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Collaborators offered pre-built SharePoint app

Software house targets teamwork, not Quislings

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A British software company is claiming that it can deliver a basic but fully working Microsoft SharePoint collaboration system in as little as an hour, and without the customer needing to buy SharePoint client access licences (CALs).

"We have built over 100 SharePoint projects and found that 70 to 80 percent was common - there are common needs across industries," said ICS marketing manager Andrew Kerry-Badell. "So around two years ago we decided to build a product that incorporated those, as a platform for intranets and extranets.

The result is ShareWorkz 3.0, a pre-built application which uses the SharePoint services built into Windows Server. It provides features such as content and document management and business process collaboration, and is aimed at SMBs who could not afford a full, bespoke SharePoint system.

"All you need is Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server," Kerry-Badell said. "We've enhanced the functionality that's already in Windows Server without using SharePoint, so the vast majority of organisations can do everything they need without CALs, though if you want other SharePoint functions you could buy CALs.

"The application is based on core .Net development and on freely available SharePoint webparts, for example for holiday booking or news feeds. Other functions can be bolted on using .Net," he added. "The user just needs Windows XP, it is all web-driven and the data is held on the server."

He claimed that while there are many other collaboration toolkits available, using them to build a working system can take many months of developer time. ICS has already done most of the development work here, however.

"It costs £15,000 for the server and £20 to £50 per user. We think that's half to two-thirds the cost of building something similar on SharePoint.

"Most organisations will need some bespoke applications, and some consulting time too, but even then you can probably get up and running in a month or so." ®

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