If I were to ask you what Microsoft's fastest growing product is, which product would you choose? In 2003, The Register reported that SharePoint was the fastest growing product with more than 30 million licenses. Collaborative products are not new, and the Lotus Notes folks will sing in unison "been there, done that." However, 30 million licenses are nothing to sneeze at. The impact to traditional applications is enormous in the sense of how work is organized and value delivered. This month, I want to describe how many organizations are adding collaboration to their applications, registries and repositories.

Traditional repositories, like most applications, are built based on the perceptions of value from the business perspective. Basically, we will tell you what you need, when you need it and how you should get it. The reason for this high degree of control is that organizations, by definition, want to reduce the variability of the business process. Controlling the customer experience ensures that we utilize best practices and increase our efficiency factor. As application developers, we took this mind-set to the next level by not integrating content management, knowledge management and asset lifecycle management because that additional information would reduce our ability to estimate impact. Clearly, information-only applications are much easier to maintain and manage as well.

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