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Plan sites and features

Updated: February 26, 2009

Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007

Updated: 2009-02-26

In this article:

One outcome of planning a solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a determination of the types of Web sites and portal sites to implement, and a list of the features that you need to plan for each site. Record this information in the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet.

As you fill out the worksheet, use the guidelines in this article to list the types of portal sites, Internet presence sites, and other site types you need for your solution, and then list for each site:

  • The sets of users who will participate in the site or portal. When you know who the site serves, you can more easily determine the appropriate security settings for the site.

  • Requirements for searching.

  • Customization needs.

  • Personalization needs.

  • Features that you need to plan for each portal or site, such as business intelligence, document management, forms, or workflows.

Plan sites

The first step in planning a solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is to determine the set of portal sites, Internet presence sites, team sites, and specialized sites that your organization and its customers need. Determining this affects subsequent planning decisions, such as where the sites will be implemented in your server topology, what features to plan for each site, how processes that span multiple sites are implemented, and how information is made available across one or more sites.

Worksheet action

As you plan the set of portal sites, Internet sites, and other sites, list each site separately in the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73282&clcid=0x409).

Plan portal sites

Portal sites based on Office SharePoint Server 2007 provide a focal point for finding relevant, personalized information in an organization. You can plan divisional and rollup portal sites that are based on the scale and structure of your organization and that aggregate organizational information, and you can plan interactive application portals where team members can perform tasks in your organization.

Planning portal sites by organizational hierarchy

Plan the basic portal sites you need based on the scale and structure of your organization. Each of these portal sites should contain information needed for a project or division within your larger organization, and each will link to collaboration sites relevant to that project or division. Some portal sites for larger divisions or projects will also aggregate information found on all the smaller portal sites devoted to smaller divisions or projects.

Use the following guidelines when planning portal sites based on your organizational structure:

Divisional or team portal sites   Plan to create one portal site for an entire small organization, or one for every division or project of 50–100 people within a medium-sized to large organization. In large organizations, there might be several levels of portal sites, with each portal site focusing on the content created and managed at its level of the organization.

You can design a portal site for members of your organization to collaborate on content related to your business or organizational goals. These can be self-contained or they can work with other sites as part of a publishing process. Often, these portal sites will have a mixture of collaborative content used internally and content intended for publication to an audience.

Rollup portal sites   A rollup portal site contains general cross-organization content. It lets users across divisions find information, experts, and access to organization-wide processes. It often contains subsites that are scoped to the overall organizational information architecture and are usually mapped to the structure of the divisional or project portal sites. For each organization or distinct Shared Services Provider (SSP), plan to create a centralized rollup portal site with an aggregated view of all related portal sites.

Planning application portal sites

An application portal organizes team processes and provides mechanisms for running them. Application portals often include digital dashboards and other features for viewing and manipulating data related to the portal's purpose. The information presented in an application portal site usually comes from diverse sources, such as databases or other SharePoint sites.

For example, the human resources organization in an enterprise could design an application portal site to provide employees with:

  • Access to general information such as employee handbooks and career opportunities.

  • Ways to do common tasks, such as submitting timecards and expense reports.

  • Dashboards for viewing personalized information such as an employee's salary and benefits history.

As another example, the internal technical support organization in an enterprise could design a Help Desk application portal to provide technical support to members of the enterprise. Features of the application portal could include:

  • Access to a knowledge base of past support incidents and best-practices documentation.

  • Ways to do common tasks, such as starting a support incident or reviewing the status of an ongoing incident.

  • Integration with communications features that support online meetings and discussions.

  • Personalized views of data. For example, support managers could view dashboards providing views of their team members' productivity and customer satisfaction ratings. Support engineers could view their current unresolved incidents.

In the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, list each divisional, rollup, and application portal site that you plan to create. Be sure to identify the name and purpose of the portal site. For more information about planning portal sites, see Chapter overview: Plan site structure and navigation (Project Server).

Plan Internet presence sites

Internet presence sites are customer-facing sites. They are usually branded and are characterized by consistent stylistic elements, such as colors, fonts, and logos in addition to structural elements such as navigation features and the structure of site pages. Although the appearance of an Internet site is tightly controlled, the content of the site may be dynamic and may change frequently.

