Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013: Great alone, even better together

You may be missing out on great Microsoft communications and collaboration capabilities

It's no secret that Exchange 2013, SharePoint 2013, and Lync 2013 are designed to work together to provide the full list of communication and collaboration features Microsoft touts in its unified communication and collaboration marketing. But how you combine them as an IT administrator is another story.

Often, your plate is full, so it may not be immediately clear what you need to do after installation. You might have these two great solutions (Exchange and SharePoint) set up and working in their respective circles, with Exchange handling email nicely and SharePoint working well for collaboration. However, you may not be taking advantage of key combination features, such as:

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  • Email alerts: You can configure outgoing email through your SharePoint settings so that your users can set alerts that let them track various items in lists and libraries. When changes occur, the alert then sends them an email about the change -- no more going to the SharePoint server to look for updates. You can use the same technique to alert administrators about important system issues.
  • Posting directly to SharePoint from Outlook: You can configure incoming email and use Outlook to post directly to lists and libraries without having to open SharePoint, such as to manually post or manually upload a document to SharePoint.
  • Site mailboxes: This new feature in Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013 lets you access both documents and email through the same client interface (Outlook 2013 or SharePoint access through your browser); users don't have to bounce back and forth between Exchange and the SharePoint browser window. Teams thus have a place to gather conversations and documents for quick reference and searches. This lets you avoid having both a shared mailbox or public folder for emails (such as those containing documentation) and also have a SharePoint team site for deeper project documentation. Instead, you can serve the two needs simultaneously through a site mailbox, and your document libraries and lists can show up in Outlook.

Furthermore, the new Office Web App Server services allow improved document fidelity with Exchange 2013's WebReady Document Viewing and can provide the updated versions of Word Web App, Excel Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and OneNote Web App to your SharePoint users. Note: You need to set up these services on a server and configure your Exchange and SharePoint to use them.

Exchange and SharePoint also combine to make search universal across all Office 2013 products. A search from someone using Outlook Web Access 2013 can discover content in his or her Exchange 2013 mailbox, in a personal archive mailbox, in his or her SharePoint document libraries and lists, and even Lync 2013 IM conversations. This is all part of the Fast search technology introduced in SharePoint 2010 and now built into Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync -- in fact, the entire Office 2013 Server product line.

Don't be the IT admin who deploys these servers without taking advantage of all they can do.

This story, "Exchange 2013 and SharePoint 2013: Great alone, even better together," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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