I really got a lot out of this session as it really opened my eyes to the investment Microsoft has made into the social computing space. They really did a great job of marrying the enterprise publishing world with social. Another trend that Microsoft has really latched onto is context aware solutions. The composite architecture patterns exposed in SharePoint 2010 really start to enable this.
In this session the presenter is talking about re-architecting a select few of Microsoft’s internal knowledge management systems. They have already started to re-architect the site onto the SharePoint 2010 and was showing some real life demos. These KM systems currently has close to a 1TB of mission critical data. This repository holds mostly sales and marketing data to enable the Microsoft field.
As a previous user of this information it was rather clunky and it looks like MS thought so as well. They approached the problem in a rather simplistic manner by splitting content into directories and using the Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) method to ensure success. Additionally they scoped the project appropriately by just focusing on publishing and discovery of content.
Approach and Capabilities Needed
- User Experience – Too many user experience makes it difficult for people to find what they need.
- Collaboration – Pages are documents and managed differently buy multiple teams
- Information Discovery – Search results aren’t relevant and difficult to refine
I really enjoyed hearing about how they architecturally viewed the problem. it was clear they had a good separation of concerns in the architecture. This will ensure that the solution can expand to growing business needs. they talked about three logical layers to the architecture.
- Publishing – Working area for publishing
- Document Center – A place for authoritative finished content
- Shared Services Platform – Enterprise capabilities and information taxonomies
Using the concept of SharePoint or aspects of SharePoint as a Shared Services Platform is a notion I have been evangelizing for sometime and it looks like it is mainstream in the messaging from Microsoft both internally and externally.
Governance was talked about quite a lot and for obvious reasons. Keep in mind this was a case study on Microsoft and not authoritative guidance necessarily. The Microsoft culture is a lot different than most organizations. With that said, there was a lot of push back on governance. Two forces were at odds in the Microsoft implementation, governance (Maintain content discovery and authority) vs. enablement (empower more people to contribute). They defined the two as follows:
Maintain content discovery and authority
- One sanctioned place to get information
- Consistent layouts and branding
- Tight OOTB way to integrates pages and document
- Subject management experts have final word
Empower more people to contribute
- Just a few clicks to contribute to topic
- Rating tagging commenting
- No hang-ups
Their implementation use a bit more in the enablement category and rightfully so for their business. As the presentation went on more it was clear that Microsoft made a huge investment to put social computing at the forefront of the publishing capabilities.