Page 3 of 5
Microsoft SharePoint 2010, OfficeLive
Microsoft comes clean about SharePoint 2010 in the product's on-premise installation documentation: "The logical result of SharePoint Server's flexibility and richness can be a high degree of complexity around installing and configuring SharePoint Server correctly."
We've been preaching this for some time, but the two biggest enemies of small or midsize business when it comes to information technology are cost and complexity. And SharePoint as an on-premise application has its share of complexity. But Microsoft, as part of its drive to place every single element of its product line in the cloud, now provides a hosted version of SharePoint that eliminates the complexity and allows an enterprise to get up and running with this application in just a few minutes.
Not that we don't like SharePoint 2010 as an on-premise solution. It's a snappy, easy installation on an industry-standard server (we'd recommend a dual-CPU server with at least 16 GB of RAM). But it still requires a fair amount of patience to configure; in the CRN Test Center lab it was a slow process that took multiple attempts to get right and in working order. However, it's still an improvement over previous iterations of SharePoint.
While SharePoint 2010 should really be the province of midsize to large enterprises, Microsoft has done a stellar job of integrating elements of SharePoint's functionality into its OfficeLive product. The interface, ability to share and collaborate on basic office documents, conduct instant messaging conversations and more do what SharePoint sets out to do: enable collaboration.
The hosted application, as part of Microsoft Online Services, can be integrated with online versions of Office Communication Server, Exchange and Live Meeting. Administrators have full user control via a robust management console. A half-hour after establishing an account (the trial version we used supported 20 licenses), it's possible to have an enterprise sharing tasks, calendar information, files, instant messages and threaded conversations. Microsoft estimates the cost to an enterprise at $5.25 per user, per month for hosted SharePoint.
NEXT: Google Apps