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Smacking SharePoint into shape

Todd R. Weiss | May 30, 2013
Shops often need to add functionality to the core software.

Another key area where Black Elk needed help was in managing its huge volumes of data, says Cantu. "One of our pushes for 2013 is to eliminate the alphabet soup of our shared network drives and to put most of that data into the SharePoint platform," he explains.

As more extensions are needed, the company will add them, says Cantu. "We'll really never be done," he said. The projects that are underway now should be completed by year-end.

Extending SharePoint via the cloud
Alex Alexandrou, vice president of global information services and Web technology at D&M Holdings, a global wholesaler of high-end audio and video equipment, got some help for his SharePoint deployment when the firm wanted to make some collaboration and workflow improvements starting in May 2010.

The company previously had been using Google Apps for file collaboration and workflow online, but that caused concerns about governance, he says. "We found that thousands of pages weren't being managed properly. We needed it to be more structured." Security and version control and tracking were among the issues.

To accomplish this, D&M extended its licensing agreement with Microsoft to bring on SharePoint Online, which added much of the needed technology, he says. "We found another way to get value out of our SharePoint investment."

Alex Alexandrou, vice president of global information services and Web technology at D&M Holdings, says his firm "found another way to get value out of our SharePoint investment" by bringing on SharePoint Online.

In August 2012, D&M moved entirely from Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS), including SharePoint, to Microsoft's new Office 365 cloud-based version, which features Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Not everything that D&M has done with SharePoint needed extensions, he says. Sometimes projects just require looking at SharePoint in ways that hadn't previously been considered. That was the case when D&M decided to completely revamp the management of its many product websites around the world. Using the built-in content management tools in SharePoint, D&M was able to consolidate the Web content and the sites themselves to make it all easier to update, manage and modify, explains Alexandrou.

The firm wanted to use SharePoint and not a separate content management application because the platform is already a dependable and proven base, he says.

Dozens of the company's brand websites from around the world, which previously had been administered separately and inefficiently, were pulled into one content repository so that they could be centrally managed.

"We used the same templates for the sites, regardless of what country they were in, so they would look and feel the same." While no major third-party extensions were needed for the website consolidation project, Alexandrou says that he and his team gained a new appreciation for the SharePoint investment they had already made.


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