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Sunday, March 05, 2006

IT Consulting News: Microsoft Makes Plans for Groove Networks

A year after Microsoft bought Groove Networks and its P2P system, the company has started to make plans to turn the software into an offline client that will benefit countless IT consulting firms throughout the world.

Introduced in late February, Office Groove 2007 is in the process of being developed as the offline client for Microsoft’s Windows SharePoint Services and the SharePoint Server in Office 2007. The offline capabilities gives corporate users better support for teams and mobile workers, who will be able to take work offline in the same way they can with E-mail and sync all changes once reconnected to the network.

The current SharePoint client is a browser; this means users have to be on the network to create or edit any content. Office Groove 2007 is a perfect solution to existing problems because it provides exactly what Microsoft was missing in its former projects. And today, most IT consulting companies and other companies have workers that need to take work offline at some point, so this will give them the opportunity to easily do so.

Built into the Windows operating system, Windows SharePoint Services allows for the creation of online team spaces that can be managed and available through SharePoint Server. Over time, Microsoft hopes to make Groove the rich client for SharePoint that compliments the web interface. While Outlook and Outlook Web access are perfect for single users, Groove is the perfect place for companies and teams working together. Groove allows teams in a company or across companies to collaborate without SharePoint. They can create documents using P2P connectivity and Groove workspaces, which stay synced on every team member’s desktop through a centralized server.

While offline client capabilities are not necessarily a new phenomenon, this team-centric client is very new, and is a major step forward for IT consulting firms and others that rely on teams to get their work done. The only problem with P2P software is that when it is made available to a broad audience, you can run into problems. A portal or something that is based on servers is much more reliable and impenetrable, making it easier to publish documents.

Groove gives Microsoft an offline client that integrates multiple point tools with collaboration tools. The only problem Microsoft now faces is how to license it, since currently the Office Enterprise bundle is only available through volume licensing or an Enterprise Agreement site license. Groove will be offered as a separate, complimentary product.

Added By: Computer Consulting 101 Professional Kit