“I did’nt know SharePoint did that” – People Search
I just read a good article from one of the Analyst companies I work with now and then. This article is about a large Scandinavian bank, and a new “phonebook” application that was built for about 30.000 employees. This is a very cool solution, that has a full profile display for the individual employee, displaying all contact information, organization, competences/projects etc. The solution is built on BEA Weblogic and Autonomy.
I’m not going to talk to much about this solution, other than the analyst mentioned that he saw this as a best in class solution and it was difficult to make suggestion for any further improvements.
I agree the solution looks great. Phonebooks are winners in term of user acceptance and it looks like Nordea nailed it. But I think the analyst in unaware that this exact same functionality is available – out of the box – with SharePoint Server 2010.
It’s called Mysite with People Search, and I actually think that the standard SharePoint functionality adds a little more. As an example – when you search for a users – you can not only see profile and contact data for the individual, but also documents the person worked on – in the search result set.
If you dive into the individual profile – which look almost exactly like the Nordea solution – you get social information about the individual, among other dynamic information about the person and your relations to the person. It’s pretty cool stuff…
So SharePoint Server 2010 actually has all of this out of the box. I just recently implemented this functionality at a client, and after strugling a bit with the user profile syncronization of data with Active Directory, the rest is straight forward configuration.
Personally I will be a little careful with claiming SharePoint to be “best in class” for Phonebook/People Search solutions, as I am not deep into all solutions available. But I am sure that we can agree, that providing this type of value out of the box, is pretty amazing. And that’s not all… 😉 If you are ready to go beyond SharePoint, adding Fast Search and Office Communication Server will add a substantial amount of functionality to the mix.