on a previous creative brief about a direct mail campaign, but I can’t remember where it was. So one of the things that I can do is I can use the search pane within Office to search for information. And by selecting SharePoint Portal Server as one of the content sources or one of the things that I want to search, I actually get access to that entire index that SharePoint Portal Server has created of all of the information that exists within my organization.
So I’m going to do a search on sports watch creative briefs and under my network places I can see here these are all coming from SharePoint Portal Server, so what SharePoint Portal Server has found.
The benefit to this is that the Office search pane allows me to search for things on my local hard drive or in my local e-mail box that I may have locally but also get access to all of our enterprise resources through SharePoint Portal Server.
So I’m going to take a look at this direct mail campaign. Now, this knows that I’m accessing SharePoint Portal Server to a document library. We’re actually keeping track of the versions of different documents. So before it allows me to just open a document, it’s going to ask me if I want to check out this document or if I want to open it up as read only. So I’m to just select it to open up as read only and I’m going to copy some information here on the target audience and go back to my documents and put that under the marketing issue.
So let’s say that I have now completed this document and I want to check this document into our document library. So if I check this document in, other people with author privileges can get in and collaborate on the document. They can check the document out and we can collaborate on the document until it is finalized and then we can actually publish it to our intranet site.
So what I’m going to do first is I’m going to save this document. I’m going to save it to SharePoint Portal Server as the “National Direct Mail Campaign” doc. And this is going to bring up a document profile.
So one of the things that we wanted to provide was the ability to profile documents because the author of a particular document is probably the best person to tell you about that document, what are kind of the categories and keywords that this document has to do with.
So one of the things that I’m going to have to fill out there is a little document profile. I’ll call this the “National Direct Mail Campaign.” I’m logged in as Carol. The product is the sports watch. And categories: Let’s see, I probably want to categorize this under watches. So you can see as I start typing it actually brings up my category hierarchy for me of different categories that would make sense as I type ahead with watches.
So I will say Okay and then this document is going to be saved to our server.
Now, I can do additional work on this document if I’d like, but let’s say that I’m ready to check this document and publish it to the Web site.
What you saw here is the one of the ways that we have tight integration within Office by integrating our document management capabilities with SharePoint Portal Server directly into the file menu. So with either Office 2000 or Office XP you can actually check in and publish a document directly from within Office.
So I will now select to check this document in and I will select to publish it after check-in. I can change any of the attributes of the document profile if I need to, but everything has stayed the same. One of the things that we do in keeping track of versions in SharePoint Portal Server is we also keep track of the associated profile so I can go back to previous versions of the document if I need to and I can go back to see the associated profiles of those versions.
So I will say Okay, and what we have within SharePoint Portal Server is we have an automatic approval routing process that you can implement for documents before they get published to an intranet site.
So this is going to go into that approval process and there are a couple ways that the approvers will be notified that there’s a new document to approve. One is through e-mail. You can have someone notify you via e-mail that you have a document. Or you can also get notified via the portal. Now, since this is a demo and everything is self-contained here and there are no other people collaborating with me on this laptop, I’m actually the approver for this particular document as well. So I can go in here and I can see that there is actually a new document awaiting my approval.
But one of the other things that we did was when we built SharePoint Portal Server we really wanted to integrate into not only the Office environment but also into the Windows environment, because that’s really where people are used to saving documents. They’re used to saving documents out to a file share and that sort of thing. So we’ve also extended the Windows Explorer interface.
I’m going to bring that up now and you’ll see that this is what we call an enhanced folder within SharePoint Portal Server, and there is a variety of different files here. The blue star indicates the published item and the little pencil indicates that that item is checked out. And here is my document, which the clock indicates is pending approval. You can also see this information on the left hand side of the screen.
You can also see the profile information, so if I select this you can see that profile information that I entered when I was checking my document in. I can also see where it is in the approval process.
So either from directly from within this interface I can check out a document or I can approve this document or I could do that from within the portal as well. And all of these document management capabilities are also available within a browser, because we wanted to really integrate into the environments where people were used to working.
So I’m going to go to this document. I’m going to right-click it and I’m going to approve this document and then it becomes published.
This is also the interface where I can look at previous versions of the document, look at the profile history of the document as well.
So I’m on my way to creating my “National Direct Mail Campaign” and that pretty much gets through the knowledge creation cycle to actually publishing information.
KURT DELBENE: So that’s pretty much an overview. I thought I’d just sum a few things up really, really quickly. The main point I wanted to stress is that as I started saying the problems are getting more complex. We need to think through how we get that next wave of productivity improvements, how we do that in a holistic fashion, so you think about the whole wave that people do work in the enterprise and that we’re actually focused in the Office team on how do we think through solutions end to end, think through how the user will actually use our software in day-to-day business, how the products interact with the desktop, et cetera. That’s really one of the key focuses of our approach.
And as we think of the SharePoint product family as our primary knowledge worker server investment, coupled with Office on the desktop obviously in terms of being in the environment where people actually create that content, do that analysis and then want to actually share that with others.
And also connecting with .NET Servers on the back end also with your legacy systems. We understand that not all your systems are going to be Microsoft systems. The SharePoint Portal has spent a lot of time thinking through how do you bring those other systems in your enterprise into that single window into your information in the enterprise.