In my last job, I worked for a small marketing firm that decided to implement SharePoint to serve as an internal and external document management system. This was my first encounter with SharePoint, and it was a less-than-positive experience, to say the least. My superiors didn't know much at all about SharePoint, and they pretty much plopped it in the organization out of the box with no prior knowledge and called it good.

I remember being frustrated that I had to manage two structures: a physical network and the SharePoint network. Both of these had to be updated and consistent at all times, though inconsistencies often showed up. I'd have to download files from SharePoint so that I could email them to external clients. Worst of all, it was slow, cumbersome, and our organizational framework was not intuitive.

If you've ever experienced any problems like these, or have heard employees share similar sentiments, then Colligo Contributor is the product your team needs. Colligo has just released Contributor 4, which in essence integrates the client infrastructure with the SharePoint infrastructure. You can surf your SharePoint interface through Windows Explorer, automatically save all files uploaded through Outlook into SharePoint, and edit and save files on SharePoint on your offline Microsoft Office products.

Colligo Contributor 4 includes four separate products:

Uploader for Outlook. Opens the SharePoint browser into Outlook (each SharePoint page gets its own folder). You can drag and drop files through Outlook and have them update automatically in SharePoint.

Contributor Outlook Add-in. When you attach a file in Outlook, it will ask if you'd like to also save a copy of that file to SharePoint (based on your preferences by file size). Anytime you do save the file to SharePoint, it will change your attached document to a link to the file.

Contributor Client. This product lets gives you offline integration to SharePoint. You can modify documents as you see fit offline, and it will automatically update your SharePoint interface when you get online.

File Manager. Brings your SharePoint interface into Windows Explorer. You can right click on any file in Explorer and grab the SharePoint link. You can also use Explorer's search to find files on SharePoint.

As you can see, each of these products brings similar benefits, but they come in different flavors based on your preferences and specific needs. Ultimately, these products let your users work with SharePoint without the disruption that comes from managing an offline network and the collaborative SharePoint network.

Colligo Contributor 4 products become available on July 13. Pricing information is not available at this time. To view the on-demand webinar that demos these products, visit www.colligo.com/Webinars/4.0.

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