MOSS 2007 Web Content Management and Publishing overview

Posted: February 21, 2007 in MOSS 2007

       Delving into MOSS 07 for the first time can be a daunting task. There is so much to the product that it is not too difficult to spin your wheels reading high level summaries of all the capabilities without getting anywhere in-depth.  As part of my own journey deeper into MOSS 2007 I am going to try and hit (more frequently) on topics as I learn them and HOPE it helps anyone listening out there as well as myself.
      Let’s start off with a quick overview, and some more fun acronyms to add to the already annoying list you are likely carrying around in your brain. MOSS 2007 has incorporated a into it a large set of features around publishing and web content, most of which were adopted from an older MS product known as Content Management Server (CMS). As of now, CMS will cease to be an independant product and will be incorporated into the MOSS product line to power its WCM (Web Content Management) capability. WCM, combined with the records management feature, policy management, and document management are all rolled together into yet another acronym, ECM, or Enterprise Content Management.
     The goal of MOSS 2007 WCM is to enable an organization to manage web content and publishing in such a way that the appropriate entities have control over the apparopriate roles and no one roll stands as a bottle neck for the others. In a traditional WCM scenario we would have a site wholly owned by IT. When a content manager wanted updated content, they would have to submit it to IT, who would incorporate it into  the site, maintaining the corporate structure, look and feel, and navigation. IT would then reploy the site back to production. Since IT rarely sits around waiting for someone somewhere to send them updated content, there may be a delay in getting the content out and if this is time sensitive content (i.e. news release, event announcement, etc) that can be an issue. Also, the content may end up looking nothing like what the content manager intended as it is twisted and and tugged into the corporate standard for look and feel, navigation, structure, etc. If this site is frequently updated with new content well maintaining that content could end up being a full time job for a content manager AND an IT staffer, which creates issue as really there is ONLY a need for the content manager to be busy on this task.  
     MOSS 2007 provides a solution for this issue as it seperates the look and feel, navigation, and structure of the page from the content of that page. So IT can develop the look and feel, navigation and structure (implemented via Master Pages), as well as defining publishing rules and workflow around it. Once established content ,managers can modify their content directly in pages based on the templates and policies set forth by IT. In general, IT worries about IT stuff, content managers spend their time on content management, the site stays uniform, corporate policies are enforced, workflows are engaged that keep the content from being officially published until the correct managers, legal, etc approve it, then it is published to a public web site, and world hunger ends (alright maybe that is taking it a bit too far), but you have to admit this is cool stuff and to steal an old term we used to use at McD’s, when set up properly it allows the organization to keep their aces in their places with the experts in the various areas focusing on JUST their specialities while automating what could end up being a very manual workflow with emails and meetings galore.
      Sound cool? Join us next week for a in-depth look at some deeper how-tos associated with this area.
 In case you care to read ahead:
   0-7356-2282-5 – MS Office SharePoint Server 2007 Administrators Companion
   MSDN Virtual labs – Enterprise Content Management with Office SharePoint 2007
  1. carlo says:

    Ok… thanks for the good info… since you have disturbed me on my empty blog neow I will distourb you on your :)and since we are so used to OTDs I want to ask you a suggestion:my sister is going to open a new medical office (she’s a veterinary). Since I’ve already written for her a small app for managing ecographies (just a bunch of sql tables with a snapshot capture tool) she asked me a software to manage the office… billings, accounting, etc.Well I’m evaluating three options:1. Expanding the application to manage billing and other stuffs she wants, the simplest option.2. Build a brand-new web interface.. so that she can use on intranet/internet3. Let hem buy a commercial sw… (he he, I have a great temptation on that…)Do you know a CMS to build such a web app ? can MOSS be used (even if it would be too expensive for her) ? I’ve thought to DotNetNuke, but I don’t know its possibilities…Any idea ? Feel free to tell me that it would be better to buy a commercial sw…carlop()

  2. Michael says:

    Hey Carlop,
        Whether or not i would suggest MOSS for her would depend on a couple things. The biggest thing would be her size. I mean what you are talking about such as managing billings. accounting, etc MOSS could help out in terms of automating some of that for her, maybe through some infopath forms. You could utilize the document management features for patient files, (one of the focuses in developing MOSS was enabling clients to meet Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA and it has built in features enabling an organization to comply with those requirements. Granted those are both US requirements and I am not sure if Italy has the same types of requirements. There is a lot she could do with it. And once setup if is designed and setup, most tasks she could do herself (creations of new sites, and workplaces, lists management fo workflow) with a little training That includes the content management features. Once you set up the templates, master pages, and get the look and feel pushed in, then create and apply any needed workflow for publishing sites, she should be able to manage content on her own. From what you are describing above (which granted is not in-depth functional specifications) I would revisit the functionality in the custom web app to see if they could be done by MOSS features, you may end up not needing your legacy app at all or you could roll the functionality into a custom web part or just load that existing site into MOSS. There are a few ways to take it.
         All that being said, with all the features packed into MOSS, it is not cheap and if she is the typical new business owner it may be too much an expense for her to incur right now. Before I would say it is a good idea for her to use it, I would sit down with her, go through the needs she has now, the what she would forsee over the next 6-12 months. I would match those to MOSS features, than go through maybe some uses she had not thought of. If the ROI makes sense for her then I would push it. With the info you gave me, I would be concerned she may be too small (keep in mind I am juding based on US vet offices I have been to).
         DNN is of course priced right and it has some sweet features but it is NOT MOSS. I make that distinction because I have read about large offices needing to replace massive DNN implementations when they got in over their head thinking they could replicate MOSS with it. I have seen DNN and MOSS’ predicessor used together though with some nice results. I worked for a company with DNN (can’t remember what version) and we used it plenty with good results. It has a lot of features built into it, a lot of free portlets and even more of them you could buy to do somoe cool stuff.
         Your 3rd option of custom app dev to the existing system you built for her could be a livin ghell for you though. if you are doing this for free (as I have for fam before as well) you could get yourself into a position where you are spending a good deal of time supporting a system for free. Now it would be one thing it you were getting paid for it, if not well I have seen folks get hosed spending 1 hour here one hour there supporting a "courtesy" app they built for friends and/or family for free and it ends up giving that business a skewed expectation on what IT systems cost.

  3. carlo says:

    She’s really a beginner… even if she have several years of medical experiences now she’s beginning from scratch and she doesn’t have got much money to spend on software… I’ve seen prices for MOSS, they are really huge for her, even if they are reasonable for a middle size business.Anyway thanks for you thoughts and see ya later !

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