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Microsoft Sharepoint SharePoint Q&A

Following conversations with clients using MS Sharepoint and also potential customers who are reviewing their workflow and document management systems, we have compiled the 5 most frequently asked questions about MS SharePoint.

The answers are provided by Jonathan Holland of the Client Solutions MS SharePoint Technical team. You can contact Jonathon at

  • What is the difference between MOSS & WSS?
    WSS (Windows SharePont Server) is basically the free version of MS SharePoint that comes with Windows Server 2003 and 2008. MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Services) has everything that WSS has, plus some extra enterprise level functionality. Many very large companies use WSS and have never felt the need to upgrade to MOSS at all!
  • I’ve heard MS SharePoint is a light touch document management system – what does this mean?
    While not a full blown document management system, MS SharePoint does deliver many of the basic functionality that you need to start putting control on your documentation. We find that many companies have a network drive that everyone dumps documents into. This causes problems because nobody can find anything and when they eventually do find what they are looking for, they aren’t sure if it is the latest or correct version. MS SharePoint libraries help you to enforce some good governance on your documentation with
    • Versioning – MS SharePoint automatically manages version numbering for documents ensuring there is only ever one version of a document that everyone uses
    • Metadata – Get your users to describe what information you want to collect about documents. I.e. what customer do they relate to, what type of document are they, etc. This then makes searching for documents much easier
    • Workflow – Basic workflows such as document approval are available out-of-the-box
    • Policy Management – automatically retire documents that have not been accessed in a while
    • Microsoft Office integration – depending on the version of Microsoft office that you use, all this functionality can be accessed from with Microsoft applications!
  • What is the difference between folders and libraries & when do I use them?
    There is quite a lot of debate as to when a company should use libraries and when it should use folders to hold documents in MS SharePoint.

    All documents must be stored in libraries. Within those libraries, you can then create a folder hierarchy to hold and organise documents. Our advice is not to use folders but to instead define library data-columns that can be used to help in the finding of documents. The problem with using a folder hierarchy is that the user needs to know the hierarchy before they can find anything in it. How often have you drilled deep into folder trees looking for a document that wasn’t where you expected it to be? By enforcing correct tagging of documents in a library, you help your users find and work with them.
  • I’ve heard WSS is free – is that true?
    Yes! WSS comes as a free download with Windows Server 2003 SP1
  • We have MS SharePoint licences so what do we do next?
    We find that a lot of the companies we talk to, have MS SharePoint licenses but they aren’t getting the value out of them. MS SharePoint is an extremely powerful technology that can help get your employees collaborating and working more productively. It is precisely because it can do so many different things however that those companies don’t know where to start!
    Client Solutions offers a specially priced starter pack called the Easy Start Program, that helps these companies get off the ground. Over a 5 day engagement, we visit the client, agree some basic functionality that they would like to get up and running and then deliver it. We find that once we help get the ball rolling, the potential of MS SharePoint then becomes obvious and our clients are thrilled that they can leverage these free productivity tools that they never knew they had!
  • They say ‘A rolling stone gathers no MOSS’; let us help you get the ball rolling in your company implementation of MOSS.

    Want to learn more?
    For more information on Microsoft SharePoint please contact our Application Development team.

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