Microsoft has revealed more details on its SharePoint Portal Server, currently in beta testing, that will feature tighter ties with many of the collaboration capabilities woven into the Windows Server 2003 scheduled to be delivered on April 24.
The new version, which Microsoft has renamed the Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003, is intended to be a single portal capable of integrating a range of line-of-business applications, thereby allowing users to access all the information they need through a single sign-on.
Microsoft officials hope the product can serve as a "hub" for all other Microsoft Office Systems, providing an end-to-end solution by connecting workers to "personally relevant information, applications, people, and teams," general manager of Microsoft Business Portals Group, Jeff Teper, said.
Essentially, by combining the collaboration features built into Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services, users were better able to create and manage Web sites meant to primarily collaborate on documents and projects, company officials said.
Some of the features that are designed to improve workflow include document versioning, approval workflow, check in and check out, document profiling, and publishing.
Users could also personalise intranet and extranet sites they builtwith additional "user-profiling capabilities", Microsoft officials said.
Avanade officials said they were engaged with several corporate users evaluating Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 involving a number of applications including financial services.
"We think the product offers a compelling value proposition for users needing a flexible and enterprise portal solution," Avanade's enterprise collaboration practice advisor, Eric Blankenburg, said. "What particularly works well for us is its ability to manage secure access to back-end systems that can deliver the right set of data to the right user,"
Some of the personalisation features of the product include the ability to tailor portal pages for each user based on who they are and what they do, navigation bars that can change to display options on each portal page base on selected WebParts and user permissions, and the ability to target content within WebParts for an organisation or an individual.
The product was not expected to be available until sometime during the second half of this year. Pricing would be set at product launch, a company spokesman said.