Laying the groundwork for SharePoint 2010

Melanie Rutberg isn’t waiting on SharePoint 2010 to hit the streets; instead she is laying the groundwork so she can dive into its features when it ships next year.

In fact, Rutberg, IT manager at The Richardson Company, began planning years ago. By buying into Microsoft’s Software Assurance maintenance plan she has SQL Server, Office and SharePoint at her fingertips when she needs them.

“Last month we upgraded SQL [Server] to 2008 SP1 64-bit,” she says. “That was the first part to the 2010 rollout of SharePoint.” Microsoft plans to ship SharePoint in June 2010 with the rest of its newest Office suite.

Microsoft’s SQL Server is the repository for SharePoint, which anchors the document management system at Richardson, which develops and sells video-, audio- and computer-based training along with books and self-study programs.

Following SQL Server 2008, Richardson, which is located in Lakewood, Wash., will roll out the productivity applications of Office 2010 and SharePoint in order to make it easier for its 75 users to navigate and search more than 135GB of data the company maintains.

Rutberg’s plan is to eventually integrate as much of Richardson’s Microsoft infrastructure as possible with SharePoint 2010. She plans to link it with external databases and Web-based applications. The plan is to build hooks into the company’s SAP system and to link with Web-based CRM provided by

“Basically we will take data that is in our accounting system and pull it over for some reports that will be generated by SharePoint, like Top 10 customers and that sort of thing,” she said. “It will be the same thing with to get integration with that service.”

Rutberg has such a clear picture of where she wants to go because see has carefully built out SharePoint, starting in 2003 with SharePoint Services 2.0 baked into Windows for team sharing sites.

SharePoint Services replaced a file sharing system, which serviced basic check-in and check-out needs. But when SharePoint 2007 came along Rutberg jumped in June 2008 at an upgrade that promised efficiencies in handling the material in Richardson’s training library, which includes thousands of items organized in a folder structure. The system runs on a pair of Dell PowerEdge 2950 servers.

Using Quest Software’s Migration Manager for SharePoint and File Migrator for SharePoint, Richardson moved all of its data into SharePoint Server 2007 in eight hours. The tools ensured that the company would not lose valuable file metadata. In addition, the Quest tools provided detailed reports on files that could not be migrated and why — reports that the SharePoint tools could not produce.

As part of the migration, Richardson also rolled out SharePoint’s advanced search features and more sophisticated check-in and check-out capabilities.

“Search has become the No. 1 benefit we have seen,” she says. “If you were searching for a file share in the previous system it could take 45 minutes. Now we get that in seconds.”

And using another Quest tool — Web Parts for SharePoint — Rutberg is adding the capability to search folders alphabetically, a feature SharePoint 2007 does not provide natively but that is critical for Richardson.

“On one site we have about 2,000 folders,” Rutberg says.

Next week, Rutberg will roll out a menu item across the company’s SharePoint sites that allows users to search by the first letter in the name of a folder, a simple process but one that maps to the company’s long-established file structure.

When that is done, Rutberg will begin crafting the step up to SharePoint 2010 and add another chapter to the evolution of a system that Richardson began building six years ago.

“We are thinking about the future and we know we want to stay with this platform,” she says.

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