Box.net announced new integration with Google Docs. Box users can now create, edit and concurrently edit with Google Docs. In the announcing blog post, doubt was expressed by Box.net over Microsoft opening Office 365 to 3rd party developers like themselves, and thus implies that this integration with Google will be the focus of the Box.net platform for the foreseeable future. http://www.box.net/
Mark Logic Corporation released the MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel. This new offering provides users a free way to integrate Microsoft Office Excel 2007 with MarkLogic Server. Earlier this year, Mark Logic delivered a Toolkit for Word and a Connector for SharePoint. Together, these offerings allow users to extend the functionality of Microsoft Office products and build applications leveraging the native document format, Office Open XML (OOXML). Distributed under an open source model, MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel comes with an Excel add-in that allows users to deploy information applications into Excel, comprehensive libraries for managing and manipulating Excel data, and a sample application that leverages best practices. The MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel offers greater search functionality, allowing organizations to search across their Excel files for worksheets, cells, and formulas. Search results can be imported directly into the workbooks that users are actively authoring. Workbooks, worksheets, formulas, and cells can be exported directly from active Excel documents to MarkLogic Server for immediate use by queries and applications. The Toolkit for Excel allows customers to easily create new Excel workbooks from existing XML documents. Users can now manipulate and re-use workbooks stored in the repository with a built-in XQuery library. For instance, a financial services firm can replace the manual process of cutting-and-pasting information from XBRL documents to create reports in Excel with an automated system. Utilizing Toolkit for Excel, this streamlined process extracts relevant sections of XBRL reports, combines them, and saves them as an Excel file. The Toolkit also allows users to add and edit multiple custom metadata documents across workbooks. This improves the ability for users to discover and reuse information contained in Excel spreadsheets. To download MarkLogic Toolkit for Excel, visit the Mark Logic Developer Workshop located at http://developer.marklogic.com/code/, http://www.marklogic.com
Microsoft announced the availability of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Microsoft Office system. The service pack includes major performance enhancements for Office applications, most notably Microsoft Office Outlook, as well as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. With SP2, Office 2007 now has built-in support for Open XML, ODF and PDF, along with the dozen or so other formats that were already supported in Office 2007. In addition to the support for additional file formats, SP2 also includes the Open XML Format External File Converter. This allows developers to make any third-party document format a first-class citizen in Office. This means Office will support most government-preferred formats, and can easily be made to support any others that come along. This release offers enhanced stability for Outlook, calendaring reliability, and more improvements to applications that run on both PCs and servers. Users should notice the improved performance and stability of Outlook, better charting functionality in Excel, and more control over the appearance of SmartArt graphics. On the server side, IT professionals will notice several enhancements to the security and performance of SharePoint Server 2007, including support for read-only content databases, improvements to forms-based authentication, and an STSADM command-line utility that enables administrators to scan sites that use the variations feature for errors. SharePoint Server will also feature better support for newer versions of the Firefox browser. Customers can download SP2 right away. In addition, Microsoft will release SP2 via Microsoft Update’s automatic update mechanism no sooner than three months from now, and with at least 30 days notice. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968170
Microsoft SharePoint is a force in the content management market. For the year ending June 2007, Microsoft reported $800 million in revenue for SharePoint, a figure that dwarfs most stand-alone ECM vendors and is nearly twice as large as Filenet’s annual revenue before it was acquired by IBM. Consider also that the other ECM vendor revenue includes substantial support dollars, and the SharePoint revenue is for licensing only. Even more impressive is the number of licenses–more than 17,000 companies have purchased 85 million licenses. That is one impressive foothold. Are all 17,000 companies using SharePoint for ECM? Of course not. Many are likely using SharePoint for basic document management and many for Web content management, and a significant number of the licenses are likely dormant or very lightly used.
Indeed, at different times in SharePoint’s product life, Microsoft has had to work hard to establish the value proposition for SharePoint to ensure enough reason for customers to renew their volume licenses. But each version of SharePoint has become more functional and has enjoyed deeper penetration into large organizations. SharePoint 2007 is now a significant ECM platform with a great deal of functionality and well established partnerships with key complementary vendors.
But the exact ways that people are using SharePoint today are not as important as the foothold it already has, and the determination organizations seem to have for making SharePoint work as a platform for myriad applications. Our discussions with users point to exactly this kind of thinking on the part of many organizations–they may have licensed SharePoint for a specific application, such as document sharing, or for a general need, but they are now looking at how the platform can support any number of other applications. This includes ECM applications, including ones with demanding scan and capture requirements.
View our recent webinar on how SharePoint is impacting the ECM market. The webinar is sponsored by KnowledgeLake.