Portal Software Can Help

Your project can benefit from portal software. What is portal software and how does it work? Portal software allows you to set up things like document management, subscription services, application delivery, and other web components that can enhance your project ' s intranet site.

I've worked extensively with Microsoft ' s SharePoint Portal Server (SPS; www.microsoft.com/sharepoint) and find it to be well-equipped for such an endeavor. There are other portal products out there, some far more expensive than others, all with the capabilities that might be looking for to enhance your project communications.

SPS uses workspaces. A typical SPS server can have up to 15 workspaces, each with a distinctive name and accessible by a browser. You could, for example, create an SPS workspace called MarketingDBProj, and users would be able to point their browser to this address to find updates about your Marketing Database project. You could keep in it your project schedules, the actual project document itself, and any ancillary documents associated with the project.

SPS allows users with an "author" role to create documents using Microsoft Office 2000 or Office XP directly to the SharePoint workspace. Users with the "coordinator" role can then publish the documents to the workspace. Documents are not visible to readers until they' ve been published.

SPS allows you to organize your information in categories you create. Once categorized, users can subscribe to the site in such a way that when an item in a given category is updated, changed, moved, or deleted, they are notified by e-mail of the change. SPS has a robust indexing algorithm that indexes key words in each document that has been uploaded to the site.

SPS requires a dedicated server, but is easy to set up and drive; the program is entirely drag-and-drop-oriented and very intuitive to run. SPS is an ideal candidate for a project portal intranet site.

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