Saturday, April 19, 2008

A better place than my inbox

Having recently been working on a section for my Windows Sharepoint Services Operations Guide (sorry, but the more plugs the higher the rating in Google) about Windows Sharepoint Services accepting inbound emails from outside the organization, I was wondering what would be a good application of this feature. BING. I know, how about all those SBS monitoring reports we get sent from customer servers? Not only will they be stored in one location but with Sharepoint they also get index so we can search them.

 

The more I started to think about this idea the better it became. Normally with SBS server reports (and other monitoring reports we receive) they merely end up in our inbox for review. However, if they appeared in a Sharepoint document library then we could add additional metadata. What do I mean by this? Well, I could add a field that allows me to select whether the report has been reviewed or whether it has errors that require further investigation. It also means that we can sort and categorize the information much quicker. Not only that, thinking about this a little more, it would also be possible to kick off a Sharepoint workflow as each item arrived. This maybe sending an alert to somebody to review the reports, then moving them to an archive location elsewhere in Sharepoint and so on. With Sharepoint the possibilities are really endless.

 

I think that this is a really good example of how an IT business like ours can use Sharepoint to improve productivity and efficiency. All you need is a little imagination and Sharepoint of course.

 

The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that if you have installed Windows Sharepoint Services v3 on your SBS server then you WILL NOT have the facility to receive inbound emails to Sharepoint. It is another great reason why a standalone Sharepoint server in a SBS network is a much better idea that one on the SBS server (not always possible I admit but don't forget Virtual PC as an option). But then if you had my Windows Sharepoint Services Operations Guide you'd know that wouldn't you?