I was able to sit in on a demo of Office 12 and the next version of SharePoint (apparently to be called the 2007 Microsoft Office system) the other day. I can't comment on specifics, but it does look impressive. This will clearly be a major improvement over the current SharePoint system, and it does look like Microosoft intends to be a player in document management. Microsoft is talking about a release in late 2006.
Since this is technology most companies are eventually going to get, legal departments should be looking at this now. I believe there will be tremendous opportunities for legal departments to not only improve their management of documents, but also many of their processes. For example, this is causing me to completely rethink our plans for contract management. There are great advantages if legal departments can use the tools the rest of the company uses rather than trying to bring in products to address the specific needs of the legal department.
Interesting David ... we are at a stage where we are looking at a Document Management solution and are utilising the current iteration of Sharepoint for Team collaboration sites.
Considering that Office 12 (Office 7 or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it) is probably a year away ( its already been delayed to 2007), do you think it would be a good idea to commence the Document Management on a small scale on the current Sharepoint and gradually move over to the new features when Office 12 becomes available??
Is there any info on what can really be acheived in terms of Document Management from the current Sharepoint??
I wish I had a good answer to you. I haven't done much research on that scenario. The current version of SharePoint can be used for document management, but in my experience, it is not easy to set it up to be very user-friendly. If your users are reasonably disciplined you may be able to use the current version effectively. If you are going to use SharePoint 2007 when it comes out my guess is that you'll be better of starting with SharePoint today than starting with something else and migrating later.
Another option might be to look at Interwoven's Worksite for SharePoint. I'd suggest checking with someone with more SharePoint expertise than I have.
I'd be surprised to see if Microsoft had anything more than just a simple scanning interface. Some of the batch processing and audit trail functions are specific to established vendors. I'd recommend getting in touch with a Share point provider as well.