For example, a corporate presence Internet site communicates important company information to customers, partners, investors, and potential employees, including descriptions of products and services, company news, annual reports, public filings, and job openings. As another example, an online news Internet site provides frequently updated information, along with interactive features such as stock tickers and blogs.

Because an Internet presence site represents your enterprise to an external audience, you might stage and test the site and then publish it — either based on a schedule or as needed — to its public "production" location. A staging site is a mirror of the production site that you use to test content before it's published. Using a staging site can help ensure that published content meets stringent standards. Staging sites also allow content authors to work on servers located on your company's intranet, while Internet users are using production servers in your perimeter network. A built-in content deployment feature makes it easy to move content from the staging to the production servers.

Record your staging and production Internet presence sites in the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet. For more information about planning Internet presence sites, see Plan Web site structure and publishing (Office SharePoint Server).

Plan other sites

You can plan to allow portal site or Internet site users to create additional sites. For example, you can plan to give each team member who uses a portal site a My Site, which is a team site based on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 with public and private views. You can also allow team members to create other sites, such as Document Workspace sites, as they collaborate. Similarly, you can give users of an Internet site access to collaboration sites as part of a Web-based service. For example, you can give them permissions to create Meeting Workspace sites and participate in online meetings as part of their experience of using your site.

In addition to portal sites and Internet sites, Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes the ability to create the following specialized sites of use in the organization:

Document Center site   This is a large-scale library useful as an enterprise-wide knowledge base or historical archive. It includes features that can help users navigate, search, and manage a large number of documents in a deep hierarchy by using a set of specialized Web Parts.

Records Center site   Records management is the management of files and documents that provide evidence of activities or transactions performed by the organization. The Records Center site is designed to implement the storage component of a records management solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007.

Record your other site needs in the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet. For more information about collaboration site planning, see Plan for collaboration sites. For more information about Document Center sites, see Plan document libraries. For more information about Records Center sites, see Design the Records Center site (Office SharePoint Server).

Plan customizations

You can plan to customize your portal sites, Internet sites, or team sites. For example, if you are planning a site to provide an Internet presence for your enterprise, you can brand the site by customizing its master pages to include your organization's logo and color scheme.

You can also customize your site by adding functionality. Office SharePoint Server 2007 has a complete object model and is built on the .NET framework. For more information about programming Office SharePoint Server 2007, see the Office SharePoint Server 2007 Software Development Kit.

For each site or portal that requires customization, make a note in the Customization column of the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet. For more information about customization, see Plan Web site structure and publishing (Office SharePoint Server).

Plan personalization sites

A personalization site is a filtered view of the content of a portal site or Internet site that provides users of that site with targeted content based on the user's role or preferences. When you plan a portal or Internet site based on Office SharePoint Server 2007, you can design a personalization site based on that site. Users can then choose to view the general content displayed by the portal or Internet site or they can view the related personalization site, which filters the content so that it is more relevant to a particular user's specific information needs or tasks.

If you plan to design a personalization site for any site you listed in the Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, record your decision in the Personalization column of the worksheet. For more information about personalization sites, see Plan for personalized content and sites.

Plan site collections

After you determine which sites and portal sites your solution requires, the next step is to plan how these sites and portals are implemented across site collections. A site collection is a hierarchical set of sites that can be managed together. Sites within a site collection have common features, such as shared permissions, galleries for templates, content types, and Web Parts, and they often share a common navigation. All sites in a site collection are stored together in the same SQL database. A portal site is often implemented as a site collection with the top-level Web site as the home page of the portal.

In general, when planning a solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, put each of the following types of sites in separate site collections:

  • Portal sites

  • Internet sites (staging)

  • Internet sites (production)

  • All team sites related to a portal site or Internet site

  • Document Center sites

  • Records Center sites

For more information about planning Office SharePoint Server 2007 site collections, see Plan Web site structure and publishing (Office SharePoint Server).

