Department Solution Set v1.0: Bringing It All Together

Our Department Dashboard app using our One Touch design with Central Configuration has been extensively adopted in our customer base on SharePoint 2007.  In this article, we’ll talk about the new Department Solution Set v1.0 which is the next generation of this solution and takes the level of collaboration, integration, and management to a whole new level.

The Department Dashboard – One Touch Edition has allowed customers to create a departmental work environment of multiple Departments, each with their department collaboration site.  With the One Touch design, all of the department sites are centrally managed.  This hub and spoke design thus allows you to make one change centrally, which then updates all instances of Department sites.image

The Department Solution Set v1.0 takes this core hub and spoke model to the next level.  This diagram shows how a typical DSS environment would lay out.

DSS is a 5-module solution that addresses the same core area – which is how to deploy and manage a multi-department work environment on SharePoint.  DSS goes further to create an integrated, flexible environment, that is centrally managed, with shared resources, services and processes that cut across the various departments and integrate them.

DSS has three aspects to it:

  • Central Services (typically its own Site Collection) – this area is used for central environment configuration (such as Global Navigation and Global Links), central application management, shared resources, services, and processes.  There are three modules for this, including, Central Configuration, Central Resources, and the Department Application Configuration Site.
  • Department Dashboard and Gateway – these two modules are in the production environment.  The Department Dashboard is used to bring up all of your Department sites where the core departmental collaboration takes place.  The Gateway is used for the environments’ top-level site or for special purpose consoles, such as an Employee Services Console or a Salespersons’ Console.  It is populated with Snaplets and Services that reside elsewhere (usually in other Apps or in Central Services).
  • Ready for Apps – the third part is not in the product but part of the design.  With this framework you can now drop in apps within your departments.  You can get apps from the CorasWorks App Store, you can create sites with native SharePoint site templates, or, you can build your own apps.  They will auto-magically appear in the Department dashboard features.  They can be added to Global and Departmental navigation in one place that makes them available environment wide.  They can be integrated to the Central Services or each other.  Each app enhances the overall environment.

Because of the One Touch hub and spoke design, you now have a framework for an integrated environment – information and functionality can flow across departments and between apps.  DSS comes with a number of pre-built, cross-environment services including: Global Navigation, Departmental News service, Company Calendar service, System Change Request service and Workplace Sites that allow you to submit and socialize sites across the environment that are then made available to users in the other departments.

DSS gives you a great framework.  But, at its core you also are getting a very robust collaborative environment for Departments.  A key change enhancement of DSS’s department site is the inclusion of features that allow users to have single displays for work across the different types of lists and libraries. Thus, in one display they can see What’s New across all types of lists or libraries, and, even sites.  You can act on multiple items, of multiple types, in one step.  You have My Work that shows users work assigned to them or created by them across ALL types.  You have Pinpoint Search to search across all types with the department.  In sum it is just the next gen of a true collaborative environment that is no longer data typed but based upon the users context.

DSS requires v10.3.1 of the Workplace Suite.  It runs on the AppEngine v10.3.1 and on both of our Fpweb.net cloud offerings – AppFoundation and AppServer.  In addition, with the Bridge ability of the v10.3.1 release, your entire DSS environment can be upgraded to SharePoint 2010 through an in-place upgrade. So, now matter how broad you go with departments and deep you go with apps on SP2007, you know you can move it all to SP2010 when the time comes.

See you in the community,

William

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