by Brian Reinholz
You've wisely decided that the added management capabilities, interface improvements, and new social networking features of SharePoint 2010 make it a crucial upgrade to your organization. But where to proceed next? Is it time to snatch up a migration solution and make the big move?
Not so fast, according to MetaVis President Peter Senescu. Migration is the perfect opportunity to clean up your SharePoint, and in fact, many of the new features in SharePoint 2010 won't do you a lick of good until you do just that.
The House Analogy
Think of it like this: imagine you're living in a messy, unorganized house. (That doesn't require much creativity for me.) Now imagine you're moving into a bigger, fancier house with interesting new appliances, efficient solar heating resources, and more rooms to customize. But, when it comes to moving time, your house is so messy that you can hardly sort pots and pans from shirts and pants, so you simply throw it all in the moving truck, let it bounce around, and arrive at your new house. So what do you do when you get there? You throw it all in the new house, and all the interesting capabilities you could've utilized are wasted on what quickly becomes a new dumping ground for stuff.
OK, so the analogy is far from perfect, but it's like this: if you don't take the time now to get your metadata and taxonomy sorted out with your current implementation, you're not going to be able to utilize many of the new SharePoint 2010 features.
Where MetaVis Comes In
MetaVis offers three SharePoint products that can help get you on track--Architect, Classifier, and Migrator. I actually wrote about Architect and Classifier back when they were first introduced. The basic premise of these software tools is to quickly and efficiently scour your data and intelligently sort and tag it for better visibility in the future.
"Essentially we add the functionality that supports SharePoint 2010 features. We support management of metadata fields, we support taxonomy, and all of the things that help people take advantage of new SharePoint 2010 functionality," said Mark Klinchin, CTO of MetaVis.
From there, Migrator takes your squeaky clean SharePoint infrastructure and throws it over the wall into SharePoint 2010, your cool new house, where everything works a little better. You can even take this opportunity to upload any other data from your network into SharePoint and apply mass-tagging.
"In SharePoint, you can just upload your file system, and then basically you've created another file system in the sky that is much more expensive to maintain," said Peter Senescu, President of MetaVis. "So when we migrate from a file system, we allow you to do that, but at the same time you can create metadata during the migration. So for example, you can set up a nested folder structure that says 'Countries' and apply that to the document when you import it."
Examples of SharePoint 2010 features you'll be able to better utilize with a cleaner taxonomy include:
- Content Type Hub: The Content Type Hub lets you publish all of your content types in one place but have them published on all your site collections, allowing you to easily share and reference content types across your network.
- Enterprise Metadata Management: This feature lets you efficiently manage your content based on terms and policies set based on taxonomy. In other words, you can assign global rules to better sort, track, and surface content. However, without clean, accurate metadata and taxonomy, this feature is of little value.
- FAST Search: FAST Search is an exciting new product from Microsoft to let you better find content in your SharePoint infrastructure. But again, the success of this product is incumbent on logical organization of your data.
Pricing and Takeaways
If your organization is committed to a long-term SharePoint implementation, Senescu recommends the MetaVis Architect Suite, which includes Architect, Classifier, and Migrator. The suite weighs in at $4,500 per installation. Migrator by itself is $3,000 per installation. (Free trials are also available at the company's website.)
Fortunately, according to MetaVis, all of the company's products are easy to use and shouldn't require lengthy consultative training or that you be a SharePoint expert. So while the upfront costs may be significant, the potential is there to save many productivity hours later.
"Don't upgrade your mess is our mantra. Take the opportunity to organize as you migrate. Ask questions like, 'Do I need all these documents, or should I set an expiration date after seven years as I move them?'" said Senescu. "These are the questions that people are going to start having with consultants or internally as they move forward, and luckily MetaVis supports the taxonomy for the migration and the classification perspective for 2010."