As I dive deeper into the functionality and integration of Office 12 I’m pleasently surprised by the enhancements. Yesterday, I was exploring the level of integration between Outlook and SharePoint. I’ve had the idea over the past two years that Outlook should be the Win32 client for SharePoint. Why? Most of us work from within Outlook throughout the day.
From my brief exploration of the integration thus far, I found that the SharePoint lists (Documents, Task, Pictures etc.) can be viewed through Outlook. Within Outlook 12, the Inbox now has a folder for SharePoint lists which allows you to browse the lists like you would a PST file – but is SharePoint aware.
To take advantage of these integration features, simply open Outlook and then SharePoint. From SharePoint browse to your MySite and select a list (e.g. Tasks). Click the Actions menu option, select "Connect with Outlook" and follow the prompts. Select the Outlook window and you should see Tasks listed under Inbox/SharePoint lists (Sometimes it takes a few minutes). For Document lists, there is an added step of marking the document for download" You do this my hovering the mouse over the document (From with Outlook) and and select the menu option "Mark for Download".
The integration with Outlook and offline capabilities will greatly enhance the functionality provided by the product suite thus improving user productivity especially those that are mobile. From an architecture perspective, its one less product to integrate in order to provide the offline replication – typically provided by iOra.