Plan security

Planning security includes planning for authentication and authorization of users and groups of users. Authentication is the process by which Office SharePoint Server verifies who a user is. Authorization determines what actions a user is allowed to perform on a given object such as a list item, a library, or a site.

Elements of security planning include:

  • Determining the authentication methods to use.

  • Determining the categories of users of your solution.

  • Determining permission levels to assign to users and groups.

  • Planning groups of users and assigning those groups permissions.

  • Planning the scopes at which permissions will be applied, such as lists, libraries, or sites.

For more information about planning Office SharePoint Server 2007 security, see Chapter overview: Plan site and content security.

Plan search needs

Planning search includes determining the scope of content that can be searched from each site, configuring your server farms to index the content and search for it efficiently and securely, and optionally planning customizations of the search user interface. Depending on your requirements, the search scopes in different sites can vary widely. For example, in a portal site used to plan and create products, the scope of searching could include product specifications, internal marketing documents, meeting notes, and other information of internal value. The scope of search in the Internet site in which the public learns about these products would be limited to content describing your organization's products and services, but not the internal content.

In preparation for search planning, for each site or portal site in your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, indicate the scope of what can be searched for by each set of users. For more information about search planning, see Plan search (Office SharePoint Server).

Plan business intelligence integration

Business intelligence enables the members of an organization to gather, store, analyze, and access business data. Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes business intelligence capabilities that help organizations preserve data integrity while enabling powerful data searching, integration, analysis, rendering, and sharing.

In preparation for business intelligence planning, in the Business Intelligence column of your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, indicate all sites and portal sites that require business intelligence integration. For more information about business intelligence planning, see Plan for business intelligence.

Plan document and records management

A document management system is implemented to control the flow of documents in your organization — how they are created, reviewed, published, and consumed, and how they are ultimately disposed of or retained. Because nearly all solutions will include these activities, expect to plan a document management implementation. Document management planning considerations include how content will be organized in document libraries, the metadata to define for each type of content, the workflows that will be required during the content's lifecycle, and the policies to apply to the content.

A record is a document or other physical or electronic entity in an organization that serves as evidence of an activity or transaction performed by the organization. Records management is the process by which an organization determines what types of information are records, how to manage them through their retention periods, and how to ultimately destroy or archive them. Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes features that help organizations implement records management systems and processes. Work with your organization's legal department to determine if records management should be included in your solution.

In preparation for document and records management planning, in the Document and Records Management column of your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, indicate all sites and portals that require document or records management planning. For more information about document management planning, see Plan document management. For more information about records management planning, see Plan records management.

Plan workflows

Workflows implement business processes on documents, Web pages, and list items in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. For example, a workflow can route a document for review, track an issue through its various stages of resolution, or guide a contract through an approval process. Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes workflows that address primary content management needs, such as reviewing or approving documents for publication, along with specialized workflows for tracking issues, managing multiple language translations of content, and managing other processes. You can create custom workflows using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 or Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

To prepare for workflow planning, in the Workflows column of your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, indicate all sites and portals that require workflow planning. For more information about planning workflows, see Plan workflows.

Plan forms

In a solution based on Office SharePoint Server 2007, forms can be used to gather information and display data from a variety of sources, to automate business processes, and to enhance collaboration scenarios. For example, for an Internet site, you can plan to use forms to survey current users and to sign up new users. For a human resources portal site, you can plan to use forms for submitting timecard information, selecting benefits, or reviewing the performance of employees.

To prepare for forms planning, in the Forms column of your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet, list all sites and portals that require forms planning. For more information about planning for forms, see Plan InfoPath Forms Services.

Plan site maintenance

Site maintenance includes:

  • Planning for site cleanup and general site management.

  • Determining how you will let site users create team sites and other subsites, and how to track these sites.

  • Finding and removing stale sites.

  • Keeping the performance of your portals and Internet sites at an acceptable level.

Because you need to plan site maintenance for all your sites and portals, you do not need to register this in your Determine Sites and Portals planning worksheet. For a full discussion of site maintenance planning, see Plan for site creation and maintenance (Office SharePoint Server).

Worksheet

Use the following worksheet to record the information discussed in this article:

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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