Software helps track SharePoint usage

SharePoint customers who want more insight into how workers are using the Microsoft collaboration software, and enterprises afraid to deploy it because of compliance issues, might find a solution in software from Nintex.

Nintex Reporting 2008 collects a wide array of data about how SharePoint is being used in an organization and lets IT administrators or any authorized user view a variety of usage statistics. An administrator can look at information about SharePoint use such as how many people are using discussion boards, who is creating lists, how many people view documents compared with how many people create them, and who might be simply using SharePoint like a file-sharing system.

The data can be viewed in many ways, including bar charts and tables. Users can check historical views of specific measurements and also schedule regular reports.

The data could be interesting to many people within an organization, said Mike Fitzmaurice, vice president of product technology at Nintex and a former member of the SharePoint team at Microsoft.

An IT administrator could use the data to check on the performance of servers in order to make sure the company has enough capacity to support the service, Fitzmaurice said.

The data could also be useful to someone who wants to make sure that employees are really using SharePoint or using all its features. "A number of companies think they can just install SharePoint technology, turn it on and everyone will start magically using it," Fitzmaurice said. "In some organizations, I've got to believe that's true, but in many more organizations, they kind of need to lead people to it. The capabilities in SharePoint are great, but not everyone gets it right away."

Nintex Reporting could also be used for compliance and governance reasons by companies that need to track data in the organization.

The software comes with 75 types of reports, but users can customize them and create additional reports, Fitzmaurice said.

Nintex Reporting 2008 comes at two pricing levels: Companies employing just one server can buy it for US$8,750. For enterprises with two or more servers, it costs $17,500.

Nintex first announced the reporting software in May. It has since signed up a few beta testers and is now making the software commercially available.

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